“In a year when our energies and resourcefulness have been severely tested, we can do nothing better than bring our need to God.”
Adrian Dorber, Dean of Lichfield. Chair of the AEC
As we wake up in lockdown this morning, know we are here.
Cathedrals will be leading prayers every evening and ringing their bells where they can do so safely, as they join in the call by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York and senior church leaders for a month of prayer for the nation during this second lockdown.
During the month-long lockdown, people will be encouraged to join them and pray daily, wherever they are, for areas of national concern including the NHS, frontline workers, those who have lost loved ones, those struggling with physical and mental ill health and children and young people. This will culminate in a collective moment of prayer at 6pm each evening, with cathedrals and churches across the country invited to ring a bell at this time.
Each week a specific prayer will be shared, and these, and other resources will be shared on social media using the hashtag #PrayerForTheNation and can all be found on the Church of England website.
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The Very Revd Adrian Dorber, the Dean of Lichfield and chair of the Association of English Cathedrals, said:
“We know our cathedrals are places of assurance and inspiration for many people when life is tough and hope is short, and now more than ever, it is important to show our presence and mark each day of this lockdown with prayers, and keep a time each evening to ring our bells as a call to pray for our nation.
“It’s good to know we’ll do all this alongside and in solidarity with people of good will, people of faith and everyone searching for answers and meaning.
“It comes at the end of a year when our energies and resourcefulness have been severely tested. We can do nothing better than bring our need to God.”
Cathedrals including Durham, Liverpool, Lichfield and Exeter have joined the call to pray for the nation; St Albans will ring the Angelus every day at 6pm followed by a hymn tune on the carillon as a daily call to prayer for all those in lockdown, while Gloucester intends to play Guide me O thou Great Redeemer from the bells at 6pm on the first day of lockdown and plans to move its Evening Prayer on Zoom to 6pm and will be sharing different hymn tunes over the coming weeks.
Cathedral Isle of Man, which has been Covid-free for months, has also joined the call and said it will be praying for the country in lockdown and will ring out the Angelus too.
The call for this collective national wave of prayer comes as both Archbishops have encouraged churches to redouble their efforts to serve their local communities and those most vulnerable ahead of the second lockdown.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said:
“On the brink of this second lockdown we might understandably feel helpless, anxious and vulnerable. ….. Prayer is my first response when I feel out of my depth, when I need help, when I am worried, when I am concerned for those I love.
“It is a gift that God gives to all – whether you are a regular pray-er or not – bring your cares and the cares of the nation to God. For God loves and hears and holds. Prayer changes things.”
The Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, said:
“Prayer changes things. It changes things by inviting God into the room.
“At this challenging time when all of us are fearful and anxious, and when so many are suffering, it is the one thing we can all do.
“We can pray and invite God to change us, giving us the solace, strength and comfort we need for the difficult winter that is ahead of us.
“Let’s pray together at this difficult time.”