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UK >

Balloons and seeds: Pentecost initiative launches new resources

Madeleine Davies

by Madeleine Davies

Posted: 24 Feb 2017 @ 12:06


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ORGANISERS hope that at least 80 per cent of the C of E’s churches and cathedrals will take part in Thy Kingdom Come — a global prayer movement compared by the Archbishop of Canterbury to an “avalanche”.

At a launch of new resources at Lambeth Palace this month, Archbishop Welby said that the response to last year’s call to prayer had surprised him. He had expected that about 5000 people might participate, he said, but in fact the number was about 100,000.

“I cannot remember in my life anything that I have been involved in where I have sensed so clearly the work of the Spirit,” he told his audience, including many diocesan missioners. He had been “astonished” at its popularity last year. Although the initiative was “not going to solve all our problems”, he said, he believed that “in the most bizarre, incredible, and wonderful God-shaped way, there is a move of the Spirit going on. . . When the wind of the Spirit is blowing, hoist the sails.”

A year ago, all clergy serving in the C of E received a letter from the Archbishops, inviting them to pray between Ascension and Pentecost “for a renewal of their expectancy and the overflowing of Christ in their lives together, so that people right across the country see who Jesus is and are drawn to faith in him” (News, 5 February, 2016). The organisers estimate that more than 100,000 Christians joined in about 3000 events and services during the ten days (News, 13 May).

Further expansion is planned this year. Churches across the Anglican Communion have been invited, and the presidents of Churches Together in England have called on their churches to take part. At the launch event, Archbishop Welby said that he had secured commitments from Pope Francis, and the Ecumenical Patriarch, to “join in” and “pray for the work of the Spirit”.

“It is not an Anglican thing, a C of E thing, or an Archbishops’ thing, any more than someone who started an avalanche can say ‘That is my avalanche,’” he said. “It is a God thing.”

The Primate of Hong Kong, Dr Paul Kwong, said in a statement that his congregations would be praying for the people of mainland China, “most of whom haven’t even heard about Jesus Christ and the life-changing gospel”. He hopes to recruit 500 to 1000 “spiritual warriors” who will pray for at least ten minutes a day for the mission needs of the Church.

It is reported that 29 cathedrals in England will be holding events. A range of resources have been prepared, and can be ordered online, including a “Kingdom Kit” that contains a candle, balloon, sweets, key rings, and mustard seeds.

“So many people grow up with absolutely no comprehension of the love that Christ has for them, or the transformation that will bring,” Archbishop Welby’s adviser for evangelism, the Revd Chris Russell, said. “Just cajoling the Church into action, guilt-ing it . . . new courses, new initiatives, that is not going to do it. This is why this call for us to just get on our knees . . . to pray that God will help us seems to be exactly the place that we should start.”

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