If you have heard the bells ringing every evening since the start of lockdown Mark Two, at St John’s, Hale, and St George’s, Badshot Lea, and have wondered what is going on, the answer is that this is part of a call to prayer.
The archbishops and bishops are calling on everyone to pray at 6pm every day throughout lockdown and churches each to ring a single bell at the same time.
The archbishops wrote: “Bearing in mind our primary vocation as the Church of Jesus Christ to pray and to serve we call upon the Church of England to make this month of lockdown a month of prayer. More than anything else, whatever the nation thinks, we know that we are in the faithful hands of the risen Christ who knows our weaknesses, tiredness and struggles and whose steadfast love endures for ever.
“Above all we recall people to some of the fundamental spiritual disciplines that shape our Christian life. How we do this is up to each congregation and clergy person. We will publish resources to support you… During the first lockdown we cheered for the NHS every Thursday. During this second lockdown we invite you to fast in a way appropriate to you as well as pray for our nation every Thursday, for its leaders, its health and essential services and all those who suffer.”
St John’s is also open for private prayer on Thursdays and Sundays, and St George’s on Tuesdays and Saturdays.