IT'S EVANGELISM YEAR!

Welcome to the Evangelism Year of Vision4Life, the third of three years that we hope will start to transform the United Reformed Church, and our partners, for mission. We began with the Bible Year, and continued with prayer year. Re-engaging with the Bible and prayer have not stopped, but equip us for evangelism as we discover fresh ways of sharing God’s story with our friends and neighbourhoods.

The Evangelism Year runs from Advent 2010 to December 2011.

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Evangelism



Welcome to the Evangelism Year of Vision4Life, the third of three years that we hope will start to transform the United Reformed Church, and our partners, for mission. We began with the Bible Year, and continued with prayer year. Re-engaging with the Bible and prayer have not stopped, but equip us for evangelism as we discover fresh ways of sharing God’s story with our friends and neighbourhoods..

The Evangelism Year is the final year of a complete process. Some churches may want to simply jump into this year without covering the first two years. Can we encourage you to cover the main studies for the first two years and enter into the whole process before you do. Whilst it is easy for some to put evangelism on the back burner saying we are not ready yet, others may miss out on some of the important areas of thinking that have developed through the Vision4Life process if the bible and prayer are neglected. So even if you want to cover the materials more quickly than a whole year for each, please enter into the whole process and discover what God has to say to you as you develop your own thinking and progress towards evangelism.


Teaching & Motivational Resources


Getting on with it


Theological Reflections


Worship Resources


Additional Resources & Links


Seasonal Materials

Here is a document with a few ideas from churches that could be used as a link to the evangelism year.Download PtoE - moving on ideas.pdf here

A Theological Introduction to the Evangelism Year
This is a presentation written by Francis Brienen  for Eastern Synod ministers and offered for use by others. There is a text document and a Powerpoint. The text is written only in note form and is useful as a starting point for your own presentation.
Download theological intro to V4L Evangelism Year.pdf

Download theological intro to V4L Evangelism Year.doc

Download theological intro to V4L Evangelism Year.ppt

Exploring Evangelism - a taster session
This powerpoint presentation offered by John Hall is designed for s synod meeting and to be interactive, around tables. It also gives tasters of different parts of the booklet.
Download ExploringEvangelismTaster.ppt

Download ExploringEvangelismTasterScript.pdf

Download ExploringEvangelismTasterScript.doc

Don't let the sun go down
A prayer with picture by Heather Whyte

Download Dont let the sun go down... with picture.pdf
 
Advent Prayer Stations - Gospel Beginnings
These prayer stations have been produced by Dave Coaker, minister at Leyland and Penwortham, and provide a useful link between Prayer and Evangelism Years. There is a document for the text and another for setting up.
Download Prayer Stations Gospel beginnings.pdf

Download Prayer Stations Gospel beginnings - setup.pdf

You can access many of the resources by clicking the links above or using the top menu drop down options

Audio Versions - NEW

We are pleased to announce that we are now offering audio versions of the Exploring Evangelism booklet.
Click here to go to the download page.
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SEASONS - Advent & Christmas

Seasonal Resources

These resources will be especially linked with the current season to stimulate evangelistic activity linked with some of our greatest opportunities to share the gospel and reach out to our communities.

  
  
Thinking ahead about...

Lots of tried and tested ideas for imaginative services, readings, activities and creative ways to encourage deeper thinking about what Advent and Christmas really mean in 21st Century came out of Eastern Synod’s series of Thinking ahead about...events – and they have kindly shared the materials with us.

From today's news

This piece puts the well known story of the Nativity into a contemporary context.

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HELP

This page has a number of links to resources and programmes which are not directly organised by Vision4Life or the URC, but which the URC may have input and connections or which local URCs have successfully used in their evangelistic activities.

 

 

 

 

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OFFER

These resources are for use in worship
 
 

Songs of Committment and Affirmation

In this list, Ray Adams has compiled a selection of songs suitable for use at times of commitment and affirmation of faith

 

All are welcome

This is a short act of worship on the theme ‘All are welcome’. It is suitable for a small group or an informal time of worship for a larger group.

 

Charter for Evangelism with Bible links

This item could be used in worship planning with suggested bible passages linked with the Charter for Evangelism.
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DO

In this section there will be ideas and helps to enable churches to act and actually do something. They might be materials to aid us in evangelism, ideas to stimulate us, or examples of what other churches do.

 

 

 

How to help someone make a (further) commitment to Christ

Some notes to help you think through how you will accompany a friend as they take the next step closer to God.Download How to help ... commitment.pdf

 

Things that churches do

This is a series of documents relating to things that other churches do evangelistically, designed to inspire us towards similar activities.

Messy Church - This is one church's experience of doing Messy Church, an imaginative way to encourage children and parents to get to church for whom normal Sunday worship may be difficult. You can download the article to the right and also link to the Messy Church website here http://www.messychurch.org.uk

Download ThingsChurchesDo_MessyChurch.pdf
Alpha - gives an example of one night at an Alpha courseDownload ThingsChDo_Alpha.pdf
HOTS - Healing On The StreetsDownload ThingsChDo_HOTS.pdf
Back to Church Sunday is now the largest single local-church invitational initiative in the world. It is based on the simplest and shortest step in evangelism - that we should invite someone we already know to something we love; invite our friend to our church.

Download back2church sunday.pdf
bags4life - This document tells you about one churches’ development an Eco-congregation that has had an effect on their town and their opportunities for evangelism. You might like to try something similar.  Download bags4life.pdf
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THINK

Theological resources

These are background papers and not intended to be used as group work as they are but for filling in some of the concepts and ideas people might want to think about or explore further during evangelism year. Some of the documents come in their original form and many will be written especially for Vision4Life.

  

A Theological Introduction to the Evangelism Year

This is a presentation written by Francis Brienen  for Eastern Synod ministers and offered for use by others. There is a text document and a Powerpoint. The text is written only in note form and is useful as a starting point for your own presentation.

Download theological intro to V4L Evangelism Year.pdf

Download theological intro to V4L Evangelism Year.doc

Download theological intro to V4L Evangelism Year.ppt

 

Conversion

This article takes an in depth look at the nature of conversion and seeks to undermine the misconceptions often associated with the subject.Download Think-Conversion.pdf

 

Community Work and Evangelism

This series of articles by Steve Summers provides various resources from publications, tools for community work, a study for a small group and information about Assets for Life. It is worth taking a look at the rich and useful resources here.There is an introductory article by Janet Lees under the INSPIRE section

V4LE CRCW 1 - Assets for Life intro

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INSPIRE

 
Resources for Motivation and Teaching
These resources are designed to inspire and stimulate you into evangelism.

The "E Word" can be frightening to some and exciting to others. We hope these resources will dispel some of the misconceptions and enlarge your thinking about what evangelism is and how it fits into the life of your church and your personal witness.

Exploring Evangelism - a taster session

This powerpoint presentation offered by John Hall is designed for s synod meeting and to be interactive, around tables. It also gives tasters of different parts of the booklet.Download ExploringEvangelismTaster.ppt
Download ExploringEvangelismTasterScript.pdf
Download ExploringEvangelismTasterScript.doc
 
Telling our story

Telling our story introduction

Here are some introductory ideas for your to try as a group or in pairs to help you begin to tell ‘our story’ as a faith community. You can also think about this material on your own, perhaps making some notes in a notebook or journal to help you.Download telling our story intro.pdf

Story telling based on Mark 10:46-52

One of the themes of our Vision4Life Evangelism Year is Telling God’s story, telling our story. This piece of story telling is based on Psalm 34:1-8 and Mark 10:46-52.Download KT story telling.pdf

 

The good man Jesus - material for a book club or reflective reading

This material presents a way of using the book ‘The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ’  by Philip Pullman (2010: Canongate) in a book group or discussion group, although if you have read the book on your own you might also find these materials helpful for reflection.Download the good man Jesus.pdf

 

The life of Peter

This interactive Bible study is based on the life of Peter. It requires the main study document as well as all the separate group exercise sheets indicated for download on the right.Download life of Peter.pdf
Download Gp exercise 1 - refs re Peter.pdf
Download Gp exercise 2 - Peters employer.pdf
Download Gp exercise 2 - recruitment agency.pdf
Download Gp exercise 2 - film director.pdf
Download Gp exercise 2 - dating agency.pdf
Download Gp exercise 2 - careers adviser.pdf

 

The life of Andrew

This interactive bible study is for small groups based on the life of Andrew.Download life of Andrew.pdf

 

Stories of unfinished evangelism

A series of unfinished and open-ended stories about evangelism to help us think about how our story and God’s story work together.Download stories of unfinished evangelism.pdf

 

Film for Lent - Pay it Forward

In another of Colin Udall's studies using film, he makes use of "Pay it Forward" to look at different aspects of the way we should live our Christian lives, from the teachings of Jesus and parts of the Old Testament. This study is highlighted as suitable for Lent but could be used at any time.Download pay it forward.pdf
Telling God's Story

 

Bible Study on Acts 8:26-40

This is a Bible study for small groups based on Acts 8:26-40. It is a fuller version of the bible study on pages 35-39 of the Exploring Evangelism booklet (which had to be edited for reasons of space).Download Acts bible study.pdf

 

Re-inhabiting the Easter Story

Here are a series of scripts and suggestions for an evening exploration of the Easter story on the premises of a local church.Download reinhabiting the Easter story.pdf

 

Community Work and Evangelism

This provides some ways of starting discussions about how Evangelism can be linked to community work in our churches and communities.A series of resource articles by Steve Summers are also under the THINK sectionDownload community work and evangelism.pdf
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Home

Vision4Life is a process which the United Reformed Church followed for 3 years from Advent 2008 through to Advent 2011. It is three years of focus on re-engaging with the Bible, Prayer and Evangelism with the purpose of bringing transformation to the URC and its partner churches. The resources for the process are now archived here for churches and individuals to freely use. A fourth introductory year was also followed by many churches and that year's materials are also here with introductions to each year's theme along with a booklet to challenge churches to take a further step forward into the whole process.

Take a look through the contents of the site using the menu at the top or select items from the menu to the right. You can also access each year through the panels below. This site is now static and there will be no further additional materials. We have also closed the signup process. Enjoy the site!



INTRODUCTORY YEARBIBLE YEAR
PRAYER YEAREVANGELISM YEAR

 You can access many of the resources by clicking the links above or using the top menu drop down options.

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Seasons - Summer



Here are a number of resources specially suited to summer, but could be used anytime.

Awareness Trails

This document describes Awareness Trails as an opportunity for prayer and reflection in your local context and gives an example from one in Suffolk.

Download awareness trails.pdf
View an on line video to go with this awareness trail here

Football themed Camp

This provides some ideas for those taking part in summer camps who are looking for material with a football theme.

Download football theme for a camp.pdf

Seeking Sanctuary

Some ideas for praying with and for those who have come to Britain to seek sanctuary.

Download seeking sanctuary.pdf
This material can also be found at the EQUIP website where you can explore more about this issue www.equipnetwork.org.uk

Just Breathing

Explores the themes of breathing and relaxation in prayer.

Download summer just breathing.pdf

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Southwold Awareness Trail


Southwold Awareness Trail, produced by Ian Fosten from Paul Snell on Vimeo.
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Seasons - Harvest and Remembrance

In preparation for the autumn, here are a number of resources for Harvest and Remembrance.

Harvest

Agape Meal prayer

This provides a prayer that invites God to our communal/celebratory meals. It was written for use at a TLS weekend away. Instead of taking communion together at the end of the weekend, we combined our final meal and act of worship together.

Download HarvestRememb-agape meal prayer.pdf

Fresh Prayerful Harvest

The aim of this piece is to restore integrity to prayer in the context of harvest thanksgiving and to save it from being either a guilt flavoured extension to Christian Aid week or a warm-up for One World week later in the Autumn.

Download HarvestRememb-fresh prayerful harvest.pdf

Green Pastures meditation

This provides a meditation that can be used by individuals or groups at any time

Download HarvestRememb-green pastures.pdf

Harvest Resources from the Arthur Rank Centre

The Arthur Rank Centre at Stoneleigh in Warwickshire supports Rural Mission. Here are some of their resources for Harvest that you might find useful. They can also be downloaded from http://www.arthurrankcentre.org.uk

Download HarvestRememb-harvest resources from ARC.pdf

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24-7 Prayer Event Feedback

Here are some examples of the feedback we have received about the 24-7 prayer event. If you want to share your own experiences, please email Janet Lee the V4L coordinator admin@urc.org.uk
  • At Homewood Road Church in St Albans we had a 'quiet time' of prayer starting at 12 midday yesterday. About 12 of us reflected on various prayers, which we had put on a table in the shape of a cross.
  • It seemed a wonderful hour of peace in our busy lives and I thought it was powerful to think of all the other churches that were doing something similar at  the same time.
  • We just completed out hour of vigil at St Andrew's West Kilburn. THANK YOU so much for the invitation to join - a real blessing to us!
  • Thanks for organising yesterday.  Although I was not there for the whole session it was lovely to experience the peace of that quiet time praying with the group
  • Just to say that (although we did not formally sign up as such, but did use the downloadable material from the V4Life website) we did our 2.5 hours on Easter Saturday, from 12 – 2.30pm. We have a monthly community café (called Manna Café) at the Church, which is always on the 1st Sat of the month, and being on Easter Sat this year I/we decided to make use of the 24/7 prayer year, alongside the café part of the day. We used the prayers and pictures from the website, offered the opportunity to light candles, and some anointing oil (which came from the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem – allegedly [it says it is from there on the small bottle]; at least I know it was bought in Jerusalem anyway because I bought it in 2004..). People came and went, but overall about 40 people took part, from various local URC Churches in the area and other backgrounds. The most encouraging part was the young people, most of whom wanted to light candles and write prayers (I had post-it notes; orange/red if there was something you wanted to give thanks for, Blue (if you were ‘blue’ about something and concerned about)). We used these prayers (on display) as part of our communion prayers on the Sunday. On Saturday this prompted many of the young ones to ask about prayer; why were we lighting candles, do you have to light a candle to pray, what is prayer – and other subjects, we even had a brief discussion about whether there was a difference between Catholics and Christians (one of them [a cousin of one of young people] is being bought up Catholic) and creationism [one had a friend who was atheist at school, who insists that science is the creator, not God; try dealing with that in a hectic 10-15 minutes, when you are trying to keep an eye on Candle lighting hoping they are not going to burn the place down!]. They quite got into the prayer writing, and understood the idea of the different coloured post-it notes prayer themes better than the adults! Out of the mouths of Babes, eh!?Some of the other people took some of Jane Mortimer’s prayers away with them (about worrying and not sleeping etc). The ‘Saturday/absence’ themed prayers were useful as well. So all in all a very useful spiritual exercise; the material was pretty good. We got to do something they have been talking about doing for a long time – having a prayer time, during the monthly café; and also marking Easter Saturday, which most of them don’t really do (they jump straight from Good Friday to Easter Sunday).
    Re my other Church at Claremont: I put up the prayers for each day of the Holy week on the notice board in the Old Hall we have to use in the Claremont premises. I have had no feedback from anyone as to how much use was made of them, but I do know that many people use the hall during the week – and so hope and pray that someone may have found them useful, or at least been prompted to think about the Christian/Easter message, if they read the board – which I think some people do.
    Thanks for all the material and work that went into setting this up. May we all be blessed by the answers to prayer that will hopefully result.
    Peace

    Tim Clarke Rectory Rd URC, Stoke Newington
    Claremont URC, Islington.

    It seemed appropriate in this Prayer Year of the United Reformed Church to be involved as a congregation for one hour on 29th March.  Once the planning began it became crystal clear that the word “appropriate” in this context was anything but!  The event proved to be challenging, exciting, stimulating, moving and inspiring for the small group of people who took part.
    Silence predominated, those participating being led into prayer through listening, looking and thinking.  With opening and closing hymns the hour was divided into four sections, separated by singing ‘Be still for the presence of the Lord…’  In the first section, Praise, we were guided into prayer by listening to quiet music.  Section two, Confession, focused on the seven deadly sins, each briefly explained in turn, followed by silent prayer and the singing of the Taizé song ‘Jesus remember me…’  In the third section, Thanksgiving, ten very different images, each with a biblical text, were projected onto the screen for one minute each; the first Dürer’s picture of hands folded in prayer and the last a painting of the crucifixion.  This brought home the many and varied things for which we have cause to be thankful.  Finally, our Intercessions: we were invited in turn to place a night light on a black paper cross lying on a white background whilst introducing a topic for prayer with the words “I invite your prayers for…”  There were some unexpected but thought-provoking juxtapositions.
    We said the Grace together, then sat for a while in silence reluctant to break the prayerful atmosphere and the sharpened sense of fellowship.
    Who can tell what the result of a week of continuous prayer will be?  Those of us who took part know only what effect one hour of directed prayer had on each of us as individuals.
    Dorothy Postle - St Andrew’s Monkseaton - 8/4/2010
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Seasons - Ascension and Pentecost

Eagle Soaring Prayer

To provide some reflection and meditation on the theme of Eagle Soaring Prayer for use by individuals or small groups.

Download Eagle soaring prayer.pdf

Prayers from Holy Island

Occasionally there is a numinous quality to the air on Holy Island and the sense of it brings an apprehension of the Spirit who pervades all created things.

As this piece developed the idea of the Pentecost Spirit as the prodigal father took shape. Scandalously throwing aside all dignity he welcomes the home comers after thousands, maybe millions, of years of dwelling at a distance.

Download prayers from Holy Island.pdf
There are 3 photos to accompany this item below. They are all in jpg format. To download, left-click the thumbnail below and then right click the picture and select "Save image as" or "Save picture as" and choose the folder where you wish to save the image.

[nggallery id=3]

Prayer and the Holy Spirit

A biblical reflection and prayer on the Holy Spirit as the agent of prayer, for use by individuals or small groups.

Download prayer and holy spirit.pdf

Prospects for Ascension

Here are three items for use with people of all ages and abilities based around the bible story of the man lowered through the roof: some ‘let me tell you’ stories, a bible study and some suggestions for prayer.

Download Prospects for Ascension.pdf

Understanding our Father

To help us understand better that the One we are praying to is a loving Father who delights in us and wants the very best for us. You can use this with a group or individually.

Download Understanding our Father.pdf

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24-7 Praying for your community

AIM

Here are some ideas for those wanting to pray for their local community during the 24-7 prayer event.

 

INTRODUCTION

There are many different ways in which we can pray for our local community. Those suggested here are just a starting point. Please add to and alter them according to your situation.

 

STRUCTURE

  • Cut out some good and bad news stories about your area from the local newspaper
  • Write a list of the buildings around your church – or draw a diagram of your building and your neighbours –and put it on a large sheet of paper in the place where you’ll be praying
  • Visit the neighbours around your church, or the other people who use your building, and ask them for any prayer requests they may have
  • Ask if anyone in the congregation with local links in education, health, social services or other ways of helping people can suggest live issues your church could pray about
  • Invite those in your church to name one worry they have about their community and one hope they have for its future
  • Collect these on different coloured post-it notes and display them during your 24-7 prayer time so people can pray for these concerns
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24-7 Prayer - A short guide

AIM

To provide some suggestions for what to do if you want to take part in the 24-7 prayer event.

You can also download this page in pdf format
Download 24 7 prayer how to do it.pdf

 

INTRODUCTION

So you want to take part in 24-7 prayer but are wondering what to do. This short list of suggestions has been written to get you started. You don’t have to do it like these or to do all of these things but hopefully this list will help you to plan you participation in the 24-7 prayer event.

 

SOME SUGGESTIONS FOR 24-7 PRAYER

  • Talk to other people in your church and agree together which hour you will sign up for
  • Make sure you get the Elders, Minister and other key people on board
  • Get together a small group of other people who are keen on doing this
  • See if anyone already has any experience of 24-7 prayer to offer
  • Decide where you’re going to pray - in church (worship area, hall or small room), in someone’s home or another place
  • Make sure the space is warm and comfortable – with a variety of places to sit
  • Provide a simple focal point - a cross, a candle, an open Bible, a bowl of water and towel
  • Bring a CD and player with some gentle background music – instrumental works better than music with words
  • Reassure people they don’t have to fill every minute with spoken prayer – individual, silent prayer is powerful too
  • Provide some written prayers for people to pray individually or together – there are plenty on the website, or there’s a Vision4Life prayer in the booklet and reproduced below.
  • Help people to get through what may seem a long time by suggesting you all pray together at points during the hour – perhaps praying the Lord’s Prayer out loud together
  • Close the hour by inviting people into a circle, holding hands if it seems appropriate
  • Ask God together to bless the time you’ve shared and the prayers you’ve offered

Prayer

You may want to end you time together with the Vision4life prayer from the booklet.

A Vision4Life prayer

Life-giving God, creator of all,

you spoke the world into being

and saw that it was good.

Help us to see the world through your eyes –

messy yet full of potential,

incomplete yet perfect in parts.

When our view is distorted

may we refocus it through your lens of love.

Generous God,
give us vision for life.
Jesus Christ, saviour of all,

you live alongside us and show us

life in all its fullness.

Help us to look with you for hidden possibilities –

tiny mustard seeds of new growth,

grains of yeast that activate change.

As we identify signs of hope give us your energy

to keep searching for more.

Generous God,
give us vision for life.
God, the Holy Spirit, new life of all,

you blow away our excuses

and overcome our defensiveness.

Help us to keep in tune with your promptings –

glimpses of what could be,

hints of new outcomes we didn’t expect.

Generous God,
give us vision for life.

 

Feedback

We would love to hear of your experiences of being a part of Prayer Year and especially your 24-7 event, whether you are joining in for an hour or a day. Please send your feedback with stories and examples of what happened, how you did it and materials you used, along with perhaps comments from your 24-7 prayer journal. We would also like to receive photos and perhaps short 30 second videos of what happened. We hope to place some of these on the website as encouragement and support for other churches. Email admin@urc.org.uk

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Prayer Links

Here you will find some useful links to help stimulate your prayer activities. Vision4Life does not necessarily endorse all these external links. All links will open in a new window or tab.

24/7 Prayer
https://www.24-7prayer.com/
This website of the 24/7 moment gives a lot of information about 24/7 world-wide. It also has a series of 'Frequently asked questions' that might help you if you are planning to join in the URC 24/7 prayer event.
https://www.24-7prayer.com/prayer/faq
Women's World Day of Prayer
https://www.wwdp.org.uk
Seven Weeks for Water 2010: Holy Water
Make Lent a time to promote water justice and water as a human right. The weekly meditations for the seven weeks of Lent are a way of trying to raise awareness of water and justice around World Water Day on 22 March. Each week during Lent a short biblical meditation will be posted here along with some campaigning links and ideas.
https://www.oikoumene.org/en/what-we-do/ecumenical-water-network
The Campus Church movement
(a US initiative) has a 24/7 prayer ministry as part of its work. It can help you see one way of understanding and organising 24/7 prayer, particularly for students.
https://campuschurch.net/equip/equip.php?go=chop
Pray as you go
This award winning website run by Jesuit Media Initiatives, based in London, offers a daily MP3 file with meditation, prayer and music including Gregorian Chant. You can either play on your computer or subscribe to a podcast. (Warning - watch how you pass your mouse over some of the icons as they automatically open a small window which blocks the page until you close it.)
http://www.pray-as-you-go.org/index.htm
International Prayer Council
This organisation, based in South Africa, brings together a number of different prayer organisations and some may find their materials and links helpful.
https://www.ipcprayer.org/about-ipc.html
Taize Prayer and Song
http://www.taize.fr/en_rubrique12.html
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24/7 Holy Week Prayer event

NEW! - Download pdf posters for use during 24-7 prayer event by clicking the images below

 

 

247 cross tree1

 

 

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Patterns of Prayer

Daily Prayer

Helps us think about making use of a daily pattern of prayer. The accompanying document, "A Simple Pattern" provides an easily printed leaflet giving 2 leaflets per A4 sheet which can then be folded into 3, a useful bookmark size.

Download daily-prayer.pdf

Download a-simple-pattern.pdf

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Prayer Crafts

Prayer Scrapbooking

During Bible Year we described an activity called Bible Scrapbooking. This is still available on the Bible Year part of the menu above. Scrapbooking is generally a very popular craft. If you have not tried this before you might want to look at the Bible Scrapbooking first. However, you can do this activity without having done Bible Scrapbooking. It is suitable for individuals or small groups.

Download Prayercrafts 1.pdf - Bible Scrapbooking

Download Accompanying Prayer Scrapbooking powerpoint

Prayer Garden

Explores the concept of a prayer garden as a space for prayer.

Download prayer garden.pdf

Prayer and Art

This material aims to provide some ways of exploring prayer with art or art with prayer. It is suitable for use by individuals or small groups.

Download Prayer Year and Art

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