Marking 75th anniversary of VE Day in Bath and Wells

Commemorations for the 75th anniversary of VE day have gone virtual this year – join in as we mark the end of some of the most terrible years this country has faced in the last century, the remembrance of which will be especially poignant given the current crisis.

The Church of England has shared some resources on its website to help churches mark the 75th anniversary this Friday, 8 May. It includes a prayer, an outline service and the order of service for the service which took place in Westminster Abbey 75 years ago.

Bishop Peter says, “This Friday at 11am I won’t be able to celebrate with services and outdoor events as so many of us had planned, but I will be marking the sacrifice of those who gave so much during years of conflict in Europe, in reflection and prayer.  So much was sacrificed by so many then to allow us the peace we have enjoyed for the last 75 years, just as so much is being sacrificed now by key workers in the NHS and care sector and schools and supermarkets.

“Let us use this moment to remember that after the dark times of war, communities came together to celebrate when the long-hoped for end to the conflict finally came. My hope is that on Friday you can enjoy the peace from threat of war that we have been gifted, with gratitude and thankfulness, and remember that we also will come together again when it is safe to do so.”

Like many other cathedrals across the country, Wells Cathedral is honouring heroes past and present and taking part in the ‘Big Picnic for Hope’ and is encouraging churches across the diocese to join in. The Big Picnic for Hope is a virtual get together to replace the original gatherings planned to mark this milestone on what is a national bank holiday. Households are urged to stay at home, to picnic indoors or in their gardens and to join friends and families virtually.

At the heart of the Big Picnic for Hope is a reflection that many people will be finding life particularly difficult, many struggling to put food on the table. The #feed5000 hashtag reflects the project’s aim to raise £5000 for the Trussell Trust, who support a nationwide network of food banks and provide emergency food and support to people in poverty. With a rise in the number of people needing to access foodbanks, and the future uncertain for many, the Big Picnic for Hope asks those who can afford it to donate towards providing another individual or family having food in their house today.

The Very Revd Dr John Davies, Dean of Wells, said: “’What matters most at this testing time?  I suggest: Staying apart. Making virtual community. Celebrating the best values of past and present. Looking to the needs of those in greatest need. The Picnic for Hope allows us to do all this, and to have a bit of fun besides! We honour the past.  We make community now.  We find hope for the future.’

Samantha Stapley, Chief Operating Officer at the Trussell Trust, said: “As the coronavirus outbreak develops, more people are likely to need a food bank’s help. Our teams are working tirelessly to ensure that food banks are able to remain open and have the necessary stocks to respond to this crisis. The support of the Cathedral network means we can remain agile to respond to the fast-changing situation and ensure food banks continue to provide the lifeline of emergency food and additional support for people in crisis. Thank you.”

How can people get involved in the Big Picnic for Hope?

 People can share their plans and ideas for the Big Picnic for Hope using the hashtag #bigpicnicforhope. On social media people will be able to share and see their creative ideas of what to bake, what to make, how to picnic in style. This will help everyone get ready to join together on Friday 8 May to share photos of their picnics and discuss memories and stories of their loved ones, past and present, in a way fitting of the circumstances we are living through.

To join in with the Big Picnic for Hope, find out more, or share your ideas and photos visit www.bigpicnicforhope.com also see participating cathedral social media and @bigpicnicforhope on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

The fundraising page can be found here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/bigpicnicforhope

However, you wish to mark VE Day, there is a range of information and downloadable resources on the Government’s VE website.

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