Thy Kingdom Come – Ascension Day

21st May 2020

Chelmsford Cathedral Choirs has just released a hymn recorded in lockdown to mark Ascension Day today and the start of Thy Kingdom Come – the global prayer movement that invites people around the world to pray everyday for the next ten days until Pentecost (May 31).

The recording of the Ascension hymn, Hail The Day That Sees him Rise went live this morning and is just one of the ways our cathedrals are taking part in Thy Kingdom Come. Every Cathedral will stream services for Ascension Day and Pentecost and many are using the ten days to create a continuous cycle of prayer within their communities – despite lockdown.

Chelmsford Cathedral has also joined Churches Together in Essex and East London (CTEEL) offering five minute daily prayer reflections which will go out on their YouTube channel at 12 noon each day.

Visit the Chelmsford Cathedral YouTube channel here.

Wakefield Cathedral too has joined its local Churches Together initiative to create a ten cycle of prayer that will see every church in the area praying from 7am until midnight every day. It was launched at the city’s historic Sandal Castle at 7am this morning by the Bishop of Wakefield and other local faith leaders. Wakefield will also host Ascension Day and Pentecost services online.

St Edmundsbury Cathedral took worship on high – literally today- to mark Ascension day – the time in the Christian calendar when we remember Jesus ascension to heaven.

The Dean of St Eds, the Very Revd Joe Hawes live streamed a short service of prayers and readings from the top of their Millennium Tower at 8am.

“As the guidance now allows clergy to livestream from their churches, we wanted to take this opportunity to offer a special and appropriate service for Ascension Day from the magnificent setting of the Cathedral Tower,’ said Sarah Friswell, Cathedral PR and Visits Manager.”

“Though we can’t meet physically to mark these special days, it is good that modern technology allows us to continue to link with people in their own homes.”

Portsmouth Cathedral will be broadcasting Taize worship at 8.30pm, on Facebook Live every evening from Ascension to Pentecost.

Portsmouth has been broadcasting Morning and Evening Prayer since lockdown started, and saw such positive feedback when they added Compline into the daily cycle of services for Eastertide that they decided to continue to offer this different type of later night worship for Thy Kingdom Come. The services will be broadcast from the homes of members of the Ministry Team (both ordained and lay).

Every year Bristol Cathedral has produced a Novena Prayer Card – a journey through prayer between Ascension Day and Pentecost – but this year lockdown means they have gone online to create NOVENA, a new nine-part series available only on their dedicated YouTube channel..

Each day they will take a different piece of music and explore the journey from darkness to light that it takes its audience on. Novena is presented by Canon Nicola Stanley with a different guest each day plus added material from the musician and verger teams who will give their own personal insight into the music or text of that day’s piece. The short programme closes with a prayer for the day from Canon Nicola. Novena Begins 8.00am, Friday 22 May 2020 on:

And in Canterbury, the Diocese of Canterbury including the Cathedral has re-imagined its planned Day of Prayer and Pilgrimage for the Coronavirus Lockdown.

Pilgrimages across East Kent and a celebration in Canterbury Cathedral had been planned before the pandemic struck. But the team have creatively re-imagined the day so that people can take part from home, while staying connected in prayer.

The Day of Prayer and Pilgrimage will begin at 7pm on Friday 29 May, encouraging everyone to journey together around their own homes, connecting with God through a pilgrimage using everyday objects.

Over four separate hours from 29 – 30 May, videos will be shared from contributors across the whole of the diocese, with people using simple household objects to reflect on God’s presence.

These videos will be premiered on Youtube and Facebook so that people can all join the pilgrimage at the same time, wherever they are.

A celebration event is planned for the close of the day. It will be a musical video montage featuring as many people as possible from across the diocese who have been invited to submit a video of them and their family dancing, singing, or simply walking and waving to a popular and uplifting song.

For information about how to get involved or how to send your video, please email
The deadline for the music video is Tuesday 26 May so please do get in touch as soon as possible.

The Rt Revd Rose Hudson-Wilkin, Bishop of Dover, said:

“The virus has taken many things from us, but it cannot rob us of our connection with one another or of our connection with God.”

“I want us to all be part of this very unique day, helping us to share with one another and to listen for what God may be saying to us in this most unusual season. As we pause to reflect together on those things we see and use every day in our homes, I wonder what we will hear?”

“Our special pilgrimage will allow us to include the whole family, but even for those of us who live alone, it will remind us that we are one family, one diocese, all belonging to the one Body of Christ.”

Bishop Rose will also preach a special Pentecost sermon for Sunday 31 May, which will be available for churches to download in advance.

Visit your cathedral’s website to find out hoe they are observing Thy Kingdom Come and to join in services for Ascension Day and Pentecost.

Visit the Thy Kingdom Come website for downloadable resources.