Members of the congregation of St Luke’s Church, Hedge End are inviting people to join them in saying the Lord’s Prayer while also taking part in various activities to take away, draw, and reflect upon the power of prayer.
The congregation in Hedge End is joining with other churches Southampton and across Hampshire in a global wave of prayer in the coming weeks with a series of special prayer events.
At St Luke’s series of interactive and sensory prayer stations are being created as a way of opening people to new ways of experiencing prayer. The stations will incorporate using paint, sculpture, textile, wood and other materials. These are accessible activities appealing to groups of all ages who can engage in diverse ways of praying, together and individually. The prayer stations will be available all day throughout the Novena.
Gill Sakakini, who led the creative team explains: “The resulting stations all invite engagement and discovery and can be experienced in an individually guided way or as a group.”
All over the diocese, local churches are responding to a call from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, who have invited Christians from across the country and around the world to join together in prayer to celebrate the Christian festival of Pentecost.
An array of prayer events are expected to take place throughout the Diocese of Winchester, inspired by the simple, powerful words of the Lord’s Prayer, ‘Thy Kingdom Come’. This prayer is calling on God to transform the nation and give people a hope for the future. The wave of prayer begins today (30th May), with churches across the diocese taking part in a variety of prayer initiatives and culminating on Sunday 9th June at major ‘Beacon’ events being held by Christian communities throughout Hampshire.
Christians from all denominations will be involved in the prayer marathon. As well as Anglican congregations, Methodist, United Reformed, Baptist, Pentecostal and other church groups will be among those joining in this celebration of faith and prayer. The Catholic Church has also pledged support for Thy Kingdom Come, with His Holiness Pope Francis saying he walks alongside those praying that the ‘Holy Spirit might enlarge and widen our hearts.’
This the fourth year of Thy Kingdom Come and the Diocese of Winchester has once again responded enthusiastically to this global movement, with churches in Southampton and across Hampshire pioneering a variety of creative new approaches to prayer. With the help of local people and school children, many are taking prayer outside, going out into local high streets and to coffee shops offering to pray with people in the community. It is during these moments of prayer that people who don’t usually attend church encounter Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Commenting on this unique wave of worship, the Right Reverend Tim Dakin, Bishop of Winchester, said:
‘This festival is about praying that God’s Kingdom will come in the power of the Holy Spirit so that we might see what Jesus’ mission is all about. Every year I am overwhelmed by the stories of people who receive faith in Jesus Christ for the first time, and I am sure that this year will be no different.’
‘As our communities come together to pray, people are inspired across the region to live the mission that Jesus made possible through the gift of the Spirit who is present in people’s everyday lives. Christians are regularly praying in their churches, but most people don’t see this happening. When we offer to pray for people in shops, schools, hospitals and high streets this so often makes a difference to people’s lives. There are many prayer events taking place in villages, towns and cities throughout the region, and I would encourage everyone to take part in an event near you.’
Say One for Me
On the 1 June churchgoers will be outside All Saints Church, Winchester Road with balloons, bubbles, exciting outdoor games and crafting. While taking part in all these activities they will be offering passers-by an opportunity to ask for prayer or to pray themselves. Refreshments such as tea and coffee will also be available.
Organisers hope to appeal to people who may not visit church regularly, and locals will be invited in and offered a free coffee to enjoy while discussing prayer and its benefits. During each morning, members of the local congregation will also be out on Romsey’s High Street offering to pray for people within the community. They will be asking passers-by for their prayer suggestions and handing out ‘Say One for Me’ cards which local people can fill out and hand in to offer their prayers.
Labyrinth in Bassett
The ancient, contemplative practice of walking a labyrinth can help still the mind and calm the body. St Michael and All Angels, Bassett are offering two opportunities on the 7th June to experience walking this symbolic and sacred path. Taking part in The Labyrinth will offer a moment of quiet reflection, a chance to reconnect to faith and to remember the benefits of prayer.