30 November 2021

A recording in Rathkeale
is part of USPG’s Anglican
Day of Prayer for Mission

Saint Andrew’s Day is traditionally associated with prayers for mission … parishes and dioceses have been invited to join the 24-hour global wave of prayer, the Anglican Communion Day of Prayer, on 30 November

Patrick Comerford

Today is Saint Andrew’s Day (30 November), a day traditionally associated with prayers for mission.

Christians around the world are taking part in today’s 24-hour global wave of prayer for mission, co-ordinated by the Anglican mission agency USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel).

The majority of the 42 provinces in the Anglican Communion are taking part in this Communion Day of Prayer, which has the support of the Anglican Communion Office and several Anglican agencies around the world.

Two contributions from the Church of Ireland – from Bishop Michael Burrows, of Cashel, Ferns and Ossory, and from myself – were included in the day’s programme, between 6 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

Bishop Michael Burrows, a former trustee of USPG and a former chair of USPG Ireland, spoke of his friendships with Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who recently celebrated his 90th birthday, Bishop Bishop Ellinah Wamukoya of Swaziland, who died earlier this year, the late Nelson Mandela, and the late Trevor Huddleston. My contribution was recorded in Holy Trinity Church, Rathkeale, where I spoke of the reach and influence of Irish saints and missionaries over the centuries.

The event, which began at Midnight and continues until Midnight tonight, is open to everyone, and there is no need to register. You can get involved via zoom or Facebook. When you want to join just click on one of these links:

Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82308523750?pwd=dzRXQ3A2TVM5VjhwZVpaaGpKTFdDdz09

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/USPGglobal

The Day offers Christians all over the world an opportunity to unite in prayer. It will focus on individual provinces and extra-provinces of the Anglican Communion, and churches in relationship with the Communion, in 30-minute slots.

Anglican Provinces from all over the world produced short prayer films for the event with authentic local expressions of prayer, worship, readings and reflection. These will be played in separate time slots between 12 midnight and 12 midnight.

For example, the programme began at 00:00 (UTC and Irish time) with the Anglican Church of Melanesia, the Anglican Communion Office was at 17:30 UTC (5.30 p.m.) and the Church of Ireland was at 18:00 UTC (6 p.m.).

You can join still at any time that suits you, stay for as long as you like, and come back as many times as you want. You can join the slot allocated to a particular province or choose to pray with other parts of the world … or both.

You can choose to watch at home, at work – wherever works for you. And you can decide to pray alone or still organise a Prayer Watch Party, inviting friends or a church group to join you.

Praying with others can be a particularly powerful collective experience. Whatever you decide, you will be contributing to a global wave of prayer. And we hope you will feel inspired and united to the global church.

The printable poster from USPG is HERE.

USPG was also encouraging people to watch prayer videos from other countries, using the timetable to see the times for each province and then join the ones they would like to see.

You can download Resources related to USPG's Communion Day of Prayer HERE.

Praying in Advent 2021:
3, Saint Andrew the Apostle

‘The Call of the Disciples’ … a window designed by the Harry Clarke Studios in Christ Church, Spanish Point, Co Clare, depicts the ‘Calling of Saint Peter and Saint Andrew’ (see Matthew 4: 18-22) – although only one disciple is present (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2021)

Patrick Comerford

This is the Season of Advent and today (30 November 2021), in the Church Calendar we remember Saint Andrew the Apostle. Later today, I am taking part with Bishop Michael Burrows of Cashel in the contribution from the Church of Ireland to the world day of prayer for mission organised by the Anglican mission agency USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel), and this is followed by chairing a school board meeting later this evening.

Before a busy day begins, I am taking some time early this morning for prayer, reflection and reading.

Each morning in the Advent, I am reflecting in these ways:

1, Reflections on a saint remembered in the calendars of the Church during Advent;

2, the day’s Gospel reading;

3, a prayer from the USPG prayer diary.

Today (30 November 2021) is the feast day of Saint Andrew the Apostle, who is often known as the first-called of the disciples.

Before he was called, Saint Andrew was a fisherman, an every-day ordinary-day commercial occupation, working on the Lake of Galilee in partnership with his brother Simon Peter. It is said that when Saint John the Baptist began to preach, Saint Andrew became one of his closest disciples.

When he heard Christ’s call by the sea to follow him, Saint Andrew hesitated for a moment, not because he had any doubts about that call, but because he wanted to bring his brother with him. He left his nets behind and went to Peter and, as Saint John’s Gospel recalls, he told him: ‘We have found the Messiah … [and] he brought Simon to Jesus’ (John 1: 41, 42).

The call in the Gospel reading – to Peter and Andrew, to James and John, the sons of Zebedee – comes to us as individuals and in groups. It is not a story of an either/or choice between proclaiming the Gospel to individuals or groups, but a both/and choice.

Recently, I was visiting one of the surviving Christopher Wren churches in London, Saint Andrew-by-the-Wardrobe on Queen Victoria Street. It is two blocks south of Saint Paul’s Cathedral and close to Blackfriars station, and is the last of Wren’s city churches. The church was destroyed by German bombs during the Blitz in World War II, but was rebuilt and rededicated in 1961.

As the bitter weather of winter takes hold, I am reminded of a prayer, appropriate for Advent and this winter weather, that I found that morning at Saint Andrew’s and which the church offers for people who have no shelter on the streets:

God of compassion,
your love for humanity was revealed in Jesus,
whose earthly life began in the poverty of a stable
and ended in the pain and isolation of the cross:
we hold before you those who are homeless and cold
especially in this bitter weather.
Draw near and comfort them in spirit
and bless those who work to provide them
with shelter, food and friendship.
We ask this in Jesus’ name.

Saint Andrew the Apostle … a sculpture on the west front of Lichfield Cathedral (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2021)

Matthew 4: 18-22 (NRSVA)

18 As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the lake – for they were fishermen. 19 And he said to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.’ 20 Immediately they left their nets and followed him. 21 As he went from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. 22 Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him.

The Prayer in the USPG Prayer Diary today (30 November 2021, Saint Andrew, Anglican Communion Day of Prayer) invites us to pray:

Today USPG is joining with mission agencies from across the Anglican Communion in a day of prayer. May we continue to work alongside each other in spreading the Gospel around the world.

Yesterday: Saint Brendan of Birr

Tomorrow: Saint Ansanus of Siena

Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicised Edition copyright © 1989, 1995, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. http://nrsvbibles.org

The shrine of Saint Andrew in Amalfi (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)