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York: refugees join commemoration of Holocaust Memorial Day

A group of 24 asylum seekers and refugees will be present at York Minster’s annual act of commemoration for Holocaust Memorial Day today (Wednesday 27 January) ...

A group of 24 asylum seekers and refugees will be present at York Minster’s annual act of commemoration for Holocaust Memorial Day today (Wednesday 27 January).
 
The group will attend a dedicated Evensong service before joining a procession to the Minster’s historic Chapter House where they will be invited to take part in the lighting of 600 candles that will be set out on the floor in the shape of the Star of David.  
 
Earlier in the afternoon the group will visit the cathedral’s Learning Centre where they will be welcomed by York Minster’s Chancellor, the Reverend Canon Dr Chris Collingwood and by Richard Butterfield, Director of Public Engagement.  
 
Their visit to York Minster is being organised by Together Middlesbrough & Cleveland – a joint venture between the Diocese of York and the Church Urban Fund – that aims to tackle poverty in Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland.
 
Together Middlesbrough & Cleveland is working with Christian charities Open Door North East, Methodist Asylum Project and local churches to help people seeking refuge who have fled from conflicts in the Middle East and the Horn of Africa.
 
They will join representatives from the Jewish community, interfaith groups and community organisations for the Minster event which will include readings, music and prayers, interspersed with silence for quiet reflection.  
 
Chris Collingwood said that the presence at the commemoration of people whose lives have been so recently shattered by conflict and persecution will provide a tangible reminder of atrocities happening around the world now.   

He said: "Survivors of genocide past and present will stand side-by-side at the commemoration. We will consider the unthinkable acts of inhumanity and violence that lead to genocide. But we will also consider the courage, kindness, love and solidarity which are an eternal act of defiance against wickedness and evil. We shall pray for healing, peace and reconciliation.
 
“The theme for 2016 is 'Don’t Stand by'. It is a reminder to this and subsequent generations that the Holocaust and other genocidal events such as Rwanda in 1994 must never be forgotten."
 
York Minster’s commemoration for Holocaust Memorial Day starts with Evensong in the Quire at 5.15pm followed at 6pm by a procession into the Chapter House for the 600 candles commemoration. The event finishes at approximately 7.30pm.

Photo: Duncan Lomax – Ravage Productions

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