Parishes join in prayer from coast to coast for Thy Kingdom Come

Anglicans across Canada will join Christians around the world in prayer from May 10 to 20, 2018 to mark Thy Kingdom Come, a global prayer movement spearheaded by the worldwide Anglican Communion that seeks to empower people through prayer to serve as witnesses for Jesus Christ.

Thy Kingdom Come began in 2016 as an invitation from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to the Church of England, and has run each year since from Ascension to Pentecost. Fueled by social media and digital communication, participation in the time of prayer has expanded into a global and ecumenical movement with churches holding events and highlighting the power of prayer together.

The movement has caught on in Canada, and an increasing number of Anglican parishes and congregations are taking part in this year’s call to prayer, with local events organized for Thy Kingdom Come.

Eastern Canada

In the Diocese of Fredericton, the Parish of Richmond is hosting events at each of its three churches: St Mark’s Church in Jackson Falls N.B, St. John’s Church in Richmond Corner N.B., and Holy Trinity Church in Hartland, N.B.

A family picnic at the parish centre took place on May 5 that featured activities such as kite-flying and story time incorporating prayer. The parish has also planned a walk across the Hartland Covered Bridge—the longest covered bridge in the world—on May 10, with song, praise, and prayer. Other events include a Christian film screening and an exercise in which parishioners pray for five friends, using objects such as five small stones or a bracelet with five knots as reminders to pray for them.

Bonnie Sparks, a lay reader-in-training at St. John’s, first organized prayer events for Thy Kingdom Come last year, inspired by her own deep veneration for the Lord’s Prayer. She pointed to the importance of prayer as our “chief form of communication” with God.

“If you have a spouse and you don’t communicate with that spouse, that relationship flounders, and it’s the same with us as Christians,” Sparks said. “We have to stay in communication with God. It is not only to keep the relationship going, but it’s the strength that we get from that too. We are called to be Christ’s hands and feet—well, how can we be the hands and feet if we don’t know what we’re supposed to be doing?

“To me, [Thy Kingdom Come] ties in all the things that I feel are important as a Christian. […] It’s important to pray for our family members that don’t know Christ. It’s also an opportunity to pray together, to bring the whole parish together because we’re all doing the same thing.”

Western Canada

On the other side of the country in B.C., the congregation of St. George Maple Ridge will be marking Thy Kingdom Come by holding daily prayer every morning at 9 a.m. during the 10-day campaign.

“We’re conscious that some people are working at that time, and so those who are here will be praying for those who are working,” pastor the Rev. David Edgerton said. “We talk about people being on their front lines of ministry, in wherever place God has called them to be, and so we’ll be praying for people on their front lines at 9 o’clock every day.”

In addition, St. George’s will hold longer intercessory prayer sessions on both Saturday mornings for parishioners to pray for their community, parish, and church.

Like many others, members of the congregation first heard about Thy Kingdom Come through social media.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for unity,” Edgerton said. “In a church that’s often divided by issues for different reasons, to have something we can really come together with is good. […] I think it helps remind us that we’re part of the global Anglican Church, even out here in the suburbs of Vancouver.”

Central Canada

At St. Thomas Anglican Church in Thunder Bay, Ont., members of the congregation are marking Thy Kingdom Come for the first time. Plans include two worship services each day, a special prayer room for guided recitations of the Lord’s Prayer, and a series of prayer stations in the church.

Each station has a theme. One station, called “Forgiveness and Letting Go”, features a sandbox where individuals can use their fingers to write something for which they wish to receive forgiveness, or emotions such as fear or anger that they wish to set down or make peace with. Another station contains maps and images of those who have devoted their lives to God, encouraging people to pray for their community, their nation, and the world.

Deanna Blanchard, a member of the congregation and wife of incumbent the Rev. Jonathan Blanchard, first learned of Thy Kingdom Come through a friend’s Facebook post.

“All Christians should be participating in something like this,” Blanchard said. “I think that’s what we just felt—that this is something that as Anglicans, we can definitely get behind, but also just as Christians.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re Anglican or whatever [denomination]—Christians all over the world are coming together and praying for this.”

Are you participating in Thy Kingdom Come? View a list of resources to help organize prayer events and other activities. 

Pledge2Pray as an individual, with your family, or as a church.

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