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Friday, 25 March 2016

The Church in Gibraltar welcomes those who pass by, on foot, or by sea

 

At the end of the Solemn Liturgy of Good Friday in the Cathedral in Gibraltar, the cross which was venerated by the congregation during the service is moved to in front of the altar which was stripped bare following the Maundy Thursday rites. The cross remains there throughout the day with candles lit on either side, providing a focal point for passers-by exploring the "Rock" who drop into the Cathedral (and there are many!) to ponder the mystery of our salvation.

A small gap between the liturgy and the evening's ecumenical Stations of the Cross through the Main Street of Gibraltar, gave me the opportunity to catch up on some aspects of the work of the Port Chaplain, the Revd Peter Ford OGS. Fr Peter is also the Assistant Priest at the Cathedral, working alongside Dean John Paddock.

Fr Peter Ford

Gibraltar is a busy port, particularly with increasing cruise ship traffic. Fr Peter is now well known around the port, by everyone from the security guards, to officials of the Port Authority, to those who staff the tourism office serving cruise passengers. He is on hand to welcome virtually every ship, and in particular to attend to the needs of the international seafaring crew. One welcome service offered by the Port Chaplaincy is a Wifi station. It is a popular venue for crew members, far from their home, needing to connect with their families and friends. This is such an important outreach of the Church in Gibraltar, supported by the Mediterranean Mission to Seamen fund administered by the Diocese.

An ecumenical Via Crucis through the Main Street of Gibraltar rounded off the Good Friday liturgies on the Rock. The Roman Catholic, Church of Scotland and our own Anglican communities (the Cathedral and the King's Chapel) came together to mark the 14 stations, with meditations and prayers led at each station by different parochial groups - a witness to Christian unity and to our walking together as disciples of our crucified and risen Lord.

 

 

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