Archbishop asks Black-led churches for forgiveness
The Archbishop of Canterbury asked for forgiveness from the UK’s Black Majority Churches during a massive all-night prayer event at London’s Excel centre on Friday 17 October 2014.
Archbishop Justin Welby was praying with the 40,000 Christians gathered for the prayer night. He said, ‘My brothers and sisters I seek your forgiveness because the Church of which I’m a part turned from you in the sixties and seventies, when you began to come to the UK in great numbers.’ He described the Black-led churches as a gift to the UK.
The prayer festival was hosted by the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, worldwide leader of this, the fastest growing Church in the world who acknowledges his own roots in the Anglican Church.
Following the Archbishop’s prayer he prayed: ‘Thank you for the Church of England – for this Church that brought the light of the Gospel to us in Africa. Many of them died in order that we may see the light. My Father, my God, I cry to you: Revive this Church. Restore the glory of the Church of England.’
Pastor Enoch and Archbishop Justin and their wives then knelt as the 40,000 Christians at the event prayed for them and for their churches worldwide led by Pastor Agu Irukwu, the RCCG (UK) leader who said: ‘There will be no revival in the UK without revival in the Church of England.’
Commenting on this significant meeting Roy Crowne, HOPE’s Director, said: ‘There are moments in your Christian experience which you feel are historic. I felt that Friday evening at the Festival of Life was one such moment. We were honoured to bring together the leader of the Anglican Communion and the leader of fastest growing Church in the world. Never underestimate the power of relationship. Yemi Adedeji and Rachel Jordan have both prayed and worked hard to make this unprecedented moment a reality.’
HOPE’s Associate Director Rev Yemi Adedeji and Dr Rachel Jordan, the National Mission and Evangelism Advisor to the Church of England, are both part of the HOPE leadership team.
Renewal of prayer needed
Archbishop Justin was a keynote preacher at the Festival of Life. He said that the Anglican Church needed to learn lessons in prayer from the RCCG churches. His first priority as Archbishop, he explained, was for ‘a renewal of prayer’ in the UK and in the Anglican Communion: ‘a renewal of prayer and of communities that pray’. ‘There has never been a renewal of Christian life in this country without a renewal of prayer,’ he added.
Preaching on the Parable of the Prodigal Son, he highlighted the fact that the father ran to meet his lost son. ‘We are to run to the lost and find them,’ he said. ‘There should always be three people who do not know the Lord Jesus Christ for whom you are praying – everyday.’
Looking at the church growth trends in ‘a land where the number of people who were part of the church was at its height in 1935 and which has been going down for 79 years’ he asked ‘What can reverse that? In human terms nothing. In God’s terms prayer.’
He painted a picture of the Church as ‘a reconciled church, loving one another - where lonely people across the country see hope when they see the Church – because we are the picture of Jesus they see.’
He called on the Church to be confident ‘that there is no better decision that any human being can ever make, at any point in their life, in any country in the world, than to be a disciple of Jesus Christ’. And he concluded: ‘When we have a church that prays; that is reconciled and reconciling, and that tells people confidently about Jesus, then the dawn will break, hope will rise, our countries will be transformed, and the empty threats of economies and terrorists will be utterly, finally, overthrown – to God be the glory.’
Season of prayer launched
The Festival of Life saw the launch of three months of prayer throughout the UK using a specially-produced prayer calendar published for HOPE Together by national Christian broadcaster UCB, and distributed free to churches of all denominations throughout the UK including the 40,000 RCCG members gathered at the Excel Centre.
Acknowledging the role of HOPE Together as a catalyst, bringing churches together, Archbishop Justin said: ‘You keep finding them popping up here and there making things happen, bringing people together and doing the right thing, in the right way, at the right time.’
Roy Crowne, Director of HOPE Together said: ‘We have so much to learn from the Black Majority Churches about fasting and praying. Last year I was a guest at a prayer event in Nigeria with more than a million people praying. HOPE is thrilled to be working with the 720 RCCG parishes in the UK to spread the hope Jesus gives. When Christians pray, things change. We hope that thousands of people will join us over the next three months as we pray for the UK.’
Copies of the HOPE/ UCB prayer calendar can be downloaded or ordered in bulk. Find out more at http://bit.ly/1qLqQH8
For more information or photos contact HOPE Communications Director Catherine Butcher
07850 083414 email@example.com www.hopetogether.org.uk