Coronavirus: World Vision urges UK churches to unite for National Day of Prayer and Action

World Vision UK is urging churches across the country to unite for a National Day of Prayer and Action in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Churches Together in England (CTE) yesterday announced the national call to prayer for this Sunday, 22 March.

People of faith are being encouraged to light a candle in the windows of their homes at 7pm as a symbol of hope.

Almost 200,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus have been reported in 156 countries and territories around the world. The total death toll is nearing 8,000.

Concern is growing for those living in countries with weak health systems, and for families already living in entrenched poverty or displaced by conflict and the climate crisis. World Vision experts are warning that the impact of an outbreak in such communities could be catastrophic.

World Vision is already responding to the coronavirus outbreak across Asia, and we are gearing up to respond on a global level as the disease spreads. Our teams are on the frontlines, working around the clock to ensure vulnerable communities are kept as safe as possible.

At a time of global uncertainty, it’s crucial that we combat fear with faith. We at World Vision want to respond both practically and prayerfully to support all those affected by the outbreak both at home and abroad. That’s why we’re joining the call to urge churches across the UK to join the National Day of Prayer and Action this Sunday.

- Ruth Tormey, Senior lead: Christian influence and engagement at World Vision UK

World Vision has been working for weeks across Asia, educating communities on how to keep themselves safe, providing protective and medical equipment to thousands of health workers, and engaging with government health authorities. In China, we have distributed medical equipment to hospitals, delivered 400,000 facemasks, thousands of bottles of disinfectant and provided 50,000 families with hygiene packs including hand sanitisers, soap, tissues and thermometers.

In countries with weaker health systems around the world, our staff are mobilising and taking steps to reduce the impact that COVID-19 will have when it arrives at their doors.

A key approach for World Vision all around the world is to partner with leaders who are trusted by communities. We are working with faith leaders in 34 countries, equipping them to share good hygiene practices which are crucial to slowing the spread of diseases like coronavirus.

The Presidents of CTE, including the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, have also urged congregants to reach out to vulnerable neighbours, providing practical help.

“Alongside your prayers, take the opportunity to telephone or email someone who is isolated, buy some additional food for your local foodbank, or offer to deliver shopping for an elderly neighbour. We may not be able to touch physically, but we can make connections in so many other ways,” they said in a statement.

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