'Mark the 1914 Christmas Truces'
One of the most remarkable events in the annals of modern warfare is the focus of new Christmas resources which will enable churches to take the opportunity of the centenary of the First World War to tell the Christian story
The Northumbria and Newcastle Universities Martin Luther King Peace Committee has used the December 1914 Christmas Truces to prepared material for both ministers and teachers.
Following weeks of fraternization, men right down the Western front from the North Sea to Switzerland laid down their arms to mark Christmas. These spontaneous acts of festive goodwill directly contradicted orders from high command, and offered an evocative and hopeful – albeit brief – recognition of shared humanity.
The Peace Committee has created two different resource packs: one set is for school teachers, the other for church ministers. They include ideas for carol services, Sunday School activities, and liturgical resources for other worship services.
Nick Megoran is an Elder of Heaton Baptist Church (Newcastle) and a lecturer at Newcastle University. He is a Co-Convener of the Martin Luther King Peace Committee, and said, 'Since the truces often began with singing of Christmas carols, it is fitting that this Christmas, as we celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace, we encourage churches to remember this moment of hope and vision for a different way of relating founded in the ‘gospel of Peace’.
'The Christmas order of service weaves the story of the Truces in with the story of the nativity as presented in an abridged version of the traditional carol service, giving an evocative angle on the angels’ song of ‘on earth peace, good will toward men.’
'At a time when historians and politicians are furiously debating the meaning of the First World War, marking the Christmas Truces allows churches to take the opportunity of the centenary to retell not disputed national stories, but the Christian story.'
In 1967 Baptist Minister the Revd Martin Luther King came to Newcastle to receive an honorary degree – Newcastle being the only city outside the USA to so honour him.
The Northumbria and Newcastle Universities Martin Luther King Peace Committee, based in the chaplaincies of the city’s two universities, exists to honours King’s legacy by drawing on his theology and practice of non-violent enemy love to build cultures of peace.
All resources, which include handout-outs and PowerPoints slide shows, are available free to download from http://www.mlkpc.org