This year the Anglican Diocese of Fredericton had big plans for Thy Kingdom Come, the global wave of prayer that runs from Ascension Day (May 21) to Pentecost (May 31).
In fact, the Spiritual Development Team began meeting in January to discuss plans. One such plan was a prayer vigil.
“We were going to do a 24-hour prayer vigil at the Cathedral, but with COVID-19, it would be too cumbersome,” said parish development officer Shawn Branch.
Certainly, the pandemic has put an end to many plans this spring, but activities and events for Thy Kingdom Come will go ahead, albeit in less traditional ways.
First though, what is Thy Kingdom Come?
“Thy Kingdom Come is a global prayer movement that invites Christians around the world to pray for more people to come to know Jesus. What started in 2016 as an invitation from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to the Church of England has grown into an international and ecumenical call to prayer,” says its website, https://www.thykingdomcome.global/ .
It has evolved beyond the Anglican world — to 65 denominations in 178 countries — as Christians and churches near and far embrace this prayer event.
It has three aims:
• To deepen our relationship with Jesus Christ.
• To pray for God’s spirit to work in the lives of those we know, specifically five people on our minds and hearts.
• To come to realise, through the Holy Spirit, that every aspect of our lives is the stuff of prayer.
To fulfill these aims, the diocese has at least three specific activities taking place. There will be an online Morning Prayer every day. As well, the Litany @ 6, which takes place each evening online, will be replaced by Evening Prayer specific to Thy Kingdom Come, said Shawn.
Daily Morning and Evening Prayer liturgies will be available on the diocesan website on the events page for use by parishes or those who wish not to join the online options.
The third activity is something new.
“We’re asking people to take their smart phone or computer and record a two-minute (or less) video identifying why their faith is important to them,” said Shawn. “Then post it to social media with the hashtags #ThyKingdomCome and #NBAnglicans .
“The hope is that people will post them during those dates (May 21-31) and encourage people to go look at them. Plus by using the #ThyKingdomCome, it will be global.”
The video is a bold step, “but it’s to get people talking more openly about their faith. It allows people, in a non-threatening way, to share and hopefully encourage others to explore their own faith.”
Shawn is hoping to have a couple of similar videos on the diocesan website shortly to give people an example.
“Even if it’s to say ‘my faith has helped sustain me through difficult times in my life,’ that’s enough,” he said.
Thy Kingdom Come in 2019
Last year, the New Brunswick Anglican reported on a couple of parishes that uniquely celebrated Thy Kingdom Come. In the Parish of Richmond, a parishioner hired a drone to film as congregants surrounded Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Hartland as they prayed. It made for a stunning photo.
In the Parish of Hammond River, they held a community Evening Prayer each of the 11 days, and a praise service led by the Rev. Mike O’Hara on Ascension Day. This service was followed by a time of fellowship and an introduction to the Thy Kingdom Come prayer labyrinth built by parishioners in the church yard overlooking the Hammond River.
And the streets of downtown Fredericton were filled with Christ Church Cathedral members as they held a prayer walk during Thy Kingdom Come last year.
Parish activities in 2020
In the Parish of Richmond, this note went out on Facebook this week:
“Shortly we will be joining together for eleven days of global prayer, 'Thy Kingdom Come.'
“During that time one …manner of participating is to choose five people to pray for. A piece of string with 5 knots in it is a good way to remember each person; or 5 different rocks; or 5 slips of paper. At home, maybe a picture of each person, something to remind us to pray for each person.
“What a great way to keep those we love even closer to our hearts during this time of 'apart-ness.”
In the Parish of Hammond River, though they’ve forgone the labyrinth this year due to social distancing issues, they held an online meeting to plan for other Thy Kingdom Come activities. They’ve chosen to gow with a Zoom Evening Prayer service May 21. Thy Kingdom Come prayer journals and an order of service will be emailed to parishioners in the parishes of Hammond River and Quispamsis.
Bishop David Edwards fully supports the concept of Thy Kingdom Come.
“It joins us together with both Anglicans and others across the world. It’s important because in the Lord’s Prayer, we’re told to pray for the coming kingdom of God, which is the rule of peace and justice,” he said.
“We’re not only praying, but also thinking of ways to share God’s mission in the coming of the kingdom.”
There are many ways parishes and people can join Thy Kingdom Come. Click here for ideas, activities and information.
For Thy Kingdom Come information on the diocesan website, click here.
1. Last year's Thy Kingdom Come celebrations in the Parish of Richmond included a drone filming Holy Trinity church in Hartland as parishioners literally surrounded the church with prayer.
2. Parishioners in the Parish of Hammond River built a labyrinth as part of their 'Thy Kingdeom Come' activities last year.