Over the last few weeks, whilst we have been unable to meet in person, we have seen many examples of people working together to keep their music, and their worship, active on-line.
This Sunday sees a new first, as the Archbishops of Canterbury and York will join together with Pope Francis in an online service on Pentecost Sunday. The service will be the first time that the Pope has joined the Archbishops online. It will be live-streamed on YouTube and the Church of England’s social media channels and there will be a link available on our Sunday “what’s on” listing.
In his recorded message, Pope Francis reflects on the impact of the virus around the world and asks, “Today our world is experiencing a tragic famine of hope. How much pain is all around us, how much emptiness, how much inconsolable grief?”
“Today, our world is experiencing a tragic famine of hope. How much pain is all around us, how much emptiness, how much inconsolable grief. Let us, then, become messengers of the comfort bestowed by the Spirit. Let us radiate hope, and the Lord will open new paths as we journey towards the future.”
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby will deliver the sermon, while the final blessing will come from the Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu. The creed will be led by the Coptic Archbishop of London, Archbishop Angaelos.
In a brilliant example of people coming together in a virtual world, the prayers, including ones written by children, will be led by the Pentecostal president of Churches Together in England, Pastor Agu Irukwu. The worship leader Matt Redman and the choirs of St Martin-in-the-Fields, directed by Andrew Earis, will be leading the music. The service will conclude with the première of a specially commissioned version of “Amazing grace” by a range of singers from across the UK.
In the meantime, to further demonstrate what can be achieved when we innovate and come together on-line, I hope you enjoy this rendition of “Amazing Grace” as much as I did!