Marking the anniversary of ‘Prayers of Hope’

On Sunday (21 March), Churches Together in England will mark the anniversary of the start of the first national lockdown and the launch of the ecumenical ‘Prayers of Hope’ initiative. As the coronavirus pandemic began to sweep the globe, candles were lit in thousands of homes on the evening of Sunday 22 March 2020, symbolising the light of Christ shining into the darkness (Link HERE). Through the last year, Christians have continued to join together in prayer at 7.00pm each Sunday evening, with Premier Christian Radio airing a weekly ‘Prayers of Hope’ programme at that time (Link HERE). A special anniversary ‘Prayers of Hope’ programme will be broadcast on Premier at 7.00pm this Sunday, 21 March 2021, during which prayer will be offered by, among others, the Presidents of Churches Together in England (Listed HERE).

Throughout the tragic events of the last year, churches have been very active in prayer. Local prayer gatherings have flourished, as have nationwide initiatives such as the Redeemed Christian Church of God’s ‘Prayer Shield’ (Link HERE), the Church of England’s ‘Prayer for the Nation’ (Link HERE) and the World Prayer Centre’s ‘Watch and Pray.’ The link to the next ‘Watch and Pray’ meeting on Monday 22 March can be found HERE.

In addition, local churches across the nation have been active in serving their communities in creative and caring ways – from providing food and shelter to organising online memorial services, to hosting drive-in carol services. Many church buildings have been turned into temporary vaccination centres and church leaders are promoting vaccine education in a bid to tackle vaccination hesitancy (Report available HERE). Others continue to provide spiritual and emotional support to their communities. Research conducted by ‘Your Neighbour’ reveals that more than 70% of churches have delivered new services during the pandemic, many in areas of community outreach in which they had not previously been active (Read the report HERE).

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