Coleshill, near Birmingham, is soon to be home to a spectacular new landmark devoted to the power of prayer. Named the Eternal Wall of Answered Prayer, the structure is being described as “the largest database of hope stories in the world”.
After years of hard work and hope, the Eternal Wall at last received planning permission earlier this autumn, allowing building to start.
The Eternal Wall will be built on the back of 14 guiding principles, described by the team as “our beliefs”. The majority of these are inspired by the Bible and include “this is the confidence we have before him: If we ask anything according to His will, He hears us” (1 John 5:14); and “The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him” (Lamentations 3:25). It will be made up of one million bricks – each one representing a prayer believed to have been answered by God. These have all been submitted by people in the UK.
Set to be completed by June 2022, the Eternal Wall will visually look like an “infinity loop”, demonstrating that “God has no beginning and no end”. The Eternal Wall of Answered Prayer will have another unique feature: an app which will allow users to hold their phone up to any brick to find out the story of the answered prayer.
At 169 feet high (51 metres), the Eternal Wall will dwarf both Paul Landowski’s famous Christ the Redeemer statue in Brazil, which stands at 98 feet (125 feet with its pedestal) and, more locally, Antony Gormley’s Angel of the North. Furthermore, the Wall will be visible from more than six miles away. It will differ from many religious artworks in that the building itself – estimated to be costing £9.35m – will house cafes and exhibitions. There will be acres of gardens for the public to enjoy as well.
The team, all of whom are practicing Christians, hope that the Eternal Wall will attract around 300,000 visitors annually. Phil Laybourne, its executive director, told the Catholic Herald: “This is just what we need at the moment. We are living in strange and testing times and what we are hearing on the news is bad news. We need good news, and this is one million testimonies of good news that will transform people and will provide hope.”
Furthermore, Laybourne said, the Eternal Wall will be “bringing faith outside church and taking it into an external context where people can look at the sheer colossal scale of God’s goodness”.
The project has been years in the making. CEO Richard Gamble (former chaplain to Leicester City football club) first had a vision about the Wall in 2004. Since then, 4,516 donors have raised £618,543 – and rising.
Laybourne hopes that the building will speak to future generations: “This a legacy we can leave behind. There are only six cathedrals built in the 20th century, so when you think about our declining sense of Christian legacy over time, we need to remind people where we come from.”
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