Service of Remembrance at Reading Minster

On Saturday 11th September people from across Berkshire and Oxfordshire joined together for a Service of Remembrance at Reading Minster to commemorate those who have been lost during the pandemic. The Service was hosted by A.B Walker Funeral Directors and led by the Rt Revd Olivia Graham, Bishop of Reading.

The beginning of the service was marked by the lighting of a candle and speakers shared their moving experiences of death and loss. During the service, the congregation was also invited to light a candle in remembrance of their loved ones and place it on the altar, a significant act for the many who were unable to attend funerals and services during the pandemic.

Front-line workers in Berkshire and Oxfordshire were recognised and thanked for their selfless life-saving work during the pandemic.

Leading the service, Bishop Olivia, highlighted the significance of the day also marking the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in New York and their long-lasting impact. Bishop Olivia acknowledged the importance and uniqueness of each story of the loss of loved ones for each member of the congregation but also how the shared experience of love, loss, and grief during the pandemic binds people together:

“In this time of coronavirus one of the great sadnesses has been that we haven’t been able to gather so there is something very powerful about being able to gather here this afternoon”.

Bishop Olivia reflected on the comforting and encouraging words of Psalm 23, The Lord is my shepherd:

“This Psalm is full of trust. And that’s what we all need at a time like this. Trust that however dark things seem, there will be dawn. Trust that evil can never overcome good. Trust that love is stronger than death. Trust that although nothing can take away the pain of loss, every life lived has been valuable and worthwhile, and left a legacy.”

The service was live streamed to homes across the region and up to 300 people were able to attend in person at the Minster. A recording of the service by A.B Walker is available online here.

Bishop Olivia assists service attendee with lighting a candle at the Altar
Bishop Olivia standing at the front of Reading Minster infront of standing congregation with hands outstretched.