From Beginning to Overflow: Vienna 2018Joanna Callender - 17 Oct 2018
Every 24-7 Prayer conference feels like the best one yet. So either we’re not very good at remembering the past, or perhaps - just perhaps - every time we gather together builds upon those moments of years gone by…
This felt especially true as we returned to Vienna for the second time after our 2015 rallying cry of “Now Let Us Begin”. And on the surface, everything felt the same. We met in the same church; we celebrated in the same Cathedral; we even ate the same delicious Viennese food.
But this was so much more than reliving memories.
Things have changed over the past three years, and Vienna 2018 was a celebration of not just beginning, but overflowing:
The Overflow Of Unity
At the heart of this year’s conference was the partnership between Loretto and 24-7 Prayer. We united together across sessions, seminars and food, learning from one another as Catholics and Protestants; accepting differences and embracing new ideas. Unity overflowed not just in actions, but words too, with a profound evening of apology, love and reconciliation.
“Unity is not the end – it’s the means for the world to believe in Jesus”
– Danielle Strickland
The Overflow Of Encounter
We came with expectancy to learn and grow in faith; and the Holy Spirit moved in power – revealing a fresh sense of God’s hope, love, community and goodness. Every session together was a moment of encounter; every meal and conversation an opportunity to see God at work; every celebration a demonstration of God’s character.
Together, as a body of Christians from across the globe, we encountered the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
“Is this enough? Come, there’s more.”
– Carla Harding
The Overflow of Faith into the World
But we didn’t simply gather for ourselves. We opened up the doors of our conference to the city of Vienna at a unified Cathedral gathering, with tourists from the world seeing a glimpse of the glory of God as we worshipped in a building designed for that very purpose.
We celebrated together as thousands of pounds were donated to communities and individuals at our auction, building God’s kingdom around the world; a glorious celebration of generosity and love for one another.
And our final session was a challenge to each of us to focus on the bigger picture – to press into the place God has called us to live and to let go of everything else.
“It’s hard to live sacrificial when you’re obsessed with the superficial.”
– Adam Heather
The Overflow was a devoted time of reminding ourselves that our purpose, ultimately, is simple. As 24-7 Prayer - as Christians - we are called to love Jesus and to overflow this love with the world.
And this isn’t just a call for one denomination, but for the global Church to embrace, pursue and enact.
Main sessions and seminars from Vienna 2018 will be available soon.
Photo Credit: Loretto Gemeinschaft