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Churches Together in Barnes

The origin of Churches Together in Barnes

by Iain Radford

"To do together all we can and not to do apart what we should do together" was at the heart of the Ecumenical Covenant entered into in 1990 by the six Churches in Barnes.

This was not the start of our ecumenical movement. It was the Barnes Council of Churches, which dated back to 1962, that negotiated the Covenant and sent out the invitations to "PILGRIMS TOGETHER..... this landmark event for Christians in Barnes, the service for the signing of the Local Ecumenical Covenant" in the Methodist Church on Wednesday the 24th January 1990.

And it most certainly was a landmark event. For the first time Roman Catholics, Anglicans from our three churches, Methodists and Baptists gathered together in worship and agape. It was a fantastic event. As long as we could remember we had declared every Sunday our belief in one 'Holy Catholic Church', and here we were for the first time living that belief. Since then, although progress has been slow, for some disappointingly slow, I think it is true to say that we have never looked back.

Our Annual Christmas Card, delivered to every accessible dwelling in Barnes, our Procession of Silent Witness on Good Friday and our Pentecost Banquet for the elderly, may be our most obvious public activities, but half a dozen shared services each year, our annual Forum, the ecumenical Lent Groups, the Barnes Charity Players Passion Play and the work of the Refugee Group and the Peace and Justice Group (in process of revival), and a variety of shared study meetings over the years have marked the steps in our pilgrimage.

Iain Radford is a past Secretary of CTiB