Awakening 2000 is a movement made up of every Christian denomination across the country and many Christian organisations. While it is overseen by an Advisory Board made up of representatives of the various heads of churches and Christian organisations, it is driven by a grass roots movement of ordinary people. Reclaiming Easter Programs, Prayer Vigils (Good Friday evening), Festivals (various weekends and Easter Saturday), and Marches (Easter Sunday), have been designed to "Reclaim Easter as an Australian Christian celebration" and to convey the real meaning of Easter in a way ordinary Australians can relate to. This year, in every capital city and up to 500 cities and towns throughout Australia, churches are coming together as one to celebrate the most important event on the Christian calendar. Last year an estimated million people participated in the Reclaim Easter programs.
As part of their focus on the generations people gathered to pray the prayers of young Australians at the Mt Cootha Lookout and formed a candle-lit human cross as they begin the dusk to dawn vigil. It symbolized the need for a self-absorbed generation to make a deliberate effort to rekindle its care for the next generation whose prayers reveal high levels of anxiety about the future. The candles were lit from a giant 3 wick candle representing the Justice, Mercy and Compassion of God which was reflected to us in the life of Christ.
Across the city at 5 other sites, throughout Queensland and nationwide up to 10,000 people from all the Christian traditions kept vigil as a response to the Easter story with its challenge for us to die to self interest and come alive to care.
The Awakening program climaxed on Sunday afternoon with marches in every capital city and hundreds of other cities and towns as Christians gathered together to celebrate the Resurrection of Christ. Australia will march on the Global date of 30th May next year.
In total 26 cities are marching in Japan this year with a total march count of approx. 6,000 people marching. The main march will be in Tokyo with 1,000 people congregating in a large park near the Emperor's Palace. Other cities include Nagoya, Yokahama, Fukuokaan.
March for Jesus- Hong Kong will be organising district marches this year with 23 different districts taking part. The theme is 'No More Walls' with the prayer that all the churches in Hong Kong can be united to praise the Lord with one heart and mind and that the name of Jesus will be lifted up in every district in Hong Kong. 20,000 people are expected to take part.
Sri Lanka We just finished a big Crusade with Dr. Reinhard Bonke, organised by all the denominations together. We had over 100,000 people attending it on the last day. This was the biggest crowd gathered for a Christian programme in Sri Lanka. We look forward to a good crowd joining the March this time.
Thailand There will be 7 towns from the province of Uthai Thami marching on May 17th with about 300-500 people taking part. The main march will be about 2km long and feature mostly Thai hymns and choruses. All the churches from the 4 denominations in the province hope to join in along with Christians from other provinces.
Taiwan Another Easter Sunday March will be along the streets of Taipei in Taiwan. There will be two teams marching and the march will culminate at the Sun Yat Sen Memorial. The reason that they are holding the event every Easter is to proclaim that Jesus is alive.
Tonga By the time you read this Tonga will have had their MFJ 97 event. March 31st is the date and will include the King of Tonga and the royal family along with government leaders, church leaders, etc. There is an emphasis on involving youth and about 14 different denominations will be involved. Youth camps will be going on during this weekend and will culminate with the march.
The international prayer script will be used although there will be a special emphasis to recognise Tonga's past and present missionaries. 40-50,000 people are expected to march on the day.
India The area of Pithapuram is gradually recovering from the cyclone that destroyed many of the buildings in the area a couple of months back. We have sent encouragement to Pastor Raju who requested prayer and support. Despite this disaster Pastor Raju still plans to have a march on May 17th and hopes to involve a lot of the people that attended last years march. Christians in Goa will be marching on the streets of our city on the 17 of May 97. At the last meeting of Pastors and Leaders the GMFJ 97 was unanimously accepted and it was decided that all the churches will join the procession of praise and prayer, this time on the streets of Margao, one of the biggest cities in the state of Goa.
Equatorial Guinea They hope to have 4 marches this year and 15,000 participants, in Bata, Malabo and Ebebiyin. The largest march will be in Bata where they hope for 10,000 people.This year's march will will be more extensive across the country.
Spain To date we have 5 confirmed marches with 5-5500 participants expected. One town will have prayerwalks, another 5 are still to confirm what they are planning for this year. Marches will be in Madrid (2500), Sabadell, Ceuta, Cadiz and Merida. Prayerwalks in Girona.
Most of our efforts are towards preparing a network of work groups and coordinators with a view to having a march in every provincial capital city in Spain in 98. PLEASE PRAY FOR THIS!
France A new committee for MPJ was formed in Paris on 19 December. There will be a march in Paris on May 1st, in which a number of Parisian churches will be participating, under the theme of Paris for Jesus. The march will be followed by a 3 day evangelism campaign based at the Bercy sporting complex. Leaflets of invitation will be handed out during the march, which will be from Vincennes, and at the public meeting at the end of the march, at Bercy, there will be a relay race with Carl Lewis, Joe Delauche and Leroy Burrell participating along with 200 young people.
We have just received news that in spite of the difficulties in this nation,
there will be a March for Jesus on 17 May following a month of outreach
activities. However organisers face many challenges due to continuing unrest,
and have suggested the following points as a guide for prayer:
- pray for a lifting of the embargo: many innocent children are going hungry and malnutrition is beginning to bite hard;
- pray for peace: sporadic conflicts across the country are preventing help reaching people who desperately need it;
- pray for the encouragement and protection of Christians and unity among believers to reach out to the lost and hurting;
- pray that the march in May would be a source of witness and blessing to Christians and non-Christians alike.
FRANCE - NICE Organisers are facing resistance and a desire to see the project abandoned. Some Pastors have been critical of other churches and so are unwilling to align themselves with these groups, reflecting a lack of unity among believers there. Pray for a humility and desire for unity among Christians, and pastors in particular; pray that God would bring down the walls which divide his people; and that the march might be a catalyst to see new relationships and trust develop across the church in Nice.
ITALY Plans for a march in the North of Italy have had to be cancelled due to divisions in the churches and some leaders wanting to use the march for their own purposes. They hope to organise a march for 1998 instead.
Pray for our organisers there: that the Lord would encourage them in spite of this disappointment; and that the next 12 months would be a time of breaking down walls between churches and building a new unity in Jesus.
INDONESIA We have heard from our coordinator that the persecution suffered by Christians is getting worse, with increased restrictions on worship and public gatherings by national government due to the fast approaching elections.
Pray for a peaceful election campaign; that whoever the new government is will allow freedom of Christian expression and be open to the gospel being spread throughout Indonesia; pray also for our coordinators, for wisdom and boldness in the run up to the march date.
For further information on GLOBAL MARCH FOR JESUS
send fax to: 44 1932 789691
or email to: [email protected]
or write to:
Global March for Jesus
PO Box 39, Sunbury on Thames
Middlesex, TW16 6PP
For more information on Bible studies available, visit the Churchlink site on the World Wide Web at http://www.churchlink.com.au/churchlink. Enquiries to: [email protected]