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Parties held across London to celebrate Christian festival of Pentecost

Pentecost Festival Director Andy Frost, from Share Jesus International based in London, writes about the true meaning of the event and explains how Christian communities will be celebrating in the city.

Pentecost is both a Jewish and Christian festival. As Christians, we celebrate Pentecost as the birthday of the church.

We remember that although there are many different expressions of Christianity, we are one church.

Crowds watch an open air celebration of Pentacost 2000 by the churches of central London in Trafalgar Square. Credit: PA

The term Pentecost comes from the Hebrew term 'Shavuot' which means seven weeks and it marks the 50th day after the Passover. For the Jews, it was a celebration of the wheat harvest.

In the bible, in the book of Acts (Chapter 2), Jesus has risen from the dead and ascended into heaven. He has told his disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the Holy Spirit to come.

It is then, on the day of Pentecost, that the Holy Spirit fills the disciples and they begin to preach supernaturally in different languages. On that day, 3,000 people became followers of Jesus.

Celebrating Pentecost today

Churches have always held special services to celebrate the birth of the Church and the empowerment that comes from the Holy Spirit.

Over recent years many more churches in London have hosted community events that help to relay something of the 'Good News' message with people who may have no faith.

As disciples spoke in different languages, Pentecost is an opportunity for the diverse range of churches in London to speak collaboratively into culture through art, music, fashion, film and dance. These community events are 'birthday parties' that welcome one and all.

Pentecost is a reminder that we can all receive the Holy Spirit and know God no matter what our status, age or ethnic and cultural background.

Pentecost is the Christian celebration of the birth of the church. Credit: PA

Parties will happen across London and many of the events will be listed on the Big Birthday Party website.

In previous years there have been multicultural dance celebrations, ethical fashion shows, free running demonstrations and film premiers.

Personally, Pentecost is not just an outward celebration but a reminder of God's presence as the Holy Spirit gives me a deep peace even in the hectic pace of London.