Springhead Congregational Church: Praying for Babylon's Prosperity

This morning I spoke at Springhead Congregational Church near Oldham. It's always interesting to visit other churches and seeing how they do things. It meets in a modern extension to its Victorian building. Although its stained glass windows afford it little natural light, it is comfortably furnished and well attended by a mixture of ages. 
Unusually, the service commenced with two deacons leading me out of the vestry, one bearing a large Bible, another the means by which a large candle was lit by the pulpit. I've seen this done in one other chapel, and wonder if it is an old tradition that didn't survive elsewhere. 
I spoke from Jeremiah 29, which contains a letter from the prophet to the Jewish exiles living in Babylon, telling them to settle down and pray for their new land's peace and prosperity. In the aftermath of Britain's referendum to leave the EU, and all the upheaval, bitterness and uncertainty that this seems to have created, it was a timely message. We Christians must seek the prosperity of our nation, and pray for our leaders, so that we might live peaceable and godly lives.