A Beacon of Hope – at St Marie’s Cathedral

It was a dark and stormy night on the 9th December… Certainly not what we were anticipating, but in hindsight, the perfect backdrop to our Beacon of Hope event at St Marie’s.
The street team bravely set out into the City Centre, inviting shoppers into our Cathedral to light a candle from our Candle of Hope. Our carol-singers, sheltering from the wind and rain in the south porch, created a link from the secular to the sacred, and offered a complementary hot drink to passers-by.
And inside the candlelit Cathedral, there really was a sense of the sacred. All was peace and beauty, with gentle waves of the most beautiful live worship music soothing troubled and harried minds.
I wish I could tell you what really went on that evening; the Holy Spirit was certainly moving. (From an organisational point of view, we facilitated this by trying our best to align volunteers with roles on the basis of their God-given Charisms… God’s plan is always the best). But I can tell you that we had over 130 visitors, and that 86 candles were lit. Many people stayed for a while, and plenty of silent tears were shed. And at the very end, I got the longest, tightest hug I have ever received from a stranger: “Thank you,” she said, between the tears. “I was on my way home, and it’s been a tough year… I was raised a Catholic but haven’t been to Church for a long time… and this was exactly what I needed”.
If the whole event had been just for her, then it was worth it.
Special thanks to our team of volunteers who came from St Marie’s, the Mission Hub, and English Martyrs, and also to Margaret from Antioch Community Church, who not only volunteered, but donated some candy canes to give away. Candida Calvert