Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Churches together? - a few more thoughts.

During the grim and grisly business of selection for ordained ministry, I took part in a group exercise that involved discussions on the problems besetting ecumenical relationships in a fictional town called "Hardeley". Predictably, we spent alot of time, giggling about possible names for the ecumenical initiative. Was it to be the "Hardeley Christian Council" or "Hardeley Together"? Many a true word, it appears...

Thanks for the comments below...I was specially hoping you'd post something, Mark, as I knew that you had that ecumenical Confirmation happening. Sounds as if it worked really well (in contrast to an "ecumenical Confirmation" that my vicar remembered from his last diocese, where the only unity was in the time and place of the service, with Anglicans being confirmed by the Bishop, and Methodists by their district superintendent,- so that it spoke, loud and clear, of insurmountable barriers. How wonderful that the Methodist congregation were represented despite the absence of Methodist candidates. Presumably the confirmation prep allowed at least some conversation about potential differences in theology??
I've just had a long conversation with my vicar, who shares my frustration that we seem content here to enjoy superficial unity without ever engaging with the areas that divide us.
Tom, do you think, that such denominational differences will come to be seen as a luxury we cannot afford? If so, where does one go with (e.g.) something as central as an understanding of Baptism, where resolution looks difficult (though of course there are already a huge range of heterogenous views within (even!) the C of E).
Here in Ch K, St M's stands only a couple of minutes walk from the Baptist Church, which has ambitious and exciting redevelopment plans to create a huge new church centre ... It would be so wonderful to feel that a project of that kind could work for the benefit of the whole community, and be an expression of the ministry of all the churches...but my sad suspicion is that there will simply be anxiety, perhaps a measure of envy, and then a settling down again to plough our parallel furrows, with no greater engagement than before. It seems to me that until we dare to have the conversations, and establish what are our "life or death" issues, we're not going to move anywhere. Hardly together, indeed...


the reverend mommy said...

Dearest Kathryn,
Here's a wish that we could be next door neighbors and then you and I could do the Methodist/Anglican (or Anglican/Methodist) thing together.

Caroline said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Caroline said...

A second attempt to write English (sigh)

I wonder if we'd find unity easier if we stopped paying so much attention to our positions on issues

eg sexuality, baptism, penal substitution whatever

and paid more attention to where we were trying to get to

Christlikeness, life giving (and receiving)

positions tend to be static and need to be maintained and defended.

journeying towards can be from any number of directions and can include times when we're closer than at others, but the journeying continues.

Caroline Too

Kathryn said...

Thanks, both...I second your wish, Theresa...(and not just because I am rather longing for small girls about the place again...) and Caroline, I found This part of your post extraordinarly helpful...
"journeying towards can be from any number of directions and can include times when we're closer than at others, but the journeying continues."
After some slightly startling news re deanery pastoral plans this week, this said something I really needed to hear. Blessings