To commemorate the First World War Centenary, Chichester Cathedral is holding a special service of Remembrance and Reconciliation at 3.30pm on Sunday 11th November, open to all. The day will also be marked with a series of special events by the Cathedral's bell ringers, as they join with villages, towns and cities throughout the country to take part in a national 'Ringing Remembers' event.
This November will see the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Armistice treaty which brought an end to one of the bloodiest periods of conflict in human history. This special service will be attended by representatives of the Armed Forces, local civic dignitaries and people from across the county of Sussex. Together, they will recall the great sacrifice made by millions of soldiers and civilians from 1914-18, including many of the Royal Sussex Regiment, whose names are on the walls of St George's Chapel in the Cathedral. The service will also focus on the themes of regret and reconciliation, recognition of our common humanity, and working towards a better future.
The Bishop of Chichester, the Rt Reverend Dr Martin Warner, will preach at this service, accompanied by readings, poetry, and music by the Cathedral Choir.
The Very Reverend Stephen Waine, Dean of Chichester, says: " As we mark the centenary of the Armistice which ended the Great War, we are conscious of the huge cost of this conflict. Millions of soldiers and civilians lost their lives, and they will be commemorated during the service. We will also be inviting the congregation to honour the memory of those who perished by committing themselves to work for reconciliation and peace."
As a result of the national 'Ringing Remembers' campaign 1,400 new bell ringers have been recruited across the country in honour of the 1,400 that lost their lives during the First World War. Chichester Cathedral has six of these new recruits who will take part in an Armistice Centenary Ringing from 12.30pm - 1.30pm, joining with bell ringers across the nation to mark this special occasion.
Then, at 2.15pm and leading up to the Service of Remembrance and Reconciliation at 3.30pm, the Cathedral's bell ringers will attempt to ring a quarter peal, a difficult form of ringing requiring precision and concentration, lasting about an hour. As the service ends and the congregation leaves the Cathedral, the ringers will then ring for a further twenty minutes.
The Service of Remembrance and Reconciliation is open to all. Attendees are requested to be seated by 3.15pm.
Visitors to the Cathedral will also be able to see a stunning 9 metre tall willow installation - a 'Spire of Peace' - newly installed in the Cathedral's North Transept. The sculpture has been designed and hand-woven by local artists Mark and Rebecca Ford (of 'Two Circles Design') using over 15,000 individual willow branches. The outside of the structure is covered in a beautiful spiralling mass of over 1000 paper butterflies - symbols of transformation and renewal - all hand-folded by local young people and community groups. Visitors will be able to step inside the sculpture and contribute to the Spire by attaching their own personal pledge for peace. This extraordinary willow Spire will be on display until Friday 23rd November and is free for all to explore.