We are all stories: long stories or shorter stories. Some stories have many chapters and others a few very short words, but we are all stories. One of the distinctive qualities of being human is that we cherish stories and as we move further through the story of 2023, we arrive in November at a time when stories are a national feature.

November is referred to as either the Kingdom Season or Anamnesis Season in the Church of England. ‘Anamnesis’ means ‘remember’ and characterises the short season where we tell stories of those we admire, have loved and lost or those whose place in the national story is particularly remarkable.

At the start of November, churches remember ‘All Saints’ (those ‘lofty' individuals who have lived noteworthy lives) followed quickly by a time to remember ‘All Souls’, (those among whom we have lived). The commemoration of the Armistice and Remembrance Sunday gives us pause to reflect on those lives sacrificed for our daily and current freedoms.

The act of remembering, or put another way – 'putting the arms and legs back on’ (literally remembering) is founded in no small part on the telling of these stories – stories of the great and good, the modest and quiet, and those perhaps known only to a few of us. But tell these stories
we must.

The opposite of ‘re-membering’ is, of course, forgetting – the pushing away or putting down, the ‘ungetting’ or losing, and this can be a greater tragedy. During this month, I encourage those of you reading this to pause and re-tell the stories of those known to you, those who have added to your life or shaped you in some way. Remember them lest, may God forbid, we forget them and lose them all over again.

Fr David