Path to unity
Churches Together in Sevenoaks and District is a co-ordinating network of churches in an area from Westerham to Platt and from Shipbourne to West Kingsdown. It is a small part of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (CTBI).
It is acknowledged that many issues facing the churches today are best tackled with a unified approach, especially in relation to the Government and Local Authorities.
Some of the issues which CTBI deals with are:
- church and public issues
- theology and unity
- inter religious
- racial justice
- action on asylum and refugees.
CTBI was created as the result of a thorough consultation undertaken by the churches in the mid 1980's. It grew out of the former British Council of Churches and was formally created by the ‘Swanwick Declaration’ in 1989.
Adopted at the Derbyshire conference centre which bears its name, the Swanwick Declaration included the following statement:
‘We now declare together our readiness to commit ourselves to each other under God. Our earnest desire is to become more fully, in his own time, the one Church of Christ, united in faith, communion, pastoral care and mission.
'Such unity is the gift of God. With gratitude we have truly experienced this gift, growing amongst us in these days.
'We affirm our openness to this growing unity in obedience to the Word of God, so that we may fully share, hold in common and offer to the world those gifts which we have received and still hold in separation.
'In the unity we seek we recognise that there will not be uniformity but legitimate diversity.’
In conclusion the Declaration states:
‘We set out on our further pilgrimage ready to take risks… We resolve that no discouragement will make us once relent our avowed intent to be pilgrims together, leaving behind painful memories and reaching out for what lies ahead, we press on towards the full reconciliation in Christ of all things in heaven and on earth, that God has promised in his Kingdom.'
Prayer for unity
Lord God, we thank you
For calling us into the company
Of those who trust in Christ
And seek to obey his will.
May your Spirit guide and strengthen us
In mission and service to your world;
For we are strangers no longer
But pilgrims together on the way to your Kingdom.