A Day of Two Halves – Ale and Memorial
On Friday 27 January I attended two very contrasting events in Lichfield.
In the early afternoon I visited Lichfield Cathedral who had prepared a schedule of events to commemorate World Holocaust Memory Day 2017.
The day marks a world-wide commemoration of the people who suffered from atrocities carried out during World War Two, Cambodia, Darfur, Rwanda and Bosnia.
I attended the Eucharist service which included the holy communion at 12.30pm which was led by the Dean of Lichfield Cathedral, the Very Reverend Adrian Dorber. Part of this service included the Jewish poem of loss, the Kaddish.
Then, in the main nave of the cathedral the Bishop of Lichfield, the Right Revered Dr Michael Ipgrave, gave a very moving account of three experiences he had encountered during his life regarding the impact of the holocaust both on the people who had suffered and the effect it had on him personally.
The bishop is also the chairman of the Council of Christians and Jews and he provided a very balanced view of this very sensitive and emotive topic. He commented that the long held Christian, traditional views are now being challenged and are subject to change. These views were replicated in the address given by the Dean during the homily and there appears to be a very comprehensive attempt to ensure that all views, of all religions, are welcome at the cathedral.
The bishop referenced a photographic album of images taken by local photographer Robert Yardley on a visit to Auschwitz to view the infamous and horrific extermination camp. I was able to take some images of the Bishop, Robert (who is also Lichfield City Council’s Sheriff of Lichfield for this term) and Bernard Derrick who was representing St John the Baptist Hospital Without the Barrs, the chapel on St John’s Street while Robert displayed the album he had created.
The album, and other images, had been on display at St Johns in a small exhibition within the chapel and, later in the afternoon, I took some photos of the exhibition and the lovely chapel including a stained glass window created by artist John Piper, who also created the artwork for one of the windows in Coventry Cathedral.
I was the only person in the chapel, it was very quiet and peaceful and the images of Auschwitz, including the gas chambers and the piles of their discarded shoes of their victims were very thought provoking and moving.
In total contrast to the memorials at the cathedral and St Johns I then moved on to another historic Lichfield building – the Guildhall on Bore Street – for an entirely different experience – the Lichfield Arts Winter Real Ale Festival!
Over 30 real ales, ciders and perrys were on offer at this regular annual event which runs on the Friday and Saturday from 12pm to 11pm. I was there at about 3pm and there was a large crowd of people were already supping away, there is always a great atmosphere with friendly customers and serving staff, all of whom are volunteers.
I decided to sample a quick half (as I was driving later that day) of number 3 on the tasting sheets, Bristol Beer Factory’s Milk Stout, 4.5% ABV. It was an ideal choice for a cold winter afternoon, very comforting, a bit like having a bar of chocolate in a pint glass!
The festival included live bands in the evening and with the amazing architecture of the Guildhall building (dates back to medieval times), the real ale, the much appreciated and traditional slice of pork pie this is definitely one of the highlights of the Lichfield Festival season!
The next Real Ale Festival, also organised by Lichfield Arts, is on 20 and 21 October this year – check their website for details: www.lichfieldarts.org.uk
So, a very contrasting day of events, it does show you the breadth and range of what Lichfield has to offer, providing you with food for the stomach as well as nutrition for the mind – who would want to be anywhere else?