Little green shoots

Tony Castle

Despite appearances the Holy Spirit is quietly and gently working away in ecumenism, as the tale told here bears witness to. Perseverance, patience and prayer over 35 years have brought rich rewards in mutual love and respect among Christians of different traditions. Tony Castle is the Ecumenical Officer for the Diocese of Brentwood and one of the Catholic representatives on EARC (English Anglican Roman Catholic Committee).?

Under the snow
It is widely believed that ecumenism is going through a frosty, wintery period. This may appear to be true, at some levels, but I believe that out of sight, beneath the snow and ice, new life stirs. The following account of ecumenical activity and relationships in a tiny corner of England illustrates that what is needed, as has always been needed, is patience, perseverance and prayer.

The village setting
The account is set in a large village ? population of 7,500 ? in Essex, called Great Wakering. In 1976 , when I came to the village, there were seven places of worship; the ancient Anglican church of St Nicholas, the Methodist chapel, the URC church, the Mission Hall, the Salvation Army hall, the Evangelical church and St Edmund?s Catholic church. (The Evangelical church was historically a part of the network of Peculiar Peoples? churches. These ?Peculiars? took their name from Deuteronomy 14.2 (?chosen?) and were, in 1873, an off-shoot of the Countess of Huntingdon?s Connexion, which had earlier split away from the Wesleyan movement.

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