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Durham Cathedral
Durham ribbons pic.jpg
Durham Cathedral
World News

Voices of survivors take centre stage at Durham Cathedral's safeguarding week

by Donna Birrell

Durham Cathedral is inviting the public to show support for victims and survivors of abuse as part of Pillars of Hope, a week of activities which begins on Monday 11 September.

To show support, Durham Cathedral's Galilee Chapel will become a centre-point for victims and survivors of abuse during the week. A rope running through the cathedral’s Chapel will be covered in hundreds of ribbons tied by visitors, alongside a display of poems and music written by those whose lives have been affected by abuse.

The poems were created through a project called 'If I Told You, What Would You Do?', jointly funded by the Diocese of Newcastle and Safe Spaces. The project engaged survivors of faith-based abuse in a creative way to foster compassion with those who need to see and hear them, and build the confidence of those who are in a position to respond well to them. The outcome of the project was a suite of seven reflections developed by survivors, complemented by poems, original artwork, music, and short films.

Rev Michael Everitt, Canon Pastor at Durham Cathedral said :

“Durham Cathedral is a safe space where everyone is welcome and Safeguarding Week is an opportunity for the cathedral community and visitors to publicly show support for victims and survivors of abuse.

“The display is very emotionally powerful and during our Safeguarding week in 2022 many visitors were deeply moved by the words of those whose lives have been affected by abuse. The poems ask ‘If I told you, what would you do?’, and I hope that visitors take away the positive things they can do to understand and help those around them whose lives have been darkened by abuse. Everyone is invited to add their ribbon to the rope as part of the exhibition to show their support.”

The cathedral’s services of worship during the week will include prayers for the vulnerable and victims of abuse.

Canon Michael added :

“Pillars of Hope has been a poignant opportunity to engage the public in the Church of England’s work to ensure everyone feels safe and listened to. Durham Cathedral underwent an independent safeguarding audit in July 2021, which was positive about Durham Cathedral’s commitment to safeguarding. It gave the cathedral the opportunity to reflect on how we can further improve safeguarding in the future.”

The opportunity for visitors to add their ribbon to the rope and listen to poems and music in the Galilee Chapel continues until Sunday 17 September.


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