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PICTURES: Worshippers join day of prayer at Saints in the Stadium
6:32pm Friday 18th October 2013 in News
CHURCH leaders highlighted the number of people living in poverty across the north west and a shortage of new religious figureheads as concerns when more than 2,000 Christians gathered at Langtree Park for a day of prayer.
Crowds congregated in the stadium’s north stand on Saturday for five hours during the Saints in the Stadium event of prayer, worship and song.
They were addressed by the likes of the Bishop of Lancaster Geoffrey Pearson and Pastor Philip Fell, chairman of St Helens church organisation Shine, and Saints club chaplain Paul Johnson.
The Rt Rev Pearson questioned why eight out of the 10 poorest areas in the country are in the north west and asked for prayers to be said “so the poor are not crushed”.
Mayor of St Helens, Councillor Andy Bowden, stressed that a close relationship between the council and church community brings much benefit to the town.
The day of prayer was held at Wembley stadium last year, but organisers wanted to bring it up north in 2013 and were encouraged by the number of local worshippers who attended.
A special greeting to worshippers and leaders was delivered on behalf of the Archbishop of Canterbury.
The Most Rev Justin Welby said the event helped renew prayer and community building around the nation, In his letter, the Archbishop reminded the gathering of the need to come together from across a range of Christian traditions and styles of worship.
He also spoke of the challenges which prayer brings, describing them as “demanding”, and stressed it was one of his priorities as Archbishop of Canterbury.
Most Rev Welby said: “It is exciting to see Christians coming from across the wide spectrum of church traditions to rejoice and be in God’s great presence.
“As I have said before: when we pray, God works. This is one of the great mysteries, yet the amazing realities, of faith.
“Yet prayer is challenging – it demands us to be patient, humble, persistent and courageous.
“So I am delighted at all initiatives that encourage us in the work of prayer, especially those that work to build up the unity of believers across the barriers we invent.
“In this spirit I commend Saints in the Stadium as a means of renewing prayer and community building around the nation.”
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