News for May 2017
You may remember that last year, all parishes within the Church of England received an invitation from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to join them in a Novena (Nine days) of Prayer between Ascension Day and Pentecost. This has now grown into an international and ecumenical call to prayer. So this year churches, families and individuals are being asked to join in this global wave of prayer for more people to come to faith in Jesus Christ. Once again, the timing is between Ascension Day and Pentecost.
The choice of timing is very significant. We think of Jesus’ disciples after his Ascension, spending time waiting and praying for the gift of the Holy Spirit. As Jesus told them: ‘Stay in the city until you have been clothed from on high’ (Luke ch.24. v.49b). During this time of prayer, we are invited to join in that waiting.
Archbishop Justin writes in the introduction to this year’s prayer booklet: ‘Some days I find that prayer comes easily. On others, it’s a struggle. But I’m always mindful that prayer – the act of meeting with God in conversation, silence, longing – is not just another thing we do. It’s the breath that sustains us. The thing that God calls us to before we think or do anything else. It’s not a Church of England thing, it’s not an Anglican thing, it’s a Christian thing.... Prayer is the place where change begins…. These nine days are a dedicated time to prayerfully wait in the ‘in-between time from Ascension to Pentecost. In it we choose to align ourselves with the love of God, so that those around us may come to know more of Him.’
As last year, we are offering three special opportunities to spend time in prayer between Ascension and Pentecost:
Those of you involved in the street collections for Christian Aid Week (many, I hope!!), which is the week before, may like to begin this prayer for our local community by praying for your street/s and the households you visit, as you distribute or collect up your envelopes. It is another lovely way to soak our parish in prayer.
May is also ‘Vocations month’ in the diocese. At ChoGS we will be having a special focus on vocation at our 10 o’clock services with some visiting preachers. Look out for more details in Bleatings and in the Diary section of this newsletter.
Wishing you all a blessed Ascension Day and Pentecost.