World Stock Markets Turn to Prayer on 1929 Stock Crash Anniversary

October 31, 2008 at 7:35 am Leave a comment

world-markets.jpgPlunging world stock markets
have produced reactions from bewilderment to terror among traders, but
one group believes the financial crisis requires an altogether
different response — prayer.


On the anniversary of the 1929 Wall Street Crash, a cross-denominational 100-strong group of Christians united in City Temple Church
in London’s financial district on Wednesday to pray for an end to
market instability and ask God that economies should not enter a
1930s-style Great Depression. Carrying a banner depicting a huge lion — symbolizing the biblical Lion of Judah, or Jesus — with one paw on a bull and other on a bear, the group then headed to the London Stock Exchange, epicenter of the UK’s quaking financial system.

In tandem with teams in New York, Dublin and Amsterdam, Christians stood in small groups or marched round the Stock Exchange’s premises in the shadow of St Paul’s Cathedral, asking God to intervene in the turmoil of recent months and praying for those affected by the credit crisis.

“I’m not a doomsday prophet, I’m not speaking judgment,” said American
Sharon Stone, founder of Christian International Europe and
co-ordinator of the group.

“We believe God is God of the economy also. We’re praying for mercy
that there won’t be losses of jobs, that there won’t be losses of homes
and that any greater crisis will be averted.”

The group, which had come from all over the UK and included workers
from the London Stock Exchange and the International Monetary Fund,
comprised Anglicans, Catholics, Pentecostals and other Christian denominations.

This demonstrates an increased willingness amongst believers to work
together and to roll up their sleeves as the crisis bites, said 54
year-old Stone, a church pastor since the age of 19.

“This is the easiest prayer gathering I’ve had in 35 years,” she said.

HUNGER

Spiritual leaders have already waded into the financial crisis.

Pope Benedict recently said those building their life on material things or on success built their house on sand.

And last month the Church of England’s Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, likened those short-selling some financial stocks — hedge funds or other traders who bet on falling prices — to “bank robbers and asset strippers.”

However, Wednesday’s gathering at the LSE reflects a growing desire
from ordinary people, whether believers or non-believers, to engage
with the bigger questions of life, as market falls erase billions of
pounds of wealth and jobs and homes look less secure.

So far in October the main UK share index, the FTSE 100, has fallen 15
percent, including an incredible 10 separate sessions in which it
closed up or down more than 5 percent.

Meanwhile, home repossessions rose 71 percent during the second quarter
on a year ago, while unemployment in the three months to August rose
more than expected to 5.7 percent.

“People are worried about their jobs. And when they lose their jobs …
it brings a sense of ‘what am I doing, why am I here’,” said Omar Raja,
a business consultant and chairman of the Wharf Muslim Association, a
spiritual and networking group in London’s Docklands business district.

Dramatic examples of people whose life has been changed by a religious
experience directly linked to the credit crisis are so far lacking, but
religious groups are starting to see new interest from those on the
outside.

St Peter’s Barge, a floating church based near the gleaming towers of the Canary Wharf
district’s once-mighty banks, says it has seen more new faces at
lunchtime talks aimed at bankers and other professionals on topics such
as the credit crisis.

“There is a general, low-level anxiety amongst people. They’re worried
about their jobs, their kids, how to make ends meet. It seems to be
all-pervasive,” said senior pastor Marcus Nodder.

“There doesn’t seem to be much good news. It does get on top of
people and make them ask questions when the world is falling apart.”

Source: AP

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