THE faith of the Church of England does not appear to extend to
its football team. Asked to come up with prayers for England's
success in the World Cup, the Bishop of Leeds, the Rt Revd Nick
Baines, came up with just two words: "Oh God . . ."
It comes in a set of prayers released by the C of E
communications office to coincide with the start of the World Cup
Bishop Baines's second prayer is an adaptation of a prayer by St
Richard of Chichester (d. 1253), asking that England
players "might run more clearly, pass more nearly, and enjoy the
game more dearly".
Bishop Baines said: "There are bigger things to pray for around
the world, not least in Iraq, Nigeria, and Sudan, to name but
three. For the next few weeks at least, the passions and hearts of
millions of men, women, and children around the world will be
focused on Brazil, where I'm pretty sure there will be lots of
prayers being offered up throughout the tournament.
"I know some have suggested it might take too much of a miracle
for England to win the World Cup - my hope is that the World Cup
would be a reminder of the joy of a nation coming together in a