THE Bishop of Dudley, Bishop Martin Gorick, says he has been "praying daily" for those affected by and suffering through the coronavirus pandemic.

Here is his Easter message to readers:

"During Holy Week and Easter, Christians across the world focus on the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This year we do that in the midst of a global pandemic the like of which none of us have seen before.

"The pain and grief of this situation is at times overwhelming. I’ve been praying daily for all those affected by COVID-19 as well as thanking God for everyone who is continuing to work and put others before themselves, whether paid or unpaid.

"Church buildings may be closed, but the voice of prayer is never silent as people link together online for prayer and worship, or simply have family prayers at home. God is the source of all hope, life and love and returning to God can save the world.

"On the cross of Good Friday Jesus shared the pain of the world, saying ‘My God, why have you forsaken me?’ He knows how it feels to be abandoned and alone in suffering. Jesus looked out for the vulnerable, even as he hung on the cross, bringing together his mother Mary and the apostle John to care for each other, and praying for the criminals being crucified with him. And Jesus showed us how to give ourselves to God, saying, ‘Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.’

"On Easter Sunday Christians celebrate Jesus’ resurrection, his victory over death. We believe that his love is stronger than hatred, fear and even death itself. Jesus is alive and with his people at all times in in all places. Even in these hard times, that is something to celebrate."