On the anniversary of the murder of Sheffield organist Alan Greaves, St Saviour's will be taking to the streets in his memory and inviting the people of High Green to come and celebrate Christmas. Alan Greaves was brutally attacked and later died as he walked to play the organ at the midnight service last Christmas Eve.
Simon Bessant, the Vicar of High Green who worked with Alan said, “We cannot ignore the anniversary of the attack upon Alan, but we don’t want to simply hold another memorial event. So, rather than have our usual midnight service, we have decided to go out to the place where such a dark and brutal event took place last Christmas Eve. We don’t believe that darkness should have the last word, so we are going to have a celebration of light at the place and time that Alan died.”
Maureen Greaves, Alan’s widow and a Church Army evangelist, fully supports this idea. “Rather than have a midnight service in church, I think that it is so very appropriate to be outside. I can’t bear the thought of remembering Alan walking in the darkness alone last Christmas Eve, so having as many people present with me will be a great comfort. Celebrating the light of Christ at Christmas time was what Alan was intending to do last year, but never made it. This year we can do that for him. I really hope as many people as possible will come out on to the streets to celebrate Christmas with me.”
The celebration will begin at 11.00pm on Christmas Eve night at the railings on the east end of Greengate Lane, the very place where Alan was attacked. Large flaming torches will mark the site and everybody who attends will be given a hand held candle. Carol singing will be led by local singers and everyone will be given a carol sheet and invited to join in. There will be a reading of the story of the birth of Jesus and the Bishop of Sheffield will give a short address. At 11.20pm there will be a minute’s silence and Maureen will lay a wreath. More carol singing will follow. Finally, when it all finishes at 11.30pm, the church will be giving out free mulled wine and mince pies.
The Vicar continued, “Whilst we will be remembering Alan, we also want to celebrate. So carol singing and eating and drinking seem to be totally appropriate. I think that this is what Alan would have wanted us to do.”
Maureen Greaves added, “As we celebrate light at Christmas, I’ve asked that we also pray for Jonathan and Ashley who killed my husband. I want them to know that light will always overcome darkness and to find that light for themselves”
Simon Bessant concluded, “This tragic story started last Christmas Eve with an act of deep darkness. Exactly a year later we intend to bring it to a conclusion with a blaze of light”.