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From Our Bishops

Letter to the Diocese from Bishop Andrew

Dear Friends,

Today – the first Friday in March – our Canadian Church Calendar notes that it is World Day of Prayer. The day traces its roots to the early 1800s, when women involved in mission work encouraged one another to engage in personal prayer and to lead in communal worship. In 1918, representatives from the Women’s Missionary Boards of the Anglican, Baptist, Congregational, Methodist and Presbyterian churches gathered to find ways of promoting the spreading of Christ’s kingdom through united prayer and action. This gathering gave birth to the first inter-denominational day of prayer on Jan. 9, 1920. By 1927, the annual event would become known as the Women’s World Day of Prayer. Today, the Women’s Inter-Church Council of Canada, which includes representatives from 11 denominations, coordinates the World Day of Prayer in Canada. This year’s celebration, written by the council in Taiwan, is based on the theme, “I have heard about your faith.”

When I was the incumbent of St. Alban’s Church in Acton, the first day of March was a holy day. Each year, all the clergy and congregations would gather together to mark the day with worship and fellowship. Our little church building could never hold such a number, so it was the larger facilities that hosted, but we all shared in leadership and brought offerings of food and delectables for the feast that would follow. If your parish is hosting or joining hands in the World Day of Prayer today, thank you for your witness.

These moments of coming together in prayer are precious. There are so many things to pray about, and for. And it is something that all Christians can do, often together, without barriers.

At the recent Anglican Consultative Council meetings in Accra, Ghana, where our own Bishop Riscylla Shaw and Dr. Anita Gittens, ODT, were delegates, I am told that one of the presentations was on Thy Kingdom Come. Begun in 2016, Thy Kingdom Come is an ecumenical prayer program inviting Christians into a period of dedicated prayer, specifically for the 11 days between Ascension Day and the Feast of Pentecost. Participants engage in fervent prayer that more people would come to know Jesus. Over a million Christians around the world, both in the Anglican Communion and in 84 other denominations, take part each year.

We’ve drawn attention to Thy Kingdom Come here in the Diocese of Toronto in past years, and you may have been involved. Now is a good time to plan ahead to take part in 2023. The program invites involvement from individuals, small groups, families and entire parishes. It is a good way to refresh and invigorate your life of prayer, knowing that your intentions are joining with those of the faithful around the world.

The Thy Kingdom Come website has a variety of resources, and I would encourage you to look at what’s available. If you are looking at new ways, as an individual Christian or a group, to refresh and renew your prayer life, here is an easy place to start.

Yours in Christ,

The Rt. Rev. Andrew Asbil
Bishop of Toronto