National Day of Reflection and Prayer
The nation will join together on Tuesday 23 March for a National Day of Reflection, organised by Marie Curie, and for Christians, this will be a day to both reflect and pray.
Across the country, churches are invited to be prayerful one year on from the start of the first lockdown. There will be a minute’s silence at 12 noon followed by a ringing of church bells and later a doorstep vigil at 8pm.
The National Day of Reflection looks to reflect on our collective loss, support those who have been bereaved, and hope for a brighter future.
From Church leaders
Church leaders from many of our national Member Churches are encouraging their members pause and pray
Cardinal Vincent Nichols, CTE President and President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales said: “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 Archbishop of Canterbury, and CTE President Justin Welby said: “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.”
Rev Dr Hugh Osgood, the Free Churches Moderator and Free Churches President of Churches Together in England, endorses the call to prayer on the Day of Remembrance 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.'
General Secretary of Churches Together in England, Rev Dr. Paul Goodliff said: “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.”
His Eminence, Archbishop Dr A. C. C. Evangelou MBE (International President of the Ixthus Church Council) said: ‘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 anyway during this pandemic. We also offer up our gratitude and admiration for those doctors, nurses, front lines workers and many others for their dedication and selfless service in helping and supporting so many in these days of extreme challenge.’
Ruth Lowe, District Superintendent for the Wesleyan Holiness Church UK said: 'We stand in solidarity with this Call to Prayer and will pause, pray and lament for our country.'
Bishop Alvin Blake, Calvary Church of God in Christ supports this National Day of Reflection and Prayer and said: '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.'
Special Apostle John Adegoke, Unification Council of Cherubim and Seraphim Churches (Europe Chapter) said: 'The call to prayer of the Roman Catholic Bishops Conference on Tuesday 23 March is commendable and should be embraced by all Christians. The principal focus of the Cherubim & Seraphim Church is on Prayer for different needs at all times. We will therefore disseminate this request to all our congregations to encourage all members to observe this call in collaboration with other denominations, believing that the more efficacious our prayers will be when we harmonise our faith with other believers coherently. In His mercy, may the Lord hear our prayers.'
Rev 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.'
Bishop Cresswell Green, Joint Council of Churches for All Nations (JCCAN) 'We will be mobilising our membership to actively participate...we believe that this initiative by Cardinal Vincent is a wonderful gesture of the Body of Christ uniting in seeking His guidance and continued protection, not only for our nation, but the whole world.'
Rev Richard Teal and Carolyn Lawrence, the President and Vice-President of the Methodist Conference, have issued this message ahead of the anniversary of the first lockdown: '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...Please join the national Day of Reflection on Tuesday 23 March when there will be a minute’s silence at midday and an invitation to join in lighting your doorstep at 8pm that night.'
Resources for the Day of Reflection and Prayer