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St. Paul?s Chapel is First to Make Worship Pledge

CountingPrayers.org launches inaugural prayer at historic St. Paul's Chapel

"The world now has the means to end extreme poverty, we pray we will have the will."

Contact: Ilyse Fink, 212-575-4545, CountingPrayers.org

NEW YORK, September 25 /Christian Newswire/ -- The congregation of St. Paul's Chapel including the New Beginners senior group stood and recited the first official prayer for countingprayers.org on Sunday, September 23, 2007. Countingprayers.org is a web-based movement started by Jon Denn in response to his personal concern that the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were not being adequately addressed by the United States government and the international coalition of nations. The MDGs were established in 2000 when 188 nations (including the United States) agreed that the eight humanitarian goals would be halfway accomplished by 2015, addressing issues such as hunger, education, gender equality, child mortality, women's health, diseases such as HIV/AIDS and malaria, and environmental sustainability.

Countingprayers.org invites every congregation of every faith in every country to pledge to say the prayer, "The world now has the means to end extreme poverty, we pray we will have the will," at every worship service until the millennium goals are met. The website will count each pledged prayer and display a rolling tally on every page. The prayer, when said each week by congregations, or daily by individuals, will serve as a reminder that the combined wills of billions of faithful can manifest in wondrous and creative ways.

According to Denn, "The site expresses that people who want to end extreme poverty are not alone and that a manifested will is building that will not be denied by the governments of the world. Based on the current pace, we will not achieve these goals--not for want of the "means" or the "way" to do it, but for a lack of will. Through Counting Prayers, we can show the world's governments that we people of faith are insisting their promises be kept."

Denn has calculated that it would take 200 congregations roughly ten weeks to complete the first million prayers, and that 50,000 congregations could reach one billion prayers in less than one year. In addition to pledging prayers, Denn hopes people will become further involved.

"There are lots of ways to get involved," says Denn. "Write letters to your elected officials, or better yet, make regular appointments to see them. Utilize resources like MillenniumPromise.org, Data.org and ONE.org to connect with others who are making a difference. Explore opportunities at Bread.org, Mazon.org, MicahChallenge.org, thepleaceplan.com, WorldVision.org and other religious organizations that work diligently to end poverty. Or just do something as simple as a personal statement of your support on your email signature."

"St. Paul's Chapel is honored to be the first congregation to recite this prayer and we pledge to continue reciting it each week going forward. As the counter on the countingprayers.org website records the hundreds, then thousands, then millions of prayers for the will to end poverty, the transformation will be underway," stated the Rev. Canon Anne Mallonee, Vicar of Trinity Church and St. Paul's Chapel.

Jon Denn is the co-director of the Trinity Conference Center in West Cornwall, CT—a ministry of hospitality to secular and religious organizations. When Denn was a teen in Chicago in the early 1970s, he participated in two 26-mile Hunger-Hikes collecting money for local food banks. This powerful experience laid the foundation for a life-long commitment to service. Denn can be reached at info@countingprayers.org.