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Ecumenical event organised to celebrate the power of prayer
Spiritus 2014, an ecumenical event organised to celebrate the power of prayer, was held at Durham Cathedral (Sept 6th). The day-long event allowed Christians space to examine the role of prayer in the everyday life of the region in a series of workshops and events.
One of the workshops was held at the top of the tower at Durham Cathedral and was lead by Right Revd Paul Butler. Prayers were held at each of the four cardinal points of the compass and taking the vista from the tower summit.
Bishop Paul said: ”Prayer inspires us, in prayer we give to God all the situations and the people of the area and so on. So we are saying to God, actually we need you to work here and we're offering ourselves. Prayer is largely about lining ourselves up with God and what God is doing.”
Fiona Fidgin, Outreach Coordinator at St Antony’s Priory, Durham, who organised the event, said: “Prayer and pilgrimage have been part of the story of the North East for centuries. Last year, we saw a major pilgrimage to Holy Island and the visit of the Lindisfarne Gospels to Durham and we wanted to continue the momentum with Spiritus 14.
“Today we focused on ways to make prayer more meaningful, rather than a box you tick and say ‘there, I’ve done that’.
“Sometimes people struggle to pray or they want to find the right way of connecting with God. So today we have been inviting people to explore different ways of praying, for example singing your prayers, dancing your prayers, and even exploring what praying is like in the digital age."
Bishop Paul said: “It is fantastic that St Anthony’s Priory and Fiona Fidgin have arrange this whole day and the variety of prayer opportunities is brilliant.
“That is one of the other things that is really good about doing a day like this, it helps people to learn to pray in different ways and that sometimes re-nurtures peoples prayer life.”
“I am convinced that prayer helps - prayer does change things and prayer changes people and so prayer is a vital part of what we are about and is vital in the world today.”
In addition to the workshops there was a variety of worship in the Cathedral for delegates to participate in - including meditation, chants, a labyrinth and prayer walks. The Rt Rev Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham gave the address at the opening worship and Bishop Seamus Cunningham gave the address at the closing worship.
In his address Bishop Seamus said ”I find praying the word of God a very powerful experience, bearing in mind the words of scripture, the word of God is something alive and active – it cuts like a two-edged sword – the word God is powerful.”
During the final worship Rev Joanne Thorns was commissioned as Regional Worker for North East Churches Acting Together.