On Saturday 14 May, just over 70 people gathered at the All Saints Centre in John Street, Grays, for Thurrock Pentecost 2016.
The event was facilitated by Tim Harrold of Transformation Thurrock, the non-denominational organisation that promotes co-operation and encourages shared projects between Christian fellowships across the borough. There was an umbrella of many colours at the front to represent all the different flavours and styles of church around the borough.
After some joint worship led by John Gorham of St Margaret’s, Stanford-le-Hope, there was a talk given by David Bareham, leader of the team at Community Church, Chafford Hundred. David spoke on the subject of ‘What is the point of Pentecost?’
Then some 20 local church leaders and representatives of fellowships made a Declaration of Unity. Denominations and expressions represented included Anglican, Baptist, Charismatic, Evangelical, Methodist, New Frontiers, and Pentecostal, and included a 24-7 Prayer Boiler Room and a simple church-in-the-house.
This had been conceived and written by the Thurrock Leaders’ Prayer group, an inter-church gathering of fluid membership who have met weekly for the past 14 years. The 20 leaders and representatives committed to unity of purpose, doctrine and fellowship. The declaration concluded with everyone speaking out loud these words:
“Jesus is Lord!”
One Church, one Lord!
We stand together to declare that we are committed to the church of God and to celebrate the unity that He has given us, and to seek continued and even greater unity between all the church communities represented in Thurrock.
We turn from and refuse suspicion, superiority and exclusivity – all things that block the flow of blessing across our borough, and we release the blessing for life evermore over Thurrock.
We thank Jesus that He is joining our hearts and hands together in even greater measure, and that we are seeing the Kingdom of God coming in increasing fullness in Thurrock.
After this, a blessing was made by Rev Bob Love, former Dean of Havering who lives in Thurrock, now retired. The remaining congregation then prayed with the leaders and representatives who were standing at the front of the church building.
Tim Harrold said afterwards, “This has been a great event – significant, if not historic, for Thurrock. There was a wonderful sense of unity and of blessing upon that unity. I can just imagine what it must have been like for those first believers who waited together in one place for the coming of the Holy Spirit and the birth of the church.”
Alex Day, Assistant Pastor at Aveley Christian Centre, closed in prayer, reminding us that the Decalration of Unity may be the culmination of 14 years of the TLP, but it’s also the start of something – something that must not just be about words, but action, together.
The above press release has been sent to local newspapers and media, as well as a few denominational press centres.
- All Saints, Chafford Hundred and Grays Team Ministry – Rev Ian Herbert
- Aveley Christian Centre – Pastors Alan & Lydia Field and Assistant Pastor Alex Day
- Church of His Presence – represented by Wale Adeyemi on behalf of Pastor Niyi Olujobi
- Community Church (Chafford Hundred & Chadwell st Mary) – team leader David Bareham
- Dayspring Chapel – Pastor Sam Olumoyegun
- Destiny Chapel – Pastor Frank Gaisie
- Gates of Praise International Centre – represented by Victor George on behalf of Pastor Akin Laosin
- Gateway Peoples’ Centre – represented by George Watters on behalf of GPC
- Global Evangelical Church – Pastor Shelter Seanehia
- Grays Baptist Church – represented by elders Dai Franks & John Burt on behalf of pastor Colin Baker
- Grays Methodist Church – represented by Maggie Watts on behalf of Rev Brenda Gutberlet
- New Covenant Church Grays – Pastor Sam Ajetunmobi
- Parish of Stifford (St Marys, North Stifford & St Cedd’s, Stifford Clays) – Rev Andy Higgs
- Stanford Boiler Room / 24-7 Prayer – Scott Riddle and Deb & Pete Connor of the team
- St Cedd’s, Stifford Clays – Rev Bob Love
- St Clement’s, West Thurrock / Grays Team Ministry – represented by Ray Barnard on behalf of Rev Michelle Reynolds
- St Margaret’s, Stanford-le-Hope – represented by John Gorham on behalf of Rev John Guest
- Thurrock Christian Fellowship – Andy Acreman as part of the leadership team
- Transformation Thurrock and The Craftsmen (simple house church) – Tim Harrold
- West Thurrock Chapel – represented by John Ironmonger on behalf of the Elders
Apologies from those who wanted to come but couldn’t or weren’t able to send representatives:
- Bishop of Bradwell, Rev John Wraw
- Bulphan/Horndon/Orsett Benefice, represented by Rev Max Blake
- Corringham Evangelical
- Mountain of Fire & Miracles, Chadwell St Mary
- St Mary the Virgin, Little Thurrock
Other fellowships either did not respond to the invitation or decided to stay away. We prayed for all those not present and believe the unity expressed by those present covers all of the Church of Thurrock.
Photos by Dennis Brockhurst.
Below – the programme for the evening.