Canterbury: such a historic city. Like many cities with a strong history, the city can either be locked in the past, or break free to release resources for the future. The type of city is such that new things can come but they will often quickly be assimilated into the landscape, becoming domesticated and part of the status quo.
It was such a privilege to work there and
to partner with those
calling for a new future. Each morning we had around 40+ people
together for 3 hours for teaching and prayer, and similar numbers in
the afternoon. Then we gathered each evening for prophetic input and
It is not possible to write here everything that took place, the
content of our time there seems very intense. This report will be
fairly lengthy and I highlight just a few things then I have asked
Richard Farrant to write something from an ‘insider’ perspective.
Colette Nelson was on the team and she
had a waking vision (a not uncommon time to receive revelation) and saw
a man being hanged outside a window. There were some vague memories of
something like this… but when the history book was checked (thank you,
Jo) there was a major event in 1659 when the mayor of the city was set
upon by a mob and was hung exactly as Colette saw. This was at west
gate - one of the ancient gates that is still present in the city. In
that gate sits the guildhall - place of decision making, and also the
masonic lodge. Before we had that revelation we had already been drawn
to the gate. The first time we knelt and prayed on the ground, for only
humility can pull down the powers. The second time with the knowledge
of the hanging we broke bread there.
Vision from 7 years ago. I was part of a small team
that went to Canterbury just after the previous archbishop resigned to
pray into the new appointment. At that time I saw a cog / capstan in
Canterbury from which steel cords went out in different directions.
This was wound incredibly tightly so that nothing could move. It was
wound in an anti-clockwise direction. I cannot say for sure where the
cords went to, but certainly to Thanet, to Dover, to the South East
corner of Kent, to London, to the west (a long one0, and then one in a
South Westerly direction anchoring itself on the South coast.
This came back to me many times and for the first time I understood
the reason for the anti-clockwise direction (I had never thought of the
significance before). It was against the clock - holding time back. I
believe that this was seriously undone and there has been a release of
I expected two record temperatures there last summer - sometimes
signs are an indication as to whether the reality they point to has
come through or not… so maybe this coming summer?
In 1991 I had a vision of an oval table and around it were gathered
They clearly had resources, and they were together to receive downloads
about the issue of relieving poverty. From the place of revelation and
strategy they went to nations, had entrance at high levels. They did
not come with money primarily, but with strategies for the economy. In
some places in a short period of time poverty was released off certain
nations. The Gospel then flowed in through this door.
I have often prayed into this, but
for the first time ever I asked for that table to manifest in a
specific place: Canterbury / Kent.
A couple of other points:
The University is called a University for Europe. The church has to
become a church for Europe.
Community houses will rise up, monastic movements,
with all-but continual training for mission are all part of the destiny
of the city.
I cannot stop my part of the report
without mentioning the impact
that Lyndall Bywater made on us all. She is a woman dedicated to
prayer. She works in many settings but particularly in the 24-7 element
within the Salvation Army. A prophetic sign in the city at so many
levels. She is a major pioneer with where and how she lives. And a
woman of extraordinary sight. I honour a sign prophet.
I have asked Richard Farrant to write something from his
perspective. He has lived in Kent all his life and moved to Canterbury
seven years ago to pray in the city.
It is difficult to know where to begin. For some within the city it has
been a prayer for some considerable time that a team would come to
stand with us to help us pray and push through on some issues. Timing
is always vital and over a period of time there has been a sense of a
shift both in Canterbury and in Kent as a whole so this felt like a
strategic moment. There where a number of recurring themes that ran
through the time together. Themes such as: the importance of hearing a
new sound and rhythm in the city and the need to see the City come up
to speed with what God is saying and doing with a new shape coming to
the church bringing a greater release of the body in the city.
The challenge of praying somewhere like Canterbury is the sheer
amount of history. In almost any history book of the UK that is opened
it will not be too long before there is a mention of the city. The city
has a lot of history: some good, some bad; with a lot of history that
has been sown into the land there is much to be cleansed but there is
also a lot to draw from.
One of the most encouraging things for me
was the response of those
both in the city and from Kent to come and pray with most days having
upwards of 40 people during the day from a number of churches in the
city as well as others coming from surrounding towns and areas.
If we were looking for a sign then I think it was not long in coming
literally for within the first 2 minutes (and probably within the first
30 seconds) of starting to pray on the first morning just as we started
to lift up our voices in prayer the fire alarms in the building burst
into life deafening us but not deterring us from praying. The reference
to the city being surrounded by a wall of fire (Zechariah 2 4-5) helped
us focus our prayers into the walls and gates as well as praying for
the glory of God to fill the city.
Praying in the gates seemed to be a good place to start Canterbury
has 7 gates. There is a new development taking place in the city that
has involved opening a new gateway onto the A2 (the road to London) and
in the process of doing this the builders are rebuilding part of the
city wall. One of the things that kept coming up was a vision Martin
had some years ago while praying in Canterbury it was of a tightly
wound spool with lines going out from Canterbury the spool was wound so
tightly that nothing could move what and he understood during the time
here was the spool was wound anti clockwise thus highlighting how
Canterbury was holding back the timing in many places.
One of the most significant and sobering places we went to pray was
the Martyrs field where there is a monument to 41 believers who where
burnt for opposing the religious authorities. They were brought from
across the area to the city to be burnt, the location itself lies in
alignment with the cathedral a Bronze age burial site and runs out
through Canterbury all the way to Glastonbury. This site is not on the
tourist route and like many things in the city is hidden away.
One of the major areas of prayer focused on the relationship between
Thanet which was once an island at the very tip of the south east and
Canterbury Martin had brought a word last year of the importance of
Thanet to Kent and the need to hold together. The two areas could not
be more sharply contrasted Canterbury with it power and position and
importance; Thanet so often looked down upon and at times despised by
the rest of Kent but clearly the relationship and partnership between
Thanet and the rest of Kent is vital. There was a very significant time
of prayer and repentance into this.
Canterbury is a truly international city for so many years it has
been a drawing place for the nations it was clear from the prayers and
the words spoken over the city that Canterbury has an important future
to play in both the training and releasing of people for mission as
well as being a centre of the release of strategies to address the
issues of poverty in nations. Martin spoke of a table around which
people would come from across the nations to plan and strategise as to
how to resolve poverty in nations.
The last day we visited the Cathedral which is a very challenging
place to pray if the history of the city is intense the Cathedral
encapsulates that. It was significant that as we entered on a Saturday
afternoon at around 3 o’clock that Rowan Williams was conducting a
service appointing new canons, maybe a symbol of a new order in the
church in the city.
It is really hard to summarise how much ground we covered and areas
we touched I believe it exceeded all of our expectations there is
clearly a new shape coming to the church in the city and to the county
of Kent as a whole. The week really felt like it released something in
the city which will benefit the city but will also have an effect on
the county and further afield.