24/7 Prayer becomes Fresh Expressions partner
The 24/7 Prayer movement has become a formal partner of the Fresh Expressions initiative.
The announcement follows conversations between the head of Fresh Expressions, Bishop Graham Cray, and 24/7 leaders Andy Freeman and Pete Greig.
“The result was that it felt like the right time, something that God wanted us to do,” said Freeman, who sits on the 24/7 Council.
24/7 Prayer began as a single student-led prayer vigil in Chichester in 1999 and has since grown to become an international movement of prayer, mission and justice, spanning more than 100 countries.
At the local level, 24/7 Prayer is underpinned by missional communities inspired by ancient Celtic monasticism and commonly known as Boiler Rooms.
Freeman pioneered the first 24/7 Boiler Room and continues to oversee their development in more countries around the world.
He is training for ordination at St Mellitus College and is also developing Reconcile, which is merges elements of Anglican fresh expression and 24/7 community.
Freeman said the he was particularly interested to see how younger people could be involved in starting up fresh expressions of church and how prayer rooms could be used as part of the listening process for people interested in building mission communities and fresh expressions.
“There are a lot of parallels between the work of Fresh Expressions and 24/7. I think the biggest one is that fresh expressions start with the process of listening,” he said.
“This listening to culture, listening to what’s going on and listening to each other is also very important within prayer rooms and nearly all of our communities would have started from that same place.”
He added: “To play our part in the Church’s continued change and growth in its development of the mixed economy will be very exciting indeed.”
The Fresh Expressions initiative was launched in 2005 to inspire the development of new forms of church to exist alongside traditional forms in the hopes of attracting more people.
Bishop Cray, Archbishops’ Missioner in the Church of England, said he was delighted that 24/7 Prayer was joining Fresh Expressions.
He said: “24/7’s emphasis on prayer, spirituality and mission exactly accords with ours, and will strengthen us as we develop patterns of discipleship for fresh expressions of church, and as we engage with young adults.”