Displaying items by tag: Unity
Protestant and Catholic church leaders said the causes of the recent violence were complex and deep-rooted, and have appealed for politicians to provide a unified response to the recent ‘heart-breaking’ scenes of violence. In a joint open letter, they called on them to ‘renew their commitment to peace, reconciliation and the protection of the most vulnerable’. Almost ninety police officers have been injured in rioting in the past week. The leaders' plea is addressed to NI ministers, the British and Irish governments, and the EU. They called for the entire NI executive to approach the EU and UK government to deal with the Brexit fallout and the Irish Sea border, and for politicians to express their support for the police. Much good work on the ground has been undermined as tension has risen and confidence has plummeted.
For many years groups have gathered at locations along the Scotland/England border in a spirit of unity and reconciliation, confessing and repenting of the sins of one nation towards the other. There is a sense that much has been achieved, but there is still work to be done. In that spirit a small group from both sides of the border met to pray and discuss over recent weeks; the result is ‘Cross Border Blessing’ on 28 April. Sixteen individuals/couples will pray a blessing from one nation to the other, in 15-minute sections, criss-crossing the border from east to west. You can join them from where you are by using the blessing prayers In the evening there will be an online gathering of people from both nations to worship and pray under the banner of unity, celebrating what God is doing to build His church.
Faith and non-religious belief groups’ positive contribution to social cohesion deserves greater recognition and should have more influence on cohesion policy in the United Kingdom, according to a report commissioned by the British Academy and the Faith and Belief Forum. The report draws on practical case studies from across the UK, including an interfaith programme by the West London Synagogue to promote positive Jewish-Muslim relations locally, a mosque that teaches English to speakers of other languages, a Catholic homelessness charity, and a Christian initiative to tackle knife crime. Faith is too often thought of as concerning ‘others’ and subtly racialised as the preserve of ethnic minorities in a secular society. Although faith and belief can be a source of division, many faith groups play a key role in uniting groups, and their contributions need to be valued and recognised.
At 3pm on Good Friday, thousands stood in the street outside their homes to pray against the negative effects of coronavirus and for restoration and healing in the land. The National Day of Prayer and Worship team are now calling Christians to join a 24-hour prayer chain to run through April, May and June until there is complete victory and tangible answers to our prayers. 1,000+ churches have already chosen a prayer slot. The target is for 2,000 churches to choose a day when they will pray for 24 hours. Individuals or small groups can also pick an hour slot when they will pray. To register to pray at a certain time, click the ‘More’ button, go to the specially prepared website, and choose a date. No amount of time you give is too small or too big.
The Eurozone is in a deep recession. Unemployment figures are spiking to unprecedented highs and debt levels are soaring. It is an economic crisis on a scale not seen since the Second World War, or the Great Depression. Onlookers have watched individual countries retreat into national self-righteousness and mutual finger-pointing in a very un-united attitude that threatens the survival of the EU and will not solve anything. Then, finally, after weeks of wrangling, EU finance ministers managed to reach a deal - to the relief of most. Let us pray that the €500 billion package to help countries hardest hit by the pandemic will succeed in implementing an economic plan. See also
All over the UK, God has been doing a hidden work through GATHER - a network of over 120 movements in villages, towns and cities across the UK with Christian leaders and churches forming vibrant mission-focused unity movements based on prayer and friendship. These networks are taking the prayer of Jesus seriously: ‘May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me’ (John 17:23). Tired of working in isolation from, or in competition with, other churches in their area, these networks are laying aside theological and cultural differences for the sake of reaching their local area with the love of Christ. GATHER is building a growing movement, not an organisation, which encourages and supports unity movements to grow and develop in their prayer, fellowship and missional transformation activities.
The Day of Prayer for the Nation at Wembley on 31 August was a releasing day. There was a wonderful spirit of worship and expectation as an inspiring diversity of leaders from across the country led prayer. Two of the key themes for prayer were: a) Unity: we will all have different views on Brexit and many other issues, but we are God’s chosen people if we have given our lives to Jesus. We are a family where love, honour and togetherness bind us. b) Humility: we are like the fishermen who said, ‘Lord we have toiled all night and taken nothing but at your word, we will let down the nets’. We are crying for more of Jesus and less of us. We want to get rid of pride, and uncertainty concerns about our reputation, standing and status. Our focus is Jesus. Awake - God is calling us into action NOW!
Representatives from the Roman Catholics, Methodists, Presbyterians, and the Church of Ireland met in Belfast on 22 November to discuss the Brexit challenges and pray. In a joint statement, they said that relations between people in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, and between the Republic and the UK, had 'improved and deepened over the past thirty years’, and that the message of Jesus to 'love your neighbour' was guiding their response to Brexit. They added. 'We pray at this time that the tensions which the Brexit negotiations entail will not be allowed to undermine the good relationships and mutual understanding which are so important for us to work together for the common good.' They pleaded with people in positions of leadership to ‘keep the debate around Brexit civil, to speak with grace, and to weigh their words carefully’.
The day after Theresa May called a snap election, a declaration was posted on the website passionforthenation.uk. The following prayer is based on that declaration: ‘We decree that in every constituency, God’s purpose and God’s plans will be fulfilled. We come into agreement with God’s Word in Daniel 2: 21: “He (God) changes the times and the seasons, He removes kings and raises up kings, He gives wisdom to the wise, and knowledge to those who have understanding.” We pray in Jesus’s name and declare that in the new Parliament, those and only those appointed by God will lead this nation. May they sound a distinct call, demonstrating vision, skill, and godly wisdom and understanding that others will follow. Proverbs 24:6 says, “You need guidance to wage war, and victory is won through many advisers”.’
The Apostle Paul refers to himself and his brothers and sisters in Christ as ‘co-workers’ with God. If communicating the gospel of Jesus Christ is a task, the team to accomplish that task is the Church. If the team doesn’t pull together the job won’t get done. Pray for the Church across Britain, that we will work together with great effectiveness to complete the task of sharing Jesus with every man, woman and child in this land.
(Lyndall Bywater, Salvation Army)