With events rapidly changing in Spain where the Regional authorities in Catalunya (in the North East of Spain) are in conflict with the Madrid government after a referendum in favour of independence members of three chaplaincies within the region are acutely aware of the need for prayers for a peaceful outcome to the apparent impasse.

In Barcelona, the Catalunyan capital, Rev John Chapman, Chaplain of St George’s church notes that “it is the second time in a few weeks that we have been in a challenging situation here in Catalonia”, referring to the recent terrorist attacks in and around the city.

John says “Thank you for your prayerful concern for our present situation here. On the whole, the atmosphere is very peaceful. Many people, however, are worried.” He is inviting people to join him in prayer on Sunday evening at 6pm, either in person or at a distance. John has also been in contact with the UK Consulate about the situation and has written to members of St Georges. In his email he says  

“As Chaplain I have no particular political position and I am not willing to enter into debate on the rights and wrongs of the present situation, but I am available to meet with anyone who wishes to talk about their personal concerns, to listen and to pray.

“As Scripture exhorts us in Jeremiah 29:7 But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. (NRSV)

“So, we pray for the well-being of the place where God has put us and we join in the glorious words of our Lord's Prayer, Hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven.”

North of Barcelona is the Chaplaincy of Costa Brava which meets in four locations a short distance from the northern city of Girona where violent scenes were encountered in the run up to the referendum last weekend.

To the south of Barcelona and Tarragona is the Chaplaincy of St Christopher’s on the Costa Azahar which is currently seeking to recruit a permanent Chaplain. Their situation aptly summarises the dilemma in Spain’s political life. Two congregations are in Spain but travel to the most northerly worship centre in Ampolla involves crossing the border into Catalunya. On the day of the referendum police were out in force with checks at the border and a clear presence in the towns and villages, many of which were bedecked with Catalan flags and slogans.

Church members in all these situations are grateful for the prayerful concern of fellow Christians across the diocese. All are invited to share in prayer at 1800 CET on Sunday 8 October.