6th July 2021
From Bishop Libby
As we marked the anniversary of the NHS yesterday, we heard from the Prime Minister about
expected lifting of restrictions, largely possible because of the extensive rollout of vaccination. I echo
the statement made by the Bishop of London, Chair of the Church of England Covid Recovery Group.
“As Christians, called to love our neighbour as ourselves, we must also exercise collective
responsibility and continue to take appropriate precautions to protect others. Over the past 18
months we have mourned the tens of thousands who have died from Covid-19. I am mindful of those who lives have been radically changed by the effects of long covid. We have all made sacrifices and seen previously unimaginable changes to our way of life as we sought to protect one another and especially those who are most vulnerable.
“In churches that has meant unprecedented restrictions on the way we practise our faith itself,
affecting our ability to meet together, to sing together and to celebrate the sacraments together, all of which are at the heart of our worship. We have seen particular restrictions on the way we marked major events in our lives through baptisms, weddings and funerals; sadly many were denied the basic comforts of sharing moments of joy and pain with others.
“I’ve been inspired by the way churches have risen to the challenge, finding new ways of gathering to worship God, reach out and serve their neighbours in these difficult times. I have been deeply moved by the extraordinary efforts of those working on the front line in our NHS and social care. And I would like to highlight the sacrifices, often overlooked, made by children and young people to protect us all for so long during such a formative time in their lives.“
We are deeply thankful for everyone who has got us through the past 18 months. In my Presidential
Address at Diocesan Synod on Saturday I reflected that thankfulness is the foundation for living out
our faith – as the Prayer of General Thanksgiving reminds us to pray:
“Father of all mercies …we beseech thee, give us that due sense of all thy mercies, that our hearts
may be unfeignedly thankful, and that we shew forth thy praise, not only with our lips, but in our
lives; by giving up ourselves to thy service, and by walking before thee in holiness and righteousness all our days”.
Sunday June 4th was the first national Thank You Day: across the country we gave thanks to all those who have helped us through these months with the pandemic. During this past year and a half we have discovered that we all need one another. I hope you had opportunity both to be grateful and to be appreciated. I want to take the opportunity to thank you…your generosity of spirit meant you’ve kept going, kept growing, kept giving, and the Kingdom of God has been very close.
A prayer for the anniversary of the NHS
God of healing and compassion,
we thank you for the establishment of the National Health Service,
and for the dedication of all who work in it:
give skill, sympathy and resilience
to all who care for the sick,
and your wisdom to those engaged in medical research.
Strengthen all in their vocation through your Spirit,
that through their work many will be restored to health and strength;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.