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Pope joins Welby and Sentamu for Pentecost service

29 May 2020


Pope Francis during his live-streamed Angelus prayer at the Vatican, on Sunday

Pope Francis during his live-streamed Angelus prayer at the Vatican, on Sunday

THE power of the Holy Spirit is needed “more than ever” in a world that is “experiencing a tragic famine of hope”, Pope Francis will say as part of an online service with the Archbishops of Canterbury and York on Pentecost Sunday.

The service, which marks the end of the global prayer movement for evangelism, Thy Kingdom Come, will be the first time that the Pope has joined the Archbishops online. It will be live-streamed on YouTube and the Church of England’s social media channels.

Thy Kingdom Come has grown since its introduction in 2016 into a movement that attracts large numbers to gatherings and events at Pentecost. This year it has moved online owing to the pandemic, and many Christians will be participating from their homes (News, 22 May).

In his recorded message, Pope Francis reflects on the impact of the virus around the world, urging Christians to be “more deeply united as witnesses of mercy for the human family so severely tested in these days”. They should “ask the Spirit for the gift of unity, for only if we live as brothers and sisters can we spread the spirit of fraternity”.

He goes on to say: “Today, more than ever, it is necessary to implore the Holy Spirit to pour forth into our hearts the life of God, who is love. Indeed, if there is to be a better future, our hearts must change for the better.

“Today, our world is experiencing a tragic famine of hope. How much pain is all around us, how much emptiness, how much inconsolable grief. Let us, then, become messengers of the comfort bestowed by the Spirit. Let us radiate hope, and the Lord will open new paths as we journey towards the future.”

Archbishop Welby will deliver the sermon; Dr Sentamu, who is due to retire in in a week’s time (News, 5 October 2018), will give the final blessing. The creed will be led by the Coptic Archbishop of London, Archbishop Angaelos.

The prayers, including ones written by children, will be led by the Pentecostal president of Church Together in England, Pastor Agu Irukwu. Heidi Crowter, a young advocate for people with Down’s syndrome (News, 9 February), and Thelma Commey, the present Methodist youth president, will also contribute.

The worship leader Matt Redman and the choirs of St Martin-in-the-Fields, directed by Andrew Earis, will be leading the music. The service will conclude with the première of a specially commissioned version of “Amazing grace” by a range of singers from across the UK.

The service, which begins at 9 a.m. on Sunday, will be subtitled and interpreted into British Sign Language throughout.

Forthcoming Events

29 September 2020
Festival of Preaching
A one-day online version of our popular preaching festival. With Mark Oakley, Sam Wells and Anna Carter Florence.   Book tickets


19 October 2020
Creativity out of crisis: Hymns and worship webinar
In association with RSCM, this online event will explore creative uses music and liturgy in the context online and socially distanced worship.    Book tickets

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