Prayer for St George's Day

The Archbishop of York is leading prayers today to mark the feast of St George, the patron saint of England.

Dr John Sentamu will be saying the prayers at 1.30pm at Stockton Parish Church on the High Street of Stockton-on-Tees.

The church falls within the Diocese of Durham, where the Archbishop will see the work of the Church in community engagement and church growth projects.

The grounds of his official residence, Bishopthorpe Palace, will be opened in the afternoon to school children from Archbishop of York Junior School.

They will play kwik-cricket on the lawn and eat home-made gingerbread biscuits to celebrate St George's Day.

Dr Sentamu has been a longtime campaigner for St George's Day to be made a national holiday.

He said: "The feast of St George should be a day of real celebration and I would like to encourage everybody to rejoice in this great land that we live in.

"Even when times are tough, our fantastic community spirit helps bind us together.

"We should invite others to join us and be proud of our nation's spirit of fair-play, decency and hospitality.

"No matter where you are, get outside, join in and wave a flag or give thanks through prayer today. God Bless St George."

The Archbishop's Prayer for St George follows:
Heavenly Father, give us the bravery of St George
 to stand up for the truth and the glory of God
 that we have seen in the face of Jesus Christ.
 Give us the strength to overcome
 in our lives and in the world,
 all that is contrary to your rule of justice and love.
 Help us to be good news to the poor,
 proclaim release to the captives
 and recovery of sight to the blind;
 let the oppressed go free, and
 proclaim the good news of God's favour and Jubilee.