Church In The Square

First published on: 24th May 2018

It was an opportunity for the churches in St Helens to worship together, something that rarely happens on this scale, to celebrate and to spend time enjoying and demonstrating their very real unity.
Each Sunday, churches across St Helens meet and worship independently but on Pentecost Sunday the 16 churches collectively moved their church services to Church Square in the centre of the town welcoming nearly 600 people to a special service of celebration, prayer and worship. It was a chance for the people of St Helens to experience what church really is about.

The service opened with a welcome from local vicars Revs Simon & Louise Moore followed by a worship band drawn together specially for the event from a number of St Helens churches.
During the service the new Mayor of St Helens, Councillor Pat Ireland, was welcomed to her first civic engagement, along with Mayoress Mrs Lynn Glover. As The Mayor addressed the crowd during the service, she highlighted the contribution churches make to the well-being of the Borough through the many activities they undertake. Following this she spent time touring the event, meeting volunteers and exhibitors.

Following a talk from guest speaker Rev Canon Dr Ellen Loudon from Liverpool Cathedral, about the biblical account of the coming of God’s Holy Spirit on the church on the first Pentecost Sunday, the act of worship was concluded by prayers of blessing from Father Tom Neylon and Rev Harry Wood.
From noon, after the service, the community ate together as one in an atmosphere of fun and music. 500 free lunches were provided for attendees and also feeding some of the homeless people in the town centre. The afternoon festival featured an amazing line-up of local Christian artists; Kids Zone had lots of activities to get involved with and we welcomed 10 local Christian charities and organisations in the exhibitor zone to raise awareness of their work in the St Helens community.
The event was part of the St Helens 150 programme, organised by church leaders and supported by Prayer for St Helens, who are currently running the Prayer150 campaign, praying throughout the 150th Anniversary year.

Event Manager, Mr Ste Anders commented, "Church in the Square was an incredible event to help put together, bringing together 16 churches (and more people besides), training over 40 volunteers and creating and organising an event infrastructure with full stage and screen rig in a central location, it was both a great challenge and joy to be involved with"

Rev Chris Daniel-McKeigue, Vicar of St Andrews & St Marks, who originally conceived the event, commented, “It felt important to do something as church in the town in celebration! Over a year ago it was a tiny seed of an idea! Arriving early on Sunday morning to see tents and stage being set up was amazing - it was happening! This was going to be church - inside out! The people did come - to be together, worship together, to celebrate together. It was awesome! One God, one church!”

Rev Philip Fell, Minister of Christian Life Centre, and co-ordinator of Prayer 150 said, “The dream of a prayer by St Helens people, for St Helens people, which we first thought of as the anniversary year started, has been realised today with the launch of the video prayer. Churches are committed to the life and well-being of the Borough and this event helped to demonstrate that so effectively.”


A Prayer For St Helens

The service also marked the launch of ‘A Prayer for St Helens’.  Coming out of the year long prayer campaign to celebrate the 150th anniversary, Prayer 150, this prayer has been specially commissioned from hundreds of comments from residents. Primary school children, teenagers, adult and older people all contributed their dreams and hopes for St Helens over the next 10-15 years.

Father God, we thank you that St Helens is our home, a town with a rich and productive history, may we be an inclusive community, where respect for all generations, their views and beliefs, is demonstrated through our acceptance of one another. Increase the sense of pride people have for the place where we live.

We ask that in the industrial, business and retail sector there will be increasing prosperity and improved employment opportunities for all. Lord, eliminate poverty from our Borough.
Give your grace to those in health and social care professions as they work to help improve the physical and mental health of our residents. We pray that vulnerable people and those with addictions will be able to access effective help and support. May this improve their quality of life, becoming free to live full lives.

Enable our children and young people to receive high quality education and access fruitful leisure opportunities so they may thrive and reach their full potential.

May the churches declare and demonstrate the love of God sensitively so people can experience spiritual health through the peace, hope and forgiveness Jesus Christ offers. We pray that our local communities will become happy, positive places where kindness, tolerance and respect are experienced by us all.

May our Borough be increasingly known as a safe place where crime and anti-social behaviour are reduced. Give our Councillors and officers wisdom in their responsibility for the Borough and help them to plan well for the future. Grant our borough all the resources that are needed.

As we look to our Borough’s future, we pray that we will be thankful for its past and hopeful for its future. May it be a place of welcome, acceptance, hope, peace and joy; a place of good news where all sections of our community live and work well together.

We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen

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