National Day of Reflection – 23rd March 2021

Lives will be remembered in a video memorial created at Coventry Cathedral which is also inviting people to tie yellow ribbons on a tree of remembrance, there will be more ribbons tied in commemoration and in hope at Rochester Cathedral, Lincoln Cathedral will light up yellow, there’s a new hymn and an online book of remembrance at Ely Cathedral, Portsmouth is asking for prayers to form a rainbow arch of prayer above the altar, and Winchester Cathedral will create a giant ‘green’ cross of remembrance and hope with spring flowers in its nave.

Lives remembered, ribbons tied, a new hymn, and a green cross of flowers for remembrance and hope – English Cathedrals commemorate the National Day of Reflection and look to hope for the future.

These are the latest plans from our Church of England cathedrals for safely commemorating the first anniversary of the national lockdown on Tuesday March 23 while the country is still under lockdown restrictions.

The Church of England, Marie Curie, Hope UK, Care for the Family, Ataloss and many charities and organisations across the UK have joined forces for a National Day of Reflection to mark this first anniversary and reflect on the three million people who have died during the last year and all those unable to grieve them properly. People are invited to observe the national one minute’s silence at midday and shine a light in their window at 8pm.

Below are just a few of things that English Cathedrals are doing to commemorate the National Day of Reflection. For more just click here.

Coventry Cathedral is inviting contributions from those who’ve lost a loved one during the pandemic to create a video tribute to commemorate the lockdown anniversary.

A Tree of Remembrance will be installed in the nave and all those who come to the cathedral for private prayer from Sunday (March 22) will be invited to tie a yellow ribbon to it.

A spokesperson said:

“As the nation comes together for this National Day of Reflection, we want to reflect on our collective loss, support those who’ve been bereaved, and hope for a brighter future.”

To contribute to the video, send in either a) a short video (up to 15 seconds) with the name of the person you are remembering along with a few words about them, or b) a photograph with a name and something you would like to say about them, or c) simply a name and comment. Send to: covcath+remember@gmail.com

More about the National Day of Refection at Coventry Cathedral here.

Rochester Cathedral is inviting people to tie different coloured ribbons on its historic Catalpa tree or its railings from Tuesday, the National Day of Reflection through to Pentecost to create a rainbow of colours to signify hope for the future.

The Dean of Rochester, the Very Revd Philip Hesketh said:

“Easter is all about hope, and as we emerge out of the winter and this last challenging year, we invite people to tie a single ribbon of any colour as a special act of remembrance to mark hope.

“By Pentecost we should have a wonderful rainbow of promise, ‘’ he added.

Winchester Cathedral’s giant ‘green’ cross of remembrance and hope, will be displayed in the centre of the nave on Monday March 22. On the day, there will be a special reading from TV presenter Alan Titchmarsh MBE and the cathedral will observe the one minute’s silence which will be livestreamed and is inviting people into the cathedral for private prayer, reflection and to light a candle.

There will be a special evensong around the green cross later that day.

The Dean of Winchester, the Very Revd Catherine Ogle, said:

“Winchester Cathedral will be supporting the National Day of Reflection to remember those who have died during the pandemic, and to show support for everyone who has been bereaved.
This annual day allows us to come together, to reflect and commemorate the lives of everyone that has died during this time, from Covid and other causes, to pray for them, and to stand in solidarity.

A new hymn called Hope inspired by the events of last year and based on the words of Justin Welby, The Archbishop of Canterbury will feature in a livestreamed choral evensong at Ely Cathedral for the national day of reflection. At the end of the service the Dean of Ely, the Very Revd Mark Bonney, will light the Cathedral’s Paschal candle as a symbol of God’s everlasting love for his whole creation and new life offered by Easter.

He said:

“Our thoughts and prayers during the past year have very much been with those who have suffered with Covid 19, or have lost someone as a result of this pandemic.

“It is most appropriate on this day of reflection for the Cathedral to offer space and time for anyone to come and remember or pray for the victims, their families and their friends. We hope people will find some comfort in this small act of remembrance, regardless of their faith or belief.”

Families and friends of those who have died are invited to remember their loved ones in Ely’s online memorial book which can be accessed here

Ely cathedral will be open from 10am – 2pm and again from 6.30pm – 8pm for anyone wishing to come in for private prayer, reflection or to light a candle.

Canterbury Cathedral will observe the national minute silence, and then at 12.01 its famous Bell Harry will toll for two minutes in remembrance of the victims of the pandemic.

There will also be a special prayer during Choral Evensong, livestreamed at 17.30 on YouTube and on the Cathedral website.

Bradford too will observe the national one minute’s silence after which the cathedral bell will toll. The Cathedral will be open from 2pm to 4pm for personal prayer and lighting candles. And the Dean of Bradford, the Very Revd Jerry Lepine is urging people to join in the national moment at 8pm and light a candle or shine a beam in their windows for others to see.

Portsmouth Cathedral is extending its opening hours from 10am to 9pm for people to observe the National Day of Reflection.

There will be an online memorial service led by the Dean of Portsmouth, the Very Revd Dr Anthony Cane, and the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth which will include the one minute’s silence, readings from local Portsmouth students, a musical reflection, and the lighting of candles on Portsmouth Cathedral’s Peace Globe.

Dean Anthony said:

“It is hard to express the extent of the grief involved with the loss of so many lives as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Each person leaves behind a gap in their network of family and friends that can never be filled. Over the past year, many have come to Portsmouth Cathedral to light a candle in memory of a departed loved one, and our pastoral support team has offered solace and support to those who have been bereaved. This National Day of Reflection, all are welcome to offer a prayer and light a candle at the Cathedral during our extended opening hours, as we pause, reflect and remember.”

Portsmouth is asking people to send in their prayers online or written to create an arch of remembrance above the altar.

More here: Offer a prayer for the National Day of Reflection — Portsmouth Cathedral

For the safety and well-being of everyone, social distancing guidelines and other protective measures are in place in all our cathedrals and you will have to wear a face covering unless you are exempt.