Arise Sheffield Team Member, Beth Craggs shares this inspiring story…
Across Sheffield this March, over 1,000 Christians have been stepping out on their daily walks with renewed vigour, as part of a new city-wide initiative called Arise Sheffield. Arise invited followers of Jesus from across the city to prayer-walk their local area in preparation for a season of sharing faith, which included sending an Easter card to over 240,000 homes in the city, and the distribution of over 5,000 Real Easter Eggs.
With people from nearly 150 churches taking part, Arise coordinated the city-wide prayer-walking through a dedicated prayer-walking app, which allows users to create routes in their local area to pray for on their daily walks. Completed routes turn golden, lighting up the city step by step. In total, over 2000km of Sheffield’s streets were prayer-walked before the end of March – the equivalent of walking the length of the UK twice.
Growing from a collaboration between the Christian charity Together for Sheffield and local church leaders, Sheffield Christians of many denominations embraced the Arise vision. The Anglican and Catholic Bishops, as well as Baptist, Methodist, Church Army, and non-denominational church leaders have been instrumental in supporting Arise and many of them have commented about how Arise has been reinvigorating their congregations during a time when people have been feeling helpless and isolated.
Zoom meet-ups for the participants have been filled with stories about how the movement is already making a difference. One participant said, “I’ve lived on the same street for years, but since Arise, I feel more deeply connected to my neighbours than before.” Another said, “I think the combination of the visuals, tech, and having a focus for our daily walk really captured my children’s attention and my son (who doesn’t normally pray out loud much) prayed loads.” A third said, “Hopefully this will not be the end to Christians working together in this way – one of the best things to come out of Arise for me, is to know that we are not alone.”
Thanks to the faith-filled response of Christians across Sheffield, organisers are exploring ways for Arise to become an ongoing movement of missional unity for the city.
The Arise organisers are hosting a Zoom meeting for other areas interested in exploring a similar initiative for their cities: contact them by email to find out more.