Parishioners of All Saints Church Wokingham gathered together online using the Zoom platform to celebrate Ascension Day this year.
Ascension Day is a major Christian festival marking the story of the rising to heaven and exaltation of the Lord Jesus Christ following the Resurrection.
The service led by the Rector Canon David Hodgson included recorded music, readings from the Bible, a talk by the lay preacher at the church John Boylan followed by discussion in breakout groups, and prayers for the world, led by Crispen Gumbs, who is training for the priesthood. Prayers, in particular, were said for India and the impact of Covid-19 there, and for an end to violence between Israel and Palestine and the hope of peace with justice there. Prayers were also said for Christian Aid Week.
In recent years Ascension Day has also marked the beginning of an ecumenical period of prayer ” ThyKingdom Come” leading up to the Feast of Pentecost celebrating the coming of the Holy Spirit 10 days later. Prayer during this time is focused on God’s reign of peace love and justice in the world and for more people to embrace faith in Christ.
The service included the music video released by the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity of a new hymn “We seek your kingdom” set to the tune of Abide with Me, featuring gospel singer Noel Robinson.
Canon David Hodgson said: “Although we have started holding Sunday services in church with restricted seating capacity, during the pandemic we have found that for occasional special services attendance is greater if we hold them online in real-time using a platform such as Zoom. When the pandemic is over we will no doubt return to having all services in the church whilst livestreaming to those at home, because meeting on Zoom we cannot share in the Eucharist as we would like to do on a major festival”