"LIKE a taste of heaven," was the comment of a man who happened
to call in at Birmingham Cathedral during the
recently held 24 hours of prayer. So moved was he that he stayed in
the cathedral for several hours. Each of the 24 hours was led by a
different person or group, starting with a 9 a.m. morning prayer
and holy communion celebrated by the Bishop of Birmingham, the Rt
Revd David Urquhart.
Among the other groups were Churches Together in Hall Green, the
Good News Asian Church, the Mothers' Union, the Birmingham Taizé
Network, Premier Christian Radio, and the Salvation Army, as well
as the RC Archbishop of Birmingham, the Rt Revd Bernard Longley,
all with their own preferred music. The 24 hours culminated with a
9 a.m. holy communion the next day, led by the Dean of Birmingham,
the Very Revd Catherine Ogle.
Birmingham Cathedral is 300 years old this year. "The idea was
simple, to start our tercentenary year with a great wave of prayer
and to invite local churches to join in," Dean Ogle says.
"Birmingham is home to an incredibly rich Christian expression, and
we invited people to come and lead prayers for an hour in their own
"We were overwhelmed with the love and care with which people
responded. Prayers were offered with silence, or with great and
joyful noise. We sang Taizé chants. We formed a prayer tunnel to
surround one another in prayer, and took part in interactive prayer
stations. Teenagers prayed through the night in the comfort of
onesies, and, just as we were flagging, at 8 a.m. the Salvation
Army turned up with a nine-piece brass band."