Silence and Hope | Remembrance under Peace Doves

The final day of Peter Walker Sculptor's Peace Doves installation falls on Remembrance Sunday, a day of solemn reflection where we unite in silent memory of those who gave their lives in war.

Here our Canon Treasurer, The Reverend Vanessa Baron contemplates the significance of silence and hope in a world marked by conflict.

For many, including myself, maintaining the two-minute silence on Remembrance Day can be a challenge, as self-conscious thoughts arise. Two minutes can feel like an eternity. For me, it prompts reflections on the soldiers of World War I who stood in the trenches, waiting for their orders to go over the top. Their silence was one filled with dread. Yet, veterans often speak of the deafening noise of war. Here in Sussex, one could stand on the coast or the Downs and hear the distant thud of artillery fire in France. The silence that enveloped Armistice Day must have been a sweet relief.

Amidst these reflections, the words of Malcolm Guite's sonnet Silence resonate:

November pierces with its bleak remembrance
Of all the bitterness and waste of war.
Our silence tries but fails to make a semblance
Of that lost peace they thought worth fighting for.
Our silence seethes instead with wraiths and whispers,
And all the restless rumour of new wars,
The shells are falling all around our vespers,
No moment is unscarred, there is no pause,
In every instant bloodied innocence
Falls to the weary earth ,and whilst we stand
Quiescence ends again in acquiescence,
And Abel’s blood still cries in every land
One silence only might redeem that blood
Only the silence of a dying God.

This year, on Saturday 11th November at 11.00am and Sunday 12th November at 10.55am an Act of Remembrance will take place at 10.55am, beneath Peter Walker's Peace Doves,with services of remembrance taking place throughout the day. Click here to view our service schedule.
Peace Doves illuminated red
​​​​​​​Peace Doves stands as a magnificent symbol of our shared commitment to peace and unity as a community. Each of the fifteen thousand individually handmade Peace Doves suspended above our Cathedral's historic Nave carry messages of peace, love, and hope from schools and community groups across West Sussex, as well as those from individuals. This Remembrance Sunday, we will not only remember all those who have sacrificed their lives in wars but also pray for those affected by ongoing conflicts.