Diocese of Portsmouth

    Faith communities invited to pray for peace

    20 March 2003

    PORTSMOUTH'S two cathedrals have held a joint vigil for peace - to which Muslims and those of other faiths were invited.

    The service took place in Portsmouth's Anglican cathedral, High Street, Old Portsmouth at 5pm on March 22 and was organised in response to the start of the conflict in Iraq. It included prayers for the safe return of military personnel.

    Muslims from Portsmouth's Jami Mosque and the Wessex Jamaat community in Wickham attended, along with representatives of other faith groups and the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth.

    It wasn't the first time Christians and Muslims have prayed together in the cathedral. As well as regular joint events to mark Christmas, members of the two faiths also prayed side-by-side after the terrorist attacks in the USA on September 11, 2001.

    The dean of the cathedral, the Very Rev David Brindley, said: "We invited those of other faiths - and those from the wider community who had no faith at all - to join with us to pray for a peaceful settlement to the conflict that would help to promote harmony between those of different races, creeds and outlooks.

    "We live in a naval city, so it's right that we should all pray for the safe return of loved ones who are in the armed forces. We prayed for those families left behind - that God would grant them peace of mind."

    Daily prayers for peace have been said at both cathedrals and other churches around Portsmouth. The same 10-minute service is being said simultaneously at noon each day in both St Thomas's Anglican Cathedral and St John's RC Cathedral in the city, and at St Ann's Church in HM Naval Dockyard. The prayers used in the three venues were drawn up by Canon Gavin Kirk, precentor at Portsmouth's Anglican Cathedral, and the bishop's advisory group on worship.

    Small areas in each venue have also been laid aside for private prayer, where naval families and others can light candles, write down the names of those they are praying for and spend time in stillness and reflection at any time of the day. People are also available to talk to naval families and others distressed by the fighting.

    Specially-written prayers have been sent to Anglican clergy and made available to those of other denominations. They have also been posted on the Anglican diocese's website - www.portsmouth.anglican.org - for use by members of the public. Click here to find them.