Christian leaders plan to bless Norwich decision-makers
A group of Norwich Christian leaders met at the House of Prayer on Monday with representatives from the national charity Cinnamon Network to kick-start plans for a Civic Prayer Event, a gathering to listen and pray into the challenges of leaders from all spheres of city life.
Around fifteen Norwich Christian leaders met on Monday, March 19 at the House of Prayer to hear from representatives of the Cinnamon Network and discuss the possibility of hosting a Civic Prayer Event for Norwich.
The meeting was initiated by Jill Gower, Director of Call to Prayer, Methodist Minister Rev Nigel Fox and Dominic De Souza, Leader of One Church with the aim of drawing together a wider group to help shape, support and organise a Civic Prayer Event.
Civic Prayer Events have been run in towns, villages and cities across the country with the equipping and inspiration of the Cinnamon Network. These events, which often include breakfast or lunch, gather together leaders from the area’s police, council, education, health, business, sport and media and invite them to identify the issues they are facing within the city. The aim is to build relationships and have the opportunity to pray into the challenges identified.
Dominic De Souza, who is on the National Advisory Council of the Cinnamon Network, introduced the charity’s Church Engagement Manager Gareth Brown.
Gareth explained: “It’s about listening to the wider community – to the challenges of the health service, to the priorities of the police service, listening to local government leaders and MPs and the situations they are going through. And it’s about praying for these things.”
He said: “I’m always struck that in Matthew 5:14 it talks about not a church on a hill but a city on a hill shining its light. That’s about gathering everybody together to say look at what we can do together and look at what we can do in Norwich for the glory of God”.
Gareth relayed some of the practical challenges and learning from past Civic Prayer Events. He encouraged the gathering to put serious consideration into choosing the right venue, the appropriate date and time, planning the finances and the right method of inviting people.
Nick Amis, who from April 1 will take on the role of Cinnamon Network Advisor for East Anglia, also spoke to the gathering. Nick, who already fulfils the same role in the East Midlands, said: “Civic Prayer Breakfasts aren’t just about a one off event. Once those that have come from non-church backgrounds see that the people of God are genuinely interested and have no agenda – that they just want to see the city blessed, they want to pray and support those who are having a tough time to make the budgets meet the need – they often can say let’s do this every year.”
The meeting which included Danny Doran-Smith of ENYP, Val Dodsworth of The House of Genesis, PS Marie Reavey from the Christian Police Association, Mark Fairweather Tall from Norwich Central Baptist Church and Phil, Jo and Jono Thorne from Alive Norwich, split into groups to discuss the practicalities of hosting a Civic Prayer Event in Norwich.
Following group discussion Rev Nigel Fox concluded the event saying: “This isn’t just a bright idea. This, I believe, is something of God and I believe the end result will be of God. Our country needs fixing – the sooner the better. It is plain common sense that it is God’s will that the city of Norwich be blessed.”
There is an open invitation to be involved in the planning of the event, which will likely take place in Autumn 2018. Jill Gower said: “If you want to get involved in the steering committee please do get in touch. We just feel like cogs in the wheel with it, we don’t the whole thing, we want a group of us to take it on board, so let us know if that is something you want to be part of”.
To find out more and to get involved with planning the Norwich Civic Prayer event, please contact Dominic De Souza on firstname.lastname@example.org or Jill Gower at email@example.com.
Photo: Dominic De Souza of One Church, Norwich and Gareth Brown from the Cinnamon Network