On the morning of Sunday 15th February we shall join with the congregation of Bethel for a united service followed by a shared lunch. You will remember that we did this last year to celebrate our ten years of sharing the Chapel building and we thought it would be good to try and do it more often.
Our arrangement with Bethel began as the solution to a problem. They needed to find a new place to worship and we were able to offer them hospitality. It’s an arrangement that works well and we hope it will continue into the future. It’s also a sign of visible unity between two churches that we share the same building, although for the most part we still operate as two separate congregations.
We’ve just celebrated the week of prayer for Christian unity. In Dyserth we held a United Service at our chapel arranged by Cytûn which was attended by just 12 people – although each church that makes up our local Cytûn was represented. At this service we considered the question ‘Which is the path of unity so that the world may drink from the source of life, Jesus Christ?’
So I ask, does Christian Unity just mean coming together to do more things, united services, sharing hospitality, resources and building etc. or is there more to it than that? Which is the path of unity that we seek and where does this path lead?
There is always more that we can do together, both locally and denominationally. In facing the challenges of our times we can speak with one voice against the evils of our world – like poverty, racism, religious hatred and violence. We can also address local needs together – serving our community as The Church rather than as fragments of it. Doing these things allows us to set aside out disunity and difference and work together for the common good, for the Kingdom of God.
Yet there is also a sense that we seem to be content with this – happy with our disunity and difference as if these cannot and will not be overcome. For me Christian unity is all of the above but more besides. It is working and praying for true unity whist at the same time acknowledging our diversity as human beings made in God’s image. It is not being content that we have travelled as far as we can along the path which leads to unity but striving for greater things, for the deeper unity for which Christ himself prayed. All this takes time, patience, humility and a willingness to change, yet change we must if the unity for which Christ prayed is ever to be made real.