When churches of different denominations and traditions come together in an ecumenical group it can result, very often, in a self-congratulatory smugness or just endless talk,talk, talk. Here in Coulsdon, though, it's different (said he, trying not to sound smug!). This year we have been thinking about how we can do mission that is possible and practical - mission that one church alone couldn't do, but churches together could. And so we are going to be involved with the Croydon Churches Floating Shelter next winter, and run a series of events to mark The Year of the Bible.
The Floating Shelter is run by a number of churches round Croydon, to provide shelter for homeless people during the winter. Each night a different church in the Borough is open, and teams of volunteers help set up, provide food, talk to the guests, clear up and wash bedding. It's usually more than one church alone can do, so Churches Together is an ideal group to run this. For us in Coulsdon, it's a way that the churches can practically show the care and compassion of God.
In addition, we have been planning how to mark next year as The Year of the Bible - the 400th anniversary of the publication of the Authorized Version (The King James Version) of the bible. Working together, we have planned a series of events that will be educational and fun. Lectures, interactive learning for adults and children in churches and schools, a quiz night and a 'Travelling Bible Readathon' during which we will read the entire bible in 5 days. One of our local ministers will be writing a short play about the Hampton Court Conference that oversaw the publication of the AV bible.
I get most excited when I see the church doing what it's here for: co-operating with God in mission by being and telling the Good News.