Archbishop Sentamu was in Middlesbrough on Ash Wednesday to kick off lent in a unique way. He spent the day braving the icy weather and asking shoppers in the town if there was anything he could pray for. It was part of the ‘Say one for me’ initiative, people were asked if there was anything they would like prayer for, the requests were then taken and prayed for at 5 services throughout the day.
Even though the weather was inclement the response was warm with a number of people asking for varied requests to be prayed for. Archbishop Sentamu stated “Ash Wednesday is the start of Lent. In contrast to the festivities of Pancake Day, it is a time of sober contemplation and fasting where we reflect on God’s sacrificial love for us in Christ. That may not immediately sound like a great thing to you, but actually having time for peace and reflection is very important in our busy lives – whether Jesus is real to you or not.
“In our daily lives we should think about other people, not just constantly focus on ourselves and our own needs. Lent is a time when the Church puts the spotlight on our human condition and in these difficult times there are many around us who need our love and support.
“I think it is important that we meet people wherever they are. That might mean going out into the local shopping centre, or the hospital, or sharing time with people getting their lives back on track. Everybody goes through difficult times and sometimes we need someone to be there to listen. God values everyone and is always there to offer support for all. And what’s more, prayer is the greatest tool of communicating with God!”