The special day is being organized by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, National Council of Churches in India, and Evangelical Fellowship of India, which together represent 27.8 million Christians in the nation.
In a pastoral letter to the churches of India, the WCC and Christian Conference of Asia assured: “We stand with you in solidarity and prayer in the midst of the suffering and loss of thousands of lives in India.”
In a message to the WCC, Church of South India general secretary C. Fernandas Rathina Raja said that the day is “genuinely a prompt and proper prospect of prayer which will definitely make a motion towards constant and empathetic mission accompaniment.”
The Church of South India also shared messages of prayer, part of which read: “Pray for frontline workers, such as doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers who are taking much risk for serving the infected people.”
The WCC is also offering resources to help people pray, including the publication “Voices of Lament, Hope, and Courage,” designed for use in prayer groups, congregational services, personal prayer, and in the pastoral accompaniment of those directly affected in different ways by the pandemic.
As faith is challenged by mourning, fear and uncertainty in India, the WCC is also offering other health-promoting resources, such as a handbook for churches, a COVID-19 response framework, and accurate information about vaccines.
The Church’s Auxiliary for Social Action, an ACT Alliance member, has been offering an emergency response, and reported that there is an impending need to focus on prevention measures to ensure that the communities which are at risk of COVID-19 get well-educated about appropriate behaviour to reduce their risk.
The Christian Coalition for Health, in a 4 May webinar for the Christian Medical Association of India, Catholic Health Association of India and the Emmanuel Hospital Association, suggested practical ways that church leaders, medical professionals and volunteers can help on the ground.
India’s total number of COVID-19 cases has dramatically risen to over 18 million, with more than 300,000 cases reported for seven straight days and with no immediate signs of slowing down. Medical experts believe that the numbers are even higher with many cases not reported from rural areas. ACT Alliance has initiated an emergency response.
Other health-related resources:
Voices of Lament, Hope, and Courage: A Week of Prayer in the Time of the COVID-19 Pandemic. A resource for use in prayer groups, congregational services, personal prayer, and in the pastoral accompaniment of those directly affected in different ways by the pandemic.
“Health-Promoting Churches: Reflections on Health and Healing for Churches on Commemorative World Health Days.” This booklet includes 15 reflections on international commemorative health days to stimulate conversations on health matters in Church congregations.
“Health and Hope: The Church in Mission and Unity." A collection of previously published articles, these were chosen to resonate with the worldwide struggle amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ecumenical Global Health COVID-19 Response Framework. Published during 2020, this framework identifies core challenges and response strategies for a global ecumenical response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and also recommends specific actions.