Youngsters faced with an uncertain future due to the recession should be the special focus of Church of England prayers on one of the holiest days of the year, according to the Bishop of Blackburn.
The Right Rev Nicholas Reade is sending a letter to the county’s 230 parishes calling for every church to be open on February 22, with at least one church in each of the diocese’s 14 deaneries open all day on Ash Wednesday for public and private prayers.
In the letter, which he has asked to be read in every parish church, the bishop said: “Please join me in keeping Ash Wednesday as a day of prayer and fasting for the on-going work and mission of the diocese, and for all young people in our county affected by the current economic recession.”
The cleric is also calling for a day without television to form part of the day of prayer and fasting.
He said: “Abstain from radio, television; turn off the mobile phone, fast from video games and emails - get used to silence.”
Meals can be simplified during Lent and the bishop said: “Deny yourself treats and donate the amounts you save to help the hungry of the world.”
His guidelines suggest how fasting can be carried out, warns that it is not about “hunger strike or dieting”, and advises how fasting can be used to concentrate prayer for social justice and place people who pray “in solidarity with the poor of the world”.