All together now for St George

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Standing up for the renewal of promises - and not just the children

On St George’s Day last Sunday, April 23, local uniformed organisations turned out on parade with the Mayor, Councillor Jonathan Breeds, taking the salute before everyone trooped into a full St Mary’s Church along with the Town Council in their robes.

The numbers were less than the turnout for Remembrance Sunday as this was principally an event for the children and teenagers who are in uniformed organisations such as the Boy Scouts. Colonel Anthony Kimber from the Royal British Legion was present though, along with Canon David Frost (Rector of St Mary’s), to keep everything organised.

St Mary’s Rector Canon Frost gets the banner shipshape
The standards of the various organisations are processed up the aisle to be placed at the altar

St George is of course the patron saint of England – notwithstanding the fact that he was a brave Roman soldier who protested against the Romans’ torture of Christians and died for his beliefs – and it is also very unlikely he ever fought a dragon. However (probably as a result of the early medieval Crusades) he became our patron saint.

The service started with the standards of the various organisations being placed up on the altar, followed swiftly in procession by the mayoral party and the hymn Onward Christian Soldiers. As the mayoral party included three councillors who sing in the Rye Bay Crew, and I am tone deaf, I mimed the words.

The Mayor read the Bible reading from John 20: verses 19-23 and was given a brief respite while we sang “When a knight won his spurs, in the stories of old” before Reader Linda Estrada involved the Colonel, the Mayor and representatives of the various organisations, in various ways, and in various languages, of saying and expressing “peace be with you”.

Colonel Kimber from the British Legion gets everyone organised

As the Mayor is quite tall, and some of the children were very small, he eventually had to kneel down – but all survived the experience.

“One more step along the world I go” was then the jolly and modern Sydney Carter hymn which preceded the renewal of promises and the prayer of dedication. As these involved both current and past members of each organisation, youngsters and other older people were standing up (as pictured at top) as each promise was made (and at least one councillor was clearly a scout once upon a time and many years ago).

After all those promises, “Stand up, stand up for Jesus” was the final hymn before the national anthem, and then the procession out of the church by the standards, the choir, clergy and churchwardens, and the mayoral party.

And the service ends with the departure of the Mayoral Party

Photos : Sandra Lanigan

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