Pray and Ring Bells for 1,000 NH COVID deaths

“Weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15).

As of Tuesday, January 26, 2021, the State of New Hampshire reports 990 deaths attributed to COVID-19.

In the next few days, we will reach the sad milestone of 1,000 deaths attributed to COVID-19 in our state. While the United States recently mourned 400,000 deaths, we encourage congregations to take this opportunity to lead our local communities in communal acts of mourning for lives lost in the Granite State.

One significant way that a church can do this is by ringing its church bell for an extended period, say for 100 strokes. Local churches may partner together to ring their bells 1,000 times, divided between them.

In addition to (or in place of) bell-ringing, a church can also offer Bible readings and prayers in a short, midweek prayer service or mark this sad milestone with readings and prayers during their Sunday services on January 31.

Last fall, the NH Council of Churches joined the national Mourning Into Unity vigil to mourn 200,000 deaths attributed to COVID in the United States. Materials from those vigils are available and are free to use and adapt. Videos, press releases and other materials from the October vigils are available on our website here. Suggested Bible readings and sample prayers from Mourning Into Unity are pasted below:

Bible Readings


O God our Comfort and our Strength,
our help in the midst of trouble and our hope in the midst of despair,
we come before you weighed down by months of pain and years of struggle.
Give us the courage to face the tragedies that overwhelm us
and the wisdom to name them with their true names,
and strengthen the bonds between us
that we might hold one another in our grief,
encourage one another in our hope,
and support one another in our commitment to a world healed and made new.
And let all the people say: Amen.

Shelter us beneath your wings, divine presence of the universe, guard us from all harmful things. Keep us safe throughout the night, until we wake with morning’s light. Sustain us, heal us, strengthen us, lift us up and give us hope for the tomorrows to come. May all beings everywhere be happy and free. May the thoughts, words, and actions of our own lives contribute in some way to that happiness, to that healing, and to that freedom for all.

O God,
you love every child of earth,
to you every life is sacred and every voice is precious.
On this truth our nation stands.
Remind us of those suffering and grieving;
inspire our vote for the wellbeing of all;
give peace to our polling places;
safeguard each ballot that it be counted;
make of us all a more perfect union,
that you may delight in the diversity of our democracy.
And let all the people say: Amen.