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Prime Minister praises churches' pandemic role 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has for the first time publicly thanked churches for the role they have played during lockdown and recognised the ‘selfless stoicism’ Christians have demonstrated throughout the pandemic.

The Prime Minister, who was speaking at the online Christian festival Spring Harvest Home, said: “I want to say a great big thank you because over the past year or so I have seen over and over again the teachings of Jesus Christ brought to life by people like yourselves: men and women, young and old, right across the UK.” 
Johnson continued: “I’ve lost count of the number of Church leaders and congregations from all denominations, that have stepped up to support not only one another, but also to support the whole local community, people of all faiths and none.”
The Prime Minister also recognised the significant sacrifice many Christians have made over the past 12 months and urged them to continue to show resilience: “For many months you have been unable to come together for worship and prayer as you would normally do. I know that has been a huge burden for many Christians, but it is a burden you have borne with selfless stoicism without complaint and by adapting to online worship and meetings.” 
The Prime Minister was joined at Spring Harvest Home by Labour party leader Sir Keir Starmer and Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey who each recorded a video message for those attending, outlining their personal message to Christians in the UK, which aired as part of the interactive online festival.
Spring Harvest Home 2021 runs from Easter Sunday until Thursday April 8, with the Prime Minister and party leaders sharing their unique messages on Easter Monday. Afterwards, Christians from diverse political backgrounds joined a panel debate about how believers can be more active in politics as part of their faith, and other questions. Hosted by Andy Flannagan of Christians in Politics, the panel included Lib Dem vice-president Isabelle Parasram and senior representatives of the other major parties.
Phil Loose, CEO of Essential Christian, the home of Spring Harvest responded to the Prime Minister's comments by saying: “This is an important moment for the Church, to have the recognition of the Prime Minister for the work and sacrifice they have made shows how important the church has become in modern society. We are no longer a peripheral voice, but an essential service to those in our communities. Churches up and down the land have responded fast to the needs of the nation to see our society supported and transformed which is at the very heart of Spring Harvest; equipping the church for action.” 
He went on to say: “Now is the time for us as the church to support our nation’s leaders as we work together to restore, renew and rebuild our communities in the wake of a devasting pandemic. At Spring Harvest we’re stepping up into that need providing resources online to help equip the church to serve their communities.”
Spring Harvest Home 2021 began on Easter Sunday evening featuring live sung worship from well-known Christian artist Tim Hughes and Gas Street Music. The festival also featured inspiring and insightful teaching from Emmanuel Christian Centre’s Doug Williams and Kintsugi Hope’s Patrick Regan OBE, plus an exclusive evening of comedy with comedians Tim Vine and John Archer.
The Prime Minister concluded: “While this has not been the Easter any of us would have liked, and Spring Harvest is obviously not happening in its usual bustling way, we’re getting there, and we’re getting there because of people like you.”
Tickets are available now and offer access to the full week’s online event or a one-year subscription to access Spring Harvest’s digital content - including a range of new teaching videos and resources following the April event.  
To find out more and book tickets for Spring Harvest Home please visit: https://springharvest.org/

Keith Morris, 07/04/2021

Keith Morris
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