The Kent regional body of the ecumenical organisation, Churches Together in England, met for its annual Forum on Saturday 23rd February 2013 at Kent College, Pembury. During the event, Church leaders signed a covenant, committing them to work together and encourage others to do the same to further the life, mission, work and worship of the churches and congregations in their care. It is the first time such an agreement has been signed and it will be renewed each year at the annual Forum.
The theme of the Forum was the Family: God’s family and our family. The Rt Rev John Hine, the Roman Catholic Bishop for Kent and Auxiliary Bishop for the Diocese of Southwark, gave an insightful Bible study which asserted the holiness of daily family life; due to the care and sacrifice that takes place within families every day. Although family life can be chaotic and frenetic, it is ‘through the cracks of even the most broken situation that the light of God’s love can come in.’
Emma Kevan, Christian Aid Regional Coordinator for Kent, reflected on the global family and how the support of people here, can make a huge difference to those thousands of miles away. She highlighted the major multi-agency campaign launched earlier this year, ‘Enough Food for Everyone IF’, which is seeking to bring an end to global hunger.
The Forum closed with a rousing ecumenical worship held in Pembury Old Church, led by Lieut-Colonel Peter Moran, the Salvation Army’s South-East Divisional Commander, and the Tunbridge Wells Salvation Army band.
The Rev Canon Harvey Richardson, County Ecumenical Officer for Kent, who steps down from his post this year said: “It was wonderful to be able to meet together as Christians across the denominations, to worship, to learn, to discuss and to share news with each other about the grassroots ecumenical projects and events taking place across the county.
“It was especially meaningful to witness, at the closing act of worship, the signing of the Covenant by all the Church leaders in Kent.”ENDS
Further information contact: Jennifer Ross, Communities and Partnerships Network, Diocese of Canterbury: 01227 459401 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes for editors
- Photo:Church leaders sign Covenant: (Left to right: Rev Canon Harvey
Richardson (County Ecumenical Officer for Kent), John Hellyer (Chair of the Methodist Church, South-East District), Rt Rev John Hines (Roman Catholic Bishop for Kent and Auxiliary Bishop for the Diocese of Southwark), Rt Rev James Langstaff (Bishop of Rochester),
Paul Kerley (Regional Minister, South Eastern Baptist Association), Stuart Davison
(Team Leader, South Eastern Baptist Association), Lieut-Colonel Peter Moran
(South-East Divisional Commander for the Salvation Army), Brian Kendall (East Kent Quakers), Rev Canon Caroline Pinchbeck (Director of the Diocese of Canterbury’s Communities and Partnerships Network). Seated: Rt Rev Dr Brian Castle, Bishop of Tonbridge and Co-Chair of Churches Together in Kent
- Photo: Close-up of signed Covenant
- Photo: Delegates at the Forum listen to the Bishop of Tonbridge
- Churches Together in Kent member Churches are: RC Archdiocese of Southwark; Anglican Diocese of Rochester; Anglican Diocese of Canterbury; SE Region of the Baptist Union; Southern Synod of the URC; the SE District of the Methodist Church; the SE Division of the Salvation Army and the East Kent Meeting of the Society of Friends (Quakers). Individual attendees are always welcome.
- The Churches Together in Kent Forum aims to:
– Provide an opportunity to experience the Gospel in its widest sense in Worship together.
– Encourage those who attend to seek new ways of working with other churches and denominations.
– Broaden the horizons of church life.
– Share good ecumenical practice.
– Explore experiences of shared mission in the county.
– Think theologically about ecumenical vision.
- The event is supported by the Diocese of Canterbury’s Communities and Partnerships Network. The Network aims to empower parishes and deaneries to serve their communities by working in partnerships with others. It has particular responsibility for rural and heritage issues, special interest groups, forging links with local authorities, other faith groups and with charities.