At least 8,000 Christians of all denominations gathered in Trafalgar Square yesterday, for a day or prayer and praise, celebrating Pentecost Sunday and mark the end of the Thy Kingdom Come global prayer initiative which invites Christians around the world to pray during the 11 days from Ascension to Pentecost. The event was one of hundreds taking place around the world. This year, 65 denominations held events in 114 countries.
Early the day, the area was full of fun, family-friendly activities including Messy Church, face-painting as well as various prayer workshops from different denominations.
Catholic initiatives included a Rosary Tent, a tent promoting Our Lady's Dowry, an Adoration tent, and the opportunity for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. There was a Messy Church Tent, Coptic tent with information about the Coptic Orthodox Church and prayer tree, information about Christians Against Crime, Prayer Spaces in Schools and numerous other initiatives.
The Anglican Bishop of London, the Rt Revd Sarah Mullally, interviewed the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Cressida Dick, who thanked Christians for their help in tackling knife crime. She said: "Police people need inspiration, and we do need support. My officers and staff are out there now doing incredible things on the streets of London, and every now and then if someone says thank you, it makes a good difference. I would love it if people could pray for the people of the Metropolitan Police."
Sung worship was led by Grammy award winner Matt Redman (composer of 10,000 Reasons) Lou Fellingham, the Kingdom Choir (who performed at the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex), and Sounds of New Wine.
The Coptic Archbishop of London, Archbishop Angaelos, Catholic Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, and the Archbishop of Canterbury all gave short addresses.
Archbishop Angaelos said: "When we read the book of Acts, it talks about the apostles being in one place, of one accord, so just physically being in one place and being able to pray together and witness together is really exciting... For us now, whether it's in our families or our communities or our parishes or even in our nation at the moment, meeting together face to face, being in one place, being of one accord and one mindset is incredibly important to have any shared vision or shared mission and so that sense of unity is important as it was at the beginning of the witness of the church throughout the world.
In his reflection Cardinal Vincent said: "Today we pray: 'The Kingdom come'. We pray especially for the gifts of the Holy Spirit. We pray for refreshing water for our parched world, which, drawing on that hidden source, still manages to be so fruitful in compassion, charity and service, We pray for the great wind of the Holy Spirit to full our sails and urge us forward not only to the `eternal Kingdom' which is our destiny but also in the witness we give to the reality of that Kingdom, here and now: a kingdom of truth and life, a kingdom of holiness and grace, a kingdom of justice, love and peace."
Towards the end of the afternoon Archbishop Welby called for some commitment from the crowds. He said: "We're all different, we look different, we have different cultures and backgrounds, and yet in Jesus, we're bought to be one….we will see our society transformed. We will see the despairing given hope; we will see the weak given strength; we will see those we've neglected and turned from loved and embraced; and we will see a change in our future. And it's all because of Jesus."
"Pray for five people you know and you love, reach out in prayer for them every day that they may know who Jesus is. Be able to explain in less than one minute, because people get bored, why you are a Christian, without ever using religious jargon."
Archbishop Welby concluded: "If you've never met Jesus, if you want to meet this Jesus who changes everything, come and meet me. If you have met him but you have begun to walk at a distance, come along, I'd love to pray for you and with you."
Watch Faith on the frontline: www.indcatholicnews.com/news/37142
Watch: Pope Francis' Message to Thy Kingdom Come: www.indcatholicnews.com/news/37123
Read Cardinal Vincent Nichols' address here: www.indcatholicnews.com/news/37259
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