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Joining together for the Bishop’s Day of Prayer

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The day started at 9.30am with Bishop Graham leading opening worship which can still be viewed on the Norwich Cathedral YouTube channel, here.

Bishop Graham opened by saying:

“We gather in this ancient place of prayer, this place of Benedictine foundation, remembering that the very first word that Benedict wrote in his Rule is the word ‘Listen’. And that is essentially what we do today. We come before God to listen. To listen attentively. To listen to have our own ideas changed and transformed.

“Our egos shaped in another way. We come to listen to what God desires and longs and hopes for the life of this diocese. Because any vision is somehow always incomplete because it is just a reflection, a fraction of God’s desire for us. So, part of our listening today is to listen to the wind of the Holy Spirit at this Pentecost time. St Bede wrote that we simply set our ship and pull up the sails to be filled with the Holy Spirit to guide us where God guides us. So today, in a sense is a hoisting of the sails allow the ship of this diocese to be guided b God into the future. A future that we do not yet know, that comes to us with hope and joy.

“So, we are called to listen ever more attentively to the God who seeks to bring transformation in Christ to us. Who longs for us to be prayerful people, a pastoral people, and a prophetic people.”

Throughout the day, small groups from deaneries across the diocese lead sessions committing to prayer the Diocesan Vision. In the style of a prayer relay – each group gathered in a different area of the Cathedral to focus both on the Vision and on particular issues or localities – handing on the baton throughout the day.

Some deaneries even managed to live stream their prayer-time via their church’s digital channels. From liturgy to creative visual aids, music and dancing, the care, thought and preparation of each group was so evident as intercessions and prayers were offered for the life of our church in this time and place.

Nicky Burr led a team of pray-ers in St Luke’s Chapel with a focus on the caring professions. She said, “It has been really special to be here and to profile the whole area of health and wholeness – which is particularly important to me. It’s been great to join with others and be expectant in prayer.”

Mark Smith from St Luke’s, Norwich said: “It’s lovely to be in such a magnificent building. During what has been such an anxious situation for so many over the past year, it’s good to pause and reflect and be grateful for our NHS. There’s a real sense of pulling together in offering our prayers to the Lord.”

A recording of “The Blessing” song, which was hugely powerful at the beginning of the pandemic,  pulsated throughout the Cathedral, accompanied by a video showing sweeping shots of the streets and coastline of Lowestoft as part of Lothingland Deanery’s offering. The Revd Michael Asquith said, “It’s great to be able to share in the prayer for our Vision, with all represented from across the diocese – each bringing their own prayers for their own areas. Big thanks to the Cathedral staff for hosting us!”

Sparham and Ingworth Deanery offered a lively and colourful dance by two of their young people, to a track by pop music group Little Mix, depicting transformation. The inimitable Cathedral cat, Budge was curious enough to join in at this point!

It was a wonderful time to join together from across the diocese, on the eve of Pentecost, raising our prayers alongside so many others around the world, as part of Thy Kingdom Come. We are excited to see what God brings forth from this time of prayer.

“May the empowering Spirit send us out from here with a fresh commitment to be people of prayer, pastors and prophets”

The Day of Prayer concluded with Evensong at 3.30pm, which can still be viewed on the Norwich Cathedral YouTube channel, here.

View the Order of Service here.