This Sunday marks the beginning of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. In Winchester, it will culminate with a special service at the Cathedral next Sunday afternoon (30th January, 3.30pm) where members of all the Winchester churches can celebrate our oneness in Christ together.
For CTiW (Churches Together in Winchester), Christian Unity week comes at a moment of intense self-reflection for our Executive Committee. The impact of Covid, just like many other organisations, has affected CTiW’s ability to function, and so how we continue to help churches relate to one another, and share God’s mission going forward, is very much up for discussion.
Furthermore, the service will also represent something of a changing of the guard. At it, I will be released from my position as Chair of CTiW, which I have held for the last three years. It has been both a joy and a challenge to walk alongside sisters and brothers in Christ, from different traditions, during this time of pandemic. But I believe that it is time for new leadership, and perhaps a new leadership model, to take CTiW forward in the coming years.
So, how can different churches, each faced with their own challenges and mission fields, support one another in that work, and coordinate the wider work of God’s mission throughout the city? How do we take the ‘grassroots ecumenism’ that has bloomed thanks to Churches Together, to the next level? That’s a conversation I’d very much like our church to be part of. Now is not the time for churches to retreat behind their own walls, but to again step forward in faith. As Paul teaches, we are one body with many members, each that play a part according to their gifts and graces. That Body is wider than us, wider even than Winchester. Let us not forget the part that we play, and also a vision of the sum of all those parts moving as one for God’s glory.
In Christ, Tim.