The Commonwealth Games will be held in Birmingham (with some events being held in Sandwell, Wolverhampton, Coventry and Warwick) from…
National Day of Reflection and Prayer
One year on from the announcement of the first national Covid-19 lockdown, Tuesday 23 March has been designated a National Day of Reflection by the Marie Curie organisation (Link HERE). The National Day of Reflection is to enable everyone to reflect on our collective loss, to support those who have been bereaved and to ignite hope for a brighter future. At 12noon, there will be a minute’s silence, followed by the ringing of church bells. At 8.00pm, people are invited to take part in a doorstep vigil.
For the Christian community, Tuesday’s anniversary will provide an opportunity to both reflect and to pray.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols (President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales) says, ‘We reflect in hope that, as the pandemic is controlled and we open up our lives again, we will gather in the lessons we have learned and build our society into a better shape, more compassionate, less marked by inequalities, more responsive to needs and deprivation. We ask for the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to guide and strengthen us in this endeavour, whether we are focussing on overcoming family breakdowns, economic recovery, or building political consensus.’
The Most Revd Justin Welby (Archbishop of Canterbury) writes, ‘This Day of Reflection is an opportunity to pause and remember all that’s happened over the past year, to mourn those who have died but also to give thanks for those who have looked after us and our communities. It is a moment to pray together to our Father in Heaven to comfort us in our grief and to lead us into the hope of the risen Christ and the eternal life he promises. As we reflect on the pandemic, may He strengthen our resolve to rebuild a kinder, fairer and more compassionate society, may He be with those who are struggling and may He guide us in honouring those we have lost over the past year.’
Revd Dr Hugh Osgood (Free Churches Moderator and Free Churches President of Churches Together in England), endorses the call to prayer on 23 March saying, ‘It is fitting that the day we set aside to remember should also be the day when we bring together the strength of our many prayer initiatives across the nation to raise our voices prayerfully as one.’
His Eminence, Archbishop Dr A. C. C. Evangelou MBE (International President of the Ixthus Church Council) says, ‘I commend and fully support the initiative to have a day of reflection on the anniversary of the UK’s first Covid lockdown. Our prayers and thoughts of compassion are extended to all the families that have experienced the loss of loved ones and to those that have suffered hardship in any way during this pandemic. We also offer up our gratitude and admiration for those doctors, nurses, front-line workers and many others for their dedication and selfless service in helping and supporting so many in these days of extreme challenge.’
Revd Dr Paul Goodliff (General Secretary of Churches Together in England) says, ‘The churches in membership with CTE want to ‘fan the flames’ of prayer at every opportunity, and I welcome the way in which we can not only remember the past year on this National Day of Remembrance, with all of its challenges and sorrows, but also as Christians bring together remembrance and prayer. Our hope, whether in life or death, is in the mercy and kindness of God, and we join with so many who will pray on the 23 March.’
Revd Lynn Green (General Secretary of Baptists Together) says ‘A year on, we pause together to reflect. I would encourage all of us to take a moment on 23 March to remember and to acknowledge the losses we have experienced, the pain of our communities and the struggles the pandemic has created across our world. As we pause, we pray in hope to God who calls us by name and leads us with the promise of perfect, unending love.’
The Revd Richard Teal and Carolyn Lawrence (President and Vice-President of the Methodist Conference) write, ‘The past year has asked much of us as individuals, families and communities. For many hundreds of thousands of us it has been a time of immense grief for the loss of loved ones. For others the economic uncertainty and restrictions on our day to day activities have taken a huge toll on mental wellbeing. Others may be living with the effects of long Covid not knowing how long it will last. We pray that this anniversary will be a time of deep reflection, prayer and a time to process all that has passed. We also mark a solemn time in Lent just ahead of Holy Week. As we begin the journey to the cross, let us take comfort in the knowledge that we are never alone, that Jesus is walking with us and that our hope lies in him’ (Link HERE).
Bishop Alvin Blake (Calvary Church of God in Christ) supports this National Day of Reflection and Prayer, ‘Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! Psalm 133:1. As we reflect on the events of the past year there is no better way for each of us to press forward than to be joined together in worship and prayer as we lift our hearts to God in submission to His perfect will being done on earth as it is in heaven.’