Week 3 included a visit to Bradford, a funeral service in a more traditional Church of England setting and a meeting with a small Brethren assembly who have asked for help with church revitalisation.
In Bradford we were at my mum and dad’s church which is part of the Wesleyan Reform Union, one of the many small denominations and networks that are around and don’t get the same prominence as groups like The FIEC, New Frontiers or the larger denominations but are still getting on with the business of Gospel ministry.
This particular congregation is the result of the merger of two churches and so it was encouraging to see that after that merger the past few years have seen members of the two coming together, getting along and beginning to integrate. More encouragingly there were new families coming along and hopefully there will come a day when most people don’t identify with one or other historic church but with the Gospel community now active in that part of Bradford. Encouraging as well to talk to some of the newcomers and see that the church is reaching people from very needy backgrounds and that they have felt welcome and safe there.
My title this week is “The Big Family of God” because over the past couple of weeks I’ve visited a few different churches, they are all different in terms of history, size, style. Unity in the Gospel does not have to crush diversity. Not everything would be my cup of team but that’s the point, it doesn’t have to be. Nor does our ability to share fellowship, hear God speak through his word and worship together depend on everything being to the style that I prefer.