Vicar’s February letter

Dear friends,
Band of Brothers is a 2001 TV Mini-Series that tells the story of Easy Company of the US Army 101st Airborne division and their mission in WWII Europe from their initial training to the end of the war. The series is based on the 1992 book of the same name by the historian Stephen E. Ambrose. It takes some licence with historical events, but tells reasonably accurately the stories of the men in Easy Company, the battles and struggles they went through and the relationships that developed through their shared experiences. Executive producers were Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks who had previously worked together on the 1998 WW11 film Saving Private Ryan. Band of Brothers is shot in a similar gritty style to Saving Private Ryan and shows many harrowing scenes and much bloodshed and loss of life. Some of the surviving members of the Company are shown in contemporary interviews at the beginning of each episode giving greater insight to and connection with the characters and all they went through.
The title of the book and the series is drawn from Henry V’s famous St Crispin’s Day Speech before the Battle of Agincourt from the Shakespeare play: ‘… … We few, we happy few, we band of brothers … …’ Ambrose includes a passage from the speech in his book and the passage is quoted towards the end of the TV series.
The speech and the TV series draw from the idea of men being bound together by their common purpose, commitment and willingness to give their lives for what they believed. The taglines (advertising slogans) for the series were “They depended on each other and the world depended on them” and “There Was A Time When Ordinary Men Were Asked To Do Extraordinary Things”.
It struck me that these phrases, and many of the ideas surrounding them, would have been applicable to the disciples. They certainly depended on each other and the world depended on them (although the world didn’t necessarily know it at the time). They were ordinary men asked to do extraordinary things. They were asked to take the Gospel to the world, to bring the Good News of salvation through Jesus to the world. They would risk and, in many cases, give their lives because of their commitment to the task that Jesus had given them. They, and many others in the early church, were bound by their purpose, commitment and their willingness to give their lives for what they believed.
Yes, I think ‘Band of Brothers’ would have been a good name for the disciples. And, to some extent, for similar reasons, I think it is a good name for men in the church today. That is why it is the name for our new men’s group. We will seek to build bonds and relationships, not by facing danger together as with the men of Easy Company or those who fought with Henry V at Agincourt, but by spending time together, getting to know each other and sharing something of our feelings of purpose and commitment.
On 15 February, we will be having a Band of Brothers Day (BoBs’ Day) at St Stephen’s. We will begin with a cooked breakfast at 9.00am and finish off with a Pie and Pint supper and a movie in the evening. During the day we are hoping to catch a little of the Wyedean Forest Rally and maybe share a few thoughts about our ideas of purpose and commitment. Please feel free to come along and join us for any part of the day, it would be great to see you.
More information will be available nearer the day, but please feel free to contact me with any questions.

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