On Sunday hundreds of people joined together for an evening of prayer and worship in Southampton to mark Pentecost, one of the Church’s most important celebrations. Christians from across Hampshire came together for a major ‘Beacon’ event at as part of a nationwide festival of prayer.
At the same time as the event in Southampton, there were celebrations in churches across Hampshire and East Dorset for Pentecost and to signal the culmination of a nine day ‘great wave of prayer’ which has swept across the UK. Now in its fourth year, ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ is a global prayer movement, which invites Christians around the world to pray between Ascension and Pentecost for more people to come to know Jesus Christ. The wave of prayer followed a call from the Archbishops for Christians everywhere to reaffirm the life-transforming power of prayer.
Local Southampton churches, including New Community Church, Saint Mary’s Church, Lighthouse International Church, and Above Bar Church joined together to host an official Thy Kingdom Come beacon event at Central Hall. The evening consisted of worship, and a time of creative collective prayer on a variety of themes.
Commenting on this unique wave of worship, the Right Reverend Tim Dakin, Bishop of Winchester, said:
‘This year’s festival was another wonderful opportunity to get together and encourage each other in the life of prayer and witness. I have heard stories about people coming to faith and of lives being changes through prayer.
‘As our communities have come together to pray, people have been inspired across the region to live the mission of Jesus through the power of the Spirit who is present in peoples everyday lives.
‘Let’s keep praying as Jesus taught us, for God’s Kingdom to come for his will to be done.’
The Pentecost festival celebrates the coming of the Holy Spirit to the disciples, often regarded as the birthday of the Church, and the start of the Church’s mission to the world. The Beacon event at Winchester Cathedral had been preceded by a wave of prayer across Hampshire, inspired by the simple, powerful words of the Lord’s Prayer. Christians from all denominations have been getting involved with the ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ prayer marathon, including Anglican congregations, Methodist, United Reformed, Baptist, and Pentecostal along with others.
As well as the Beacon event in Southampton, there were major celebrations taking place in churches across the Diocese of Winchester. They included:
- Winchester Cathedral, Winchester
- All Saints Church, Odiham
- Overton Recreation Centre, Overton, Basingstoke
- Romsey Abbey