Pentecost Global Day of Prayer

 Despite a very wet and cold day, and closures on the District Line, nearly 20,000 Christians from all denominations turned up at Upton Park, the home of West Ham United FC, on Pentecost Sunday to take part in the Global Day of Prayer. The gates opened at 2pm and those of who managed to beat the transport problems enjoyed an hour of great worship music led by Dave Bilborough, Noel Robinson, Tim Hughes and Geraldine Latty. Tim sang 'How great Thou art' and his own 'Here I am to Worship', Dave sang his 'All Hail the Lamb; and children from local schools lined the touchline waving flags of all nations. The event officially started at 3pm, with an introduction by Pastor Jonathan Oloyede of Glory House (one of the organisers of the West Ham event), who said: "I feel that a new foundation has been laid for the churches in London and that this is just the beginning of a new journey of unity and collaboration, that the Kingdom of God is actually beginning to emerge in the church." The theme of the day was 'Thy Kingdom Come' and after the opening, many local Christian leaders including Mgr John Armitage of Brentwood diocese took the stage to pray the Lord's Prayer. We were invited as a congregation to pray in our own native tongues. Others on stage included the Anglican Bishop of Barking, the Rt Rev David Hawkins, and Bishop Wayne Malcolm of Christian Life City. Bidding prayers were said in multiple languages and Elizabeth Batha of Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) led prayers for those Christians who are persecuted in their countries - including China, Myanmar and North Korea - because their faith is officially banned there. A short video was also shown, highlighting the huge numbers of girls and boys who become involved in prostitution every year through people trafficking. A member of the Peace Alliance called for reconciliation and unity amongst all churches, and said that it was great that we were all meeting together on this Pentecost Day. Those of who had beaten the traffic to be here for the warm up before 3pm had been taught a new song 'Your Kingdom Come' by Geraldine Latty, which we then sang again. By the second chorus, almost 20,000 had learnt the song which filled the stadium. As the day came towards its conclusion the Bishop of Barking said: "Despite our differences, which the media love to talk about, what we have in common is vastly more important and today has been a day to celebrate and demonstrate the power of us coming together in prayer, worship, celebration and transformative action - a very clear message of Christian Unity, and that this event in West Ham event is only the beginning. The day finished with final prayers and worship music led by Graham Kendrick, including his own Shine Jesus Shine.

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