The Interfaith Contact Group

The Brighton & Hove Interfaith Contact Group


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The Day Of Compassion

Sunday October 17th

Early in 2021, the Interfaith Contact Group (IFCG) suggested holding a memorial service honouring the lives and livelihoods lost in our City during the pandemic. The idea was put to the Mayor, Councillor Alan Robins who suggested The Brighton Dome as a possible location… The Service of Compassion took off and expanded into The Day of Compassion involving others, and in a gesture of generosity, the Brighton Dome not only helped the Mayor and IFCG to stage the service, they also provided space in the Foyer – for stalls of selected charities that had supported the people of Brighton and Hove during the pandemic.

The Brighton Dome:

A Place for Reflection: Stalls in the Foyer from 11am to 2 pm

  • Leo House at Home (Chestnut Tree)
  • Sussex Heart Foundation
  • Off The Fence: Resisting Poverty. Empowering People.
  • Together Co: Loneliness and Befriending
  • Interfaith Contact Group
  • Umeus Foundation
  • Meditation Groups
  • Arch Healthcare
  • Souls to Paradise Cranes Art Installation
  • Covid Memorial Quilt

Across Brighton and Hove…

Here are the locations where The Day of Compassion is taking place:

The Fabrica Art Gallery

The Fabrica Art Gallery is the City’s centre for Contemporary art. Based in a former Regency church in the heart of Brighton, Fabrica has an outstanding reputation for encouraging artists to be adventurous. Additionally, the management team has a strong interest in community life, and leapt at the opportunity to support The Day of Compassion. Their contribution is both compassionate and inspired.

Workshop: Creative Reflection for bereaved children (8-12yrs) From 9:30am to 11:30am. Tickets available via

A calming, reflective and restorative session for children to remember someone they have lost in a gentle and thoughtful environment. The workshop is presented in partnership with Articulate the charity that helps young people who are disadvantaged to recover with the use of art. Together in this small workshop every child and their guardian will create a unique and precious nest, made from natural materials, to keep and treasure. The session is led by experienced artist facilitator, Jenny Staff. The workshop will not focus on loss or the details of one’s bereavement, but will recognise that this is the broader reason we are gathering and creating a moment of remembrance.

The Friends’ Meeting House

Dating from the early 19th Century Brighton’s Friends Meeting House has been a centre for reflection and peace for over 200 years in our City, as well as home for our local Quaker community. It was a Friend who first suggested the idea for The Day of Compassion.

On October 17th the Friends’ Meeting House will be offering visitors three ways of experiencing Compassion.

Meditation: Four different meditations will be on accessible on a ‘Drop-in’ basis: At 12midday, a ‘Just Sitting’ meditation will be held with a Zazen practitioner. This will be followed at 1pm by something slightly different – a Pagan pathworking meditation.  At 2pm there will be meditation with The Brahma Kumaris, and the final session at 3pm is a guided meditation with Pebbles Sangha.

Silent Contemplation: In the main hall of the Meeting House visitors can experience the silence, peace and contemplation intrinsic to the Quaker community itself, and light a candle if they wish.

Photographic Exhibition: Portraits of front-line workers are featured in an exhibition entitled Portraits of Self-less.

The Unitarian Church

Brighton Unitarian Church celebrated its 200th year in 2020. It provides a caring spiritual environment for both its own congregation and the many visitors to its impressive main hall. On the Day of Compassion, it will host A Death Café and also the Companion Voices.

Death Café

A Death Cafe is an opportunity to meet and exchange our thoughts and experience of life and death. There is no set agenda, but it can be a time for reflection; a time to start conversations about forward planning; how we can manage loss better… It is not a bereavement counselling session, but a safe place for sensitive discussion. The Death Cafe takes place at 2pm.

Tea and cake are provided, or you can bring your own.

Companion Voices

Companion Voices, under the guidance of the gifted Judith Silver, are singers who gather to learn songs and prepare themselves to sing for people at the end of life. They share voices and loving presence, whether in person or virtually, when called upon to do so. It is so fitting that this acapella group will gather for The Day of Compassion, first of all to sing in The Unitarian Church, then to sing on the steps of the Church at around 3.30. They will proceed with the Mayor and others, in silence, to the Brighton Dome, and then sing outside The Brighton Dome as visitors enter, and later again when the service is over.

The Jubilee Library

The largest Library in our City is another Jewel in the Crown of Brighton and Hove. A modern building – The Jubilee Library opened its doors to the public in 2005 – it houses a magnificent collection of rare books, and is currently running an exhibition entitled Letters in Lockdown, a collection of poetry produced as a result of a Sussex University workshop. The Library is a superb community resource and has generously provided exhibition space for The Day of Compassion, which has sponsored a collection of photographs, taken before, during and after lockdown. The pictures were contributed from gifted professional and amateur photographers, and the exhibition is entitled Serene City. It shows our City in many beautiful and sometimes unexpected moods.

The foyer exhibition area for Serene City will also be used to house the City’s Book of Condolence. The Exhibition will be opened by the Mayor at 11am on Tuesday 12th of October, and will run until October 24th.

The Service of Compassion at the Brighton Dome

To book your ticket for the Service of compassion please visit the booking office in Church Road or call 01273 709709. The Service will also be streamed, and if you would like to follow it, here is the link:

The service takes place at 4pm at The Brighton Dome.

  1. 3.30 pm. On the steps of the Unitarian Church the Mayor of Brighton & Hove meets Judith Silver & The Companion Voices and the people of the City. The Mayor will make his way to The Brighton Dome. The Companion Voices will sing on entry to The Brighton Dome.(Please remember to arrive at the Brighton Dome 45 minutes to an hour before and study the safety requirements)
  2. Music: Kora: Jali Burama Mbye
  3. Welcome: Emily Jeffery
  4. Prayer for the Coronavirus Crisis: Karen Katz
  5. The Mayor of Brighton & Hove: Councillor Alan Robins
  6. The Vice Lord Lieutenant Mrs Sara Stonor
  7. Film Review: Lockdown Memories
  8. Music: ‘Why Walk When You Can Fly’ and ‘I Wanna Dance with Somebody’: The Cheer Up Mollys
  9. Reading: I heard we are in the same boat: Peter Kyle MP
  10. Reading: Thanks: Lloyd Russell-Moyle
  11. Film Review: Stories of Bereavement
  12. Music: ‘Lean on Me’: Soul of the City Choir
  13. Music: Bach. The Art of the Fugue: The Florentine String Quartet. Honouring our Losses: The names of those that left us during the pandemic are read out.
  14. Reading: Revd Paul Davis
  15. Music: ‘They Can’t Black out the Moon’ and ‘Clockwatching/Juniper Jig.’ sung by The Cheer Up Mollys
  16. Poetry… by Grace Nichols
  17. Reading: The Good News: Nathalie Wahlen
  18. Compassion in Service: Tora Colwill
  19. Film Review: What Do Our City’s Children Think of Covid?
  20. Two Readings: And Rest and For Presence: Caroline Lucas MP
  21. Music: One Day Like This: Choir, Cheer Up Mollys and Quartet
  22. Closing Words: Emily Jeffery, Rev Martin Poole, Anthea Ballam
  23. Music: Kora: Jali Burama Mbye
  24. On leaving The Dome: The Companion Voices sing.

Contributors to The Service of Compassion

Special thanks go to all those offering their services to the Day and the Service of Compassion.

The Mayor: Councillor Alan Robins is the current Mayor of Brighton & Hove. He was elected at the Annual Council meeting on 14 May 2020. Unusually he has held office for two years — many of his usual functions were not possible during the pandemic. However, in his second year of office he has undertaken an increasing number of duties in his ceremonial role in and outside the city.

Judith Silver: Judith is a member of the Natural Voice Practitioners Network, a professional body bringing together singing leaders who share an ethos of inclusivity and belief in the right of everyone to enjoy and share the joy of singing.

Jali Burama Mbye: (Also known as the KoraKing) Jali is a brilliant exponent of the Kora (21 stringed instrument) Born in Gambia Jali Burama now lives permanently in Brighton.

Emily Jeffery: Broadcaster and ‘explorer of stories in Sussex, Surrey and beyond’ Emily is a popular and familiar voice on BBC Radio Sussex.

Karen Katz: Karen sits on the Council of Brighton and Hove Progressive Synagogue. In the role of administrator Karen has been a tireless force in the provision of information and services to the community during the pandemic.

Mrs Sara Stonor: Vice Lord Lieutenant, Sara is President of the Heathfield Show, Vice President of East Sussex Magistrates, Patron of Girl Guiding Sussex East, Crowborough Hospital Friends and of the Mother’s Union. She works as a needlepoint teacher and designer.

Sarah West: Freelance filmmaker and videographer based in Brighton, Sarah makes short films and mini documentaries for businesses, arts organisations, the NHS, universities and charities.

The Cheer Up Mollys: A five piece all female folk and acoustic band made up of long time friends and acoustic collaborators from Sussex. They are known for their feel-good live shows, inventive arrangements and rich harmonies.

Peter Kyle: Peter has been the Labour Member of Parliament for Hove since 2015, and has been Shadow Minister for Schools since 2021. A former charity sector executive, he previously served on the opposition front bench as a shadow justice minister from 2020 to 2021.

Lloyd Russell-Moyle: Lloyd is a British Labour and Co-operative Party politician who was elected as the Member of Parliament for Brighton Kemptown in the 2017 general election. He retained his seat in the 2019 general election.

Soul of the City Choir: An inspirational choir led by Vanessa Thomas, Soul of the City give depth and beauty to a great variety of music and have an outstanding reputation across the South Coast.

Florentine String Quartet: Consisting of two violins, a viola and a cello, this string ensemble was formed in the mid 1980s. Today the Quartet’s repertoire covers everything from classical music to modern favourites.

Revd Paul Davis: Paul is a member of the Chaplaincy team at the Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals Trust.

Grace Nichols: Living locally in Lewes, Grace is one of the country’s most potent and distinctive poets writing today. Born and educated in Guyana, Grace has lived in this country since 1977 and has written poetry for adults and children. Winner of a number of awards, her latest poetry collections are Picasso I Want My Face Back and I Have Crossed an Ocean.

Nathalie Wahlen: Nathalie is a bus driver and support worker for her colleagues. The help she provides was much needed during the pandemic when her colleagues were furloughed. She openly admits that she personally struggled at times when she was fearful of catching the virus. Despite this she drove her bus throughout pandemic, including Boxing Day.

Tora Colwill: Tora Colwill established The Modern Funeral to provide flexible funeral services and support people to create highly personal, meaningful events.

Caroline Lucas: Caroline Lucas is a British politician who has twice led the Green Party of England and Wales and has been the Member of Parliament for Brighton Pavilion since the 2010 general election. She was re-elected in the 2015, 2017 and 2019 general elections, significantly increasing her majority each time.

Rev Martin Poole: Martin sits on the executive of the IFCG. He has served as Vicar of St Luke’s Prestonville since 2010. Before being a full-time priest, he ran his own media branding and marketing consultancy. Martin has been a driving force in many projects in Brighton and Hove, including The Day of Compassion

Anthea Ballam is an interfaith minister and priest. She is Chair of the Interfaith Contact Group.