Manchester city centre will come to standstill on Tuesday for the first anniversary of the Manchester Arena terrorist attack last year. The attack claimed the lives of 22 people and left those of many others changed forever.
The National Service of Commemoration at Manchester Cathedral will welcome a congregation including bereaved families, first responders, city leaders and senior national figures at 3pm. Limited space in the Cathedral means that the service will be by invitation only, but others are invited to watch the service on a big screen in Cathedral Gardens.
And in recognition of the fact that many of the victims came from across the North of Britain, the service is also being screened at York Minster, Glasgow Cathedral and Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral. Many in these cities and across the world will be joining Manchester in solidary and prayer.
Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, said: “The attack at Manchester Arena last year was an attack on our common humanity. The solidarity, love and support shown across the country and beyond helped us through an incredibly difficult period and demonstrated a collective refusal to give in to hatred and fear”.
Later in the day, from 7.30 to 9.00pm, Albert Square is the venue for Manchester Together – With One Voice, where choirs will come together in song to remember all those affected by the attack, culminating in a communal singalong from 8.30pm to 9pm with everyone encouraged to join in. The singalong will be broadcast live on BBC Radio Manchester.
Later, from dusk the focus will move to St Ann’s Square for Manchester Together – There is a Light. Each day from Tuesday to Saturday, the words of songs chosen by the public will be projected onto the pavements and buildings in St Ann’s Square.
Churches across the city centre will play their part in the memorial at 10.31pm, exactly one year from the moment the attack took place. Bells will ring out from church towers in an act of solidarity and remembering.
Christians and others are called to pray for Manchester on this anniversary. At Faith in Manchester, we call on people of faith in this city to pray for our city and our region:
for comfort and support for those who are affected by the events of one year ago, either directly or indirectly: Lord Jesus, bring your peace.
for strength for our city to continue to recover with fortitude and resilience: Lord Jesus, bring your healing.
for restoration of relationships between troubled communities, broken neighbourhoods and fractured families: Lord Jesus, bring your reconciliation.
for the favour of God to reign over our city and our region this day and in the days to come: Lord Jesus, bring your love that never fails.