The Christian church for various reasons has found itself divided into groups called denominations. At one time these were to reconcile differences in opinion amongst the believers. Lately, there have been attempts to merge churches, to combine congregations. This is noble. However, we believe that the diversity of the denominations is in itself a strength. Not all flowers are the same. God’s promise is the sign of the rainbow: not all the colours are the same. They all belong there. They all should be side by side. The rainbow would be incomplete if any one colour was missing.
If we are blue, we should not pretend to be red. If we are green, we should not try to smother out yellow. We all belong. We’re meant to be here. The denominations have grown up for their various reasons and have been shaped by history, and indeed they have shaped history. They need celebrating, not diminishing or merging. Co-operation is fine, mutual respect and working for common aims and goals: noble. However, let us not work towards a Christian monolith. We need to be the many, worshipping the One God.
by the Rt. Rev. Bishop Adrian Glover
I was in training for the priesthood when I met the girl who would become my wife. I promised her that I would not work in full time ministry. So I changed track, trained as a Local Preacher in the Methodist Church, and joined a team of preachers in the Methodist church called the Lock Plan, after Bill Lock, who ran it. I expanded this concept and with a group of like-minded Christians formed the Cross Denominational Mission. We provided preachers to rural churches that had difficulty finding preachers to lead sunday worship. We later found ourselves taking funerals for the crematoria as there was at the time a severe shortage of people willing to do so. There was a ground swell of people who wanted to marry in places other than church buildings (or registry offices) and the law at that time did not permit such arrangements. We found a legal way round this and were inundated with weddings. My colleagues and I ended up with a part time ministry which expanded to fit all available hours! However, I still felt called to ordained ministry and had to reconcile this with the promises I made to my wife.
Part time ministry was the answer. I worked alongside the Mission for Christ (Rural Evangelism) for a time, and this brought me into contact with the Apostolic Church. I was ordained in 1996. This truly was a part time ministry. When I moved to the other end of the country, the branch of the Apostolic church I worked with declined in the UK, despite being very large indeed in other parts of the world. I could serve in any part of the Apostolic church, of course, but a new chapter meant that my former work in the Cross Denominational Mission beckoned, but this time the work is internet based. I was later incardinated into the Liberal Rite (independent catholic) it had to be a liberal catholic rite as I am married and not celibate! At the same time I became a member of the Religious Society of St Simon. I still serve part-time, in keeping with my promise, and like other independent catholics I am expected to support myself so I work for a global public transport operator.