‘SILENT NIGHT CAROLS’, which took place in Pembroke Town Hall last Saturday night (Dec 20), was but one of some three hundred similar events arranged to mark the centenary of the famous Christmas truce of 1914. The unique service included a specially-commissioned, contemporary version of Silent Night, with a new verse and chorus. This new version of Silent Night (Christ The Saviour Is Born) with additional words by writers Ben Cantelon and Nick Herbert, has been recorded by multi-platinum-selling tenor Paul Potts.
Through the “Silent Night Carols” and the release of this single, and the Silent Night Carols albums, HOPE Together has linked with Tearfund and Sports Chaplaincy UK in an attempt to bring a measure of help to those affected by the war in Syria. The Pembroke event, which attracted the enthusiastic support of the Mayor Councilor Aaron Carey,featured a live nativity made up of members of several local churches and was preceded by the results of the local “Find the missing donkey competition”.
Awarding the prizes Councillor Carey said “It’s been a good night with a really encouraging turn out. I am really happy that someone is doing something for the children of Pembroke, and hopefully this will build year on year becoming ever more popular” The mayor’s enthusiasm was matched by that of local organiser Lyn Edwards who observed “It was very powerful evening indeed, particularly for those members of the armed forces who were present. It was especially moving when we listened to the reading of a poem that talked about the plight of a soldier on the streets.”
“It’s been an amazing evening. This was a time when people from all sorts of backgrounds were able to get together and remember that Christmas is a time for bringing people together. Christmas is a time of hope because it is about the coming of Christ Emmanuel God with us”. Gareth Jones Chair of local Royal British Legion and the local Community Association clearly found the whole experience very moving as he explained: “I was asked to read a piece written by a soldier named Taff Evans entitled “Where did it all go wrong?”
It really got through to me because it is a year since I came back from Afghanistan and it really struck me just what it has been like there. I thought of some of my colleagues who have not made it not to mention one who simply couldn’t cope and six months after returning home took her own life” “But we have to carry on and I am privileged to have a family who are my strength and my reason. Also my military family needs to extend itself so that there aren’t any more that we lose. That’s what drives me” “I was delighted with the turn out and thrilled with the hard work everyone had put in to make the evening such a success” said Pembroke Pastor Rob James.
“I can think of no better way of thanking everyone than to quote the endorsement that these services have received from Prince William Duke of Cambridge. He has said “In the stillness of the night at Christmas one hundred years ago the carol Silent Night could be heard ringing out across No Man’s Land. Soldiers from both sides tentatively came out of the trenches to exchange gifts and to play football. For twenty four hours the fighting stopped for the 1914 Christmas truce. Even at the bleakest of times Christmas offers peace and hope. This Christmas the Silent Night Carol Services are a powerful way to remember the sacrifice made by so many in the Great War and to celebrate the peace we enjoy today”