Cathedrals: Spaces for prayer, hope and peace.

02nd September 2019

Cathedrals have issued an open invitation for people to come in and use their space to think, reflect and pray in these uncertain times.

Cathedrals have long been centres for peace, reconciliation and contemplation and the open invitation comes in the week that Coventry – with its strong tradition of healing and reconciliation – was named as the possible location for the Archbishop of Canterbury to chair a “Citizens Forum” on Brexit.

The Association of English Cathedrals has just published a prayer for calm and wisdom in the light of national concerns for the future of the country. It is for everyone to use.

Prayer for the Country

God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.(1 Corinthians 1.25)

God of wisdom and strength,
who challenges us in our foolishness,
and supports us in our weakness;
give to those who lead us
a desire for that which is best,
a commitment to that which is honourable,
a love for that which is true
and a passion to serve the common good.
In Jesus’ name.


Chair of the Association of English Cathedrals, the Very Revd Adrian Dorber said “Our cathedrals are spaces dedicated for prayer, hope and peace, and we want to remind everyone that they are open to all to come in and use the stillness to find some time to think, to reflect and to pray during these unsettling times.

Last week the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said it was “an unexpected privilege” to be asked by senior MPs to oversee the discussions involving a cross-section of people from across the country. Though he insisted the Forum must not be used as a vehicle to “stop or delay Brexit“.

Plans are still being confirmed but it is believed the Forum will be held in Coventry – whose heritage and future are rooted in the words Father Forgive– used by the Provost as he stood in the cathedral ruins on 15 November 1940 after the city and its cathedral was destroyed by German bombing.

The Bishop of Coventry, the Rt Revd Dr Christopher Cocksworth, commenting said:

Coventry’s story says that where something is broken, rebuild it. When hope is running out, revive it. What conflict disrupts, let peace restore. Where there’s division, reconcile…

“My hope is that it will not only help this country to heal, hope and reconcile but will reach out to our neighbours in Europe, to mend what the last years have damaged, and to show that whatever the form of our political relationship in any moment of history, the peoples of our lands are bound together in deeper ties of common life and humanity.

Chichester Cathedral has just announced ‘Live Better Together’, a series of events about what peace means in our own lives, local community and the wider world.

The programme starts with ‘Tasting My Future’, a film about women who fled wars, persecution and danger in their own countries for the UK where, in exile, they share one tradition: cooking.

Live Better Together continues on Saturday 21 September, International Day of Peace, with ‘Recipe for Peace’, a free drop-in family friendly event for all ages held on the Cathedral Green from 1.30 – 3.30pm followed by an Interfaith Thanksgiving in the Cathedral’s Lady Chapel at 4pm.

There will be a Prayer Station for Peace in the Cathedral where visitors are invited to light candles or offer prayers for peace, as well as a Peace and Reconciliation trail to explore. ‘Recipe for Peace’ is a partnership project between Chichester Cathedral, the Quakers in Chichester, Sanctuary in Chichester, Friends Without Borders and UK Harvest and the Annual Quaker Peace Lecture is the final event, with the theme of ‘Stopping Wars Before They Start’ with Speaker Tim Gee, a Quaker, London-based writer, political activist and author.

The Dean of Chichester, the Very Rev Stephen Waine said:

This is a chance for everyone to share ideas and experiences and explore the concept of peace and what it means today.

Further information about Live Better Together Programme can be found on the Cathedral website here.