Reformation and Churches Together
On Sunday, 5th November, Churches Together in Orpington gathered at Holy Innocents’ Roman Catholic Church to commemorate the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation and its import for all local churches. The theme was one of ‘unity in mission’ and the service was divided into three sections which ‘Revisited’ where we had each come from, offered ‘Repentance’ for the divisions, and committed to continue to ‘Reform’ as we all continue to seek to follow and proclaim the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ in our community.
Before the service began, Pastor Jon Ehlers of Christ Church Lutheran, Poverest Road, presented a picture of Martin Luther to Father Victor whose welcome, introduction and initial reflections then set the tone for the service – a tone which, whilst acknowledging the differences between different denominations, focussed on our common love for Jesus Christ and our understanding of a Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Three ministers – Pastors John and Yvonne Pressdee and our own minister, Jennifer Millington, gave very moving testimonies of their personal experiences of how their own and others’ prejudices against Roman Catholics had been transformed by the action of the Holy Spirit and how God’s grace had been made manifest to them through friendships with Roman Catholics. Ministers from other denominations were involved in leading the prayers; musical accompaniment was provided on the organ and keyboard by three instrumentalists, each from a different church, and including our own John Castle.
The large congregation comprised of members from a number of different denominations, some of whom gave their own short testimonies and offered extempore prayers. After the service, Holy Innocents’ had laid on a feast to enjoy together and the celebratory cake was cut by some of the ministers present.
Those who attended this service remarked on the joyful, Spirit-led nature of the occasion and how good it was to worship our Lord together, in Spirit and in truth.
Sincere thanks to Father Victor and all at Holy Innocents’ for hosting this event, full details of which can be seen on their website at: www.holyinnocentsorpington.org/events/ecumenical-worship-service-commenmorating-the-500th-anniversary-of-the-reformation-5-november-2017
Revd Wendy Swan