100,000 Evangelicals Unite At Gatherings Around UK In New '17:21' Prayer Initiative

An unprecedented display of evangelical unity across the UK is expected to be launched in April with more than 100,000 Christians expected to take part in a new initiative called '17:21'.

The initiative, which will last until October, is named after the prayer of Jesus in John 17:21: 'May they all be one that the world might believe'.

A range of Christian groups, conferences and festivals will be brought together under the 17:21 banner.

Each participating event will read the same bible reading, prayer of commitment, a declaration of a shared life in Christ and play the same worship song.

Organisers say the initiative, which comes in the year of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, 'offers a stunning visual representation of the bible verse in action'.

Nola Leach, the Chief Executive of Care, which helped organise 17:21, said: '17:21 is one of the most exciting initiatives towards unity across Christian groups that we have seen in our lifetime. It has been an immense privilege for CARE to be involved. It's been great to see so many different Christian festivals and conferences want to take part in this initiative. It's a significant reminder of just how much we share by believing in Jesus, and what we can achieve when we are united'

The 17.21 initiative will launch at Spring Harvest in Minehead in April and run in various evangelical gatherings until October 2017.

The General Director of The Evangelical Alliance, Steve Clifford said: 'It has been a wonderful privilege to see unfold before our eyes this amazing expression of unity across the diversity of the evangelical church here in the UK. We trust 17:21 will cause there to be smiles in heaven and greater effectiveness in God's mission here on earth'.

Malcolm Duncan, the Chair of the Event Planning Group at Spring Harvest added: 'The 17:21 initiative calls all of us who stand under the shadow of the Cross to link arms in the great responsibility that God has given us – presenting a living Saviour to a dying world. I have been humbled and thrilled to be part of this call to the festivals, conventions and Bible weeks in the United Kingdom to declare that we are united by far more than what divides us. May God take us beyond structural and mechanistic unity and give us the boldness and courage to stand together for Christ.'