A group of Kynren Volunteers from Christian Churches in the Bishop Auckland and surrounding areas have been getting right behind Kynren by prayer walking amongst the cast and backstage areas ahead of each of the shows this season.
The Prayer Walks, which were started by Charlie Scott-King and Rachael Masters after the 2016 season of performances, have been welcomed with open arms by the whole Kynren community including many visitors to the shows; becoming an important
prelude to the performance, its success and its part in helping the regeneration of the wider community.
Mrs Charlie Scott-King, who is currently exploring ordination in the Church of England and hopes to study at Cranmer Hall, Durham in 2018 said: “I had the idea for the prayer walks back in October when I learnt that Jonathan Ruffer was doing all of this work here in the North East for the glory of God. I saw some bird circling the site and that said to me the walks needed to cover the whole show in prayer.”
Rachael Masters added: “It’s great to get a group of volunteers together who all come from various denominations of Christian Churches in the area to pray and to share a united vision and blessing really.”
Charlie said: “The pre-show walk takes us about an hour, we stop at various points on the site and pray for all involved at each location. Often there is more than 10 people doing the walk but we have people drop in at various points to join us and to pray. They are taking the time to stop and think, to take-in the whole essence of the site, the show and its wider significance.
The idea of the Prayer Walks is to visit different areas of the show ground, back stage areas and some public spaces, stopping to pray for the night’s performance and its wider effect on the community.
The Right Revd Mark Bryant, Bishop of Jarrow who visited the show ground along with a group of the volunteers to hear what they had been up to and to support their efforts said:
“The significance of Kynren is that it brings many thousands of people into the area and that is really good for the economy. We know anecdotally that at places like Seaham, when there is going to be a Kynren performance, the cafes the hotels and the like are really full; so there is a real sense that it is a ‘Blessing’ both to Bishop Auckland as well as to the North East as a whole.
“As a Diocese, we are focused on ‘blessing our communities in Jesus name for the transformation of us all’ and there is a really good bit of learning here that God is going to bless communities not only through the Church but through all sorts of other men, women and children of goodwill.
“Christians believe that the way they join in with God’s blessing of our communities is by praying, so I think this praying that is going on before performances is a way of asking God to bless people that come along so that they go home at the end of the evening saying they have had a wonderful experience.
The Revd Eileen Harrop who has been instrumental in building links between the Church in Bishop Auckland and the various regeneration activities going on the area including Kynren and the Auckland Castle Trust said: “Prayer is everything, it is acknowledging that God is present with all the decisions that are being made here and in drawing the volunteers in.
“Many of the volunteers are coming from generations of families who never believed they could do anything to lift their hearts and spirits and do something that would make a lasting difference to the communities they live in. They are now coming together and saying hope is real, hope is here. I am going around everywhere saying to everyone I meet this is not a one-off, this is real and will last – that is something worth praying about!“
One of the cast members James Masters who plays Joseph of Arimathea and has been involved in the prayer walks from the start said: “Like the original vision Charlie had, of the birds circling, on the first prayer walk I witnessed swallows darting around the lake and I felt it was as-if God was saying, ‘This year we are going to see regeneration – the atmosphere we are seeing on the site spreading out to the town and beyond – so that is a really important part of it – seeing the bigger vision.”
Charlie concludes: “I see Kynren as a parish, an unusual one but still a parish made up of different age groups, different families and from all walks of life. These prayer walks are the foundations of the parish and through prayer we are serving and blessing the volunteers and visitors. I believe the prayer walks are just the start of an ecumenical Christian community at Kynren.
Jonathan Ruffer Chair of The Eleven Arches Trust that is the backbone of Kynren said about the Prayer Walks: “To many, the idea that God is involved with what people are up to, day-by-day, is extraordinary. It isn’t, and those who witnessed the power of triumph in the community of Archers at the end of last year’s season will have sensed the blooming of flowers in the desert in a spirit of new-found confidence in the future. Our prayer is that as the flowers continue to bloom, that desert will be irrigated. Can this really happen? God can – and we are the watering-can! “
The Prayer Walkers will be doing their rounds again during the remaining shows of the Kyren 2017 season on the 1st / 2nd / 9th and 16th of September. Full details of Kyren (An Epic Tale of England) and purchase of tickets can be found at: https://elevenarches.org/