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17th March 2020

Today is St Patrick’s Day.  The words of the hymn St Patrick’s Breastplate seemed more appropriate to me than they ever have.  It speaks of a world steeped in peril with hidden, menacing realities to be faced.

Coronavirus is still on the outer edge of problems in Sudan, but it almost certainly will come centre stage, a threat to life for our brothers and sisters who have no health service to fall back on, doctors for most an unaffordable option.

We either walk fearfully, wary of every stranger, or we buckle down with faith and walk calmly.  A way to the path of peace is to adopt a habit of grace, maintaining a constant pattern to help ground our day on Christ, the Solid Rock.  Such a habit could be to repeat part of St Patrick’s hymn as prayer.  Why not look it up on the internet or in a hymn book and write out some of its words to use in your own daily prayer  – and include the Church in Sudan, standing with them through the unfolding crisis.

I rise today with God’s strength to pilot me:
God’s might to uphold us,
God’s wisdom to guide us,
God’s eye to look before us,
God’s ear to hear us,
God’s hand to guard us,
God’s shield to protect us,
God’s host to save us.

I summon today all these powers between us and those evils,
against every cruel merciless power that may oppose us body and soul.

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I arise, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I lie down.

God the Spirit bless us.  God in Christ help us.  And may the Father hold us all, here and in Sudan, in his almighty hands of love.


Zagalona Church, Omdurman, after Sunday service

“The prices of vitamin C-rich fruits and face masks in Khartoum have risen significantly since the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19) in Sudan.  A dozen guavas or oranges were sold for SD£ 130-140 instead of SD£ 100 00 (= £1.40).  The price of a face mask jumped from SDG 3 to SDG 50.  There are insufficient supplies of medical disinfectants and sterilisation materials available in pharmacies.

On Saturday, the Sudanese government announced the closure of universities, schools, and kindergartens for one month. The main streets, bus stations, and markets of were quite empty on Sunday.”

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