COVID-19 Special initiatives
This page includes some of the special initiatives from faith communities and inter faith groups/organisations in response to the pandemic.
For more examples and updates, follow the Inter Faith Network on Twitter or Facebook. If you do not have a Twitter or Facebook account, you can view our posts here: https://www.interfaith.org.uk/news/social-media
- Faiths United is a temporary coalition of faith leaders from across the UK created in late March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 crisis. The coalition discuss how faith communities have been coping with the pandemic and possible joint responses.
- Church and other religious leaders called for a National Day of Prayer and Action on Sunday 22 March. Worshippers were asked to light a candle at 7pm and put it in their window.
- Rochester Cathedral lit its spire blue to honour all those working for the NHS during these trying times, and as a symbol to remember and pray for all those working in the Health Service. https://twitter.com/RochesterCathed/status/1239982878261477377
- On 26 March, Neasden Temple lit up in blue as a symbol of gratitude and respect for the health care workers of the NHS. The swamis of the Temple also participated in the national #ClapForOurCarers campaign. https://twitter.com/NeasdenTemple/status/1243286946543276034 https://twitter.com/NeasdenTemple/status/1243264970747523075 They have also blown the conch shell, a sacred symbol in Hindusim, to express their appreciation for all NHS and key workers. https://twitter.com/NeasdenTemple/status/1248328496583192576
- St David's Church, Wettenhall has illuminated the church blue each Thursday at 8pm to support NHS workers and carers. https://twitter.com/ArthurRankCent/status/1253383288837865472
- Cornwall Faith Forum is inviting members to send in photos with happy memories of past CFF events.
- Brighton and Hove Inter Faith Contact Group has been collating Words of Connection and circulating these by email and putting them on its website. https://interfaithcontactgroup.com/category/words-of-connection/
- Shrimad Rajchandra Love and Care UK, a Jain organisation, has established the Pray20:20:20 initative to unite people of all faiths around the world at 20:20 for 20 minutes every Friday, to spread strong loving vibrations using the power of collective prayers for those affected by coronavirus around the world. Further information about this and other projects led by Jain groups can be found at http://www.jainology.org/covid19-inspirational-stories/
- The Masjid Khadijah and Islamic Centre in Peterborough held a National Day of Prayer inspired by UK Islamic Mission on Friday 20 March. https://www.facebook.com/MasjidKhadijah/photos/a.470172046422133/2472348436204474/?type=3&theater
- The Religions for Peace United Kingdom Women of Faith Network organised a World Prayer Day For COVID-19 on Thursday 19 March to pray for the whole of humanity. They asked people to join them for prayers, meditation or quiet reflection individually, with family, with family or colleagues over the internet or phone for 10 minutes or more. https://www.facebook.com/UKWFN/photos/a.1029323123745950/3170088719669369/?type=3&theater
- The Oxford Foundation, a group to bring communities from different faiths and cultures together, hosted a virtual multi-faith prayer on 22 March. It included addresses by Tim Stevenson OBE, Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant for Oxfordshire, and multi-faith prayers were led by representative from the Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist and Baha’I communities, as well as The Rt Revd Bishop Colin Fletcher, Bishop of Dorchester. A link to a recording of the prayers can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1ABobZdWMc
- The Catholic Bishops' Conference are encouraging all to practice public prayer before the 8pm applause every Thursday. A bishop will celebrate Mass in one of the cathedrals for the care workers every Thursday at 7pm. https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=548081696108365
- Christians are encouraged by Churches Together in England to join together each Sunday evening, praying Prayers of Hope in their homes at 7.00 pm and lighting a candle of hope.
- The Greater Manchester Prayer Gathering will be uniting nationally and globally as one church to pray for the world on 30 April at 7:30pm on Facebook and YouTube live. https://twitter.com/GtrMancPrayer/status/1253393023104249857
- Building Bridges Pendle are hosting a 'Fly Your Flag Day' on 4 May to celebrate families, friends, neighbours, key workers and acts of kindness during this time. Individuals can order a free flag kit and are invited to decorate a flag and showcase it in their home, window or garden. https://www.facebook.com/events/building-bridges-pendle/fly-your-flag-day/887308068362370/
- Hackney's Faith Forum held an online service for 'Hackney Day of Prayer' on 3 May. Representatives from Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths led prayers to provide support to residents of all faiths and none. https://www.hackneycitizen.co.uk/2020/04/30/faith-groups-unite-online-service-hackney-day-prayer/
- Edinburgh Interfaith Association have premiered a new show titled 'A Spotlight on Faith' consisting of interviews with people whose faith inspires them to overcome obstacles and fight against COVID-19. https://www.facebook.com/interfaithglasgow/posts/1811675972304193
- The Faith and Belief Forum have launched a new Education and Learning Programme called 'Quarantine Questions'. The questions relate to themes of identity, diversity and community. Guidelines and handouts are available to download here https://faithbeliefforum.org/programme/quarantine-questions/
- Herefordshire Interfaith Group have launched a new 'Inspirations' blog with topical prayers and poems to help foster community spirit during these challenging times. https://herefordshireinterfaith.org.uk/blog/
- Bridges for Communities are holding their first Virtual Peace Fest on Friday 29 May. Guest speakers will reflect on the 'new normal' and where they see hope for our communities in the coming days. A three-course takeaway meal will also be provided by Baraka Community Café in Easton. All profits from the evening will go towards providing emergency meals to those hardest hit by Covid-19.
- The presidents of the Council of Christians and Jews will be visiting key worker sites to offer prayers as part of a series of “virtual pilgrimages”. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/may/10/religious-leaders-virtual-pilgrimages-pray-nhs-staff-coronavirus
- Al-Azhar Alumni UK have called for a global Prayer For Humanity on Thursday 14 May from 3pm to 4pm. There will be a live discussion and collective prayer on Facebook live. https://www.facebook.com/minab.org.uk/posts/778527106014021
- Religions for Peace UK Women of Faith Network in partnership with Interfaith Scotland are holding an inter faith service of prayer and reflection for the health and well-being of humanity on Thursday 14 May at 7pm.
- The Conservative Christian Fellowship are hosting a special COVID-19 edition of their monthly Prayers for the Nation, and will be joined by Christians Against Poverty. The online prayers will take place on 26 May from 7:30pm to 9pm. https://www.theccf.co.uk/events/2020/5/26/online-prayers-for-the-nation-with-christians-against-poverty-covid-19-edition
- Watford Interfaith Association is holding weekly inter faith prayer sessions on Tuesdays at 8.30pm by Zoom.
- Members of the Southampton Council of Faiths join together every Tuesday evening between 7:30 and 9:30pm for a time of prayer and contemplation.
- A 'Call to Prayer' campaign has been launched on 22 May in Harrow as a response to COVID-19 to pray regularly as one community at 6pm each Friday. Faith leaders from places of worship in Harrow such as St Mary’s Church at Harrow-on-the-Hill, Harrow Central Mosque and St Georges Church, Pinner View, are participating in this initiative, and several churches in Harrow will also ring their bells during this time.
- The Dumfries and Galloway Baha’i community is holding 'Food for Soul' gatherings every Wednesday and Sunday in May at 10am for people of all faiths and beliefs. Participants are encouraged to bring a prayer, reading, poem or song to share.
- Edinburgh Interfaith Association is hosting a live show every Tuesday from 1pm with interviews with celebrities and others whose faith inspires them to overcome obstacles and fight against COVID-19. The show can be watched live on their Facebook page and YouTube channel. Previous episodes are also available to view on Facebook. Please contact Iain Stewart for further details at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Residents in Burnham are being asked to participate in a newly launched 'Labyrinth Project' by painting a stone depicting anything reflecting their journey during the pandemic, which will then be used to build a labyrinth in the village after the lockdown. It is being supported by many local faith groups including Maidenhead Gurdwara and St Peter’s Church. https://www.maidenhead-advertiser.co.uk/gallery/burnham/158763/multi-faith-project-to-help-community-reflect-on-coronavirus-outbreak-launches-in-burnham.html
- On 7 May, Board of Deputies of British Jews launched their first #ThankYouThursday. Each Thursday they will be highlighting a few individuals who are volunteering and helping others through acts of kindness in a blog. https://www.bod.org.uk/blog-thank-you-thursdays/?fbclid=IwAR2_1-Zn72ij6ivio44HqOBG0Sjvnxjb8qbEMGeGSHcSZXufue2oWkhApDM
- Jenny Ramsden, Interfaith Advisor for Bradford and Leeds, is keeping a blog on inter faith responses to the pandemic https://www.thetelegraphandargus.co.uk/news/18476435.muslim-jewish-community-leaders-reflect-coronavirus-crisis/
- St Paul's Cathedral has launched 'Remember Me', a virtual book of remembrance for all those who have been living in the UK who have died as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. People of all faiths, beliefs or none are invited to contribute.
- Membes from Faiths United Youth Network took on the challenge of making reusable face masks from articles of cloth found in their homes. https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=559074578369446
- The United Reformed Church is launching a new weekly prayer initiative called 'Pray4URC' to take place from 4 June for six weeks. It will take place every Thursday from 8:15pm for 20 minutes and is an invitation to pray for URC congregations, Synods and staff who are facing challenging times as a result of the coronavirus. https://urc.org.uk/latest-news/3474-a-call-to-weekly-prayer-for-the-urc?fbclid=IwAR0quz7BYAeJY9CxTdRzIzMftSf42YMqm4ywBO4KAdne1U0XBM7ltf7qYsc
- Building Bridges Pendle are launching a Poetry Competition titled 'Living in Hope'. They are inviting participants to write a poem that expresses their feelings on how COVID-19 has impacted them. https://www.facebook.com/buildingbridgespendle/photos/a.273714356101901/1808974379242550/?type=3&theater
- One of the UK’s leading Christian care home charities, Pilgrims’ Friend Society, is launching 'Prayer Week 2020'. The charity is calling on churches and Christians in the UK to pray for older people and the care sector from 7th to 13th June in light of the Coronavirus pandemic. https://www.keepthefaith.co.uk/2020/06/05/pfs-calls-on-uk-church-to-pray-for-older-people-and-care-sector-as-they-launch-prayer-week/
- Strengthening Faith Institutions (SFI) is introducing a COVID-19 Compliance Officer training course online. The course is aimed at faith leaders as places of worship partially re-open for private prayer. The course will be delivered on Zoom. https://www.sfitogether.org/2020/06/10/places-of-worship-covid-19-compliance-officer-course-level-2/
- Interfaith Glasgow, together with the various faith and belief communities of Glasgow, have produced a video to say 'thank you' to all NHS staff and key workers. https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=255934425506236
- The Trustees of Redbridge Faith Forum have created a series of videos titled 'Life in Lockdown' to showcase how they are dealing with this period of lockdown. https://redbridgefaithforum.org/life-in-lockdown/
- York Interfaith Group will be creating an 'Interfaith-Inter-Lockdown Quilt'. Members of each faith within the Group will create patches to be included within the quilt as a piece of their inter faith history in York during the Coronavirus lockdown 2020. They are also invited to write about what lockdown was like for them and how they were able to maintain their faith in the circumstances. The patches will be sewn together and both the quilt and file will be displayed at various faith events in years to come.
- A Wall of Remembrance has been installed at Swan Bank Methodist Church in Stoke-on-Trent in remembrance of those who have died during the pandemic. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-stoke-staffordshire-52909633
- A time capsule that captures the experiences and emotions of residents and service users of Salvation Army homelessness projects across Scotland during lockdown is being created. The time capsule will consist of photos, videos, poems and notes gathered over the past two months, and will be buried after the lockdown ends. https://www.salvationarmy.org.uk/news/time-capsule-records-residents-lockdown-experiences
Last updated: 24/06/20
Note: IFN's pages on COVID-19 are being updated regularly. Listings may not be exhaustive or include all possible examples, and IFN makes no guarantee as to the accurary of information linked to.