Cathedral heaven

20 February 2015

"LIKE a taste of heaven," was the comment of a man who happened to call in at Birmingham Cathedral during the recently held 24 hours of prayer. So moved was he that he stayed in the cathedral for several hours. Each of the 24 hours was led by a different person or group, starting with a 9 a.m. morning prayer and holy communion celebrated by the Bishop of Birmingham, the Rt Revd David Urquhart.

Among the other groups were Churches Together in Hall Green, the Good News Asian Church, the Mothers' Union, the Birmingham Taizé Network, Premier Christian Radio, and the Salvation Army, as well as the RC Archbishop of Birmingham, the Rt Revd Bernard Longley, all with their own preferred music. The 24 hours culminated with a 9 a.m. holy communion the next day, led by the Dean of Birmingham, the Very Revd Catherine Ogle.

Birmingham Cathedral is 300 years old this year. "The idea was simple, to start our tercentenary year with a great wave of prayer and to invite local churches to join in," Dean Ogle says. "Birmingham is home to an incredibly rich Christian expression, and we invited people to come and lead prayers for an hour in their own tradition.

"We were overwhelmed with the love and care with which people responded. Prayers were offered with silence, or with great and joyful noise. We sang Taizé chants. We formed a prayer tunnel to surround one another in prayer, and took part in interactive prayer stations. Teenagers prayed through the night in the comfort of onesies, and, just as we were flagging, at 8 a.m. the Salvation Army turned up with a nine-piece brass band."

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