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28 May 2013

Pentecost celebrations grow

Pentecost celebrations grow

Prayer in Parliament Sq. Credit Adeyinka Adepitan

Pentecost celebrations grow Local churches across the country pulled out all the stops, between 10 and 19 May, to serve and celebrate with their communities – offering a range of fun events communicating the message of Pentecost, the day that marks the birth of the Christian church, in creative ways.

This year the Pentecost Festival went national and brought together local churches across 23 London boroughs and 25 other regions, many under the tag line 'The Biggest Birthday Party Ever'.

Events included comedy and storytelling nights with the likes of Tim Vine and Peter Nevland, football tournaments, international theatre performances with a team of 38 Americans, acoustic music nights with home-grown talent, and outdoor fun days for all the family. Many of the events also incorporated an hour of prayer as part of the Global Day of Prayer. 

"Thanks for all the support in planning our 'Biggest Birthday Party Ever' event," said Katherine Mills from Worcester Park Baptist Church. "We had 200-250 people attend from the local community so that was fantastic and we have had really positive feedback."

Churches in the Wirral held a 'Biggest Birthday Party Ever' community fun day on Saturday, 18 May, at Kingsmead School in Hoylake, preceded by a Release the Spirit launch party bringing churches together in unity and prayer the week before. Highlights included cake, live music and a football cage.

Four churches in East Oldham walked the streets for a Whit walk, the procession stopping for prayer and hymns. The walk finished with a Pentecost service in the park, including a BBQ, face-painting and badge-making.Pentecost Praise in Bradford City Park. Credit Michelle Heseltine

In Bradford, City Park (as pictured on left and front page) was the central venue for Pentecost Praise with music, stalls, activities, crafts and worship culminating in the chance for people to renew their baptism promises in the celebrated mirror pool. Churches of different traditions united to host the event, Street Angels stewarded and to which over 3,000 attended, demonstrating a powerful confidence in God.

In Northampton, Christians and a Healing on the Streets (HOTS) team, from a variety of churches, shared their faith on the streets resulting in many wanting to find out more. Tommy Baker, a world class basketball freestyler, entertained and interacted with a large number of children and young people around the town. Pentecost in the Park, in Abington Park, was supported by local churches and ministries. Entertainment was mixed alongside worship and included the Fulfilment youth dance group and the Global Day of Prayer hour saw people praying in first languages such as Russian and Chinese.

Many of the events celebrated the Church's birthday with cake. The biggest birthday cake was measured four feet high and was given out to everybody who attended the special Sunday Pentecost service.

"We had a party after each service for members to invite family and friends. We provided cake and drinks for everyone and music was provided by a DJ," said Olaolu Davies from Jesus House in Brent Cross, London. "It was so much fun that we had people stay for all three services just to partake in the celebrations."   

The Pentecost Festival week was launched by the Bishop of London, Richard Chartes, as he led hundreds of people in prayer on Parliament Square in Westminster on 11 May.   Other highlights included a diverse night of praise and prayer featuring Noel Robinson, Rend Collective Experiment and American gospel artist Mali Music, thousands worshipping in London and Birmingham.

Pentecost Festival alone saw 250 churches collectively celebrate Pentecost in their locality and looking at how it can continue to support the local Church in creatively sharing Jesus.

"I am thrilled to hear stories of churches that have been re-energised to communicate the message of Jesus and of people coming to faith in Jesus," said Andy Frost, director of Pentecost Festival. "It really has been a great party."

You can use calendar moments and festivals to reach out to your local community through words and actions - www.hopetogether.org.uk