The third annual ecumenical global wave of prayer for evangelism, Thy Kingdom Come, has come to an end with thousands of Christians around the world gathering for prayer and worship in “beacon” events. Thy Kingdom Come began with a simple invitation to prayer from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to the clergy of the Church of England but grew into a global ecumenical movement.
On Saturday evening, May19, fresh from their duties at the royal wedding in St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Presiding Bishop of the US-based Episcopal Church, Michael Curry, attended a special Thy Kingdom Come event at St Albans Cathedral, just north of London, England. They were joined by Archbishop Angaelos, the Coptic Orthodox Archbishop of London, and thousands of young people who came together to celebrate and share their faith. The event was one of thousands held across the UK to mark Thy Kingdom Come: one person even circumnavigated around the UK sailing and praying during the 11 days.
Other Thy Kingdom Come events took place in places as diverse and far-spread as Australia, Bermuda, Bangladesh, Canada, South Africa and Malaysia and the Falkland Islands. The Archbishop of Canterbury attended two beacon events, which were streamed live on Facebook. They drew thousands of viewers from around the world including Morocco, the U.S., Brazil, Mauritius, Nigeria, Sweden, South Africa and Romania.
At St. Albans, Welby recounted how he found out the identity of his real biological father, and spoke about clearing up the personal belongings of the man he believed was his father after he died. He also spoke about the revolutionary nature of Christianity, saying: “At the heart of what we do and believe as Christians is a revolution. It’s not conventional. It’s not normal. It’s not just living life as it comes. It is a revolution that should, and has, and will again transform the world in which we live.
Curry gave his testimony at the event, and continued with the theme of love, which he spoke about in his sermon at the royal wedding. “I really do believe what Jesus is teaching us and His spirit, is that it [Love] really is the way to new life, not just for us but for the whole world,” he said. “And that’s why the Gospel is Good News.”
The Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, concluded a week of mission with a special Thy Kingdom Come celebration at York Minster on Pentecost Sunday.
Welby also took part in an ecumenical Pentecost service at Westminster Central Hall Methodist Church, along with Pastor Agu Irukwu from Jesus House, and Gareth Powell and the Rev. Loraine Mellor from the Methodist Church of Great Britain.
Commenting on the success of this year’s Thy Kingdom Come, Welby said: “What’s really excited me about this year’s Kingdom Come, is the sense of gathering momentum of people knowing that they have met with Jesus Christ and that they have this sense that they want to share what being a Christian means for them – with those whom they love and those whom they know.
He added: “I can’t remember that being something that seems to be gripping so many people, from every part of the Church. We just see God at work in so many wonderful ways and so, I am hugely grateful for the grace of God that comes undeservedly and that moves amongst us. It really has been the most exciting period I can remember for many, many, years.”
Thy Kingdom Come’s project director, Emma Buchan, said: “We have been profoundly moved by the stories and sign of God working in our midst during these 11 days. It’s so remarkable to see how many churches and individuals from across the traditions and denominations, from around the world, have been affected by prayers during Thy Kingdom Come – something we truly believe is a church without walls.”
Watch our interview with Archbishop Justin on Thy Kindom Come, filmed last Thursday, May 17, 2018: