Tens of thousands of Christians across Britain united to pray as part of the National Day of Prayer and Action on Sunday 22nd March 2020, responding to the call made by Presidents of Churches Together in England (CTE).
Amid the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the globe, candles were lit in thousands of homes across Britain at 7pm on Mothering Sunday, symbolising the light of Christ shining into the darkness.
Even those living in ‘social isolation’ were able to unite in this act of prayer, standing together in solidarity and faith at this time of global crisis.
Social media was flooded with images as people shared their #candleofhope. So many photos were shared that the hashtag #candleofhope became Twitter’s second most trending hashtag in the UK during the evening.
More than 71,500 people viewed the online call to prayer from CTE’s Presidents, where church communities were called to pray and to “light a candle in the windows of your homes as a visible symbol of the light of life, Jesus Christ, our source and hope in prayer.”
Christians across the globe also took part, with photos shared from Malta, Canada and the USA.
Christians are encouraged to continue to pray #prayersofhope and to show acts of kindness to those around them, whilst ensuring they abide by all government health advice.
In sharing his thanks to all who took part in the day of prayer, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, one of CTE’s Presidents, encouraged Christians to “Please commit to praying each day, as well as taking action to look out for your neighbours.”
Churches Together in England is the national ecumenical body which supports and encourages churches to work together in unity at a national, county and local level. In fact, CTE unites the widest range of church traditions in Europe, including Catholic, Anglican, Reformed, Free Church, Orthodox and Pentecostal churches.
Revd Dr Paul Goodliff, General Secretary of CTE, says of the day of prayer: “The heart of Churches Together in England is to see churches working and worshipping together. How significant to see thousands of Christians uniting as one by praying and lighting their #candleofhope, symbolising Christ’s light shining into the darkness.”
The call to prayer, issued by CTE’s Presidents on Tuesday 17th March, encouraged churches: “Whether you are continuing to worship as congregations or not, we have the great privilege and freedom to be able to call upon God, wherever we are, individually and corporately, for healing in our nation.”
It was later that day, 17th March, that churches across the UK were advised to cease gathering in person until further notice, due to the rising number of coronavirus cases. But despite church buildings and gatherings having to close, the overwhelming response to this national call to prayer shows that the church is still very much alive.
Revd Paul Goodliff adds: “The church has certainly not closed. Although we are not able to gather together in person at this time, we as the diverse range of churches across England are seeking creative ways to continue to serve our communities, to support one another and to worship and pray together. The sheer number of churches sharing prayers, messages and services online this Sunday are testament to this.”
“The family of fifty churches in CTE agree with the Archbishops of Canterbury and York; ‘We urge you sisters and brothers to become a different sort of church in these coming months: hopeful and rooted in the offering of prayer and praise and overflowing in service to the world.’”
This call to prayer was supported by CTE’s 50 Member Churches as well as Christian bodies across Britain, including the Evangelical Alliance, Churches Together in Britain and Ireland, Cytûn and churches across Scotland.
Presidents of Churches Together in England who issued this call to prayer are:
Thousands light a #candleofhope in the darkness
Archbishop Justin Welby, The Archbishop of Canterbury
Cardinal Vincent Nichols, The Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster
Revd Dr Hugh Osgood, The Free Churches Moderator
Archbishop Angaelos of London, Archbishop of the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of London and CTE President for the Orthodox Churches
Pastor Agu Irukwu, head of RCCG UK and CTE Pentecostal President
Previous Post about the above:
A City-Wide Call to Prayer and Action:
Building Bristol as a City of Hope in the face of Coronavirus (COVID-19)
We are writing to make you aware of some Prayer and Action across the Bristol region:
1) PRAYER: A National Day of Prayer and Action this Sunday 22nd March, which has been announced by the five Presidents of Churches Together in England, including Archbishop Justin Welby. Please see www.cte.org.uk/calltoprayer
An excerpt from the statement reads:
"This Mothering Sunday, 22nd March, we are calling all churches to a National Day of Prayer and Action. At such a time as this, when so many are fearful and there is great uncertainty, we are reminded of our dependence on our loving Heavenly Father and the future that he holds.
At 7.00 pm this Sunday, light a candle in the windows of your homes as a visible symbol of the light of life, Jesus Christ, our source and hope in prayer."
There is also a basic web page www.cte.org.uk/coronavirusguidance which links to some church guidance web pages which are available, as well as some prayer resources.
We will be hosting a City-Wide Prayer meeting on Zoom, led by some of our Church, City, Business and Prayer leaders from 3 to 4pm this Sunday afternoon, 22nd March.
Please download the Zoom App onto your computer/iPad or phone and join us on the link:- us04web.zoom.us/j/374424631
2) ACTION: This is a time for us as a Christian community, along with others across the city, to show a spirit of generosity and kindness. There are significant numbers of people who are at risk of becoming isolated and increasingly vulnerable.
Feeding Bristol, FareShare, the network of Foodbanks, Bristol Noise, Christian Action Bristol and others are working closely with the Council to secure supplies of food to ensure they are able to support the vulnerable.
Offers of volunteers are increasing, as they will continue to be an essential workforce for storing, handling and then delivering food to those who need it across the city.
How can you help with this great City-wide effort?
• Pray that all agencies involved would have resilience and wisdom as plans are shaped.
• Be generous in donating food and money to the work of the Foodbanks and FareShare – www.christianactionbristol.org.uk/food-poverty
• If you’d like to give toward the work of Feeding Bristol- www.feedingbristol.org/donate/ • Consider volunteering time - www.thenoise.org.uk/bristolchurchresponse
• Look out for isolated and vulnerable people in your local community, or in the street where you live, to support them where possible.
This is a time when we need to come together as a city, to help build Bristol as a City of Hope, and the Christian community has a vital role to play in all of this.
For more details see the Christian Action Bristol website