Last week I visited, what is technically, one of our smaller congregations, with fewer than 10
Broad Chalke URC
members. What I found, when I arrived, was far removed from what one might expect of a very small church. The congregation has been on a journey which started more than a decade ago when the pews were removed, under floor heating added and carpet installed. This bright and welcoming space was further transformed a few years ago to become a vibrant hub for the small community of Broad Chalke (population about 700).
The United Reformed Church – So Reformation must be dear to us, as we are reminded of it every time we say our denomination name. Maybe because our heritage isn’t directly and solely back to Martin Luther’s nailing his theses on the church door (there have been a few mixed marriages on the way!) we haven’t made such a big fuss here, as in Germany. I have just received a gift of Martin Luther shaped pasta from Germany (a case of Pastor Luther?!) and I have one of the Playmobil Luthers, which has been their fastest ever selling figure with over 34,000 sold in 72 hours! Because of all the different influences and origins on our history, we would find it difficult to pinpoint a date to have an anniversary. But Reformed we certainly are. I am challenging Yorkshire with the question – What is it about being reformed Christians that we have to offer in the body of Christ and to the world? I am thrilled at the answers I am offered – for if we have no answers then we might as well pack up and go home.
It was a pleasure to attend the Churches Together in England Presidents and National Church Leaders Annual Dinner last week in Lambeth Palace. The focus of the conversations was the report by the think tank Theos entitled ‘That they all may be one: Insights into English ecumenism’. This report provides a snapshot of contemporary ecumenism in England. It tells the story of how ecumenism has changed and describes a movement that is now sitting at a critical juncture as it looks to the future. You can access the report on the Theos website: http://www.theosthinktank.co.uk/publications/2017/10/03/that-they-all-may-be-one-insights-into-english-ecumenism Continue reading