Bishop Andrew Forster and Bishop Donal McKeown led members of different Christian denominations on Londonderry’s west bank in a prayer walk around the iconic city walls, on Tuesday 18th January, to mark the beginning of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

The theme for 2022 is ‘We saw his star in the east’. The weather was remarkably benign for the walk, with the rain holding off for its entire duration.

Participants gathered by the car park below St Columb’s Cathedral, where the two bishops led them in a brief prayer. They were then sent on their way – socially distanced and in their own ‘bubbles’ – to walk round the Walls, starting their circuit at the steps beside St Augustine’s Church.

The groups stopped at various points along the route to pray together, using a resource prepared specially for the occasion. They were invited to pray that political leaders and elected representatives would be united in governing in everyone’s interests; to pray for people who had lost their livelihoods in the pandemic; for doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers; for residents and staff in care homes; for those seeking a cure for Covid; for people “enslaved by addiction”; for young people, teachers and all involved in education; for members of the city’s emergency services; and for those in the arts sector, which had experienced much hardship during the pandemic. The groups were also invited to reflect on the city’s shared Columban heritage and to give thanks for the diversity which had enriched the city.