Cathedral prayer vigil for Middle East Christians ‘on the edge’

The Bishop of Bradford is to take part in a prayer vigil at Bradford Cathedral for Christians and churches in the Middle East, many experiencing persecution.

Bishop Toby Howarth will be one of the main speakers at ‘Hope on the Edge’, organised jointly by the Diocese of Leeds, Bradford Cathedral and local Christian charity, Wellsprings Together Bradford. He will be joined by other speakers from, or with close links to, Egypt, Iran and the Arabian Gulf who will give their first-hand testimonies of the situation currently facing Christians. 

The evening event takes place on Sunday 15 October from 6.30pm – 8.30pm.  Prayer stations will be set up around the cathedral and those who come will be invited to light a candle, pray alone or in a group or move around the cathedral to different prayer areas, learning about and praying for Christians in the Middle East.

Hosting and helping to organise the event is Canon Paul Maybury, who joined the staff of Bradford Cathedral a year ago after three years as Bishop's Mission Priest in the Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf. Paul was also Spirituality Co-ordinator for Cyprus & the Gulf and is now ‘Canon Precentor’ at Bradford Cathedral and Prayer and Spirituality Coordinator for the Diocese of Leeds.

Paul said that while there are many sad and tragic stories of Christians being persecuted, there are also stories of hope from places like the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, and Qatari. “The number of Christians worshipping on a Sunday in some of these places which I am familiar with is measured in the tens of thousands,” he said. “Migrant workers are in the majority in these countries, and only recently the Anglican Bishop of Cyprus and the Gulf ordained two priests at a service where a Government Minister was present.

“Across the Arabian Gulf, in the oil rich states, the Anglican church plays a highly significant role on behalf of the many Christians, from around the world, who live, work and worship there.

“I look forward to sharing some wonderful good-news stories from those Muslim majority places. Others will also be sharing their experiences of the Coptic Church in Egypt and from the church in Iran.”

Refreshments will be served from 6.30pm on Sunday 15th October and anyone from across the diocese with an interest in the Middle East is urged to take part.  

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