A NATIONAL call to prayer for evangelism was made by the
Archbishops of Canterbury and York on Wednesday, as recommended in
a stark report on the state of evangelism in the Church of England,
published last year.
"The task before us cannot be overestimated," Archbishop Welby
said. "We could easily be disheartened. We cannot do it alone. But
. . . Allelulia! For we are not thrown back on ourselves, but in,
by and through the power of the Holy Spirit, God brings forth
Prayer was the "first priority" for evangelism, he said. "I urge
every church commun-ity and individual to set aside time to pray
and to share God's heart for all his people."
Dr Sentamu said: "Let's commit ourselves afresh to pray, for a
new outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and for boldness, simplicity,
wisdom, and compassion in the proclamation of the gospel."
The call was made at the launch of a new website created to help
Christians find the words necessary to share the gospel:
usewords.org contains resources for prayer including a guide to
praying for students, advice on setting up a prayer room, and how
to conduct a prayer walk.
It is the work of the Archbishops' Evangelism Task Group, set up
after a debate on intentional evangelism at General Synod last year
The report Challenges for the Quinquennium: Intentional
Evangelism warned of a "growing wariness and antipathy towards
faith in place of the sympathy or at least neutrality which was
previously more prevalent. This greater polarisation has meant
that, with every decade that passes, it has become more, not less
difficult, to communicate the Christian faith."
It concluded: "We need . . . to be intentional about evangelism
in this next period of our life as the Church of England, not for a
five or ten year period but for a generation or more in order to
reverse the decline we have seen over the last century and to lay a
foundation for the growth of the Church in this land in future
Why evangelism is always non-negotiable