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Candlelit Vigil for Syrian Refugees on Saturday 12th September 2015 (posted 10 September 2015)

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Candlelit Vigil for Syrian Refugees - Saturday 12th Setpember, 2015

This Saturday, a Candlelit Vigil will be held on Chichester Cathedral's Green in support of the Syrian refugees.  The Vigil has been organised by 'Chichester Sees Syria' Facebook campaign.  The campaign's Facebook page explains that the Vigil will start at 2.30pm, continuing into the evening (click here for Facebook link).

Speaking about the Syrian crisis, The Very Revd Stephen Waine, Dean of Chichester said: 'We are aware of the terrible situation in Syria from which people feel compelled to flee in fear of their lives, many of them embarking on journeys they know are hazardous and carry considerable risk.  Refugees have arrived across Europe seeking a place of safety and we welcome the generous response of some of the countries within the EU.  We do also, however, share a deep sense of disappointment that the response of our own government has been so belated and so limited.  This country has a long tradition of providing safety for refugees from many different places - we hope and pray for a more generous response to these desperate people.'

The Right Reverend Dr Martin Warner, Bishop of Chichester, also said: 'It's the pictures of children caught up in the Syrian refugee crisis that bring home to us just how devastating a catastrophe this is for the life of an ancient people and civilization.  What will shape the adult life and expectation of those children?  My hope is that they will be able to remember incredible kindness because the people of Europe responded with generosity and found room for them in their cities, towns and villages.  I hope that they will remember being treated with dignity.'  On a very personal note he also added, 'I am still haunted by the memory of meeting Bishop Gregorios, of the Syrian Orthodox Church, who was present at my enthronement here in Chichester and was kidnapped two and a half years ago.  Please pray for him and for his captors, and for the people of his church.'

Chichester Cathedral will be open during the time of the Candlelit Vigil (the Cathedral is open daily from 7.15am - 7.00pm) and there will be a dedicated prayer space for the Syrian crisis, located at the front of the Nave.  Anyone is welcome to come and pray in the Cathedral and light a candle (there is no charge to enter).

Refugee Sculpture in Chichester Cathedral
Refugee Sculpture in Chichester Cathedral

The daily Cathedral services will include prayers for the Syrian refugees and these will take place at 8.00am Mattins, 12.00pm Holy Communion and 5.30pm Choral Evensong.  All are welcome at these services.

Prayers are also said in Chichester Cathedral on every hour and these hourly prayers will include a special prayer for the refugees; this prayer is written in full below.  A list of charities and organisations who are supporting the refugees, and who welcome donations, is carried further down.

A statement on the Syrian crisis by the Archbishop of Canterbury can be read by clicking here.

Heavenly Father,
you are the source of all goodness, generosity and love.
We thank you for opening the hearts of many
to those who are fleeing for their lives.
Help us now to open our arms in welcome,
and reach out our hands in support.
That the desperate may find new hope,
and lives torn apart be restored.
We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ Your Son, our Lord,
who fled persecution at His birth
and at His last triumphed over death.

Medecins Sans Frontieres
Save the Children
Refugee Council
British Red Cross
Islamic Relief
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