The Reverend Professor June Boyce-Tillman


I have been engaged in Interfaith dialogue since 1986. I created Space for Peace to show how dignity in the area of spirituality can be given musically. It has been carried out for 9 years in Winchester cathedral as well as in a Hindu temple on Southampton, St John’s church in Hackney and recently in the University . In these various venues we assembled together local groups from a variety of sources – community choirs, schools, the university, church choristers, a Rabbi, a cantor , an imam, a Buddhist monk, a Hindu singer and community and school choirs. Some were older and singing for fun, others were skilled musicians, age range 7-85. It originally used Winchester cathedral as a resonant meditative space able to contain and merge diversity without obliterating it. The groups sang together initially and for the middle section were situated around the space singing when they thought it right. The musical material included popular songs from various cultures, motets, hymns, worship songs and chanting. This section ended with a candle lit peace procession on a single note. The vigil was designed to reflect a new model of peace-making It was not liturgy as practised in the great faiths, but it showed the creativity of a diverse group of people given freedom to exercise their own choices – unity without uniformity. It showed how both unity (the single note chant) and diversity – the central section could be embraced musically.

These chants were designed for choirs who learn orately. Each is a tune in its own right. Of these one Sing of a place – was written based on Wilfrid Owen’s poem Strange Meeting – where two soldiers wish they had met somewhere other than a battlefield. Shalom is based on a Hebrew chant with a slight modification to include Salaam. Where there is love was written originally for a Christmas service. Come flowing air is based on a Hildegard of Bingen antiphon and is part of another quodlibet based on the elements, along with Walk gently. . Lead us from death to Life is a setting of a Peace prayer that started life in Hinduism. As the water with the rock was written especially for the Space for Peace. I wanted to create something that all could sing conscientiously.

This was done every Holocaust Memorial day in Winchester cathedral for 9 years and it involves about 400 people from a variety of faiths and none

        Plan of the event


  1. Movement One: Chanting for Peace – The mixture of chants
  2. Movement Two: Finding our place – Moving to different paces around the cathedral
  3. Movement Three: Creating peace – in the middle section people sing for a while and then wander around and listen to others or pray. Amazing things happen like the rabbi crossing to the imam and deciding they can sing a verse of the Koran together and singing it in a Christian pulpit. Sometimes we have dancers and film makers. Some singers are excellent; others are ordinary members of congregations singing as they would in their worship. The cathedral mixes the rabbi chanting Lamentations with the imam chanting the call to prayer, the children singing ‘I think to myself what a wonderful world’ and the church choir singing a hymn.
  4. Movement Four: Peace procession – Here the complexity of the middle section dissolves onto a single note and the candle lit processions move back to the chancel.
  5.  Movement Five: The Gathering
  6. Movement Six: Final silent vigil for Peace – A small group sit in the choir and listen to the cathedral settling down into peace. A beautiful time with a special quality of silence after the complex sound
  • Comments following the event
  1. Will youth guitars, visiting choirs,

Sermons of deans and Handel’s Hallelujahs
all combine with organ notesin one triumphant shout of praisebefore the world dissolves?For me the process began last night.Thank you.


  1. A superb atmosphere of peace and the Cathedral almost seemed to come alive with the artists’ presence.

  1. I loved being able to wander around and stop and listen as the mood took me.

  2. Kasam Sumra’s Call to prayer from the Cathedral pulpit was a stroke of interfaith genius!

  1. Pooja Rana created a wonderful devotional atmosphere in the small chapel.

  1. Sounds of New Gospel created a vibrancy as one walked through the Cathedral
  1. Space for peace” was one of the high points of my life. ….The cathedral was cleared of chairs which was wonderful – one great echoing space. It was all about peace – calls for peace constantly mingling and changing. …I was able to sit and meditate on the stone floor in the middle of the North Transept, one of the most beautiful parts. It came to me that “peace is possible”.

These are three of the communal chants:

Sing of place, a flowering field

Where divisions end

I’ll meet you there

I’ll meet you there.

Shalom my friends, salaam my friends, shalom, salaam

May peace my friends be with you today

Shalom, sallam

Where there is love and joy and peace, Where there is love, forgiveness grows.

This was a A Place of paradox

In certain circumstances, truth is a paradoxical joining of apparent opposites, and if we want to know that truth we must learn to embrace those opposites as one.

..This is the realm of profound truth – where, if we want to know what is essential, we must stop thinking the world into pieces and start thinking it together again.











The Peace Walk was created in May 2017 for the United Reformed Church at Crookham, Northumberland, for the Peace Walk created for the anniversary of the Battle of Flodden. It represents a journey through anger and repression to conflict. Loss and desolation follow leading to dialogue. Attention to geo-politics leads to a space for picnics and play. Living in harmony leads to reflection.



..This is the realm of profound truth – where, if we want to know what is essential, we must stop thinking the world into pieces and start thinking it together again.