Cathedral to host Manchester Arena attack memorial service, one year on.

Manchester Cathedral

Manchester Cathedral will be the venue for a civic service on Tuesday 22 May, to remember the day 22 people lost their lives in the Manchester Arena attack.

An invited congregation including the families of those who died, people who were injured, first responders, civic leaders and national figures will gather in the Cathedral for an hour-long service from 2pm.

Outside, in Cathedral Gardens, the service will be shown on a big screen, and will be watched simultaneously by crowds at York Minster, Glasgow Cathedral and Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral..

In Manchester Together – With One Voice, choirs will join together in song to remember those affected by the Arena attack. Choirs and groups of singers from the region are invited to perform at the event and can register their interest at the Manchester Together site. The event will conclude with communal singing which will be broadcast live on BBC Radio Manchester.

From 22 May to 26 May, words of songs will be projected onto St Ann’s Church and other parts of St Ann’s Square as part of an artwork called “There Is A Light”. The city council is inviting people to suggest song lyrics which have a personal resonance for them to include in the projection.

Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester city council leader said: “Music is in Manchester’s soul and it is only fitting that it should play a central part in marking what will be an emotional anniversary. We saw in the aftermath of the 22 May attack how spontaneous song captured the city’s spirit, its solidarity and refusal to give in to hatred.”

Christian communities across the Manchester region are being asked to pray for the city on May 22nd. Many churches will be including special times of prayer on Tuesday 22nd and on the Sunday before. They will be praying for continued healing of bodies and minds for those who were affected by the attack in any way, and comfort for those who will be feeling the grief of bereveament most acutely on this first anniversary.

Homeless Jesus sculpture unveiled in Manchester

Homeless Jesus statue in Manchester

A new sculpture in Manchester is making people in our city centre think about Jesus Christ in a new way. The sculpture is not of Jesus as a baby or Jesus on a cross, or even Christ in glory. This time Jesus is depicted as a homeless man lying on a bench.

The work “Jesus the Homeless” is by Canadian artist Timothy Schmalz, and is one of a series of casts in cities around the world including Washington DC, Dublin, Glasgow and Singapore. This one was rejected by planners in Westminster but granted planning permission by Manchester City Council. It has been installed outside St Ann’s Church on St Ann Street in the central retail district.

The statue was unveiled in April 23rd 2018 by two homeless men called Dave and Ian and blessed by the Bishop of Manchester, the Rt Revd David Walker, who said, “Jesus is very explicit in the Bible – when we offer or refuse care to those in need, we will be judged as though he himself were the needy person before us.”

St Ann’s Church raised the money to place the statue in front of its church building. The church is active in helping homeless people in the city, including a new project called ‘Morning Hours’, in which hot drinks and toast are provided to rough sleepers before day centres open.

Rector of St Ann’s Church, the Revd Nigel Ashworth, said the artwork would ‘challenge passers-by to question their attitude towards homeless and marginalised people that they come across in their day-to-day lives’.

Weekend of Invitation, inverview with Michael Harvey

The National Weekend of Invitation has been launched in Greater Manchester.

Michael Harvey, who came up with the idea of Back to Church Sunday while he was working with Manchester Anglican Diocese, is now spearheading its successor, the Weekend of Invitation. The Weekend, which runs from June 15 to 17 2018, encourages people in churches to invite people to events at their home or at their church.

Michael wants to emphasise that success is not whether the people being invited say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to an invitation to a church event, success is the faithfulness of doing the inviting. The response, he says, is down to God.

Faith in Manchester spoke to Michael Harvey @unlockinggrowth about the National Weekend of Invitation. Hear the exclusive interview below.