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?God save the team? services a hit

The Church of England has proved a hit with football fans seeking divine intervention to help England win the World Cup. The church said it had scored over 4,000 hits on the prayers section of its website after posting a prayer for David Beckham and his teammates.

india Updated: Jun 08, 2006 15:58 IST

The Church of England has proved a hit with football fans seeking divine intervention to help England win the World Cup. The church said it had scored over 4,000 hits on the prayers section of its website after posting a prayer for David Beckham and his teammates.

A Church of England spokesman said this was a 28 per cent surge in hits compared to the previous four months. “The church often provides special prayers to mark major national events; the World Cup is no exception,” he said. “After all, you don’t find many atheists during penalty shootouts.”

The prayer reads: “Lord God, the source of all life and joy, recreation and skill, we pray for all involved in the World Cup, and especially for those who represent our nation: for good health for the players, for high standards of sportsmanship and fairness, and for the safety and well-being of all who will watch, that in our shared enjoyment of the game, we may rejoice in the one who came to bring life in all its fullness, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

England kick off their campaign against Paraguay in Frankfurt on Saturday. Germany is no different. Pastors will be on hand in each World Cup city for fans seeking divine intervention for their teams — jokingly called ‘God save the team services’ — or in need of consolation after a crushing defeat.

“It is sad when a team loses, but we’ll be there to talk to fans and remind them of more important things in life,” said Father Matthias Boensmann, a Catholic priest in Dortmund. “I hope people come to us for comfort, though I’m sure some supporters will seek solace in alcohol instead.”