People across London will be standing up for those persecuted for their faith at a special #RedWednesday event in the heart of the capital.
Organized by Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need, this year’s #RedWednesday on 27th November includes a candlelit Cross procession, leaving Parliament Square at 6.15 pm.
Leading the procession will be Rehman Chishti MP, the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion or Belief.
The procession arrives at Westminster Cathedral at 6.30 pm, in time for a liturgy focusing on persecuted Christians in countries such as Iraq, Pakistan, and Nigeria.
Patricia Hatton, Head of Fundraising and Marketing at ACN (UK), who launched #RedWednesday, explained that the procession shows solidarity to persecuted Christians – the world’s “most widely targeted” faith group according to Pew Research Centre.
She said: “Following the endorsement of #RedWednesday in the Bishop of Truro’s review into FCO support for persecuted Christians – commissioned by former Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt – the procession is a real chance for Christians to stand together and in a very visible way, show that the lives of Christians and other persecuted minorities matter.
“We urge individuals and groups to come along – to add your voice to the call to stop the persecution of Christians and other faith groups.”
This year, in addition to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office being lit red, Westminster Cathedral, Lambeth Palace and St George’s Cathedral, Southwark will follow suit.
Across the UK, 120 buildings are going red, including 13 cathedrals, the Mersey Gateway and the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, Glasgow. Buildings are going red in 15 other countries.
The Schola Cantorum of the Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School will perform choral music at the liturgy. Students from St John Bosco College will perform gospel music, followed by a reception in Westminster Cathedral Hall.
The call to highlight religious persecution on #Red Wednesday comes after ACN’s 2019 Persecuted and Forgotten? report found that Christianity in parts of Iraq and Syria is approaching the point of total extinction following genocide carried out by Daesh (ISIS).
The Christian populace in Iraq has reduced by more than 90 percent, from 1.5 million before 2003, to less than 150,000 today.
In response to Persecuted and Forgotten?, Mr. Hunt tabled an early day motion, calling on the government to help Christians in Iraq and Syria. The EDM was signed by 43 leading parliamentarians.