Conducting an ANZAC Ceremony
Table of Contents
Anzac Day, 25 April, is one of Australia’s most important national occasions.
It marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War.
ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. The soldiers in those forces quickly became known as Anzacs, and the pride they took in that name endures to this day.
When war broke out in 1914 Australia had been a federated nation for only 13 years, and its government was eager to establish a reputation among the nations of the world.
When Britain declared war in August 1914 Australia was automatically placed on the side of the Commonwealth. In 1915 Australian and New Zealand soldiers formed part of the expedition that set out to capture the Gallipoli peninsula in order to open the Dardanelles to the allied navies. The ultimate objective was to capture Constantinople (now Istanbul), the capital of the Ottoman Empire, an ally of Germany.
The Australian and New Zealand forces landed on Gallipoli on 25 April, meeting fierce resistance from the Ottoman Turkish defenders. What had been planned as a bold stroke to knock Turkey out of the war quickly became a stalemate, and the campaign dragged on for eight months. At the end of 1915 the allied forces were evacuated from the peninsula, with both sides having suffered heavy casualties and endured great hardships. More than 8,000 Australian soldiers had died in the campaign. Gallipoli had a profound impact on Australians at home, and 25 April soon became the day on which Australians remembered the sacrifice of those who died in the war.
Although the Gallipoli campaign failed in its military objectives, the actions of Australian and New Zealand forces during the campaign left a powerful legacy. What became known as the “Anzac legend” became an important part of the identity of both nations, shaping the ways in which they viewed both their past and their future.
( Adopted from the Australian Ware Memorial)
ANZAC Day Ceremonies
As Australian’s, we want to preserve the memory of those who gave their lives and served this country with their service.
ANZAC day also commemorates the service in both World Wars, regional conflicts and peace keeping force operations.
Sample Order of Service
We have attached some simple orders of service in Word format so that you can edit them for your own use:
- For Military related groups and uniformed gathering such as Scouts, Guides, CEBS, Cadets etc. Download Here
- For School Assemblies: Download here
- For Aged Care Facilities or Retirement Villages: Download Here
- In the Public Space, such as a guest of your local RSL or Veterans Group, we recommend the outline on the Department of Veterans Affairs Website.
The Lords Prayer:
We suggest that you use the newer form of the Lord’s Prayer be used at any of the above ceremonies.
It is a great privilege to be invited to participate in a public ANZAC Day commemoration service.
However, we would say that unless the service is being held in a local church, at your initiation, you are a guest of the organisers.
As a clergyperson, you have a great opportunity to work with the local community as an ambassador of Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:20), but you do not “own” the service.
The ANZAC service is a secular service, in the public space.
Nevertheless, you must be true to being an ambassador/clergy person, and often that is what the local organisers (e.g. RSL, etc) desire.
Understanding the Australian Landscape and belief in God:
Sometimes, there are objections to the public involvement of Christian clergy in civic events.
Not everyone present has a belief in the God of the Bible, some belong to other religious groups and some can be opposed to anything Christian.
Some people can feel uncomfortable with people praying.
Yet being a Christian is distinctive and prayer is distinctive.
We pray in the name of “our Lord Jesus Christ” or in the name of “the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit.“
One way of dealing with this issue is to individualise your prayer conclusion.
For example, alter the ANZAC Day prayer conclusion (AAPB p 204) from “This we pray in the name…………” to “This I pray in the name…………….“
Appropriate Dress code for an ANZAC Day Ceremony
If you are taking part in the local ANZAC Day march, robes are awkward.
But “dressing down” is also not appropriate from a leadership perspective.
Each local situation is unique – but take note at what the other leaders, such as the local sub-branch president and secretary and the local politicians and councillors are wearing.
We would recommend for most situations, the clergy person wear at least a clerical collar and coat, and consider wearing a preaching scarf while leading part of the service.
Medals can be worn on a preaching scarf.
If they are your own medals, on your left side. If they were one of your relative’s medals, then you wear them on your right side.
Sentences for Anzac Day
Bible readings for ANZAC Day
- Micah 4:1-4 or 2 Samuel 22:2-20
- Psalm 46 or Psalm 51:14-19
- Hebrews 10:32-11:1 or Roman 5:1-8
- John 15:9-17 or John 10:1-21