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LETTER TO THE EDITOR

12, Birchdale,

Barton-on-Hurnber.


13th January, 1972

Dear Sir,
I read, with interest, in your last edition, of the forthcoming United Services in Barton. I have, however, one regret, that neither of these services is on a Sunday evening.
I feel that if the various churches in Barton - in fact churches anywhere - were prepared, each and every week, to come together in worship on a Sunday, for one of their services, then we should begin to see a glimmer of true unity. I also feel that there are many non-churchgoing folk in Barton, who may feel restrained or put off by the doctrine of one particular church. Such people would welcome a united service, where the resources of all our churches could be pooled.
Perhaps one thinks that this has been said many times, and is all right in theory, but I can assure you that it works in practice, and can be a tremendous source of witness and fellowship. Let me point to an act of similar church unity.
For several years I lived in the beautiful city of Durham. Set against a notable religious background, the city has rnany 'active' churches. After Sunday evening services were over, the young people would make their way to a local cinema - Methodists, Anglicans, Pentecostals, Catholics, Presbyterians, Congregationallsts and Baptists. Here they had a coffee bar and dancing, but the main feature of the evening were the short, rather 'mod' service, conducted by the young people on a rota basis, together with the fellowship of other Christians. Here too was an excellent way of bringing in non-believers, and of discussing other churches 'slant' on Christianity. At times, one found, from first hand experience, say, a Baptist agreeing with the Pentecostal view, or perhaps a Methodist being won over to believers baptism.
All kinds of points of view - Unity? YES and NO! These young people had one thing in common - CHRIST.
This brings me to my final point. Christianity in its vaxious forms has often been described as like a tree. This 'tree' is rooted strongly in the Gospel of Christ and like a tree, it has, for its own healthy growth, to put out branches, these branches being its various denominations. Man, by nature, is a creature of many varied moods, needs, etc., if he were not so, how dull it would be if we could always anticipate one anothers reactions! Therefore, I would conclude, it is better to keep our branches, but at the same time, be willing to recognise and come together to our main stem - in other words to have the best of both worlds.
St. Paul admits to this vaxiety in has epistles, when he describes a Christian as a vessel or medium through which Christ works. What a great variety of Christians there are, yet all essentially, (when we allow Christ his full comrnand) Christlike.
It is in truth, no matter what our denomination:-

"One Lord, one faith one baptism,
One God and Father of us all."
Yours sincerely, Margaret Sidell

 

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