Rector's letter for May

May they be one... that the world might believe.  John 17: 21

Ascension Day falls on 25 May this year. This is the day when we celebrate Jesus’ ascension into heaven and when traditionally the church prays for the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, which is on 4 June. All clergy have received a letter from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York inviting our churches to take part in a prayer initiative during this time called “Thy Kingdom Come”.  There are three aims for this time of prayer:

to join in prayer with the whole family of God the Father

to pray for the empowering of God the Holy Spirit

that we may be effective witnesses to God the Son, Jesus Christ.

I quote from the letter: We show our faith and trust in God in prayer. It is in prayer that god takes hold of our lives and works through us in ways we can barely imagine possible. Our praying is particularly transformative when it is done in the company of others. Jesus prayed at the Last Supper that we, those who follow him, might “be one that the world might believe”. There is an invitation then, to make a lasting difference in our nation and in our world, by responding to his call to find a deep unity of purpose in prayer.

There are many events being planned across the country and across the denominations, in local churches, chaplaincies, missional and religious communities, fresh expressions of church, schools and retreat houses. Another quote:

As we utter the words that Jesus himself put on our lips, we pray “Thy Kingdom Come” because we long for God’s Kingdom to come on earth as in heaven. In that Kingdom the broken are made whole, the sick are healed and the sinner is set free. In that Kingdom all can know right relationship with the Father, through Jesus, the Son, and so find the goal and purpose of their lives. In praying “Thy Kingdom Come” we all commit to playing our part in the renewal of the nations and the transformation of communities.

I hope you will agree that this sounds like a really good thing!

In our Benefice, I hope that we shall make this a focus of our prayers, both personal and public. We shall be having a service of Holy Communion on Ascension Day at Creech parish church at 9.30 am, to mark the start of the event. Also at Creech, we shall be offering opportunities to pray in church at any time of the day. One of our church members (Shaula Reilly) is getting a group together to prepare some aids to prayer, for people to come and enjoy at any time during the day and early evening. There is a piece from her about this in this magazine. If you would like to be part of the group, please be in touch with her or myself. We would love to see as many people as possible sharing in this prayer for ourselves, our church, our communities and our nation.

May we live to see his Kingdom come.

With every blessing

Rebecca Harris

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