The Anglican Rector of the Falkland Islands, the Revd Dr Richard Hines, has described how Christ Church Cathedral in Stanley (the southernmost cathedral in the world) will play a special central role, serving parishioners and journalists, as Islanders take an historic vote in this weekend’s Referendum.
He said: “Making pastoral visits in Stanley, capital of the Falkland Islands, it is hard to believe that this weekend 60 more journalists and news media people are supplementing those already in town to help catapult our quiet community into the world’s headlines again. Islanders’ replies this Sunday and Monday to a simple Referendum question will give them a voice like never before as they express a corporate desire concerning their ongoing political status.
“The Cathedral Church will play an important practical role. The most iconic building in the Islands, specially illuminated from inside and out for the occasion, will provide a dramatic visual backdrop for TV cameras filming an open-air public gathering on next door’s Whale Bone Arch Green where the Referendum result will be made known at 9pm on Monday 11th March. The Parish Hall will serve as an alternative meeting place for the crowds if the weather is against us.
“However, the image of the Cathedral may serve a yet more significant purpose. It may prompt us to recollect the presence of God and that ‘the earth is the Lord’s and all that dwell therein’. It may be the place where some go to sit quietly and think before they finally cast their important vote. It will certainly prompt me and many others to pray for our unique South Atlantic parish in the coming days, whatever the Referendum outcome.”
The Rt Revd Stephen Venner, the Bishop for the Falkland Islands, said: “Jesus tells us with many different pictures that there is no part of God’s world that is more important or more loved than any other. God loves particularly the smallest and least significant in the world’s eyes. My role as Bishop for the Falkland Islands representing the Archbishop of Canterbury is a sign that the Anglican community there is an integral part of our Anglican Communion, and that the people there are an important part of the wider international community. The people there will be much in my thoughts and prayers as they seek to determine their future under the world’s spotlight.”
The Revd Dr Richard Hines has written a prayer for Islanders’ and others to use during the weekend:
Creator God, Lord of all,
bless and guide the people of the Falkland Islands,
and everyone who reports or comments publicly on this weekend’s historic Referendum.
Grant that all may be undertaken here and around the world
with care, with mutual respect, and with the highest regard for truthfulness.
We ask through Jesus Christ our Lord.