– by Eno Adeogun
Attempts by churches in England to build bridges with one another are being praised.
Despite their differing theological viewpoints, a new report found many churches show a “genuine” interest in promoting unity.
The Christian think tank Theos spoke with dozens of church leaders from different denominations.
Nathan Mladin from Theos, who co-authored the report, told Premier differing views on theology are less divisive than they once were.
He explained: “Churches are really quite keen to collaborate across their differences, which remain significant, are not sort of brushed away or swept under the carpet.
“They’re working together and they recognise there is a real contribution that they can make if they present this united front.”
The report, titled That They All May Be One: Insights into Churches Together in England and Contemporary Ecumenism, uses as case study Churches Together in England (CTE), which is an umbrella organisation of over 40 denominations.
The study found that 60 per cent of church leaders interviewed most resonated with the idea of “inter-church cooperation at local level.”
Mladin told Premier what unity doesn’t mean, he said: “Differences remain on what even unity might look like.
“One thing is clear, that unity does not mean, as some people might be prone to think – a sense of one big church where all the…structures merge into one super structure.”
Elizabeth Oldfield, Director of Theos said: “This month the world will be marking the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Debates about its overall legacy will continue, but it’s clear the Reformation brought about disunity within the Church.
“This report shows that, 500 years on, the search for unity remains strong and is shifting away from face-to-face dialogue towards side-by-side action. Dialogue will always remain important, but we see the future of unity lying in shared mission.”
Article source: www.premier.org.uk