We’re in the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity – tomorrow I’ll be climbing into what may be the BIG pulpit of a Church of Scotland Parish Church which is linked with one of our congregations in Fife as part of a Local Ecumenical Project.
I always enjoy these contacts – people are incredibly warm, welcoming and hospitable and it is very stimulating to step into a different culture. The problem, as always, is to turn the ‘one off’ into an ongoing commitment to shared ministry.
But back in Northern Ireland …..I almost allowed the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity to slip out of sight. We did exchanges of people from our congregations across the Protestant/Catholic divide – reading the bible in church and leading prayers. In a place of divided churches, that was very important and it was done without great difficulty or opposition. But I felt that friendship contact between divided people and divided communities was more important than the church unity agenda. It seemed to me that some of the people of some of the churches used their objection to ecumenism as an excuse to avoid contact between people and communities. So in that weird inside-out looking-glass world which is Ireland, something good was turned around so that it became an impediment to something good.
But tomorrow I get to preach for 15 minutes instead of 10.