Ecumenical Services for the Christian Year
Ecumenical worship is essentially no different from any other worship in that its main aim is to worship God the Father through Jesus Christ, his Son, in the power of the Holy Spirit. If our priority as members of Christ's body, the Church, is to proclaim the kingdom of God, our denominational differences will be secondary to the overriding common aim.
Stuart Thomas, who is currently the Ecumenical Officer to the Guildford Diocese, provides here an extensive introduction for those embarking on the ecumenical adventure, together with examples of service outlines for all occasions when an ecumnical act of worship might be suitable. Drawing on the best of traditional and modern music, the service outlines vary in their degree of formality, and can be adapted to other circumstances as required. All the main festivals of the Christian year are covered, along with occasions such as the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, Remembrance, Harvest, and New Year.
The emphasis throughout is on encouraging communities to gather together for worship across traditional boundaries. There has been considerable progress towards unity over the last three decades, but division and disunity nonetheless continue to weaken the Church's witness and impact. By digging our heels in, by insisting on doing things 'our way', we miss out on opportunities to learn from other traditions and grow in the Christian life. Only as we overcome these barriers will we be brought nearer to the complete unity our Lord prayed for.