Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Ascension Sunday heralded the start of this year’s Thy Kingdom come campaign which runs from the 26th May to Pentecost on the 5th June. The Archbishops of Canterbury and York put out a call to prayer back in 2016 to the Anglican church worldwide for people to come to faith. Before long Roman Catholics, Pentecostals, Orthodox, Methodists and Baptists joined the Anglicans to pray together in these eleven days for five people they knew to become Christians.
After the very first Ascension Day the disciples gathered with Mary, constantly devoting themselves to prayer while they waited for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Like them, our reliance on the gift of the Holy Spirit is total – on our own we can do nothing.
Through the centuries Christians have gathered at that time to pray for the coming of the Holy Spirit. ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ picks up this tradition. Over the years more and more worshipping communities have dedicated the days between Ascension and Pentecost to pray ‘Come Holy Spirit’.
We are praying that the Spirit will inspire and equip us to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with our friends and families, our communities and networks. It has been amazing how many varied ways there have been in which people from every tradition have taken up this challenge. The effects have been remarkable.
It is our prayer that those who have not yet heard the Good News of Jesus Christ and his love for the world will hear it for themselves and respond and follow Him.
This week we have been very privileged to have the Most Rev Stephen Cottrell, the Archbishop of York paying a visit to our diocese. He visited Burnley College, Burnley Ghausia Mosque, St Peter’s parish church Burnley as they celebrated their 900 year anniversary. Several members of St Leonard’s attended the open-air Eucharist at Whalley Abbey that Archbishop Stephen presided at. His sermon was down to earth, relevant and inspiring. And there was a fabulous mix of music led by Rev Adan Thomas, warden of Whalley Abbey, St Thomas’ Lancaster worship band, the cathedral youth choir and the Asian Christian Fellowship Choir.
He led a teach us to pray breakfast at Freedom Church, Mereside, Blackpool and attended a science and faith event at St Thomas’ Church Blackpool. Blackpool church St John’s took him on the streets to offer healing and prayer to anyone who wanted it. His visit culminated with a big mission event at Blackpool Pleasure Beach’s Globe Arena to share and explain the story of the Christian faith to those who may not have heard it before, giving his own personal testimony as to how he came to faith.
At the end of his visit, he Tweeted that he had had a fantastic weekend in Blackburn diocese and that ‘there is so much to celebrate and give thanks for. Thank you to everyone involved. My prayer is that we are confident in sharing our faith with others so that more may know the love of God and enter a relationship with him.’
So not only in this season of Thy Kingdom Come, but also beyond, may we be confident in sharing our faith with all those who meet, so that they might also have that invitation to eternal life with Christ.
With my love and prayers