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25th January

Dear Parishioners,
Today is the concluding day of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity arid tonight there is to be a United Service at Trinity Methodist Church.
The local Church cannot sit back and wait for national leaders of the various denominations to provide us with unity served up for us on a plate. Any sort of unity which means anything of real value in our own town, must spring up locally in the various parts of the Church here.
So far the churches have been playing at unity. We have held our occasional joint services; there was last Good Friday's march of witness; there is the annual effort during Christian Aid Week. There is something lacking in all this. Isn't the trouble that we are paying only lip-service to the idea of unity. Jesus prayed that we, who profess and call ourselves Christians, might be one as he and the Father are one. The unity we are called to us that of complete unity of purpose and spirit such as is the unity of God. To hold a united service on one or two days a year, then ignore each others existence for the rest of the years is little more than a mockery of unity. Indeed, it is possible that our present efforts do more harm than good because they may fool us into thinking that we are actually doing something realistic about unity.
The only real test of our desire for unity among our local churches will come when we set out to plan and work for unity in the mission of the whole Chuich in Barton. At the moment there is little or no co-ordination in the work of the churches, not even of the clergy and ministers in the town. The time has surely come now when we must begin on this new quest in unity. We shall find, of couse, that this is where the shoe of unity really begins to pinch. We shall find that it is very difficult not to tread on each others corns and difficult to carry on when our own corns are trodden on.
Where do we make a beginning. To start with, we need a group of people in authority in their own churches who can plan the joint effort of all the churches. A profitable beginning would be for this group to organise a joint survey of the town so that we knew what we were dealing with in our pastoral care of the town. The field for co-operation is unlimited if we are willing to give up just a little of our denominational independence for the sake of Christ's desire.
With best wishes,

Darrel Speedy


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