A candle for every life: Sunderland Minster marks lockdown through prayer and memorial
A candle has been lit for every life lost to Covid as part of Sunderland Minster’s memorial one year on from the start of the lockdown.
But the chance to grieve and remember was extended to all those who have died during the last 12 months as the city church acknowledged many have lost the chance to say a true goodbye.
In addition to the tealights lit on its alter in recognition of those who have died due to the coronavirus, people were invited to take in a photo of their late loved one to create a memorial collage.
Yellow ribbons were tied to its railings as part of the anniversary, while the minister’s bells rang for eight minutes in the lead up to noon, as the country fell silent to mark the milestone since the first ‘stay at home' restrictions began.
A prayer was said to mark the milestone, while the Minster shared its message “We stand with all who grieve today" through its social media and a video, made with the support of Sunderland’s mayor, Councillor David Snowdon.
Provost of Sunderland, the Reverend Canon Stuart Bain said: "Today we have been welcoming people to to come, tie a yellow ribbon around our railings and remember.
"The last year has been about being there for people and we have the staff when people come in to talk – socially distanced of course.
“It has been there, when available for, for people to pray and remember by lighting a candle, but also allowed them to be aware other people are going through this as well.”
While there have been times when the team have had to close its doors to keep people safe, it is now allowed to reopen for services for up to 70 people, with measures put in place to ensure people are kept at a distance from other household and support bubbles.
It is open from 10am to noon Monday to Friday for prayer and to allow people to light a candle, with all those who enter asked to wear a mask.
Throughout, as it kept to the rules, the team has continued its work to support asylum seekers and refugees, with hopes it can welcome back its groups and activities once it is safe to do so.