Recently I met Ryan Feng, the minister at St Margaret’s Presbyterian Church in Bishopdale. He showed me the new church that was officially opened in early May 2023. As far as a modern church goes, it is probably even nicer than the new Methodist Church in Chapel Street. Even though we come from quite different backgrounds, we do have some common theological interests. It seems that Rev Ryan is also quite ecumenically-minded. There are ways in which we could work together. For example, if we ever were to think about an Alpha Course, St Margaret’s Presbyterian Church may be a good partner.
We already have some good ecumenical relationships. Other churches throughout the North-West have supported the Carols in the Churchyard at St Paul’s. We also have a special relationship with Papanui Baptist Church: together we are involved with the Youth Centre (LOOP). That is the reason that on 25 June we will have combined service at the Papanui Baptist Church. In my short ministry I have found that if we give something up as significant as a Sunday morning service on our own patch, those ecumenical relationships deepen. It shows real commitment and I do hope that the Baptists will return the gesture.
To reach this area with the Gospel of Christ, we do have to co-operate with others, whether that is other denominations, trusts such as LOOP, or other service providers. Recently, the Archdeacon for Regeneration and Mission also has had conversations with several ministers about co-operation between Anglican Parishes in the area. How can we work together and strengthen each other? That may be as little as the minister meeting for prayer, to putting on events together or even parishioners sharing their talents and time with other parishes. That would have to be carefully managed, but it is clear that co-operation can be fruitful. Co-operation should not only happen within a formal archdeaconry setting, but rather between parishes that have some affinity. Today is Pentecost, a day on which we can reflect on the Spirit that brings life to the Church, not just to our denomination or Parish. May we embrace a vision that extends