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Watch: Vigil for Peace - Prayers for Social Justice, speaker videos

Activists for social justice, diversity, equality, peace and the environment shared powerful reflections, stories and prayers at a Vigil for Peace, at Liverpool Cathedral.

Speakers talked and prayed about gender and disability rights, racial equality, an end the climate crisis, food poverty and modern slavery, for nuclear disarmament, and to improve the lives of displaced people.

Prayer for diversity of gender identity and sexual orientation

Kieran Bohan, Network Coordinator for the Open Table Network spoke about justice for the diversity of gender identity and sexual orientation.

Prayer for an end to modern slavery

Anti-Modern slavery activist Jen Williams spoke about the appalling human rights abuses suffered by victims at the hands of gang masters and traffickers and the steps people can take to educate ourselves and report suspect activity.

Prayer for Earth Justice

Christian Climate Action activists Annette and Andy James of Christ Church Linnet Lane shared about why they are joining the Camino to Cop pilgrimage to walk to the COP26 United Nations Climate Change conference in Glasgow in October – a “last chance for a hand-break turn” on the climate crisis.

Prayers for nuclear disarmament

Merseyside CND (Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament) activist Barbara Hardcastle spoke about the need for disarmament on the journey to international peace and reconciliation.

She encouraged people to take a stand against an international arms fair scheduled to take place in Liverpool in October, and encouraged people to lobby government to sign the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Prayer for Access for All

Rev Hannah Lewis, pioneer Church of England minister with the deaf community spoke about raising awareness of the needs of people who negotiate the world in different ways due to having a physical, sensory, learning or other hidden disability, being neuro-divergent, having experienced trauma, or due to their mental health.

Prayer for racial justice & diversity

Netherley vicar Reverend Ravi Sanga spoke about the need for an end to the whitewashing of history, to achieve racial justice and equality.

Prayer for the truth about slavery in history

Slavery Truth Project worker Adeyinka Olushonde spoke about the mission to acknowledge the injustices of the past and build a just future which sets people free, unrestrained by the rich and powerful.

Prayers for justice, security and safety for displaced people

Patrick Kinsky, a member of the Roma community and a Christian, drew on his lived experience, to speak about justice, security and safety for displaced people.

He spoke about the about the need for fairer systems of settlement for the disenfranchised displaced people including refugees, asylum seekers and the homeless.

Prayer for an end to food poverty

Nelson Pike, Food Aid Support Officer for Liverpool Cathedral's emergency food aid charity Micah Liverpool spoke about a vision to end of systems of power that lead to food poverty, leading to a new system providing affordable, sustainable food for all.

Rev Canon Dr Ellen Loudon, Director of Social Justice for the Diocese of Liverpool and Canon Chancellor of Liverpool Cathedral led the evening with Cathedral clergy and Franciscan Brothers.

"The focus was to watch and pray about the concerns of our world - particularly for justice and peace,” said Canon Ellen who is also chair of social justice charity Together Liverpool and the Cathedral's emergency food aid charity Micah Liverpool.

“It was a very powerful and challenging evening, which raised lots of questions - although sometimes hard to listen to, it was encouraging to hear people’s stories and stand in solidarity with each other, sharing our hopes as well as our concerns.

“It was a privilege to hold this space to listen, and to pray together and offer this up to God. To take time out of our individual activism to reflect and hear the perspective of others is vital nourishment and a vital catalyst for future action."

The evening was compered by Tsedaqah Community member Ian Grant-Funck and following the speakers there was a time for silence and reflection.

Attendees were invited to write their hopes for justice and peace on cardboard tags to be hung on two illuminated trees under the Peace Doves, and to take away a wooden heart from a large central display, on which to also write their intentions following the evening.

Canon Ellen said: “The Peace Doves have been an inspiration for many of us to reflect on peace and justice following what has been a very challenging 18 months of insecurity.

“Thank you to all who attended the vigil, whether to speak or bear witness, for your commitment to making a bigger difference and fighting for justice and peace.

“We intend to extend this event to a bigger collective conversation in 2022, and to continue to share stories to inspire more people to meaningful action.”