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Danny Lawson/ PA Wire
Danny Lawson/ PA Wire
Danny Lawson/ PA Wire
Danny Lawson/ PA Wire
UK News

Churches unite for 24 hour prayer vigil one month on from George Floyd death

by Tola Mbakwe

Church leaders from several denominations in Suffolk have organised a 24 hour online prayer vigil in memory of George Floyd.

The 'Healing the Divide' event which starts midnight on 25th June will mark one month since the black man died a after white police officer, Derek Chauvin,  kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes. 

Pastor Harold Afflu, senior minister of Ipswich International Church, is one of the organisers and told Premier there will be four themes: remembrance, repentance, reconciliation and response. 

"It's very much the church saying, 'Lord, our hearts are open. We know you're a God of justice and so we come to you. We remember the past, its impact on the now, and we repent and how can we reconcile where there's healing required?'

"So this is going to lead to conversations. It's going to lead to initiatives that the church will be looking to, to see how God would help us heal the divide between us."

Ven Sally Gaze, the archdeacon for rural mission in the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich has coordinated with Pastor Afflu for the event. 

She said growing up and working in a predominantly white area, she noticed people sometimes have a tendency to think racism is an issue for people black people and people in urban areas to deal with. 

"It's not an urban issue, it's a human issue," Ven Gaze said. 

"It's about being brothers and sisters together. My involvement is partly to be symbolic of the fact that rural congregations also care because we're human beings and it doesn't matter whether we've got lots of black and ethnic minority people in our villages or only a few, it still matters because every single person matters."

The death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota sparked worldwide anti-racism protests and the arrests of the four police officers involved in the deadly incident. 

Pastor Afflu said it's important for churches to use the momentum to bring about change. 

"I think that this is a prophetic moment. It's a season we're in. If we catch it, I think the God of justice is seeking to bring justice.

"This is waking up the church to our prophetic role to speak, where there's injustice of all kinds."

Ven Gaze added: "We all have a responsibility to find ways in which we can tackle racism. For me and also, for others, prayer can be that first step that allows you to discern what that looks like for you. 

"It has been a great privilege to work together across denominations on this. We have had such a great response so far. Every hour of the 24 hours of prayer has people or whole churches praying in it.  

"However, we have more than enough room for others to join us and I would encourage those who would like to take part to visit the webpage."

Click here to sign up to the virtual prayer room.

Listen to Premier's full interview with Pastor Afflu and Ven Gaze here: 


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