After months of planning and discussion, we finally get to inaugurate the Forder Valley Mission Community of St Edwards Eggbuckland, Christchurch Estover, and Derriford. Actually those months of planning fade to insignificance when discussing the Estover Local EcumenicalPartnership constitution!
As the various communities of Baptist, Roman Catholic,Methodist, Anglican, and the United Reformed Church, have come together to celebrate both the events – hopefully the start of a long and mutually supportive relationship.
During the service each of the various denominations represented were invited to say a few words of what LEP means to them and their ministry. Rev. Jonathan Bielawski (St Peter & St Thomas More), spoke of calling to mission in disparate places and ways.
Rev Sue Macbeth (Churches Together in Devon) spoke of the process of establishing the Constitution over the last couple of years. She reminded us that the actual process was ‘started’ 35 years ago, and had a various previous attempts prior to this final effort. Rev Sue then led the formal signing.
Rev Chris Routledge (St Edwards), spoke of the importance of local Community and Mission. He also brought to mind Partnership and what that means of us all sharing together in a common task of bringing the Gospel to this part of the city. Rev Chris the led a time of prayer.
Rev Carl Budden (St Edwards), read the Gospel from John 9, the miraculous healing of the blind beggar: “I was blind, now I see”.
Rev Rob (Baptist Minister at Christchurch), brought a brief word. He spoke of the Constitution and the new Mission Community, starting from a point of misunderstanding as illustrated in our Gospel reading. The story of the blind man was an opportunity for teaching about a new way of understanding in God. Speaking about the spiritual blindness of those who thought they knew best when faced with the healing, and accusing the beggar and Jesus as sinful. We are called to do our Christian faith, not get bogged down in discussing and falling-out over our different understanding of doing. Our calling is to see the world as God sees it.
The service was rounded of with the gathered making commitment supporting the Forder Valley Mission Community.