It’s been a good start to Thy Kingdom Come. We gathered at 10am for our service of Holy Communion at St Aubyn’s and it was a very special time of worship, where we sang some old but very powerful Ascension Day hymns. As always, I spent the time before the service standing outside – it’s amazing how many people do a double take driving past as they see a vicar in his robes.
I am still working out how to be a regular presence in St Aubyn’s parish, but one thing I try and do is have lunch down at Devonport Live. There is always a warm welcome there, and as often I ended up in conversation. A couple recognised me from a funeral I had taken, and to me that is a reminder how much we need to pray for the contacts we make through these kinds of services.
In the evening we had three small prayer groups across St Barnacles parish. It felt good to have small groups of people praying in different locations at the same time – is this something the Lord is calling us to do more often?
Because of a clash in bookings, I ended up praying outside St Michael’s church, but that was fine. I think one of the points of Thy Kingdom Come is to take prayer outside, and standing outside you can’t but help praying for the local community, for the passers by, for the neighbours to the church.
I was also struck by the six foot of paving between our front gate and the door, and how we need to go out and welcome people who are uncertain about making that step from street into building. I then began to pray for those who had make that step of faith, but for whatever reason have not been back for some time. My heart this year is very much for the drifters, for those who whatever reason no longer attend as they once did. Lord, bring them back!
I then prayer walked down to the traffic lights towards the bottom of Albert Road, as always trying to see the local area through God’s eyes. So much is there – the blocks of flats, the empty shops, the takeaway outlets and the beauty salons, the funeral parlour, the supermarket, the technical college etc. etc. If we do not pray for all these places and the people who live, work or study there, who will?
I walked back through Stoke village and on the way home, as so often happens, ended up having a pastoral conversation with someone I needed to catch up with. It’s been a long, but rewarding day, and I am very much looking forward to what the Lord is going to do tomorrow.
And just in case you’ve forgotten, 31st May is the tenth anniversary since our first service in the new church. Come along for the service at 7.30pm, followed by food. There is really nothing better you can do on a Friday evening!