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Parish letter



From the Rector

Dear All

You may remember that back in May 2016 we took up the Archbishops’ invitation to Christians from across the Church of England to join a wave of prayer during the days between Ascension and Pentecost - a time when the church traditionally focuses on prayer. They encouraged everyone to ask for the Holy Spirit to help them be witnesses to Jesus Christ and to pray for others to discover that living faith.

                What started as an idea gained momentum and in 2016 more than 100,000 Christians from different denominations and traditions took part from the UK and across the world. They joined in more than 3,000 events and services to pray for others to come to know Jesus Christ and for God’s kingdom to come. The time of prayer culminated in six national Beacon Events over Pentecost weekend at cathedrals in different parts of the country. At Winchester demand was so great overspill areas with big screens had to be organised and at Canterbury a live stream was set up for people to join in on the internet. By July it had received 300,000 views.

                The response to this simple invitation was astonishing as hundreds of thousands joined in from churches of many denominations and different traditions around the UK and across the world.

                In 2017, every diocese in the UK took part, and though we in the East Downland did not officially take part, 85 per cent of Church of England churches and cathedrals were involved as well as the churches of the world-wide Anglican Communion and many other denominations and traditions. Leaders from Churches Together in England, including Roman Catholic, Pentecostal, Baptist and Methodist churches, Free churches and Orthodox churches came together to pray 'Thy Kingdom Come'.

                What started out as an invitation from the Archbishops’ of Canterbury and York in 2016 to the Church of England has grown into an international and ecumenical call to prayer, and it is back for 2018, including here in the East Downland.

The hope is that:

·                     people will commit to pray with God’s world-wide family - as a church, individually or as a family;

·                     churches will hold prayer events across the UK and in other parts of the world;

·                     people will be empowered through prayer by the Holy Spirit, finding new confidence to be witnesses for Jesus Christ.

We read, in the Acts of the Apostles, that Jesus said “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses …to the ends of the earth. When he had said this…he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight…Then they returned to Jerusalem … and were constantly devoting themselves to prayer…

When the day of Pentecost had come they were all together in one place... All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit... and that day about three thousand persons were added.” (Acts 1,2)

There will be resources available and events throughout the period from Ascension to Pentecost - please keep an eye on the pew sheet and the benefice website. There will also be resources available from our churches or directly from me - just drop me a line or a phone call! In the mean time I join with  Archbishop Justin Welby in encouraging you to join us. As the Archbishop has said: “In praying 'Thy Kingdom Come' we all commit to playing our part in the renewal of the nations and the transformation of communities.” - a holy calling indeed!

Every blessing

John

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