To celebrate the culmination of ten days of city wide prayer and the Global Day of Prayer, a Fire Festival took place on Pentecost Sunday in York Minster.
The many churches of York were invited under the umbrella of ‘One Voice’.
Soon after 7.30pm people started to gather in York Minster, entering through the South Door next to the statue of Constantine who became Roman Emperor in York.
At 8pm we started with a song lead by David Casswell Vicar of Clifton Parish and co-chair of One Voice.
Then Graham Hutchinson of The Elim Pentecostal Church and the other co-chair of One Voice lead the next 30 minutes as we prayed for our city.
Prayer took place individually and in different groups as Christians who didn’t know each other joined together in prayer to God.
In the next section, John Davies, Vicar of Huntington Parish, lead 30 minutes of prayer for our nation.
Included in this section was a time for quiet prayer as well as ‘Acts 4’ praying where we all raised our voices together.
The final section was lead by Stephen Redman of the Ark Church and we prayed for breakthroughs into countries ‘closed to the gospel’, prayed for world leaders and the success of the ‘make poverty history’ initiative.
A final push of prayer was made for Iraq, Israel and Palestine – three geographical areas that dominated Bible times and who also dominate the news today.
Over 450 people came to pray from many different churches in the city.
During the gathering two young people found Jesus as Saviour for the first time. Who said prayer meetings weren’t seeker friendly?
We gathered together on the steps of the Minster whilst burning torches were lit.
Then we marched to the fountain in the centre of the city, lit the remaining torches and precessed out of the four gates of the city.
At each gate a crowd gathered around three torch bearers as we prayed at these strategic places on the walls of York.
As we walked through the city we gave out full colour postcards explaining what the Fire Festival was about – they were well received by the public.
The feedback has been tremendous! Much rejoicing that young people found Jesus and that the average age of the praying congregation was low. Seeing Christians from a great number of churches altogether praying in one place is a huge step forward.
It was also said that seeing two Anglican Vicars, a Pentecostal and an independent minister all working together as brothers was an inspiration.
The comment was passed “you ministers actually looked like you all got on well together”. The reply was given “that is because we do!”
For an event organised at relatively short notice with no publicity other than word of mouth, this was a huge success – and now we start to plan for next year!