A sea of blue and yellow flags and clothing adorned an estimated four hundred people who attended a vigil on Sunday 6th March afternoon, to unite in expressing solidarity for the people of Ukraine.
The gathering at Weston’s Italian Gardens was comprised of people from across the community with representatives of many of the local Churches and organisations. Weston’s Town Mayor, Councillor James Clayton spoke, expressed wholehearted empathy with the calling and purpose of the vigil.
Rev Tom Yacomeni from Locking Castle Church led the proceedings which included a time of quiet reflection and prayers, two songs from local jazz singer, Marvin Muoneke and brief messages from Rev Tom Webber - Christ Church Weston super Mare, Pastor Mike Radcliffe - Destiny Church and Deacon Gary Hoare - President of Churches Together in Weston.
A panoramic photo was taken, to be sent to a community in Ukraine as a visual expression of Weston’s solidarity and prayers.
Rev Tom Yacomeni said, ‘It was great to see so many people from Weston-super-Mare showing love and support for all the people caught up in this crisis. Our friends who are working in central Ukraine were really encouraged to know they are in our prayers and not forgotten.’
Participants tied blue and yellow ribbons to the rails around the Ukrainian flag as they prayed for the people of this war-torn nation. They also posted messages to the people of Ukraine using their smartphones, which will be relayed through the Ukrainian Ambassador.
Penny Hynds from ROC Weston-super-Mare, the joint instigator of the event said, ‘We feel helpless in the face of the awfulness of the war in Ukraine and the images we see on our TV screens. Coming together as people did on Sunday really does make a difference.’
Pastor Mike Radcliffe, Lead Pastor at Destiny Church and Facilitator at CLIF said, 'It was such a great opportunity to display our unity and show our solidarity as we continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with our Ukrainian friends. Many people feel so helpless right now but praying together was and is so powerful. Thanks to all those who made it possible and to everyone who showed their support.'
Deacon Gary Hoare, President of Churches Together in Weston-super-Mare said, 'This vigil was an encouragement to many people that I spoke to, to stand in unity as we did, brought strength and hope to them. I believe that each prayer counts. May I express a big ‘thank you’ to Penny Hynds of ROC WsM, CLIF (Church Leaders in Fellowship), North Somerset Council, the many supporting councillors and the Avon and Somerset Police for helping to enable this vigil to take place so speedily, with 48 hours’ notice. We are indebted to you all.'
More photos of the event are available on the Churches Together Facebook Page