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Archbishop launches HOPE 2014 with a prophetic view of the UK Church in 2063

As 100 Christian leaders gathered at Lambeth Palace to pray for HOPE 2014, the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby took a prophetic view of the Church ...

As 100 Christian leaders gathered at Lambeth Palace to pray for HOPE 2014, the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby took a prophetic view of the Church.

He described the UK 50 years on from 2014, in an era with ‘Archbishop Jo’ at the helm of the Church of England and King William on the throne "as a wonderful example of Christian faith".

The Archbishop set out a vision for a confident and vibrant Church which had learned to put faith into words and action sparked by HOPE 2014. He described his 2063 dream Church as united, forgiving, sacrificial, and risk-taking, spreading and being good news, with a renewed emphasis on prayer, evangelism and reconciliation.

He looked forward to an era when "evangelism became not a priority of the Church but THE priority of the church"… when "the Church believed again that it is the role of every member of the Church of Jesus Christ to bear witness to their faith; to say 'I know Jesus Christ and I want to introduce you to him'."

He described a church-planting movement with people prepared to sell up and move to places where life isn’t easy, where jobs are scarce and salaries are low; an era when ‘foodbank’ was a forgotten word; where the churches had worked together to end human trafficking; where the churches had set up credit unions, created wonderful works of art and music,  stories and fantastic films; where "the watching world saw that following Jesus was the best way to live"; a time when "there was no part of the world that we were not prepared to go into. That was when we became a risk-taking Church. Individually and collectively we said 'every part of this world belongs to Christ' and we will be there."

He pointed to "the most effective evangelistic strategy … commit to prayer". "The work of conversion is a work that only God can do – a work that is only realised in prayer."

And finally he highlighted the need to show Christ’s love to those with whom we differ … "to love people even when they hate us – even when they threaten us."

He ended by leading the 100 leaders in prayer using the words of Psalm 71: 16-18: "I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, Sovereign Lord … Even when I am old and grey, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation".

The 100 leaders of denominations and Christian ministries gathered at the Lambeth Palace event, also heard from Roy Crowne, HOPE’s director who said, "We are stronger together than apart. HOPE is a catalyst that brings churches together to transform communities by putting faith into words and action."

Pastor Agu Irukwu of the Redeemed Christian Church of God described the black majority churches’ work with HOPE as "a partnership made in heaven" as HOPE provided encouragement and resources for churches to reach out into their communities seven days a week.

And Dr Rachel Jordan, National Advisor for Mission and Evangelism for the Church of England introduced Leanne Jones, a member of the Sion Catholic Community for Evangelism, who described how Hope08 had sparked her journey to faith.

The previous Friday, HOPE leaders had gathered to launch a season of prayer with 40,000 at the Festival of Light at London's ExCel Centre – regular home of all-night prayer gatherings run by the capital's black majority church networks.

"We should never be guilty of being without hope. We have been entrusted with the greatest hope of all!", the thousands were told by Bishop of Chelmsford, Rt Rev Stephen Cottrell.

Host for the evening, the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, added his endorsement to HOPE 2014 and prayed: "In the United Kingdom, let there be light; let there be revival and may the revival begin in 2014."
 

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