Since the first lockdown began in 2020, hundreds of thousands of people have died. Too many lives have been cut short and millions have been bereaved.
Behind the statistics and whatever the cause, every death has been devastating for the people left behind.
Join us on 23 March, the first anniversary of the first UK lockdown, for a National Day of Reflection to reflect on our collective loss, support those who’ve been bereaved, and hope for a brighter future.
Saint Mary’s in Billericay High Street will be open from 10.00 am to 4,00 pm for anyone who may want to call in.
There are still tough times ahead, as the death toll continues to rise. This annual day will give us all time to pause and think about this unprecedented loss we’re facing, and support each other through grief in the years to come.
There will be a national minute’s silence at 12 noon to create a moment that shows support for those who have been bereaved. People are also asked to connect with someone who is grieving. That might mean sending a card, a message, some flowers or calling someone for a chat. This is a prayer you might like to use:
Heavenly Father, our ever-present help in trouble, our fortress and our God: calm the anxious fears of all who turn to you; give strength and healing to those who are sick, and courage and skill to those who care for them; grant wisdom and clarity to those in authority; and humble us all to call upon you that we may be saved not only in this life, but also for that which is to come, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
These prayers might also be helpful.
You hold all our times in your hands, our past, our present, our future. Be close to us now as we remember all the difficulties and disappointments of the past year. Be especially close to all of us who are thinking of someone we loved and knew, but see no longer, whether family, friend, colleague or neighbour. Help us to trust that they are at peace with you, and comfort us with your presence.
You place us in families and communities, and we give you thanks for all those around us who serve us and help us in so many ways. Give wisdom to community leaders, to our schools, hospitals, care homes and other agencies who make a difference to our lives. Help each of us to have the courage to reach out with thanks and kindness to those around us and to speak words of faith as we share the good news of your love.
As we journey towards Easter, help us to live as people of hope, knowing that beyond the pain of the cross lies the joy of resurrection. Inspire us in our worship, through our churches and in our homes, that we may bring glory to you and joy to others. Be with those who are struggling in mind, body or spirit, and give courage to those who are facing uncertainty and change ahead. Help each of us to keep our eyes fixed on you, that we may reflect your light to all whom we meet.
God of Love,
As we think about all that has changed this year,
help us to trust that you are always with us.
As we remember those who have died,
help us to trust they are at peace with you.
As we reach out to others with kindness and care,
may hope shine out in every heart and home.
A prayer for 23 March
Lord Jesus Christ,
when fear and anxiety besiege us
and hope is veiled in grief,
hold us in your wounded hands
and make your face shine on us again,
for you are our Lord and God.
A prayer for all those affected by coronavirus
Keep us, good Lord,
under the shadow of your mercy
in this time of uncertainty and distress.
Sustain and support the anxious and fearful,
and lift up all who are brought low;
that we may rejoice in your comfort
knowing that nothing can separate us
from your love in Jesus Christ our Lord.
A prayer for all who mourn
as we remember before you
the thousands who have died,
surround us and all who mourn
with your strong compassion.
Be gentle with us in our grief,
protect us from despair,
and give us grace to persevere
and face the future with hope
in Jesus Christ our risen Lord.
A prayer remembering the departed
Lord of all, we praise you
for all whom we love but see no longer,
who have entered into their rest.
Give us grace to follow in their footsteps
as they followed in the way of your Son.
Thank you for the memory of those you have called to yourself:
by each memory, turn our hearts from things seen
to things unseen,
and lead us till we come to the eternal rest
you have prepared for your people,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
A Prayer for the week
Most merciful God,
who by the death and resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ
delivered and saved the world:
grant that by faith in him who suffered on the cross
we may triumph in the power of his victory;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.