“SAY one for me, vicar.”
That’s the call in Slaithwaite, where a novel idea to take the church into the community is paying off.
Prayer boxes are turning up in the most unlikely of places in a new initiative to help reach those on the fringes of the church.
In Slaithwaite, the local vicar, the Rev Robin Townsend, has put boxes in his local post office, charity shop, doctors’ surgery and his church.
He has invited people to drop notes into the boxes, asking for the church to pray for them.
And a good number have taken up the offer.
It is a scheme suggested by the Diocese of Wakefield.
The Bishop of Wakefield, the Rt Rev Stephen Platten, said: “We’ve all had someone shout at us ‘say one for me vicar’ and while it may be said off the cuff it underlies the fact that people feel a need to pray.
“This is a very good and simple way for us to harness that desire and engage with people where they and I want to encourage parishes to make this idea work for them in their communities.
“This is a way to help those who wouldn’t normally pray to offer their hopes and fears to God,” he added.
Mr Townsend said a lot of local people had been interested in his boxes.
“It’s given me chance to spend a bit more time talking to people here about their hopes and fears and I’ve gathered in quite a few prayers too.
“Like other churches, our congregations are dwindling and this is one way of keeping people involved with the church.
“It is totally anonymous so that people feel safe in asking us to offer a prayer either for themselves or someone else.
“We have tried knocking on doors in the past to ask if the church can help people, but this is a much softer way of getting involved.”
Say One For Me Vicar follows on from a national Church of England project which saw some Diocesan Bishops take to the streets on Ash Wednesday offering to say prayers at a special service in their cathedrals later.
In Slaithwaite, the prayers will be offered during services over Easter.
Prayers can also be posted online too at email@example.com and these are offered up at one of the services in the cathedral during the week.