unity and diversity
Churches Together in South London (CTSL) frequently asks itself this question and invites others to ask it too. There has certainly been progress in matters relating to Christian unity over recent years. There is less bigotry, friendships cross denominational boundaries, churches work together on practical issues like homelessness, debt, poverty, overseas aid and development. But there are still deep divisions. Roman Catholics and members of other Christian traditions cannot share communion and we don't always recognise each other's ministries.
At a recent meeting, CTSL members asked whether we are in an 'ecumenical winter', marked by cool relationships and slow growth, or an 'ecumenical spring', characterised by new life and new hope in Christian relationships. An informal vote on the issue went for 'spring' - things are changing, there are signs of more warmth in links between churches and the Gospel message is being proclaimed and lived together with more hope than for many years. A full report of this meeting, the CTSL Council, is available here.
John Richardson, the retiring Ecumenical Officer for CTSL, certainly believes that and he prays that Claire Crowley, his successor in April, will experience the 'spring' and move things even further forward.
A prayer for churches together groups across South London
your Son prayed that we might be one.
We thank you for all the ways in which we experience unity in Him,
we confess that there are still things that divide us,
and we pray that the Holy Spirit will lead us to new ways of working, worshipping and witnessing together.
In the names of Jesus.