The Bishop of Leicester has called for Christians in our churches across Leicester and Leicestershire to join Tuesday’s Diocese of Europe prayer gathering online at 6pm and has written to all clergy and licensed lay ministers and PCCs.
In his email letter sent today (Monday 28 Feb), the Bishops of Leicester, said:
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
As we watch with horror the unfolding tragedy in Ukraine, it is easy to think that there is nothing that we can do to make a difference. Yet as Christians, we believe in the power of prayer. The Church of England has published prayers which you can find here. And the Diocese of Europe is live-streaming prayers at 6pm GMT on Tuesday 1 March on its website www.europe.anglican.org We hope that you will consider joining them.
Pope Francis has called for a day of prayer and fasting for peace in Ukraine and across the world on Ash Wednesday, 2 March. The Pope has said: “Jesus taught us that the diabolical senselessness of violence is answered with God’s weapons, with prayer and fasting.” We must denounce the action of Russia in invading a free democratic country because it is evil, putting at risk the lives of every Ukrainian and the families of Russian soldiers, but also the relative peace of Europe which we have known for so long.
Peace is the gift of God which has been earnt for us by Jesus on the cross. So just as we believe that prayer affects what goes on in the heavenly realms so too, we believe that prayer changes the one praying. We receive the peace of God in hearts even as we pray for that peace to come on earth. And we receive the wisdom of God as we face difficult questions about whether our own country should increase its defences, or whether we should relax restrictions on refugees entering this country, and how we should protect the economically poorest in our society who will be most affected by the cost of living increases which are a likely result of the sanctions being imposed on Russia. We must pray for our own government as well as the nations of the world as we face these questions together."
In an earlier message to churches on the first day of the invasion of Ukraine, the Bishop of Leicester, the Rt Revd Martyn Snow, said he had spoken to the Anglican Bishop of Europe who is in close contact with the Church in Kyiv. He said: "We have all been shocked to hear the news from Ukraine and in the light of this we are taking the unusual step of emailing all clergy in the diocese with a call to prayer.
"We invite everyone to set aside time for prayer at 6pm on Tuesday. We believe in the power of prayer and a pause to remember the people of Ukraine shows our solidarity."
The Most Revd Justin Welby issued a joint statement with the Archbishop of York, describing the attack on Ukraine as an act of great evil, shorlty after he made an unscheduled Thought for the Day broadcast on Radio 4:
“The horrific and unprovoked attack on Ukraine is an act of great evil. Placing our trust in Jesus Christ, the author of peace, we pray for an urgent ceasefire and a withdrawal of Russian forces. We call for a public decision to choose the way of peace and an international conference to secure long term agreements for stability and lasting peace."