Prime Minister thanks Christians for 'selfless stoicism' during pandemic
Boris Johnson has said a "great big thank you" to Christians for the way in which they have served their communities throughout the pandemic.
The Prime Minister, who will be speaking at this year's Spring Harvest Home 21, said he had "lost count" of the churches he had seen supporting their communities over the past year.
His comments come a few days after Britain marked the first anniversary of lockdown by lighting candles and shining lights in remembrance of the 126,000 victims.
"I want to say a great big thank you because over the past year or so I have seen over and over again the teachings of Jesus Christ brought to life by people like yourselves: men and women, young and old, right across the UK," he said.
"I've lost count of the number of Church leaders and congregations from all denominations, that have stepped up to support not only one another, but also to support the whole local community, people of all faiths and none."
He also thanked Christians for adapting as churches were closed over part of the last year.
"For many months you have been unable to come together for worship and prayer as you would normally do," he said.
"I know that has been a huge burden for many Christians, but it is a burden you have borne with selfless stoicism without complaint and by adapting to online worship and meetings."
The Prime Minister will be joined at Spring Harvest Home by Labour party leader Sir Keir Starmer and Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey who have each recorded a video message that will be shared on Easter Monday.
The messages from the Prime Minister and party leaders will be shared on Easter Monday.
Responding to the Prime Minister's comments, Phil Loose, CEO of Essential Christian, said, "This is an important moment for the Church, to have the recognition of the Prime Minister for the work and sacrifice they have made shows how important the church has become in modern society.
"We are no longer a peripheral voice, but an essential service to those in our communities. Churches up and down the land have responded fast to the needs of the nation to see our society supported and transformed which is at the very heart of Spring Harvest; equipping the church for action."
The messages from the political leaders will be followed by a panel debate about how believers can be involved in politics as part of their faith.
Mr Loose added: "Now is the time for us as the church to support our nation's leaders as we work together to restore, renew and rebuild our communities in the wake of a devasting pandemic. At Spring Harvest we're stepping up into that need providing resources online to help equip the church to serve their communities."
This year's Spring Harvest Home runs from the evening of Easter Sunday on 4 April to Thursday 8 April and will feature live sung worship from Christian artist Tim Hughes and Gas Street Music.
The Emmanuel Christian Centre's Doug Williams and Kintsugi Hope's Patrick Regan will offer inspirational teaching, and there will be an exclusive evening of comedy with comedians Tim Vine and John Archer.
The Prime Minister concluded, "While this has not been the Easter any of us would have liked, and Spring Harvest is obviously not happening in its usual bustling way, we're getting there, and we're getting there because of people like you."
To find out more and book tickets for Spring Harvest Home visit: https://springharvest.org/