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Submitted by Rev. Dr. Sheldon W. Sorge, General Minister of Pittsburgh Presbytery, PC(USA)

Holy God, we acknowledge that the unity of your church is both your gift and our obligation, both a binding force and something we must diligently seek. Our Lord Jesus prays for our unity yet leaves it to us to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bonds of peace. In this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, your people come together to ask for healing grace to those who suffer COVID infection, and for strength for front line caregivers and support workers who work with those who are sick and those who are most vulnerable.

Yet even as we are united in our prayers for those directly and indirectly affected by the pandemic, we find the bonds of our fellowship strained as congregations are prohibited from gathering during this season of widespread infection. Spiritual leaders are weary, congregants are setting aside their efforts to remain connected with their faith communities. Protect your church from being scattered as it faces a prolonged season of separation from its sanctuaries. Empower its shepherds to guard the flock from peril and provide for sustenance in the desert.

We confess that in our conversations about when and how we might gather again, politics have often led us more than attentiveness to your Spirit. Grant us a willing heart to hear your voice in guiding us as we shelter the vulnerable while also seeking the welfare of all who yearn for the fellowship of fellow-believers. Forgive us when we place our personal and economic interests ahead of the well-being of others. Remind us always to follow in the way of our Lord Jesus, who came to serve rather than to be served, to look to the interests of others rather than to his own.

In the name of and for the sake of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.