Churches prepare to mark Anglican Communion Sunday on 24 May
Churches around the world are preparing to mark Anglican Communion Sunday this weekend. While some provinces set aside a different day for Anglican Communion Sunday, many hold it on the Sunday closest to the feast of Saint Augustine of Canterbury, who was sent by Pope Gregory to evangelise Britain in AD 595 and who is recognised as the very first Archbishop of Canterbury.
An international service had been planned to take place in London’s Westminster Abbey, but this has been cancelled because of the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions in England. The Primate of Hong Kong, Archbishop Paul Kwong, is Chair of the Anglican Consultative Council. He had been expected to preach at that service but will instead give the sermon in Sunday’s video-based worship service produced by the Anglican Communion Office.
That service, which will feature voices and languages from across the Communion, will be available online at anglicancommunion.org/worship from 7pm GMT on Saturday 23 May. It will be introduced and closed by the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon.
In addition, Dr Idowu-Fearon will be reading the New Testament lesson in an audio-based service produced by Westminster Abbey. That service will be available online at westminster-abbey.org/podcast at 8am GMT on Sunday 24 May.
Anglican Communion Sunday is a day to pray and give thanks for the Anglican Communion and the bonds of affection that bind its member churches.
Mothers’ Union move Thy Kingdom Come global prayer movement service online
An international service organised by the Mothers’ Union will take place online rather than in-person. Plans had been made for the special service to take place at Coventry Cathedral in England, but can’t take place because of the Covid-19 lockdown.
The Mothers’ Union is inviting supporters to join them on its Facebook page for what it describes as “an annual service of fellowship” which is part of “a global moment of prayer, worship and thanks.”
Thy Kingdom Come is a global prayer moment which principally invites Christians around the world to pray between Ascension (21 May) and Pentecost (31 May) and has grown from an invitation to clergy of the Church of England to a global ecumenical movement.
The sermon will be given by the Mothers’ Union Central Chaplain, the Bishop of Penrith, Dr Emma Ineson. It will also feature Bob Key, Thy Kingdom Come’s lead for the Anglican Communion. The service will also include Mothers’ Union member Thembsie Mchunu, Mothers’ Union Worldwide Trustee for Central Africa, Nigeria, South Sudan and Southern Africa, and the Mothers’ Union Worldwide President, Sheran Harper.
“Thy Kingdom Come has become a wonderful moment in the year where we can join together to rejoice in God’s love and pray that God will bring transformation and change lives of those within our communities”, Sheran Harper said. “This year is no different and perhaps it is a moment we need more than ever because at this time it feels especially right that we join together to pray and to give thanks in our prayers to our frontline workers, but also to our friends and family as we trust in hope to bring us together once more, not only in our places of worship but together in our homes, on our streets and the places that we meet.”
You can join the service at the Mother’s Union Facebook page at 1pm GMT on Friday 22 May.
Bishop joins other Christian and religious leaders to explain suspension of public worship
The Bishop of West Tennessee, Phoebe Roaf, has joined other Christian and religious leaders in Memphis to explain the necessity of suspending public worship. In the US, lockdown restrictions are a matter for State and local governments; and there is some public pushback from so-called “freedom” advocates.
In a joint video message, the religious leaders say: “we love the vulnerable and the lonely, those on the front line of healing and supply chains, so until it’s safer, many of us are delaying face-to-face gatherings.”
Their message to the community is “stay vigilant, Memphis.” Citing the moral demands of their faiths to value the health and safety of others. They say: “we will wait a little bit longer to gather in face-to-face worship, because my choice and my freedom cannot come at the expense of your safety and health.”
West Virginia church’s mobile health unit deployed for Covid-19 testing
[Episcopal News Service, by David Paulsen] In 2017, St James’ Episcopal Church in Lewisburg, West Virginia, led a coalition of community partners in forming a plan to create a mobile health unit – a 16-foot box trailer outfitted with a small exam room – that health agencies could take around the county, especially to support their work with people suffering from opioid addiction.
With $10,000 [USD, approximately £8,150 GBP) in state grants and another $10,000 from the Diocese of West Virginia, the unit was finished in 2019 and dedicated in a ceremony held last November. It was first deployed, as a pop-up substance abuse clinic on 2 March this year.
Then the coronavirus pandemic hit. Now the mobile health unit is being used by a local medical clinic to offer free Covid-19 tests. The partnership highlights the range of ways Episcopal churches in West Virginia are supporting their communities as they respond to the ongoing public health crisis. That work fits naturally with the church’s call to serve, said St James’ Rector, Joshua Saxe.
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