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SIAN O'CALLAGHAN: Hundreds say a prayer for Sian
HUNDREDS gathered for a special candlelit vigil to say a prayer for missing Sian O’Callaghan last night.
Around 200 people, including close friends and some members of her family, were at the service at St Barnabas Church, in Gorse Hill.
After short prayers, people filed up to the altar to light a little candle for the 22-year-old, who has been missing since Saturday morning. In total some 300 candles were lit.
Periods of reflection against the backdrop of atmospheric religious chants provoked tears in those who still have hope Sian will be found safe and well.
Canon Alastair Steven-son, who organised the vigil in conjunction with Liberal Catholic priest Father Mark Paris, led the crowd in prayer.
Canon Stevenson said: “We are gathered here to pray, to support, for guidance and for strength.
“The feelings we have vary so much. The great concern is for Sian and thoughts of the friendship, the joy, the humour and vivaciousness she has.
“The service is unusual – our central act is lighting the candles on the altar. At this time we are often short of words and when it comes to praying we don’t know what to pray for.
“Lighting a candle is a prayer on our behalf – they will remain burning long after you leave here.
“We are delighted to be able to work together as two different denominations and respond to this.”
Fr Paris added: “I am overwhelmed to see so many people here showing their support – as I was overwhelmed to see people come to help with the search.
“People approached me in the town centre and asked what the church was doing. I talked to them and thought this would be an appropriate thing to do.”
After the Lord’s Prayer, those gathered stopped to take posters that had been printed by friend Sally Chapman on their way out.