To buy a White Poppies for Churches pack, go to at whitepoppy.org.uk. The pack is published jointly by the PPU and FoR and retails at £60. It contains 100 white poppies, a display box, a poster, leaflets about white poppies and copies of materials for a peace-focused remembrance service, including prayers, sermon ideas, quotes and suggested Bible readings and hymns.
PRESS RELEASE: The organisation that produces white poppies has reported a rise in the number of churches enquiring about making white poppies available for the first time.
The Peace Pledge Union – which includes both religious and non-religious members – drew attention to the increase as they jointly launched a White Poppies for Churches pack with the Fellowship of Reconciliation, a Christian pacifist charity.
Many churches are providing both white and red poppies so that members of their congregations can make their own choice. The launch of the White Poppies for Churches pack follows the successful introduction of a White Poppies for Schools pack last year.
As well as white poppies and display materials, the new pack for churches includes prayers and suggested readings and hymns for Remembrance services that focus on remembering all victims of war and working for peace.
The increase in orders from churches reflects a wider increase in white poppy orders generally. Four weeks before Remembrance Sunday, the number of white poppy orders was twice as high as at the same time last year.
White poppies represent remembrance for all victims of war of all nationalities, a commitment to peace and a rejection of attempts to glamorise or sanitise war.
In contrast, the British Legion, who produce red poppies, argue that remembrance should be concerned only with British and allied armed forces personnel.
There has also been hostility and misunderstanding in some quarters. The rector of St Oswald’s, an Anglican church in Malpas, Cheshire, has refused to allow some older members of his congregation to hang a remembrance banner in the church because it features white poppies.
Oliver Robertson of the Fellowship of Reconciliation said:
“Christianity is a religion of peace and equality. Jesus told his followers to put away the sword and broke many of society’s taboos in his efforts to show that everyone has value in the eyes of God. A Remembrance service that limits who should be mourned is not, we believe, being faithful to that message, which is why we wanted to provide an alternative for those churches that feel the same way.”
Symon Hill of the Peace Pledge Union said:
“The way we remember the past affects the way we approach the present. We will never move on from war if we insist on remembering only those of our own nationality and only those who belonged to armed forces. Compassion cannot stop at national borders. With 90% of victims of war being civilians, I am pleased that more churches are recognising the need to remember all victims of war to commit themselves to working for peace.”