All across our towns and cities the blockbuster film Dunkirk is creating great interest and fascination.
There is however, one major fact not mentioned in the film. Many of those who see the film will be interested to learn that the situation was actually so desperate, King George 6th called for a National Day of Prayer on 26th May 1940. In a national broadcast he asked the people of Britain to pray for God’s help.
Thousands of special services were held across the country and literally millions of people poured into churches to pray. (This fascinating photograph shows the extraordinary scene outside Westminster Abbey as frightened people queued to pray, a scene replicated across the Nation.)
Two significant events immediately followed. Firstly, a violent storm arose over the Dunkirk region grounding the Luftwaffe which had been killing thousands on the beaches. Secondly, a great calm descended on the Channel, the like of which hadn’t occurred for a generation, enabling the hundreds of tiny boats to rescue 338,000 soldiers, rather than the estimated 30,000.
It was the timing of these events immediately after the Prayer Day which led people to speak of “the miracle of Dunkirk” and Sunday, June 9. was officially appointed as a Day of National Thanksgiving.
Looking back at this and other events the Bishop of Chelmsford wrote: “If ever a great nation was on the point of supreme and final disaster, and yet was saved and reinstated it was ourselves ... it does not require an exceptionally religious mind to detect in all this the Hand of God.”
At the end of 1942, after the tide had turned in the War, Churchill himself was moved to say “I sometimes have a feeling of interference, I want to stress that. I have a feeling sometimes that some Guiding Hand has interfered.” To coincide with this film, details of various wartime miracles are being sent to thousands of churches across the UK so as to give congregations hope and reassurance, much needed in our unsettling times.
If anyone would like this uplifting information directly by email, then they are welcome to contact firstname.lastname@example.org clearly putting wartime miracles in the subject box.
Rev J Willans
The Church of England Vicarage
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