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Watch: Vigil for Peace - prayers for Social Justice under the Peace Doves at Liverpool Cathedral

Activists for social justice, diversity, equality, peace and the environment shared powerful reflections and prayers at a Vigil for Peace, held under the Peace Doves art installation at Liverpool Cathedral.

The vigil bore witness to the experience of those championing gender, disability, and racial equality, and campaigning to end the climate crisis, eradicate food poverty and modern slavery, lobby for nuclear disarmament, and improve the lives of displaced people.

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.

Click here to watch all the speaker videos and prayers.

"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.

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Each speaker shared insights about their area of activism followed by a prayer for justice.

Kieran Bohan, Network Coordinator for the Open Table Network was first to take the podium to speak about justice for the diversity of gender identity and sexual orientation.

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.

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.

Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament activist Barbara Hardcastle spoke about the need for disarmament on the journey to international peace and reconciliation, and encouraged people to lobby government to sign the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Pioneer Church of England minister with the deaf community Hannah Lewis, spoke about access for all, raising of the awareness of the needs of people who have to negotiate the world in different ways due to their physical or mental experience.

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

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.

Patrick Kinsky drew on his lived experience as a member of the Roma community and a Christian, to speak about the about the need for fairer systems of settlement for the disenfranchised displaced people including refugees, asylum seekers and the homeless.

Nelson Pike, Food Aid Support Officer for Liverpool Cathedral’s food 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.

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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.

“We offer blessings and a huge 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.”

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Towards evening, after hard words and dashed hopes, you showed yourself to the weary and wondering.

Radiant Christ, Son of the Earth, show yourself to us now. Speak to our need, connect our struggles, give us persistence in our dreams of justice and peace.

Transform the matter of our lives into the kindling of hope. For you are the love, human and divine, that never dies and never runs dry.

The Earth Cries Glory - Stephen Shakespeare