Do local Churches work together?
Churches across England work together on a variety of projects and events. We at the Church of England’s Council for Christian Unity encourage new ways for churches to work together in unity in mission and provide resources, advice and support for local ecumenical relationships.
Why do churches work together?
Churches of all traditions are faced with important challenges to serve and transform communities, to make new disciples and to grow in holiness and worship.
The task is too great for one part of the Church to do on its own – but when we share our gifts together as the people of God, working together in the power and unity of the Holy Spirit, we can achieve so much. To proclaim the gospel of the Kingdom of God with integrity, the churches must be seen to be living it. Unity speaks to a divided world.
Churches can do far more together than they can do separately. Working together is a visible sign of the unity, as believers in Jesus, Churches already share. By working together, Churches discover a deeper unity. Christian unity and mission go hand in hand.
How does the Church of England work with other churches?
Practically there many ways in which the Church of England works with other Churches.
- We share worship, ministry and congregational life together.
- As our parish churches have a presence across the country, we make our church buildings available for other Christian congregations.
- We cooperate with other Churches on particular projects, for example helping the homeless, creating advice centres, organising youth projects, local community action and evangelistic outreach.
- When planting congregations in new housing areas and establishing fresh expressions within a wide variety of contexts, we consult and sometimes collaborate with other Churches involved to ensure we are providing what is best for the community.
When do we need some kind of formal agreement or structure?
Good ecumenical working is based on relationships and trust, and often it can be informal and spontaneous. Different Churches serving the same community see an opportunity to come together and just get on with it.
But sometimes something more formal is needed.
Commitments to sharing buildings, for instance, will have a legal dimension. A project to help the homeless, if it is to be sustained, may have to address longer-term questions about finance and governance. Where Churches want to share regularly in worship, discipleship and witness, setting up what is called a ‘Local Ecumenical Partnership’ may be key for unlocking new possibilities.
With the help of Churches Together in England, we have been working since 2016 with other Churches on a new framework for Churches wanting to work together locally in ways that require some level of formal commitment.
Action to help the world become more like the place God intended it to be, and share the good news of Jesus
a) The good news of Jesus Christ; b) the records of Jesus's life and ministry in the first four books of the New Testament (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John); c) a reading from one of these four books.
Offering praise to God.
A group of Christians who gather for prayer and worship
- Fresh Expressions
Different ways of doing or being a church. This might be where they meet or how they worship designed to engage people who don't normally go to church
- Local Ecumenical Partnership
A local area where a local covenant or a more far-reaching agreement between the authorities of different denominations (covering the sharing of church life, buildings and/or ministry) has been made