THE WEEK OF PRAYER FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY
I went early to the Hospital Chapel today to put on the heating as it is still freezing cold hereabouts. I’m convinced the Chapel I was colder inside than it was outside. After an hour of all the heaters being on it was still perishing cold and it didn’t really improve by the time the services started
During the week, every day at 12 noon, there has been a service taken by a different denomination and the attendance has been fairly good. I remember as a young man how the first Unity Service in the Portsmouth area was held in Portsmouth Guildhall; demand for seats was so much taken that people overflowed with the service relayed to several committee rooms. I think the lack of interest these days has a lot to do with a state of mind which believes that Christian Unity will never be obtained, We’ve talked about it so long and nothing much happens In my sermon today I mentioned the fact that years ago a German by the name of Gruendler compiled a dictionary of the different Christian denominations which had resulted due to the Reformation. He was the father of a large family who helped him in his task. He listed 2,639. Today the latest estimate is 41,000. I pointed out that unity doesn’t mean uniformity.
An example of how Christian Unity might work was promulgated by that wonderful Christian broadcaster and Quaker Gerald Priestland. He saw Christian Unity like a vast cathedral divided into various chapels, each one occupied by a different denomination but all part of one united great worshipping whole. People could wander from one chapel to another without any problem to experience different forms of liturgy, spirituality and worship.
Following the 12 noon service we had the normal Thursday Mass with the intention of Christian Unity finishing as always with the Angelus with a good attendance despite the weather and sickness.