The Skies to Light Up

Cathedrals will light up the skies, create prayer trails to offer space for lament, and use art to reflect on love and remembrance as they offer themselves as beacons of hope this weekend and beyond.

Cathedrals will pierce the night sky with beams of light to be symbols of hope where they are – part of a nationwide art installation for All Saints and All Souls Days, called Light of Hope 2020.

Carlisle, Chelmsford, Ely, Exeter, Salisbury, Lichfield and Liverpool Cathedrals will all project 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.

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, Gloucester which will turn red, and Birmingham which will light up its interior.

A spokesperson for Portsmouth cathedral said:

“Portsmouth Cathedral, the Cathedral of the Sea, is no stranger to being a beacon of light. Aside from use as a bell tower, the chapel tower also previously served as a lighthouse and a lookout point for ships in the channel.

“Portsmouth Cathedral is so pleased to be part of this nationwide project, which hopes to bring a beam of hope to all as we head further into the winter months and Advent.

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 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.

Said Peter:

“Light of Hope 2020 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.”

Portsmouth’s will hold its All Souls’ service during its ‘Light of Hope event on Sunday, giving an opportunity for people to remember those they have lost.

Peterborough Cathedral has created a special prayer trail to help people find space to lament and acknowledge the effects of Covid-19 on their lives and those of their community.

The trail, entitled Covid-19: All we have lost, opens in the Cathedral this Sunday and is available throughout November.

It leads visitors on a route around the building, stopping at displays reflecting various aspects of things lost during the pandemic – jobs, education, music and culture, people. Amongst the displays will be a collection of simple crosses, laid out in the North Transept, each one to mark the passing of a person in Peterborough who has died from Covid-19.

Love and remembrance is at the heart of York Minster’s events. On All Soul’s Day, Monday 2 November, the Minster will hold a day to remember those who have died this year, and all those recently bereaved will be welcomed into the Minster to remember their loved ones.

A space will be created inside the cathedral for people to sit quietly, to reflect, to pray and to light a candle for their dead. The day will conclude with the Minster’s annual Requiem Eucharist for All Soul’s Day at which a special candle will be lit for all who have died so far during the pandemic. This candle will burn at all the Minster’s major services over Advent and Christmas.

People We Love, a new commission by York based arts group KMA that invites you to focus on portraits of people as they gaze upon those they love, will open on All Souls Day at the Minster as part of York Medialé’s 2020 international media arts festival.

Salisbury Cathedral will also mark All Souls’ Day on Monday with an afternoon devoted to prayer, with visitors invited to light a candle for a loved one and chaplains and clergy on hand to offer pastoral support.

People will also have the chance to dedicate a flower in memory of those who have died, which will become part of an arrangement that will remain in place during a special All Souls’ Communion service.

Leicester Cathedral will hold a ‘Candlelight Pause to Remember’ evening on Saturday (October 31) when the cathedral will be open for people to light a candle and leave the names of loved ones who have died.

And in Chichester the bells will ring out in remembrance of all those lost following their Requiem Eucharist for All Souls Day on Monday 2 November. The cathedral is inviting people to send in names of those they wish to be remembered to form part of the service which will be streamed on the cathedral’s website.

More on All Saints and All Souls.