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Devon: churches join forces in united service

Members from all 12 churches in Plympton, Plymouth met together last month as a United Christian Church in the first of regularly planned united worship services ...

Members from all 12 churches in Plympton, Plymouth met together last month as a United Christian Church in the first of regularly planned united worship services, reports Patrice Davison (Woodford Methodist Church).

The service was held at Ridgeway Methodist Church and hosted by Rev Andy Day of Ridgeway. The sermon was given by Rev Arno Bessel, of St Peter’s Lutheran Church and two sets of prayers were led, one by Rev Roger Beck of St Mary’s Anglican Church and the other by Rev Maureen Robbins, a Baptist Minister from Chaddlewood.

Arno began his sermon asking if they had produced a microphone yet that changed some-one’s accent so we could understand him – as he has a very strong Brazilian accent! This caused a laugh amongst the congregation.  He based his sermon on “differences”, as we are trying to work together as a United Church.  

Power struggles within churches cause division, and Arno reminded us of Apostle Paul when he was in the city of Corinth – trying to get the different churches to see eye to eye. The issues of who was right when it came to circumcision, marriage, food laws and so on caused churches to separate into smaller churches, all in Jesus’ name, but not wanting to be united in their belief of who Jesus is!   

He related the Corinth of biblical times to the London of today – so diverse that you would be lucky to find anyone that spoke your language!  Arno reminded us that God loves us, in spite of our failings and regardless of which denomination we follow. All ministers are instruments of God. All people are equal before God.  All churches in our neighbourhood are instruments of God. We should support each other and merge in Christ – not fight to take people from other churches to come to the one we attend.

Hymns and worship songs were led by the skilled musicians at Ridgeway (above, from left: Zoe Dickins, Reuben Day, Aimie Rogers, Matthew Rogers and Ruth Blake-Lobb).

Churches Together Plympton now aim to pray as a group on the first Monday of every month, for issues in Plympton.

Photo (top): (from left) Rev Arno Bessel, Rev Maureen Robbins, Rev Roger Beck, and Rev Andy Day

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