Diocese of Portsmouth

    Cathedral’s picnic plans to mark VE Day

    1 May 2020

    PORTSMOUTH Cathedral is among several across the country that are uniting to remember heroes of the past and present on the 75th anniversary of VE Day.

    Worshippers across the diocese are being encouraged to join in a national ‘Big Picnic of Hope’ to celebrate the 75th anniversary of VE Day on May 8, 2020.

    And at 11am on May 10, the cathedral will lead a service of commemoration and remembrance to mark the anniversary. The service will include readings, music and an act of commitment to the service of others. Taking part in the service will be Bishop Christopher, serving members of the Armed Forces, the Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire, the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, the Dean of Portsmouth, the Chaplain of the Fleet and the Archdeacon for the Royal Navy. It will be live-streamed on the cathedral's Youtube channel here. More details are here.

    Cathedrals around the country had events planned to form part of the national celebrations. These events would have brought together communities, friends and families in gatherings and streets parties around the UK. However, with the COVID-19 pandemic, such gatherings are no longer possible. Most major events have been cancelled or postponed, but May 8 is still a national bank holiday and an opportunity for us to reflect on past events and those we are all currently experiencing.

    The Big Picnic for Hope is an opportunity for households to be part of a virtual get together on 8 May. The project asks people to stay at home, to picnic indoors or in their gardens, and to join friends and families virtually.

    At the same time as something fun to take part in with other people around the country, the project offers a unique way to remember heroes who have kept our country safe in the past and those on the new home front. It gives the nation another way of saying thank you for the incredible effort and sacrifice being made by our key workers from carers, delivery personnel, grocery workers and public transport workers to medical researchers and frontline NHS staff.

    The project also serves as an opportunity to recognise that these times are difficult for many people. Our cathedral wants to raise £750 towards the Roberts Centre, an organisation working to support the most vulnerable families and people in this area.

    The Very Rev Anthony Cane, Dean of Portsmouth, said: “VE Day is both about celebrating peace after years of war, and giving thanks for the dedication, courage and selflessness of not only our own nation, but also of allies and friends from across the world. Now, during an international pandemic, we have seen once again the power of mutual support and good neighbourliness, and have a different set of ‘frontline’ people to give thanks for: not only NHS staff, but also (amongst others) those continuing to work in social care, supermarkets and our schools.

    “I love the idea of the ‘Big Picnic for Hope’ in celebration both of what was achieved in the past, and what is being achieved right now, all the while raising money for the Roberts Centre which continues to do incredible work in this time of particular need. Do join in this national shared meal, and conversation both about the past, and our hopes for the kind of world we want to build for the future.”

    At the heart of the Big Picnic for Hope is a reflection that many people will be finding life particularly difficult, many struggling to put food on the table. The hashtag #feed5000 remembers the gospel story of generosity, enabling at least 5,000 people to share in food they needed, and reflects the project’s aim to support the food banks that provide vital emergency food and support to people in poverty.

    With a rise in the number of people needing to access foodbanks, and the future uncertain for many, the Big Picnic for Hope asks those who can afford it to donate towards providing another individual or family having food in their house. In Portsmouth, we are suggesting that people support the Roberts Centre.

    Portsmouth Cathedral

    St Thomas's Street Old Portsmouth, PO1 2HH

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