23/02/2016

Bishop urges all to answer call to prayer for Pentecost - #ThyKingdomCome

As Vice-Chair of the Archbishops' Evangelism Task Group, Bishop Paul commends each of us to take part in the UK's biggest evangelism project so far this millennium.

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York call on every church to use the week leading up to Pentecost Sunday, 15th May, to pray for new followers of Christ.

They have called for the entire Church to pray throughout the week for "all Christians to deepen their relationship with Jesus" in order to have  confidence  to share the faith. The aim is for "all to respond to the call of Jesus Christ to follow him."

The two Archbishops have written to all 11,300 Church of England clergy inviting them to engage with the project by organising round-the-clock prayer marathons, one-off events and other meetings and gatherings to help towards the evangelisation effort. Click here to read the Archbishops' letter,

Project leader Emma Buchan said: "The hope is that in many places, Christians across denominations can pray together, as the unity of the whole Body of Christ is a powerful reality and symbol to the world."

New questions and guidelines will be available for churches to help them evangelise in their local communities, along with videos to help build "confidence in faith-sharing".

The plans are in the interim report of the Archbishops' Evangelism Task Group, which Bishop Paul introduced for debate at General Synod last week. You can read his speech, and the maiden speech of Canon Kate Wharton, here.

In the report, the two Archbishops say: "Sharing Christ with others is a joyful, encouraging and empowering feature of being a Christian disciple."

They set up the Evangelism Task Group in response to a call from General Synod in November 2013. They say: "The group is seeking to be provocative, in order that effective evangelism may become a constant feature of ministry and mission across the dioceses and parishes of the Church of England."

The group includes Canon Mark Russell, chief executive of the Church Army, who is working on evangelisation of young people, Amy Orr-Ewing, director of the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics and Rev Elizabeth Adekunle, Archdeacon-designate of Hackney, who is advising on black and ethnic minority issues.

Canon Russell says in the report that among questions that people taking part will be asked is: "What holds us back from sharing our faith?" People will also be asked to think of what they could do to enable those without faith "to come to faith in Jesus."

As an example of the challenges ahead, at their first meeting, all the members of the task group discovered they had become Christians in or before their mid-teens. "This realisation brought into sharp focus the challenge the Church faces in reaching younger people with the good news of the Gospel," he says. "While we recognise that we should not be driven by a sense of fear or anxiety, the current and future health of the Church of England depends on a renewed sense of urgency to engage with children and young people."

Bishop Paul says in the introduction to the report that evangelism is not a matter for politics, for anxiety or stress, for winning or losing or for the exchange of labels: "Sharing the gift of Christ is an act of love. People who are in love share the news of their love without strain and without force, though of course it can take courage to admit that one loves, and is loved."


Following a stimulating debate on the report at General Synod last week, he said: "As Vice-Chair of the Archbishops' Evangelism Task Group, I commend this call to prayer campaign to each and every one of our churches, so that we can be open to the Spirit to empower us to be a bigger church, making a bigger difference."

Prayer resources online

The Church of England has launched a website for this call to prayer for evangelism: thykingdom.co.uk.

Here you will find many ideas and resources to inspire you, including:

  • As a parish, team, or deanery commit to a week of 24/7 prayer
  • ‘Help my church to pray’ guide
  • Special prayers in Sunday worship
  • Prayer walking
  • An hour of prayer before Jesus Christ in the Eucharist
  • A novena prayer card to hand out to every member of your congregation
  • A parish retreat or quiet day or a school of prayer.

News & Events

Archbishops' Call To Prayer Letter

from Justin Welby and John Sentamu

Prayer resources

Website to support Pentecost campaign

Interim report from the Archbishops' Evangelism Task Group

Includes introduction by Bishop Paul

Bishop Paul opens General Synod evangelism debate

Canon Kate Wharton's maiden speech praises urban ministry