Suffolk churches set to unite the community to remember George Floyd


Suffolk churches set to unit the community to remember George Floyd a month after his death.

Senior members of the Suffolk clergy are inviting every household in Suffolk to join a 24-hour vigil on the one-month anniversary of the death of George Floyd.

Venerable Sally Gaze, the Archdeacon for Rural Mission and Pastor Harold Afflu, Senior Minister of the Ipswich International Church, are coordinating an initiative called Healing the Divide, which invites people to join in prayer to remember the 46-year-old who died after being arrested by police outside a shop in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The death of the black man, which has led to the arrest of four white policeman, has led to a huge protests against racism worldwide.

The Rt Revd Martin Seeley, Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich said: “On Thursday 25th June, it will be one month since the death of George Floyd. His death has sparked a global movement that has challenged people from all over the world to call out racism in every community. In Suffolk, Christians from many different denominations are coming together to pray for racial justice. We know that we have a long way to go in tackling racism – internationally, as a nation and in the church – but we also know that praying together is the right place to begin.” 

The organisers of Healing the Divide want the event to unite the community and provide an opportunity to remember, repent, reconcile and respond.

Pastor Harold Afflu, Senior Minister of Ipswich International Church, said: “The way you treat another human being is a true reflection of your own heart and the value you place on your own life. Through the power of the Cross of Christ every divide, no matter what, can be healed.”

The event involves 24 hours of prayer, from midnight on Thursday 25 June and participants are invited to sign-up to join a virtual prayer room to pray during a segment of this vigil.  You can book a slot to pray and you may book any slot you want, even if someone else is already praying at that time.  

St Edmundsbury Cathedral will also be focussing its streamed services on 25 June on 'Healing the Divide'.

Venerable Sally Gaze, Archdeacon for Rural Mission, 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.”

This event follows the success of Thy Kingdom Come - Light Up Suffolk - a ten-day wave of prayer in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak -where households in Suffolk were invited to light a candle to celebrate a global wave of prayer.

This was designed to unite the community, not just regular churchgoers, after numbers attending virtual church services swelled.

Many churches across Suffolk including the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, Roman Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, Salvation Army, Elim, New Frontiers and The Forge, took part.

To sign-up and join the Healing the Divide virtual prayer room or for more information visit: www.light-wave.org/healingthedivide