The Church of Ireland Diocese of Derry and Raphoe has launched a new Year of Prayer campaign at the start of Lent this week.
A spokesman for the diocese said that the Church wished to do something special to mark the start of the period leading up to Easter.
He said: “Lent involves taking up some sort of activity designed to mirror the discipline of Jesus in the desert.
“The diocese of Derry and Raphoe is no different from many millions of Christians worldwide in observing this date, however this Lent also sees the beginning of a new initiative designed to engage parishes in thinking again about prayer and service in their communities.
“Lent 2015 has been designated by Bishop Good as the start of the ‘Year of Prayer’ where parishes will each take one week to pray for their communities. “
All 48 parishes in the Derry and Raphoe diocese will ensure this dedication to prayer continues throughout the year.
Social media and engagement with, and input from, young people will form a core part of the initiative.
In launching what the diocese is calling a ‘Prayer River’ at the Ash Wednesday service in St Columb’s Cathedral, Archdeacon Robert Miller symbolically handed Dean Morton a book which will be passed from parish to parish as the weeks progress.
This is to record what has been prayed for among all the different congregations and will be on public display while the week of prayer is in operation.
Archdeacon Miller said: “This Year of Prayer aims to engage people in a fresh ways with traditional and contemporary methods of prayer, not only for their benefit, but also for the communities they live in.”
In talking about the wider vision for the diocese, Archdeacon Miller said the diocese has designated 2016 as a Year of Opportunity for reaching children, engaging in mission, and being more generous.
“Prayer is not an optional extra, but rather it is something which provides a foundation for all that happens in the future,” he added.
The Year of Prayer will run from 18th February 2015 until the 10th February 2016.
More information can be found on www.derryand