02 October 2001

Church leaders issue joint invitation to prayer in aftermath of American attacks

Senior Church leaders across the nation have today issued a joint invitation to people in all walks of life to join a special time of prayer later this week for peace, justice and reconciliation in the aftermath of the atrocities in the United States.

Three weeks to the day after the attacks in New York and Washington, church leaders, including all the main denominations in England, gathered with the Archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace this morning, to issue "an open invitation to prayer" on Friday 5 October.

Announcing the joint initiative, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr George Carey said: "We have all felt grief and anger, fear and uncertainty. A great many people, perhaps unprecedented numbers, feel unsure what the future now holds and where to seek guidance and support in charting a path towards it."

The Church leaders highlighted the need for "compassion; hope for the future, and renewed commitment to serving the purposes of God's Kingdom." They also spoke of an opportunity to pray for peace, justice and reconciliation between peoples and faiths.

The leaders, including the President of the Methodist Conference, Rev Christina Le Moignan, stressed that they were not calling for big set-piece events but for smaller initiatives, designed to meet local needs and circumstances.

In order to facilitate this flexible and innovative approach, a special website has been set up, featuring material that people may wish to use, and offering guidance on praying. The website address is: www.invitationtoprayer.org.uk

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