COUNCILLORS of different political parties were united in common prayer at the weekend.
Portsmouth Cathedral in Old Portsmouth held its annual ‘city service’ to pray for the councillors and bless their work over the next year.
About 20 Portsmouth City Council councillors attended the event after a procession into the cathedral.
Portsmouth’s new lord mayor, Steven Wylie, 41, of Milton, was among those at the service.
Cllr Wylie, who represents Charles Dickens ward, said he was starting a new tradition by greeting guests as they entered the cathedral.
Himself a Methodist, Cllr Wylie said he was settling into the role well after being sworn in two weeks ago.
He said the event was an important part of civic life. ‘The city service is important to give thanks back to the city, and to show that the city council and the city are one,’ he said.
‘That is shown through prayer and through the service at the cathedral.
‘The service is inclusive as well, everybody’s welcome.’
The Very Reverend David Brindley, Dean of Portsmouth, welcomed the congregation and led the service.
He said: ‘We remember all who bear responsibility in the ordering of our common life, for all who work and visit here.
‘Today we pray for the lord mayor and the city council, and for the work they undertake this year.’
The dean mentioned the significance of praying for peace at a time of international unrest.
He said: ‘In this, the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings, we remember especially all who died in that conflict, give thanks for the courage and dedication of those who served, and pray that we may always value the freedoms won at such great human cost.
‘We pray for all those currently deployed from this community and around the world, their families and friends, all those who are caught up in the turmoil, fear and uncertainty of conflict.’
Afterwards there was a fair in the grounds which attracted thousands of people.
There were stalls and food vendors. Profits went to the cathedral and the EC Roberts Centre, a charity for children.