Being Ecumenical

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Ernest
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Being Ecumenical

Post by Ernest » Wed Feb 27, 2019 6:19 am

Today there is to be a meeting of the various denominations in our local area, which include Anglican, Catholic, Methodist, Baptists x 2, Icthus, Congregational and Pentecostal. It will be hosted in our parish church, to revive the Churches Together movement, which for one reason or another (change of pastors etc) has lapsed in the past two years. Before this we had joint services, one in the open air every year as well as seasonal services, particularly at Easter and Christmas and a shared Remembrance service.

But how do we build trust between churches, which seem to have such divergent traditions? And how do we cooperate in bringing more people to be involved, without poaching people from each other? After all, we all work for the same God, but just do it in different fashions, and what can we share of each tradition to enhance understanding of each other, and be diverse, without confrontation. Questions probably wrestled with over the years, both locally, nationally and internationally.

For me the key has to be to establish good, collaborative relationships between leaders and members, sharing in mutual lives, worship and socialising and eating together.

As we are holding a Lent Course, we will invite others to participate, as in the past they did join in with such courses, and some of our people went to their events.

I am praying for a successful meeting, and others prayers would be appreciated.
Where there is hope and love there is life!
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Ernest
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Being Ecumenical

Post by Ernest » Thu Feb 28, 2019 6:17 am

Well the meeting went well. We have agreed that it is to late to plan much for Easter, but a summer joint service will happen in the grounds of our church and we are looking for a joint Jamboree in a local park next year.

Our new Vicar will be key in this planning, so he will be in place for our next meeting in June. Things are looking up.

And, some members of the Baptist Church might join our Lent Course, which will bring a different perspective for us, given our experience with them in the past.

God is working here. :cross:
Where there is hope and love there is life!
God is Life!
God is Hope!
God is Love!
God Is!!

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Jae
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Being Ecumenical

Post by Jae » Sat Mar 02, 2019 12:33 pm

That sounds really promising Ernest :thumbs:
In the triumph of prayer
Twofold is the spell.
With the folding of hands
There's a spreading of wings
And the soul's lifted up to invisible lands
And ineffable peace .....

Evelyn Underhill <><

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Pam
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Being Ecumenical

Post by Pam » Sat Mar 02, 2019 9:32 pm

When I first joined a church, there was a very active 'Area Council of Churches' (which became 'Churches Together' in due course) and I attended lots of joint events. However, I couldn't but notice that it was the same few people from each church who ran and attended the events. I did particularly enjoy the joint Lent and Easter events, like a walk of witness on the evening of Good Friday, and an ecumenical Lent course one year.

I studied for ordination at the Queen's Foundation in Birmingham, which is ecumenical. At the time I was there, the main groups of students were Anglican and Methodist with some URC students as well. I learnt a lot about how the Methodist and URC churches work from my fellow-ordinands, which was a good foundation for working together in a parish context.

My personal experience suggests that ecumenism works best when we are coming together to do something that spreads the gospel in practical terms - like collaborating on a social outreach mission like a food bank. We were told that the principal of ecumenism is that churches should do nothing separately that could be done together, but this is often impractical, because people choose to belong to one church or another, and don't want to be part of a 'meta-church'.

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Ernest
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Being Ecumenical

Post by Ernest » Sun Mar 03, 2019 5:51 am

We work together on practical issues. The Baptist Church host a night shelter and some of our people volunteer with them. We also cooperate on running a Churches Against Poverty (CAP) service. Hosting the Worker and providing individuals who accompany her on home visits. We also support the local food bank with people who volunteer with them and we give active donations of both food and money, raised for them.

So, practical things have been ongoing, its the joint worship and study and meetings of leaders that had lapsed in the last 18 months. One leader died, the Chairman had a stroke and Pastors changed, including our parish priest retired. One of our parishioners is the Secretary, who kept the show on the road, and her initiative has now produced the latest meeting and reorganisation. A treasurer appointed (the last one also died) and we can now access the bank account, once more.

Next week we have a speaker from Christian Aid, who will also speak at the Baptist Church on the same Sunday, and in a few weeks, we will have a Speaker from the Childrens Society, who will do the same. The Churches together support both charities, which is unusual within the Deanery.
Where there is hope and love there is life!
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Joe Parrish
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Being Ecumenical

Post by Joe Parrish » Tue Mar 05, 2019 11:11 am

A couple of Sundays ago we had a 6 baptisms in the cathedral here in Antigua, all infants. The church was packed. We sat among those in the back half of the cathedral. The baptisans and parents and godparents sat in front of us a few pews. When the baptisms were finished, we moved into the Eucharist. All the baptisan families went to receive at the altar; then we sat there waiting for the ushers to come back to welcome us to the altar. That didn't happen. And when we realized we were going to miss, we got up, crawled across those beside us, and made our way to the front to receive Communion. We were the only ones beside the baptisan families to do so. No one else was Anglican... Alas.
Peace and blessings,
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Ernest
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Being Ecumenical

Post by Ernest » Thu Mar 07, 2019 6:13 am

That sounds like a great event, but those doing the ushering must have been having an off day. Was there an assumption that many of those attending were not going to receive communion?

In our parish, the sides people, always invite everyone to the Altar, even if it is just for a blessing. We announce that in the course of the liturgy, that if people don''t feel able to receive communion, to come to the altar rails for a blessing. And it is well received.

We have one lady, who attends BCP communion weekly, who is a Catholic and her parish holds mass on Saturday evening, which she is unable to get to, so an 8 am service suits her as she cares for her housebound, bed bound husband.

She comes for a blessing each time she attends.
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Pam
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Being Ecumenical

Post by Pam » Fri Mar 08, 2019 12:36 am

I think it depends on local custom and practice, especially in the UK.

I went to a Catholic retreat centre for a guided Ignatian retreat, and the introductory leaflet stated that non-Catholics should request a blessing at the Eucharist. It was explained to us that this was in keeping with the rules that applied to them, as well as churches. But when it came to the Eucharist services, we were invited to place a wafer into the ciborium as we entered the chapel if we wished to receive - no names.no pack drill!

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Ernest
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Post by Ernest » Fri Mar 08, 2019 6:39 am

Yes, Pam.

I often go on retreat to Aylesford Priory in Kent. I attend one of the several masses that are held, and could easily also receive communion, but I do respect the rules, and go for a blessing.

The Catholic husband of one of our parishioners recently died and we attended his funeral in our local Catholic Church. His wife led the way in going for a blessing, while their children, raised as Catholics, received Communion.

J his wife often talks about making the promise to raise their children as Catholics in her "mixed marriage" a term that I hadn't heard since I was a child. She participated in parish life in both communities, leading their Brownie troops, baked cakes, and also led a separate Brownie troop in our parish for over 40 years. Broken only, when she accompanied her RN Officer husband on tours overseas.

The RN had a home base posting system in those days, theirs being Chatham, so buying a home early in their marriage and living there permanently wasn't difficult. Their children had settled schooling an university. Very different to my Army postings, to a new role, location, country and house and schools for children. Neither of my children had a settled education as we didn't want to put them into boarding school, as many service children are.
Where there is hope and love there is life!
God is Life!
God is Hope!
God is Love!
God Is!!

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