Friday, January 22, 2016

Churches Together

Last Sunday on a cold evening I preached at a service for Churches Together in Ely  to begin the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.  Over the years I have attended many of these in the UK but this was markedly different - in a good way! 
  • the church building (Countess of Huntingdon) was full with very lively worship in which everyone seemed to join under enthusiastic leadership.
  • people with their clergy came from a wide number of churches so that it truly represented Churches Together.
  • they said together a covenant that seemed to be specially written. I was struck by the humble way they confessed where they had hurt each other in the past and expressed desire to love in the future.
  • at one point a list on the screen showed some of the ways in which the churches had acted together.  It was lengthy with the Foodbank one of the major commitments alongside much participation in city events. It was a great list.
On a personal level I was thrilled to meet old friends - someone I baptized over 25 years ago and a retired Regional Minister who I hadn't seen for 15 years.  I could hardly believe that he remembered to ask me how my neck problem was.  That's impressive pastoral concern. I continue to marvel at God's special kingdom network.

And though I hesitate to mention it, after I preached some of the congregation applauded!  This is highly controversial....I remember reading that only bad sermons are applauded because the genuine article should stir the soul not excite the mind.  It happened to me once before in a Chicago church and the church officers banned it in the strongest possible language the next Sunday. So, I don't expect it to happen again.  And shouldn't !

No comments: