I have a friend who became a Christian after a string of coincidences.  It began when she came to a church she didn’t know for a memorial service for her father.  It continued through friendships she made with people she met then. The coincidences carried on as she went overseas, and her marriage broke up, and she was virtually imprisoned in an Arab Gulf State - yet kept meeting people who helped her find out about Jesus.  Back in the UK, I was (coincidentally) her local vicar, and I had the privilege of baptizing her.

William Temple, Archbishop of Canterbury during the Second World War, had a great quote:

When I pray, coincidences happen. When I don’t, they don’t.”

Far more people than we realize are interested in Jesus and Christian faith. When A Vicar’s Life was broadcast on BBC2 at the start of the year, it attracted audiences of two million - twice the number in Church of England churches on a Sunday.  What would it take for that extra million people to encounter Jesus?

Archbishop Justin Welby, like his famous predecessor, believes that he knows the answer. He helped to create Thy Kingdom Come.  As its website says, it is “a global prayer movement, which invites Christians around the world to pray between Ascension and Pentecost for more people to come to know Jesus Christ.”

From 10-20 May this year, our diocese will join Christians everywhere in praying.  There is a final prayer celebration in Hereford Cathedral on Pentecost Sunday.  We will pray specifically for more people to become Christians.   Who knows what coincidences will happen as a result?

Paddy Benson

A letter from the Archdeacon of Hereford

April 2018