A Service about the moon, on the moon - 50 Year Anniversary Apollo 11

Apollo 11 LIchfield Cathedral
20th June 2019

Houston, this is Eagle. This is the LM Pilot speaking. I would like to request a few moments of silence. I would like to invite each person listening in, wherever and whomever he may be, to contemplate for a moment the events of the past few hours and to give thanks in his own individual way.

These words from Apollo 11 crew member, Buzz Aldrin recorded before he stepped onto the moon, will be played in Lichfield Cathedral at noon every day throughout the summer as part of the Cathedral’s programme of events on One Small Step, the moon floor art installation by artist, Peter Walker, which will transform the nave into a lunar landscape from July 20th– the anniversary of the Moon Landing – until September.

There will be a service of worship on the moon floor artwork replicating the Eucharistic service Buzz Aldrin performed on the moon 50 years ago. He used the communion cup from his own church for the service and is recorded as saying he watched as the wine curled slowly and gracefully up the side of the cup due to the gravitational pull of the moon’s atmosphere.

The Cathedral Choir will sing David Bowie’s Space Oddity on the moon over the weekend of the 50th anniversary (David Bowie released this song in the same month and year of the Apollo 11 landing upon earth’s moon and the BBC requested that Space Oddity be played in the background of their coverage for the Apollo 11 landing on July 20 that same year).

And there will be prayer stations for people to use this iconic event to reflect on what it means for us and our fragile blue planet; then and now.

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

“The first moon landing by human beings was an extraordinary feat; it summed up humanity’s spirit of adventure and exploration. 

“Space exploration enabled us to see the beauty and fragility of our planet and it opened us all to the immensity of space, the awesomeness of the universe and encourages us still today to think about the origins of everything and whether life and time has a purpose and a point. 

“Science and Religion have interesting things to say to one another: in this summer’s programme here at Lichfield Cathedral, we want to help people discover that sense of awe and wonder in the universe, to pray and contemplate and to marvel again at the sheer ingenuity that got astronauts on the moon, to create a bit of visual background to this special anniversary, and to have some fun.”

There will also be opportunities to dress like an astronaut, take one small step onto the moon floor, and take selfies on the moon throughout the summer.

Visitors to this August’s annual Film Festival will be able to watch the films from the moon floor – such as Apollo 13 and ET, before The Great Exhibition: Space, God, The Universe and Everything opens on August 18 when the moon floor art installation will become the centrepiece for a sound and light event inspired by the Moon Landing again by artist, Peter Walker in collaboration with Luxmuralis.

Together they will flood the cathedral with light and sound projections inspired by space, the planets and their courses.

Artist, Peter Walker said:

“We want these artworks to encourage people to explore possibilities, to reach for the moon, and be in that space, and to reflect on what that means for them and for all humankind.”

The projects – One Small Step and The Great Exhibition – are supported by Scientists in Congregations (funded by John Templeton Foundation) and Lichfield BID. The Film Festival is sponsored by Keelys Solicitors.