The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have issued a call to the nation to pause and reflect, and to remember the more than 100,000 people from across the UK who have died after contracting Covid-19, and for all those who know and love them.
In an open letter, Archbishops Justin Welby and Stephen Cottrell invite everyone across England, whether somebody of faith or not, to stop and pause for a moment, and to reflect on the “enormity of this pandemic” and to pray.
Acknowledging the wider impact of the pandemic on the whole of society through loneliness, anxiety and economic hardship, they invite people to “cast their fears on God”. Starting from 1 February we are all invited to set aside time every evening to pray, particularly at 6pm each day. More than ever, this is a time when we need to love each other and prayer is an expression of love. A number of resources will be made available at www.ChurchofEngland.org/PrayerForTheNation.
The letter also speaks of the particular impact of the pandemic on poorer communities, minority ethnic communities and those living with disabilities. It acknowledges many who have lost their livelihoods as a result of the economic impact of the pandemic and it speaks about those unable to be with loved ones as they died or even at their graveside because of the restrictions.
The Archbishops give thanks for NHS and social care staff, who they describe as “a blessing and lifeline for our nation”; for clergy, other frontline workers and “so many good neighbours”. They give thanks for the development of vaccines and reiterate a call to everyone to take the vaccine when it is offered. They also urge people to support each other both by following the guidelines to limit the spread of the virus and in practical ways, reaching out in care and kindness.