22 October 2013
HOPE 2014 launched at huge night of prayer
Image credit: Dave Bookless
HOPE 2014 was launched at the Redeemed Christian Church of God's all-night prayer event Festival of Life on 18 October.The event marked the beginning of a HOPE season of national prayer in the run-up to HOPE 2014, a big year of word and action mission in communities across the UK.
The HOPE leadership team, in an echo of the HOPE launch three years ago, was invited to the stage by Pastor Agu Irukwu and demonstrated the breadth of denominations that are working in unity as part of HOPE.
The Bishop of Chelmsford, Rt Rev Stephen Cottrell, prayed "that we might all make Christ known and build his kingdom in the world." Speaking on 1 Corinthians 13.13 he spoke about his six-word twitter sermon being "faith, hope, love, these three remain". Joking about misquoting the Bible he said "and the greatest of these is hope."
He continued with a serious challenge: "We have the hope of life eternal and the hope that Jesus' light will shine in and through me [us] to bring his peace and justice to the world.
"Through our lives, through our words, and through our service we show the world the hope of the gospel. We should never be guilty of being without hope. We have been entrusted with the greatest hope of all."
The Festival of Life sees 40,000 people gather for prayer and worship every six months and the venue for this one was London's huge Excel centre.The night consisted of huge gospel choir-led worship sessions, music artists, a very impressive saxophonist as well as talks and interactive and united prayer sessions.
HOPE's season of prayer will see thousands of peoplepraying into the success of local mission in 2014 as churches join together to touch lives in their communities through projects and evangelism.
Roy Crowne, executive director of HOPE said: "HOPE is the whole Church coming together in the name of Christ and developing a rhythm of mission. When the Church comes together, it is then that our communities understand that we are salt and light. We are joining with hundreds and thousands of others asking God to come and do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine and to let mission in 2014 be a catalyst for transforming our communities."
With the HOPE leadership team and youth representatives on stage, Pastor Agu, head of the executive council of the Redeeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), said: "Black and white, young and old, men and women - this is the Church."
Pastor Agu then asked all to imagine their community changed and filled with people worshiping God. "Have faith that that can happen as we go out and take the message of God's love and the gospel onto the streets of our communities. I want you to pray for that picture to become a reality. What we can't do ourselves we believe that God can. Let's believe that this will be a significant part of God's plan for revival in our nation and that our communities will experience the love of God like never before."
He prayed: "Bring your Church together so that the world may know the unity of the Church and that will be the sign that will authenticate the gospel."
Host for the evening, the general overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, prayed for HOPE 2014: "Bring this nation back to yourself and let the revival begin in 2014..Let our light shine and your name be glorified."
This Thursday (24 October) a Lambeth Palace reception, hosted by the Archbishop of Canterbury for the leaders of Britain's churches and ministries, is a second part of the launch.
Every guest at the Festival of Life received a copy of HOPE's Prayer Focus, a 12-page prayer calendar which runs through to 31 January 2014.