Kingdom celebrations this New Year's Eve

This year in Nuneaton, local churches are coming together to host a New Year's celebration that puts God at the centre.

Kingdom United is being pioneered by Chris Staplehurst with the support of Youth With A Mission, HOPE and the World Prayer Centre.

Chris was inspired to put on the event after a YWAM missions trip to Uganda in 2010.

The team arrived on 31 December and were amazed to see live coverage on the TV of a gathering of over 200,000 Ugandans at Nelson Mandela Stadium in Kampala all praying, praising and worshipping God.

"I saw something that changed my life," he says.

"This blew me away, I had never seen anything like this before.

"It was amazing to see so many people celebrating the countdown to the New Year with God right in the centre of it all."

After that, he found himself asking himself, "Why not here in England?" and started to put plans into place for a similar large scale New Year's celebration here.

Now Kingdom United is launching in Nuneaton on Monday night and hopes to fill the winter gap between the summer festivals and events like Spring Harvest.

The night is for Christians of all ages and includes a meal and fun activities as well as a service and time of worship.

"I believe that God has given me this vision for this moment and that the time is now for KU to invite the body of Christ to come celebrate, pray and unite," says Chris.

"It is a time of celebrating the coming of the New Year together and rejoicing in hearing what God is doing in and through the local Church and the nation."

Part of Chris's inspiration is the example of the early church and what the likes of Psalm 133 and Ephesians 4 have to say about God commanding a blessing when brothers dwell in unity.

"It seems that the enemy has used, for centuries, the well-known 'divide and conquer' strategy in order to divide us as a group of disciples and to stop the blessing that comes from God mentioned in Psalm 133," he says.

"The Church, as Paul described it, is like a body with many parts, and it is this coming together and working together that will develop strength that is far beyond the capability of any single part of the body alone to produce.

"The time for disunity over slightly different theological understandings, I hope, will come to an end in response to this call by God to unite.

"We may have our differences as churches, but we are God's family called to love one another and to stand with one another as we are led by the will of God."

With so much of the New Year's emphasis in Britain on alcohol, Chris says the church has an important role to play in offering positive alternatives.

"New Year's Eve is a massive cultural celebration for the nation, and I do believe that we as the church have an opportunity to offer an alternative that involves the key elements to a great New Year's Eve celebration; such as creativity, fun, fellowship and having King Jesus glorified through doing so," he says.

"We hope that it will provide an alternative to parties focused around getting drunk and will be a fun, family friendly event that Christians can invite their friends and families to.

It is Chris's hope that the event will roll out across the UK and bring local churches together annually to see in the New Year.

Part of the night will also be given over to praying for the health and vision of the local church.

Says Chris: "We hope that KU will also be an event that annually restores, strengthens and fortifies the unity that has been already been nurtured and grown in the year gone by."