Praying with other Christians in Harborne

Helen Nixon reports on the Churches Together in Harborne – Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

“The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity takes place each year on the same dates – 18th to 25th January. Churches Together in Harborne have for some years marked the Week by encouraging local Christians to visit churches other than their own to share in times of prayer and worship.

“There is also a Bring and Share Unity Lunch on the Sunday which falls in the Week, hosted by a different church each year. This year we were warmly welcomed (into welcome warmth!) by LF Fountain of Grace Church in South Street. Despite the snow which had started to fall again during the morning, several visitors from St John’s and other Harborne churches shared food and fellowship with Pastors Gabriel and Parah and members of the local congregation, including some students from Queens.

“I was privileged to be able to join with each of the local churches, on different days, and I was encouraged and challenged as I learned more about what God is doing around Harborne, saw the faithfulness and trust of people committed to prayer, and discovered unexpected connections between different church families.

“LF Fountain of Grace Church started the Week with their monthly Friday night prayer vigil, which included a strong focus on prayer for unity among Christians as well as prayer for the local community and for God to extend his kingdom. Brian Thomas was invited to lead one of the prayer sessions, and everyone joined in enthusiastic praise and worship.

“Harborne Baptist Church Sunday service on 20th January used input from Churches Together nationally on the theme of the Week: “What does God require of us?”; St Faith & St Laurence monthly Praying Together followed a specially prepared evening service on Thursday; and St John’s Arise also included the theme of unity. The Baptists hold regular prayer times on Saturday mornings, and St Mary’s, St Faith & St Laurence and St Peter’s all offer daily prayer and weekday communion services. At the Shalom prayer group at St Mary’s on Wednesday evening there was a visiting speaker starting a series of studies on God’s Covenant through the Bible; the emphasis on reading the Bible more deeply and on the intimacy which God seeks with us had strong resonance with some of our sermons at St John’s.

“The framework of Morning Prayer offers space for personal reflection informed by scripture, as well as a sense of connection both across different denominations and with Christians from the past. The times of shared spontaneous prayer provided a strong family feeling across the different churches.

“If you did not manage to visit any of the other local churches during the Week – particularly with the challenging weather – you do not have to wait until next year for opportunities to pray and share with and to get to know other members of the Lord’s family locally. The events published in the Week are part of each church’s regular pattern, and details usually appear on their web sites (or please contact me for further information). I am sure you will have just as warm a welcome if you are able to visit them in the coming weeks.

“If you were able to mark the Week with a visit to a different church, please add your impressions and comments below to encourage and bless others.”

Helen Nixon is one of St John’s Reps for Churches Together in Harborne.

31st Jan 2013 Posted in: St John's Stories by Stella Jennings 0

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