Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis is among a number of senior faith leaders to show solidarity with those on the frontline of the virus by offering prayers of thanks nearby key workers’ sites in the coming weeks.
As part of the initiative, 10 Jewish and Christian religious leaders are to walk to nearby hospitals and the workplaces of essential workers, such as schools, food banks and care homes, to offer prayers of thanks and solidarity from a safe distance.
Participants will be paired each week with another faith leader and embark on simultaneous “mini pilgrimages” from their respective homes. Recordings will be released every week by the Council of Christians and Jews (CCJ), the interfaith forum leading the project.
Among those taking part will be Senior Reform Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, Senior S&P Sephardi Community Rabbi Joseph Dweck, Cardinal Vincent Nichols and Archbishop Justin Welby.
Elizabeth Harris-Sawczenko, director of the CCJ, said: “Although we cannot safely walk together, by releasing our Presidents’ pilgrimage series, we hope to emphasise the message that we can still offer prayer and reflection together in support of key workers, though we may be physically distant.”
Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, who kicked off the pilgrimage series this week by walking to the Royal Free Hospital, Great Ormond hospital and the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery on Monday, was paired with Rev Colin Sinclair.
He told the Guardian on Sunday he sought to make “the voices of religions … be heard more in support of the amazing and inspiring efforts so many in our society are making, from the NHS to care workers, people stocking shop shelves, running food banks, volunteering to make visors and gowns, getting shopping and prescriptions for elderly or immunity impaired neighbours, and keeping up our morale in countless creative ways.”