This Friday 8 May 2020, we celebrate the 75th anniversary of VE Day when Nazi Germany formally surrendered to the Allied Forces, bringing an end to the war in Europe. Whether or not you have personal memories of that time, we know that the war continued in the Far East for a further three months.
The Dean of Winchester Cathedral, Catherine Ogle, writes: 'After the terrors and privations of war, the street parties and celebrations of the victory in Europe were heartfelt and joyful. In peacetime people could gather again without fear, in their homes, in churches and on the streets. VE Day ushered in a time of national rebuilding and of hope.
'Normally we would be marking this significant anniversary with celebratory anniversary gatherings of our own. As we inch forward through this current crisis, with the hope of a gradual end to lockdown, we know that large public gatherings are still some way off.
'So the cathedral will be offering a special VE Day act of worship for you on Friday through the cathedral website. Although we are not able to gather together in person, I do hope that this worship will unite us spiritually and give each one of us a sense of being with others on this significant anniversary.'
Interestingly, Dean Catherine notes how people have been saying that 'the daily reflections, online worship and the daily Evening Prayer have brought them to a more personal sense of connection to God and the community It’s great that modern technology gives us new possibilities for building Christian community. Please be assured that the cathedral will take the lessons we’re learning into our planning for the future, particularly that cathedral ministry should be available to people in their homes.'
Winchester Cathedral offers Evening Prayer online through the week at present. Dean Catherine reminds us: 'You are invited to join Evening Prayer through this Zoom room'.
She her recent newsletter with a prayer 'from the great leader of the church during the war, Archbishop William Temple. Temple’s vision of a post-war society reflected the innate dignity of each person created in God's image and influenced the development of the Welfare State in 1945.'
O Lord Jesus Christ,
who prayed for thy disciples that they might be one,
even as thou art one with the Father,
draw us to thyself,
that in common love and obedience to thee we may be united to one another,
in the fellowship of the one Spirit,
that the world may believe that thou art Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.