So how do we maintain our life of prayer and spiritual solidarity in the midst of it all – especially at a time when prayer is so vital …. For the anxious and suffering, for healthcare workers and medical researchers, for those who must make difficult decisions in public health and in government. I offer but a few suggestions
- it is hoped that, particularly on Sundays but on other days too, church buildings would be very visibly ‘open’ to be used as places of prayer and peace. Subject to good practice surrounding social distancing and hygiene, resources for prayer might be provided, whether on paper or on screens, reflective music played, etc. And buildings which welcome people in this way should if possible be heated.
- People should be encouraged to use the worship opportunities provided by national and local broadcasters. On Sunday March 15 for example RTE televise at 1110 a pre recorded bilingual Church of Ireland Eucharist suitable for St Patrick’s tide
- Many parish clergy will use social media as a means of sharing short acts of worship, reflection and prayer amongst parishioners. This is to be encouraged and our Diocesan Communications Officer Margaret Hawkins is striving to form an overview of initiatives in this area
- From next weekend and for as long as this situation continues, I intend to offer personally via YouTube and our own diocesan online platforms a short time of reflection and prayer for each Sunday that may be of some modest value around the diocese
- Parishioners who seek individual ministry of care and prayer must never hesitate to contact their local clergy. In the midst of prevailing circumstances, appropriate ways will always be found to help people realise that they are being prayed for and cared for, that they are never on their own and that definite pastoral need will never be left unaddressed.
No doubt further reflections and ideas will be offered as the situation unfolds. Meanwhile we can but strive to mull over those familiar words which are at the heart of our faith – ‘in nothing be anxious, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God which passes all understanding will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus’. ( Philippians 4. 6,7)
CoI News: Bishop John McDowell elected as new Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland: The Rt Revd John McDowell, Bishop of Clogher, has been elected by the House of Bishops as the new Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland. He succeeds… https://t.co/JntgEDX3Qm pic.twitter.com/GfaPi1nm8J
— Church of Ireland (@churchofireland) March 11, 2020