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. 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."