The skies light up for All Saints

Cathedrals will illuminate the night sky with beams of light as a symbol of hope for all those around them as part of a nationwide art installation for All Saints and All Souls Days during this pandemic year.

Cathedrals to light up the sky as beacons of hope this All Saints-tide

Chelmsford, Carlisle, Ely, Exeter, Salisbury, Lichfield and Liverpool Cathedrals are planning on projecting beams of light into the night sky through the evening of November 1, while Ely and Lichfield will also create Cross, a light installation in the shape of a cross inside their buildings.

The project, Light of Hope 2020 has been created by Peter Walker, the artist in residence and creative director at Lichfield Cathedral to mark the significance of All Saints Day and All Souls Day – two important days in the Christian calendar which have particular relevance this year in the wake of the pandemic.

All Saints Day on November 1 traditionally celebrates saints throughout the ages who have been a beacon of light to others and offers us an opportunity to reflect on how we might be a light in the world today. All Souls Day (November 2) is a time to remember and give thanks for those who have died and remember their lives with love.

Peter first produced this digital art installation for Lichfield Cathedral in 2018 and 2019 when three beams of blue light pierced the skies above the Cathedral and could be seen for miles around. He wanted other churches and cathedrals to join in and become beacons for all around them, offering a collective moment for people to be part of, but from a safe distance.

Other cathedrals plan to light up their buildings to stand out as beacons of hope where they are – including Portsmouth which will light up its tower and Birmingham which will light up its interior. All Saints Church in Wellington, Shropshire is also taking part in Light of Hope. Peter hopes that each year more churches and cathedrals will join in the initiative.

Said Peter:

“Light of Hope is an opportunity for a moment of togetherness; even though we can’t be together right now.

“It offers us the opportunity to collectively remember those who have helped and given so much during this past year, as well as commemorating those we have lost and thinking of those we hold dear.”

The Dean of Lichfield, the Very Revd Adrian Dorber, said:

“As the church works to bring consolation and hope in these uncertain times, we believe Light of Hope will be a dramatic and meaningful symbol of the light of Christ in a dark world. “

The Light of Hope project is supported by The Arts Council England and includes an arts engagement project for schoolchildren to join in and create their own “light of hope” artwork.

Watch out in the night skies to see your cathedral light up as a beacon of hope from dusk until 10pm Sunday 1 November.