At an event during The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, the Ecumenical Deans on behalf of Churches Together in Luton group invited ministers and lay people from all the Churches in Luton, to spend a morning of reflection on the theme of Christian Presence and Engagement in Luton.
The event was kindly hosted by Mgr Kevin McGinnell at Holy Ghost Catholic Parish Church on Westbourne Road. Bishop Peter Doyle of Roman Catholic Diocese of Northampton and Rev Geoff Colmer, Regional Minister and Team Leader of Central Baptist Association were the two main keynote speakers. They were extremely inspiring.
Revd Geoff Colmer said, “Relating together in partnership in Luton is the only way forward, because no one Church could serve the community and meet its needs on its own.” He also quoted former Archbishop Rowan Williams who upon meeting someone would ask this question, "What is God already doing in this person and how can I help?”
Bishop Peter Doyle, emphasized the need for God’s grace to retain a balance in us; and challenged the inherent and natural prejudice in us: encouraging all to build bridges as Jesus did with the Samaritan woman. He encouraged preaching and finding ways of communicating hope. He said, “Our role is to try to connect and integrate to restore human dignity.” What a profound and sane challenge for us all.
Following two such inspiring talks, all present were led into four group discussions addressing the issues, as mentioned below, in Luton’s context;
- Education (led by John and Debbie Williams, Headteachers)
- Social Outreach (led by Jim O'Connor, Chief Exec of NOAH Enterprise)
- Health & Public Life (led by Revd Martyn Trembath, Hospital Chaplain at the L and D)
The most pertinent Qs asked were:
- What is the Gospel challenge in each of the above listed areas?
- What is one practical outcome we can achieve?
Overall the morning was very worthwhile. In a short span of time, much was spoken of and achieved. Long live the spirit of the Church, to continue exploring the meaning in its being a Christian presence in the world.