It’s a sad fact that one of the main things that hinders us from effectively spreading the good news of Jesus’ love, the miracle of His resurrection, and his promise of eternal life, is that we are divided – which confuses people. We are all Christians, yet we all hang on compulsively to our differences as the reason we cannot spread the gospel united! When in reality it is Jesus who unites us!
At Wrose we have 5 churches in close proximity to each other, but all individual and of different denominations. Recently the leaders of the five churches – Colin at St. Cuthbert’s, Ashley at Bolton Villas, Kevin at Wrose Hill Chapel, David at Church on the Way, and me from Wrose Methodists - met to talk and pray about how we could rectify this. We came to an agreement that we will share together working on various projects throughout the year, the first one being Lenten breakfasts on Saturdays in Lent at each of the 5 churches.
We began at our Methodist church, with people from the other 4 churches meeting in our church hall at 8 a.m. to share a simple breakfast followed by a short talk about what the church was involved in and what things needed prayer, then there was half an hour of prayer. Each table prayed together, (rather than the whole room praying together) for our church, its people and activities, and this enabled everyone to feel involved and encouraged them to pray out loud. It was very special to be in a room full of people, all praying for us Methodists in Wrose and our work. We ended with music – Pretty Amazing Grace by Neil Diamond, which says it all. There were 40 people (which was much more than we had anticipated!) and everyone said how wonderful it was to meet and talk together. It was an exciting beginning!
The same format was used on the following Saturdays at each of the other churches, so by Easter we had all visited each church, prayed for each church, and each church had prayed for us! By the end of Lent we had learned an awful lot about all the churches and shared experiences with the people from them, and were beginning to feel like one body.
The culmination was the meeting at Morrison’s roundabout (outside Church on the Way) at 7 a.m. Easter morning. It was eerie standing there in the fog, and we doubted whether many would brave it. Then faces began looming out of the fog - people began to appear in ones and two’s, larger groups, all swelling the ranks round the 3 crosses, the group slowly growing, spilling people into the road, onto the grass, huddling together, smiling!
As we began to sing, (accompanied by a guitar) and pray, the fog began to lift and the sky lightened. As the gospel story unfolded the singing grew louder, and then there was a lovely hush as we all shared in Communion, served by the leaders of the churches. It was very moving, despite the cold.
We then gathered in the upstairs room at Church on the Way for breakfast which included eggs, bacon, sausages, mushrooms, and tomatoes. It was blissful! It was also very rewarding to see so many people (a staggering 120), responding to the call for unity! Thanks to all who shared the experience with us. It is one we will treasure, and its memory will buoy us up as we plan our next project in the summer. Watch this space, and please pray for us!
Lynne K Wrose Methodist Church