Deacon Patrick Limacher had organised the service on Sunday April 23 in partnership with Outside the Wire, a programme run by the Norwich-based Matthew Project charity for former members of the armed forces. Around 200 veterans and their families were present said Dcn Patrick.
Outside the Wire supports those who are struggling with poor mental health or with drug and alcohol addiction after leaving the armed forces. It offers one-to-one meetings and regular drop-in sessions at The Matthew Project’s premises in Oak Street, Norwich.
A bagpiper welcomed visitors as they gathered at the Cathedral, and there was a parade of standards at the west door for the entrance of General the Lord Dannatt, former head of the British Army.
Lord Dannatt read a passage from the Book of Isaiah about beating swords into ploughshares before Liz Wiggins, Chair of the Matthew Project, gave an overview of Outside the Wire and explained why its services were so needed.
In the homily which followed, Bishop Peter commended a “willingness to sacrifice for the sake of others, to sacrifice for the sake of the vulnerable, to sacrifice in defence of the realm”.
He alluded to the fact that a test alert would go off on mobile phones at 3pm and spoke of the need for society to remain alert and vigilant.
Then he turned to work of agencies like Outside the Wire, saying that “our society and culture needs to value and support those men and women who are prepared to step forward to the line, the line that marks the frontier… the distinction between the courage of preparedness and the delusions of culpable ignorance.”
Members of the armed forces led a series of prayers, and as candles were lit from the pascal candle the flame was passed around the cathedral. Finally, wreaths were laid for those have lost their lives in the service of their country and after the last post a two-minute silence was observed.
Pictured above is Fr Alan Hodgson (left), Dean of St John’s Cathedral, and Very Rev Dr Andrew Braddock, Dean of the Norwich Anglican Cathedral, at the Veterans Service.
You can see a gallery of the Veterans Service by clicking on the link or the picture below.