On Thursday 15th February 2007, in the splendour of the Guildhall, One Voice with Churches Together launched 40 days of prayer for the city.
The meeting was convened by David Lavery of Kings Church and we began by singing “Thine be the Glory”.
The Lord Mayor Janet Hopton welcomed us and told us of her own Christian background and her delight that so many churches were working together – she said “It is the only way forward”.
The civic party, including the Lord Mayor, her consort, the Sherriff and his wife were presented with the guide.
The co-chairs of One Voice, David Casswell and Graham Hutchinson both spoke as did Chris Cullwick who represented Churches Together.
The man who started the 40 day prayer guide, David Hill from Hull explained the journey he had travelled in bringing this guide into being. He also congratulated us on having 67 churches participating.
Rev Jerry Middleton, a Minister from Edinburgh endorsed the guide and told us of its success in his 500 strong church in Edinburgh last year.
Describing himself as a “passionate Presbyterian” he went on to recommend the guide but also warn that releasing so much prayer will bring change – he suggested that a warning be printed on future copies!
He also reminded us that the 40 days of the guide which start on 21st February (Ash Wednesday) exclude Sundays. He also explained the idea of praying for 3 friends to become Christians, for our own ‘Big Issue’ and for revival in the city. He told how last year God answered his prayers twice over! The greatest side effect of all is that reading and praying for 40 days establishes a really good habit which can last the rest of our lives.
After closing with the song “Be thou my vision” people stayed around for a quite a while having drinks and finger food whilst examining the various display stands, by York School of Theology, Knights of Prayer, Christians Against Poverty, The Spurriergate Centre, Arclight, The Exodus Project, Besom, Family Matters, the York Workplace Chaplaincy and YWAM.
As they left leaders of different churches took their supplies of the 40 day prayer guide. Now the launch turns into reality as churches will distribute the guided this Sunday.
The night was without doubt a great success and a milestone as the church was invited to hold this meeting in the Guildhall with the civic party. We are praying that the relationship between council and church continues to grow and mature.