Two prominent international worship services scheduled for this week in Britain have been rescheduled as video-based gatherings, Anglican Communion News Service announced. The faithful around the world will be able to share in these times of prayer marking Anglican Communion Sunday and the launch of the nine-day prayer movement, Thy Kingdom Come.
Many Anglican churches celebrate the Sunday closest to May 26, the Feast of St. Augustine of Canterbury, as a time of thanksgiving and intercession for the Anglican Communion. While the celebration originally planned for London’s Westminster Abbey has been cancelled because of COVID-19 lock downs, the Anglican Communion Office will be releasing a video-based service for Anglicans around the world to unite in prayer for our common life.
The service will be opened and closed by the Most Rev. Josiah Idowu-Fearon, the Anglican Communion’s secretary general, and the Most Rev. Paul Kwong, primate of Hong Kong and the chair of the Anglican Consultative Council, will preach. Other worship leaders from around the Communion will also participate, speaking in several of the languages in which Anglican worship is conducted around the world. The video will be released on Saturday, May 23 at 7 p.m. GMT (3 p.m. Eastern), on the Anglican Communion’s YouTube channel.
Augustine of Canterbury, who was sent to evangelize the people of Britain by Pope Gregory the Great, landed near the present city of Canterbury, in southeastern England, in 597. He and his missionaries helped to spread the Christian faith throughout the region and to unite the scattered Christian communities across present-day England into one church. St. Augustine was designated the church’s primate, a role retained by his successors.
Ascension Day, May 21, will mark the beginning of Thy Kingdom Come, a nine-day “global movement of prayer, worship, and thanks,” started by the Archbishop of Canterbury in 2016. The Mothers’ Union, an Anglican women’s fellowship organization that is especially prominent in the Global South, had originally planned to hold an international service for the event at Coventry Cathedral, but will instead be gathering on their Facebook page.
Sheran Harper, the Mothers’ Union worldwide president, will help lead the service, along with the Rev. Bob Key, Thy Kingdom Come’s Communion-wide leader. The Rt. Rev. Dr. Emma Ineson, Bishop of Penrith, will offer a sermon, and Thembsie Mchunu, the organization’s trustee for Central Africa, Nigeria, South Sudan and Southern Africa will also assist.
“Thy Kingdom Come has become a wonderful moment in the year where we can join together to rejoice in God’s love and pray that God will bring transformation and change lives of those within our communities,” said Harper. “This year is no different and perhaps it is a moment we need more than ever because at this time it feels especially right that we join together to pray and to give thanks in our prayers to our front line workers, but also to our friends and family as we trust in hope to bring us together once more, not only in our places of worship but together in our homes, on our streets and the places that we meet.”
All are welcome to join the service on the Mothers’ Union Facebook page at 1 p.m. GMT (9 a.m. Eastern) on Friday, May 22.