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Norfolk chaplain calls for 24-hour NHS prayer vigil 

Rev Helen Garrard, Lead Chaplain for Norfolk Community Health and Care is holding a 24-hour prayer vigil for all NHS acute and community services and other care providers on Sunday, January 17, starting at midnight.

Talking from her own, frontline experience, Helen said: “The situation nationally has been deteriorating for many weeks with increasing cases of Covid-19 arising from a newer, highly transmissible variant. In Norfolk, all three acute hospitals, the community hospitals, care and residential homes and community nursing and care teams are under a strain which has not been experienced previously.

“The combination of numbers of significantly unwell people, coupled with staff sickness and additional winter pressures are bringing the sector to crisis point.

“All sectors of public service are working in new and very challenging ways, anxiety is very high and many, many people are coping with bereavement.

“Within hospital and community settings chaplains continue to work hard to bring spiritual comfort, religious and pastoral care and support to all patients, families and staff in our areas.

“The time feels opportune now to turn to the faith which supports and resources our practice to unite the county in earnest prayer. I have committed to a 24-hour vigil of prayer this Sunday, starting at midnight, to midnight Monday and ask you to consider joining me.”

Bishop of Norwich, Graham Usher, has offered his full support to the prayer vigil initiative. He said: “At this time of crisis and suffering, both for patients and healthcare workers, we hold them in our prayers. One of our volunteer hospital chaplains told me of the challenging decisions clinicians are facing every hour and the many stresses and difficulties of caring at this time.

“I urge you to join this vigil and to continue to pray daily for all involved in the ongoing care of those affected in any way by Covid-19. ‘The God of all comfort… comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.’ (2 Cor 1:3-4). Thank you.”

This call to prayer has been circulated to all Healthcare Chaplaincy Teams and others and the rota is filling quickly but there is plenty of space for others to join.

There will be zoom room open throughout the 24 hours for fellowship for those who wish to join, and resources will be provided by Ashley Williams (Lay Reader and Chaplaincy Team Member NCHC).

If you would like further information, resources or to support this rota please contact elisabeth.garrard2@nchc.nhs.uk or phone 01603 255728.

Click here to watch a short video of Helen talking about the vigil.

Pictured above is Rev Helen Garrard at Priscilla Bacon Lodge.

 

Keith Morris, 13/01/2021

Keith Morris

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