Published on 07 July 2012
The Revd David Tatem, secretary for ecumenical relations, invited three ecumenical guests to illustrate aspects of their work with the United Reformed Church.
The Venerable Dr Joy Tetley, Church of England co-convenor (with the Revd Elizabeth Welch for the United Reformed Church) of the study group that wrote the joint report Healing the Past, Building the Future, shared highlights of the historic joint CofE/URC Service of Reconciliation, Healing of Memories and Mutual Commitment at Westminster Abbey in February 2012, which this report had set in train.
Dame Anne Doyle of the Roman Catholic Bishops Conference and RC/URC dialogue group spoke of how representatives of different denominations had “rubbed up against each other and unknowingly, sometimes we’ve taken on aspects of each other.”
Yet, she issued the following appeal: “Would the URC, who has been leading us in the way of living together, please take the first bricks out of the wall we build around ourselves when we are talking about the same thing, but because we are scared we talk about it separately. Please let’s talk together.”
John Bradley southern field officer for Churches Together in England spoke of the impression he had gained that for many younger churchgoers, denomination was of very little importance, especially among free churches:
“When they move house and they look for a new church, the name on the door is far less significant than whether it meets their needs and those of their family. It can mean ‘consumer spirituality’. But it does mean more of a possibility that the denomination will be far less of a barrier to unity than it might have been in the past.”
The Revd Bradley concluded by saying:
“Here is something I insist on: the ecumenical vision is not only the visible unity of the church but of the whole inhabited earth as our concern, because it is the object of God’s redeeming love.”