On display until 29 September, the ‘Knife Angel’ is recognised as the National Monument against violence and aggression.
It will be the focal point for 28 days of education, reflection, remembrance and prayer in Medway, as it provides a powerful visual symbol of the dangers of carrying a knife.
The Church is to urge people to ‘remember the victims of knife crime’, as it launches a month of activities intended to confront communities in Medway and north west Kent with the facts and consequences of knife crime.
Visiting the Knife Angel
The Knife Angel is open to visitors everyday. Access is through the Cathedral. Last admission on weekdays is at 5.30pm and 4.30pm on weekends.
Please be aware that the Cathedral gardens will be closed to the public on Sunday 15th until 1pm. There will be no access to the Knife Angel during this time.
Please note there are several days and times where access to the Knife Angel will be through the South Gate directly into the Cathedral Gardens. There are several stairs to access the garden using this route. We recommend anyone requiring level access visits outside of these times.
Saturday 7th September: 10am - 12pm
Sunday 8th September: 9.30am - 12:30pm
Saturday 14th September: 11am - 2pm
Sunday 22nd September: 9.30am - 12.30pm
Saturday 28th September: All day
Sunday 29th September: 9.30am - 12.30pm
A service for the Victims of Knife Crime
The country’s first Commemorative Service remembering the victims of knife crime is to feature in the month-long programme of events organised by the Church of England in Medway and north west Kent; these include a powerful knife sculpture, prayer vigils, an exhibition and a day conference with leading experts in the field.
The national service, on 21 September in Rochester Cathedral, will bring together victims’ families to pay solemn tribute to those who have lost their lives and to serve as a warning, especially to young people, of the dangers of knife crime.
The first visit to the South East
This will be the first time the sculpture has been installed in the south east, after moving around the country in the hopes of adding to the conversation around knife crime.
A collaboration between the Home Office, all 43 UK police constabularies, families of victims and the British IronWork Centre, this awe-inspiring piece is created from over 100,000 blunted and seized blades.
Alongside being able to visit the sculpture, Rochester Cathedral have organised an exhibition and free sessions with local schools to encourage children to think about the dangers of carrying a knife.
Dean Phillip Hesketh says: “We are fortunate to have the Knife Angel coming to the Cathedral. It has already visited many other cathedrals and has provided a valuable opportunity to raise awareness of the devastating effects of knife crime. We hope that it will bring people together in Medway to address what is becoming a national crisis.”
Special sessions for schools
Schools across Medway and beyond have been invited to special viewings aimed at alerting young people to the dangers of carrying a knife; as part of their visit, students will be invited to sign a pledge committing to never carry a knife.
For more information about the special sessions, please click here.
Getting to the point
Also in September the Church will host ‘The Point Conference’, a one-day event at Chatham Dockyard on 13 September bringing together leading experts to talk about solutions to the complex issue of knife crime. Chaired by the Rt Rev Simon Burton-Jones, Bishop of Tonbridge, it is aimed at educationalists and parents/carers.
Revd Nathan Ward, who leads a knife-crime prevention project in Medway and has organised the events says: “It’s important to recognise that knife crime is not a solely youth issue. Contrary to popular belief, 99% of young people aged between 10 and 21 years do not carry a knife.
“The young people I have spoken to who do carry a knife however, say that they do so because they feel unsafe, even though we live historically in one of the safest times humans have ever known. We’ve got to ask ourselves, ‘how can this be?’’’
Kent has seen several fatal stabbings take place within recent months, one even taking place on Rochester Cathedral grounds. With these statistics reaching new heights every day, Nathan believes that hosting the Angel will significantly help the educational schemes that are already in place whilst helping to be the catalyst in creating even more programmes and workshops for the region’s youth.
Churches and people of faith are encouraged to hold prayer vigils with a focus on knife crime and the victims of knife crime during the month. A regular presence of prayer will also take place alongside the Knife Angel itself.
The Knife Angel lands
Early on the morning of Monday 2 September the Knife Angel was expertly hoisted over the the garden boundaries and sited just beyond the bank on the west side of the garden. Access to see the Knife Angel is via the Cathedral’s main West door and proceed along the Nave to the South door.