Bishop’s Message: Diocesan Day of Prayer for COVID-19

The Bishop of Grafton, Dr Murray Harvey, invites people to a Day of Prayer in response to the COVID19 crisis. Watch Bishop Murray’s video message to the Diocese below.

“I invite the whole diocese to a day of prayer for our current crisis. Beginning at 3pm on Good Friday (when we traditionally recall the hour of Jesus’ death on the Cross at Golgotha) and going through until sunset on Easter Eve (Holy Saturday) let’s all join together in prayer.”

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Read the Bishop’s Full Message

Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus(Philippians 4:4-7).

These words from Paul’s letter to the Christians at Philippi have perhaps taken on a new meaning to us all in the last couple of weeks.

Events have moved quickly. What started as an isolated outbreak in one country has put much of the world into lockdown as we cope with a major health crisis.

What an extraordinary time we live in.

Personally I could never have imagined having to write a letter to the diocese effectively closing all the churches in the diocese to public worship for an indefinite period.

This is not the way it’s meant to be: our doors are usually open, offering a welcome to all. Christianity as gathered community (physically gathered) is what we’re used to.

Isolation, as well as health concerns, are causing many to be anxious. And then there’s the economic impact, where the most vulnerable, as always, are the most affected.

I’m grateful, in fact humbled, by the creativity and speed with which so many of the clergy and lay people have been able to produce services of worship to share online, enabling many of us to still feel connected.

The scriptures tell us that at times of crisis, our first response should be to pray.

I invite the whole diocese to a day of prayer for our current crisis. Beginning at 3pm on Good Friday (when we traditionally recall the hour of Jesus’ death on the Cross at Golgotha) and going through until sunset on Easter Eve (Holy Saturday) let’s all join together in prayer. Good Friday to Easter Eve is a time when we recall the disciples’ sense of abandonment and anxiety following the crucifixion, as they scattered in fear and confusion.

This year, of all years, we’ll perhaps be able to understand that feeling more deeply, and yet open our hearts to meet the Risen Christ on the Road to Emmaus at Easter.

Please be assured of my prayers for you at this time.

I invite you to join me in the day of prayer. Pray at home by yourself – we’ll provide some prayers for you to pray; and maybe you’ll be able to join in some of the prayers and liturgies that will be available online during this diocesan day of prayer.

I know that you have been praying already, but as Paul reminds us in Colossians 4:2 (KJV) We should “…continue in prayer, and watch in the same, with thanksgiving”. 

+Murray

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