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First UK national Pentecostal symposium 

Hundreds are set to mark Pentecostal presence in Britain in the first ever national Pentecostal symposium and celebration

Pentecostal symposium

Twenty national organisations representing an estimated 250,000 Pentecostal and Charismatic followers in the UK will hold their first ever national symposium and Celebration at Kensington Temple in west London on Saturday, 26 November 2016.

The unique event in British Pentecostal history will mix music, singing and preaching with academic interrogation of key areas such as Pentecostal history and diversity; and Pentecostal relationship with ecumenism, social, economic and political relations. Artists include London Community Gospel Choir, Motivation by Music, Noel Robinson, and New Covenant Choir.
 
Speaking ahead of the event, Bishop Dr Joe Aldred, Churches Together in England’s Pentecostal and Multicultural Relations Secretary said, ‘These are exciting times for the church in Britain as Pentecostals show that decline is not inevitable, even in a post-Christendom world.

'However, to stay ahead we must use heart and head, God-given emotion and intellect, to explore how we improve Christian mission in the world; deepening our understanding of the legitimate differences we have; embracing the dynamism the Holy Spirit brings’.
 
Pentecostalism is the fastest growing Christian expression worldwide, currently 280 million, several times larger than the 85-million strong Anglican Communion; and is offsetting decreases in traditional mainline denominations in Britain (Brierley).

For many, the public face of Pentecostalism in Britain is black, seen as an offshoot of Caribbean Windrush and later African migration since the 1950s – but British Pentcostalist roots go further back.

The Revd Dr David Cornick, CTE General Secretary explained, ‘Pentecostalism’s roots lie deep in the holiness traditions of the 19th century, and their presence in Britain dates back to a series of revivals which rippled through these isles in the early years of the 20th century. One of the remarkable features of 20th century Christianity was the growth of the Pentecostal churches and the emergence of the charismatic movement.

'We are delighted that the churches of these traditions are coming together to celebrate the gifts God has given them and to share their insights with their Christians friends from other traditions’
 
In recent years, a quiet revolution has been taking place involving Pentecostals and their newer Charismatic religious cousins as they transcend cultural, ethnic and denominational boundaries to engage with each other, and in Christian mission together in local communities and national life. Spearheading this development has been the National Pentecostal Leaders Forum operating under the aegis of Churches Together in England through a Pentecostal Presidency.

The current CTE Pentecostal President, Bishop Eric Brown, said, ‘We live in a world and a country where human difference is difficult to manage and so it has been heart-warming to be a part of a project that shows that with the right spirit our God-given diversity can be a strength, not a weakness’.
 
The Pentecostal Symposium and Celebration event will culminate with recognition of four individuals for outstanding contributions to Pentecostalism in Britain; a resolution to work together better as Pentecostals and with the wider church and community; and a Eucharist of reconciliation and commitment to Christian unity in diversity.  

Baptist Times, 17/11/2016
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