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Hundreds attend Lancashire 'Thy Kingdom Come' launch
Lancashire’s three Anglican Bishops were joined by hundreds of people from every part of the County yesterday evening for the region’s Beacon launch event for Thy Kingdom Come.
In doing so, they collectively joined with the Archbishops of Canterbury and York who have galvanised and led the international event from the start. The first was in 2016 and this second year has seen a huge leap forward in numbers participating, including many internationally. People are being encouraged to pray, individually or in groups, for their community: friends, family and neighbours.
Last week the Bishop of Blackburn, Rt Rev Julian Henderson; the Bishop of Lancaster, Rt Rev Geoff Pearson and the Bishop of Burnley, Rt Rev Philip North issued a joint statement of encouragement for parishes and schools in advance of the event. You can read that here.
Last night’s beacon launch event was one of 29 across the country. It was attended by more than 400 people, including ecumenical leaders from the Catholic, Methodist and free churches in Lancashire.
· All pictures taken at the event available in an album on the Diocesan Flickr feed soon
· Video highlights of the event also available soon on the Diocesan YouTube channel
The service was led by Bishop Philip and the keynote speaker was Roy Crowne, the HOPE Together Executive Director and one of the founders of HOPE, a catalyst organisation that brings churches together to transform communities; a key aim of our own Diocesan Vision.
Roy spent the earlier part of the day hosting a series of church leadership workshops in the Diocese, at churches in Preston and Darwen. After the service at the Cathedral Roy commented: “It has been an amazing day. The response has been fantastic from your Diocese. There is a real sense of ‘we can do this’.
“Parishes in Lancashire have really caught your Vision for healthy churches transforming communities. With intentional prayer, people will come to know the redemptive power of the Gospel and hearts will be changed.
“My talk tonight was based on the passage from the Bible in Luke, chapter 5 which illustrates how we are in this together. I spoke about how we all need each other to make this happen; small churches and big churches and all denominations.”
Bishop Julian said: “I am deeply grateful for all who came this evening. It was also great to welcome other ecumenical leaders to this service of encouragement for Christian people to pray for their communities, friends and families.”
Referring to the moment in the service reserved for reflection on the Manchester bomb attack (see this separate story) Bishop Philip added: “This has been a powerful evening of conflicting emotions. We have prayed for the Manchester victims throughout the service.
“At the same time we had a real sense of confidence and hope as we committed ourselves afresh to sharing the Good News with the people of Lancashire.”
On the run-up to ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ many parish churches across Lancashire have been ordering special ‘welcome banners’ from the Diocese and are planning to be open as much as possible over the next 10 days (and beyond into the summer) to welcome visitors.
· Other resources, including service plans; latest news; prayer kits and general information about Thy Kingdom Come are on this page of the Diocesan website
· Individuals; families and churches can #Pledge2Pray by adding their details here and they will then receive regular updates and useful links throughout the 10 days