Some reflections from our 24-hour of focused prayer on 23rd and 24th April 2021
"As we follow Christ in the footsteps of St Chad, we pray that the two million people in our diocese encounter a church that is confident in the gospel, knows and loves its communities, and is excited to find God already at work in the world. We pray for a church that reflects the richness and variety of those communities. We pray for a church that partners with others in seeking the common good, working for justice as a people of hope."
It is exactly 6 months since our last Diocesan Day of Prayer and we were excited to see the way Shaping for Mission has developed since those early days.
We very much appreciated the higher level of engagement from our Deaneries. Once again, we were impressed by the quality and variety of contributions; via Zoom, livestreaming, YouTube as well as in-person groups including prayers by St Chad’s Well. We were encouraged by the support of our brothers and sisters overseas, including Bishop Steve Diseko who had mobilised people across Matlosane Diocese to pray for Lichfield, and Archdeacon Catherine Harper and Bishop Rob Hardwick from the Diocese of Qu’Appelle who had assured us that they would be covering us in prayer.
Revd Anthony Jude Arul gathered a group from his church in Penang to pray for us. It was moving to be reminded by Bishop Michael, during the closing prayers, of the martyrdom of seven of the Melanesian Brotherhood in the Solomon Islands just 18 years ago – a real challenge to us as we seek to be missionary disciples.
Some of the highlights of the day were the wonderful video produced by the pupils of Holy Trinity School, Burton for the Tutbury Deanery and thought provoking powerpoints from REVS and Transforming Communities Together, livestreaming from Telford, Trysull and West Bromwich deaneries and various contributions to our Diocesan Facebook group. We were also very pleased to be supported by Diocesan departments, and by staff and friends of Lichfield Cathedral. We were delighted to have a dedicated Zoom room throughout the 24-hour period and hope that the next time we will see it occupied for the whole time.
We look forward, in the coming weeks, to hearing about the impact the Day of Prayer has had on our deaneries; for example, Oswestry Deanery used this as an opportunity to launch a deanery prayer group. Please encourage people to use the Weekly Diocesan Prayer Diary which is currently going through the Deaneries in turn and praying for their engagement with Shaping for Mission.
(Prayer used during the closing service of the Day of Prayer)