Faith communities gather to pay respects to Her Majesty The Queen
The life of Queen Elizabeth II will be commemorated and celebrated at a multi-faith vigil in Leeds this Sunday.
The eve-of-funeral event, which is open to the public, will be held on the Millennium Square steps directly in front of Leeds Civic Hall and will get under way at 6pm.
It will feature prayers and readings as well as the lighting of candles, one for each faith community taking part. The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Robert W Gettings MBE JP, will be among those speaking.
The event is due to last for around 45 minutes and will culminate with the lighting of the candles and a minute’s silence, ahead of the national moment of reflection for the Queen later that evening.
Representatives of a wide range of faith communities have been invited to attend, and younger people will play a prominent role in proceedings.
Organised by the Diocese of Leeds, Leeds Faiths Forum and Leeds City Council, the event is being hosted by the Bishop of Kirkstall, the Rt Revd Arun Arora.
The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Robert W Gettings MBE JP, said:
“The Queen’s unifying presence in our local and national life means her loss has been keenly felt by many different communities across Leeds.
“Sunday’s multi-faith vigil will help those communities come together to remember Her Majesty and offer comfort to one another in this time of sadness.”
Councillor James Lewis, leader of Leeds City Council, said:
“Leeds is a diverse and welcoming city, and one where people are always happy to provide support and solidarity to others.
“This event will be a perfect illustration of that spirit of togetherness, and will once again highlight the important part played by the Queen in so many of our lives.”
The Bishop of Kirkstall, the Rt Revd Arun Arora, said:
“On the eve of the Queen’s funeral we will gather together from our different traditions united in thanks for the life of the Queen.
“We will offer prayers of thanksgiving and commendation from faith communities from across Leeds representing people of faith from across the globe.
“We come together, young and old, with one voice to mourn, to grieve and to give thanks for a faithful life so well lived.”
Simon Phillips, co-chair of Leeds Faiths Forum, which is supporting the event in conjunction with Concord Leeds Interfaith Fellowship and the council’s religion or belief hub, said:
“Her Majesty The Queen had a deep commitment to the value of faith in bringing communities together.
“We are proud to play our part in civic and faith leaders in Leeds coming together to support this belief.
“This is a city that has adopted the Faith Covenant, and the vigil will be a demonstration of our common purpose in making the city a compassionate and welcoming place for everyone.”
John Summerwill and Jay Anderson, co-chairs of Concord Leeds Interfaith Fellowship, said:
“Concord joins with faith communities across the nation in expressing our gratitude for the life of devoted service of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
“She was a woman of faith who exemplified the virtues that all of our religious traditions share, and her leadership of the Commonwealth demonstrated her appreciation of people from all the diverse faiths in the UK and the Commonwealth.
“Our sympathies and prayers are with all the members of the Royal Family in their personal bereavement.”
As previously announced by the council, coverage of the Queen’s funeral will be shown live on the Millennium Square big screen between 10am and 6pm on Monday. For further information about the screening and other activity in Leeds related to the passing of Her Majesty, visit the council’s newsroom.