Church of England cathedrals will pray for the healing of the nation and all those working in health and social care services as they mark the Feast of St Luke, the patron saint of medicine and healing this Sunday (Oct 18).
“We may have stopped clapping them, but we have not forgotten them” The Very Revd David Monteith, Dean of Leicester and the Chair of the College of Deans
They shared a prayer this week as the country began to prepare for further restrictions to save lives and protect the NHS following a steep rise in the Covid infection rates across many parts of England.
And they are inviting people to send in their own prayer requests to their cathedrals and/or join them where they are by using the prayer, or lighting a candle for the NHS, their local hospital, GP, frontline and social care workers.
The Very Revd David Monteith, Dean of Leicester and Chair of the College of Deans of the Church of England said:
“We may have stopped clapping them but we have not forgotten them.
“This Sunday our Cathedrals across England will especially pray for all those working in the NHS and health and social care services, asking for strength and giving thanks to God for all they do.
‘We’ve come to see afresh that the physical and mental health of our communities can’t ever be an afterthought.
“Health and social care professionals tell me they are tired. They now face renewed demands and risks. Yet they are still offering their care and expertise to enable us to be treated or healed. I see in them a profound sense of vocation and compassion.
“Please join with us in praying too,” he added.
Exeter Cathedral launched a social media campaign this week raising awareness of the Feast of St Luke and encouraging followers to add their prayers for health and healing to Exeter Cathedral’s virtual prayer wall which you can find here.
The service on Sunday will speak on health and oppression with the preacher, Canon Mike Williams, drawing on his background as an NHS chief executive.
In Gloucester Cathedral, prayers will be said for all NHS workers under the installation of Gaia, a touring artwork of the Earth by UK artist Luke Jerram which measures seven metres in diameter and was suspended in the nave on Monday. Gaia is a key part of Gloucester Cathedral’s Beacon of Hope campaign which aims to support the recovery of the city and county following the Covid-19 pandemic with a programme of collaborative cultural activities.
Wells Cathedral will hold a special Evensong to pray for the NHS on Sunday afternoon while Southwell Minster’s Sunday services in church and online will give thanks and prayers to all those working in the healthcare industries and those affected by the Coronavirus.
Chester Cathedral is holding a Special Service of Holiness, Healing and Hope to mark St Luke’s Day with words, music from the nave choir, and prayer to bring God’s stillness, peace and wholeness to our lives and world.
In Birmingham the Cathedral will introduce Pause for Prayer for St Luke’s on their YouTube channel and hope to share prayers in their communities. In Leicester Cathedral the service will focus on health and healing and include testimony from Professor Martin Dyer, Professor of Haemato-Oncology and Honorary Consultant Physician at the University of Leicester and Leicester Royal Infirmary. Martin will reflect on how health and healing can be understood in the light of his Christian faith and explore how Covid 19 has impacted his work and that of his colleagues.
The Very Revd Adrian Dorber, Dean of Lichfield and Chair of the Association of English Cathedrals said:
“As the country goes into a period of tougher restrictions with the rise in Covid infections, Cathedrals offer their constant prayers for the people most directly affected: for national life as we re-enter tough times, for all researchers and health care professionals seeking to develop a vaccine and treat those with the virus, and for all decision-makers making hard decisions about public health and our economic well-being.
“Every cathedral welcomes prayer requests; as we celebrate St Luke’s day on October 18th, the patron saint of medicine and healing, we will be focussing our prayer on health and an end to all forms of oppression as we stand together keeping the day for the healing of the nation and as a stand against modern slavery.”