“Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers and sisters dwell in unity!” Psalm 133:1
Church of the Cross was honored to host the first Midwest Anglican unity event. It was a time full of blessings as we met together for discussion, worship, and prayer. The day began with an afternoon meeting attended by 23 leaders representing the various regions. After initial introductions we broke into smaller groups and discussed three questions: What are our hopes as we come together in this call to unity? What are the challenges we face? What are the strengths each of our respective churches and regions bring? When the small groups came back together to share the answers given by their groups, we found a number of similar themes. Among the key thoughts shared were:
- We hope for genuine integration and partnership among our different churches and regions and look forward to sharing resources and best practices.
- We face the challenge of an reaching an outside culture that is often opposed to the things of God, with the challenge of bringing together our different church cultures and learning from each other.
- We desire to leverage our different strengths and unique characteristics and experiences to reach people of all ages and backgrounds—with a special awareness of the need to raise up young leaders and new generations of followers of Christ.
- We are excited to grow in friendship with one another, and commit to honest and transparent dialog and sharing.
- We all share a strong commitment to reaching lost people through church planting and discipling believers to grow in maturity in Christ.
After this time of sharing we spent an extended time in prayer bringing our thanksgivings and requests before God. This was followed by what we refer to in Minnesota as “a little dinner” (which basically means enough food to feed a small army—we still have leftovers, by the way, if anyone’s hungry).
We were joined by a number of others for an evening worship service in the sanctuary of Church of the Cross. Dean Munday taught from God’s word on the mission of the church—giving the memorial charge that we would be “perpetually pregnant” as we follow the call to birth new works for the Kingdom. In response to his message came a powerful time of prayer as the members of the different regions took turns laying hands on one another and praying for God’s protection and anointing on the representative churches and leaders. We ended by celebrating the Eucharist together.
I can honestly say that I am already looking forward to our next unity gathering on May 11. I often find that with the pressing needs of the local church, any other meetings that take me away from those needs seem like inconveniences. Yet this gathering reminded me of our Lord’s deep desire for unity among his people and of the fact that there are things which we can do in partnership that we can’t accomplish alone. This first meeting established what a strong foundation we have as we come together for the sake of mission—I look forward to building on that foundation in the months to come.
Listen to Dean Munday’s Homily
See Photos from the Minnesota Unity Event
Small group photo by Paul Calvin
Worship service photos by Dan Fine