Lighting up the Dark Nights at Lichfield Cathedral

Published on: Thu, 22/10/2020 - 16:34

Lighting up the Dark Nights at Lichfield Cathedral

As the nights start to draw in and the reality of living through a global pandemic intensifies, Lichfield Cathedral is spreading much-needed hope in the local community – continuing work it has been doing throughout this unsettling year. At the beginning of lockdown, inspiring images were projected onto the front of the Cathedral with a message that hope shines even in the darkest of times. Since then the Cathedral has planted 50,000 bulbs in its Hope Garden that will bloom in spring 2021, held countless services, re-opened its doors to visitors and hosted a Cathedral at Night event. Now at the start of November, beginning a period of remembrance, the Cathedral is joining in a national installation called ‘Light of Hope’.

On 1 & 2 November (All Saints Day & All Souls Day) many Cathedrals, churches, institutions and homes will send beams of light into the night sky to offer a symbol of hope to the nation. Lichfield Cathedral will be shining 3 beams of light into the sky on each evening with the addition of a light installation called ‘Cross’ inside of the Cathedral. Visitors are welcome to the Cathedral between 18:45 and 20:30 on those nights with no booking or tickets needed. The national project ‘Light of Hope’, created by Lichfield Cathedral’s Artist in Residence, Peter Walker Sculptor,  are an open invitation for people around the UK to join together in a collective moment of reflection on the special days that recall the Saints and our loved ones.

The Dean of Lichfield, the Very Revd Adrian Dorber reflects on the need for hope in a year like no other: “2020 has been a difficult year, that’s the least we can say.  However, Christian faith propels us out of pessimism and despair (without ever trivialising sorrow, darkness and tragedy) into the hope of Resurrection, new life emerging from death. Even in the darkest of times we can be reassured that there is hope, that we will get through this. Peter’s installation holds such significance as we enter into the colder, darker months and tighter social restrictions.  We are offering a  moment to stand together and say ‘we can get through this, there is hope’.  We want to honour those people who make our lives that much brighter.  It’s exactly what we all need right now”.

All Saints Day is an opportunity to remember and celebrate the lives of those people who have been shining lights in the past and present and All Souls Day is set aside to remember loved ones who have died in the past year. In addition to the installation on 2 November, the Cathedral will be hosting a Requiem Eucharist from 17:30, an occasion for anyone to attend and remember those they have lost.

“Light of Hope is an opportunity for us to collectively remember those who have helped and given so much during the past year, as well as taking time to remember those we have lost and think about those near to us.” Peter Walker Sculptor.

Alongside Cathedrals and churches, over 140 schools within the local area have been involved in the project, with thousands of children making their own light holders to display in their schools. Everyone is being invited to join in the ‘Light of Hope’ by placing a light in their window to create a moment of solidarity and message of hope in these difficult times. People are asked share their light of hope on social media using #LightofHope.

A spokesperson from the Federation of Healthfields Infant and Wilnecote Junior Academy said: “very touching and a wonderful way to bring hope back into the community.”

Visitors to the Cathedral can see the ‘Light of Hope’ and ‘Cross’ installations on 1 & 2 November 2020 from 18:45 to 20:30 with no advance booking or ticket needed. Visitors will be asked to follow COVID-secure guidelines including registering for Test & Trace, wearing a face covering and sanitising hands on entry and exit.

The Light of Hope project has been supported by The Arts Council England.