Churches will not be open for traditional Good Friday services this year due to COVID-19, but the faithful around can still join in prayer on the solemn day with religious leaders from around South Carolina.
Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone will participate in the “Good Friday South Carolina Call to Prayer” which begins at 11 a.m. Friday and will run for approximately an hour. The prayer service is being streamed live by the Seventh Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, based in Columbia. It can be viewed at www.facebook.com/AME7th
Bishop Guglielmone is joined by South Carolina bishops from the African Methodist Episcopal, Christian Methodist Episcopal, United Methodist, Episcopal, and Evangelical Lutheran denominations. These leaders are accustomed to working together under the umbrella of the Fellowship of South Carolina Bishops.
The prayer service was the idea of Bishop Samuel L. Green Sr., of the Seventh Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, based in Columbia. Bishop Green said he thought it was important for Christian faith leaders to make a stand of faith and call on God for help during the coronavirus crisis.
“We have the desire to be engaged in prayer and to call all communities of faith in the state together to call on the universal God to strengthen, encourage and inspire us as we walk through this valley together,” Bishop Green said.
What makes this service different than others in the past is that the bishops will be joined by leaders of Baptist groups and congregations from around the state, as well as a Presbyterian pastor. These churches do not have a hierarchical structure and normally do not participate in events with the Fellowship, but COVID-19 led leaders to reach out to each other to bring more denominations together in prayer.
“This is an effort to incorporate all of the Christian denominations to just simply pray together,” Bishop Guglielmone said. “We’re delighted in the outreach that is being done and the involvement of so many people of different faith journeys, all recognizing that through Jesus Christ we have something in common.”
Bishop Guglielmone said each participant will offer prayers reflecting their faith perspective on the coronavirus crisis. He said he will be offering prayers for those suffering from the virus and their caregivers, for a successful vaccine to be developed, and for those working on the frontlines during the crisis, including everyone from first responders to sanitation workers, mail carriers and other workers.
“There are a whole lot of people who need our prayers right now,” Bishop Guglielmone said.