Churches pray for healthcare workers
Churches across the UK are saying prayers today for doctors, nurses and others working in healthcare.
Healthcare Sunday is held each year by the Christian Medical Fellowship, Christian Nurses and Midwives, and the Healthcare Christian Fellowship.
The day gives churches the opportunity to show their support for healthcare workers as they live out God's call to care for the sick.
Dr Peter Saunders, Chief Executive of Christian Medical Fellowship (CMF), said: "Many more people pass through our hospitals and GP surgeries than through our churches, and Christian doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers play a key role as Christ's hands and feet at the sharp end of society with the opportunity to touch people's lives at what can be their greatest time of need.
"They also face big ethical and moral pressures in a workplace which is often hostile to Christian faith and values. As ordinary Christian disciples facing these challenges and with their own personal, spiritual and emotional needs, they need our prayer and encouragement."
Steve Fouch, General Secretary of Christian Nurses and Midwives, says: "The nursing profession has deep roots in the Christian faith. We need to remind ourselves and those in our churches who work in the NHS of the Christian call to care, to encourage them that they are doing God's work in caring for the sick, the disabled and vulnerable, and to thank them for the work that they do.
"Healthcare Sunday is a chance for churches to thank, encourage and support health professionals in our churches."
Ann Silvester, Regional Co-ordinator of the Healthcare Christian Fellowship, and founder of Healthcare Sunday, said it would take the whole church praying together to see "transformational change".
She said: "Healthcare is a shared community responsibility and we believe a Sunday to focus on health is part of the answer to see the Church reclaim a place of influence in the health of society.
"Focused, believing prayer for this important sector of our society could bring about transformational change that will affect the whole of our nation.
"The whole Church, praying, is needed to see this happen and Healthcare Sunday is an opportunity to do just that."