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Evangelism begins with prayer, Archbishops urge believers

06 June 2014


Out and about: Dr Sentamu with Bishops from the northern province at Lindisfarne

Out and about: Dr Sentamu with Bishops from the northern province at Lindisfarne

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 life."

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 (News, 29 November).

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 generations."

Why evangelism is always non-negotiable 


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