Last night we enjoyed a beautiful sunny evening and took the opportunity to take a prayer walk around Bolton-on-Dearne and Goldthorpe, focussing on praying at the local churches. It was very different from January’s snow and wind, but it’s important to pray no matter what the weather!

We started at the Methodist church on Furlong Road in Bolton-on-Dearne and moved on to pray at St Andrew’s, the parish church:

St Andrew’s is a very old church; there has been a church on that site since Saxon times and we could see how the building has both old stone and new stone which has been added in when repairs were needed. Peter tells us “you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:5) We are reminded of the faithful Christian witness in our locality over hundreds of years and the truth of Jesus’s words ‘I will build my church and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.’ (Matthew 16:18) We are just the latest generation to serve God in our communities; we are immensely grateful for our spiritual heritage and pray that we may faithfully serve our generation and sow seeds which will bear fruit in years to come as well.

From there, we moved on to Goldthorpe, praying first at the Salvation Army building:

New doors and windows have just been added here and we are grateful for all that can be done to improve the buildings. Even more exciting is the community work being done by this local church to help the poor and needy and the spiritual fruit they are seeing from this work. We prayed that the motto of ‘Blood and Fire’ would continue to be relevant, for our salvation is based on the sacrifice of Jesus and we need the fire of the Holy Spirit to empower our daily lives.

The Catholic Church in Goldthorpe is no longer meeting in this building:

Instead, it holds meetings at the building of the Anglican church:

St John’s and St Mary Magdalene’s Church is a very different building to St Andrew’s. The church was designed by Alfred Y. Nutt of Slough in 1914 and built between 1915-16. It is an interesting early example of the use of re-enforced Ferro-concrete for both the building of churches and for church furniture. It is due to the unusual design, the revolutionary building technique and the materials used that have resulted in the Church and Presbytery being awarded Grade 2* listing status. Once again, we were struck by the diversity of the church buildings and how this reflects the diversity within each church community. God is a God of infinite variety and there is room for all kinds of buildings and traditions in His house!

We also prayed for the Marist convent in Goldthorpe.

As part of June’s prayer focus, we prayed not only for the ministries of the churches but also for those who have once attended but no longer do so to be drawn back to fellowship. We are grateful for the work that God is doing in every local church and for both the diversity and unity within these churches. We prayed for the relationships between the churches, that we may all work together in proclaiming the Gospel and in reaching out to those who do not yet know God’s love.

We had a great time!