We had a fantastic day on Saturday as Archbishop Justin visited the Diocese for a day of focussed prayer for our parishes, schools and communities as well as the many issues facing our world at the moment.
The day started with a prayer breakfast at St Helen’s Church in Worcester where local clergy from different denominations joined to eat and pray together.
Archbishop Justin reminded us that ‘prayer is not about what we do, but about what God does’ and that we shouldn’t wait until people are Christians to tell them about prayer but invite them to pray with us and let God sort out any issues.
Archbishop Justin was joined by members of his staff as well as a number of people from the Community of St Anselm based at Lambeth Palace. Anglicans from across the world apply to be part of the community of prayer and spend a year exploring different religious movements.
After breakfast, the prayer pilgrimage moved to Top Church in Dudley where over 300 people were gathered. In the context of worship, Archbishop Justin was interviewed by Archdeacon Nikki and they discussed how people might start praying if they haven’t prayed before and Archbishop Justin’s habit of praying while on his exercise bike! Bishop Martin led the congregation in prayer after which there was a chance for everyone to be anointed with oil by the Archbishop.
Over lunch we gathered at Pershore Abbey, where a packed church heard some thoughts on how to pray from Himbleton CE First School. The young people asked some incredibly thoughtful questions of Archbishop Justin and we created paper aeroplane prayers with everyone taking someone else’s prayer home with them to pray!
The final stop on the prayer pilgrimage was at Worcester Cathedral. Here those gathered sang and prayed together and Archbishop Justin was interviewed by our Director of Communications Sam Setchell. They explored why people might feel their prayers hadn’t been answered and some of the more unusual places that Archbishop Justin had prayed – including that he wouldn’t drop the crown at the King’s Coronation and when his life had been threatened on an overseas visit! A number of prayer stations were then set up around the Cathedral with people exploring different ways to pray.
Prayer is one of Archbishop Justin’s stated priorities and as a Diocese we have committed to pray for growth. The prayer pilgrimage was a great way of focussing on this together.
Bishop John said: “I was absolutely delighted that Archbishop Justin was able to spend the day with us – we had an amazing and inspirational day. Prayer should be the bedrock of all we do, and this was an opportunity to learn from Archbishop Justin and support each other in this.”