Diocesan world mission adviser, Andy Wheeler
When I was a lad I had a huge bag of marbles – large and small, all made of glass, some chipped and pitted, others shiny and smooth, a host of different colours. Some were favourites for marbles matches, others just made up the numbers. Sometimes it seems that the “Church” is really “churches” – made of the same substance, but different, separate and not really related to each other. Certainly not impacting each other.
Yet, if we turn to the image of the body of Christ, we see something that is organic, inter-related, its unity dependent on its diversity and different functions. It is sensitive, capable of pain and joy, of developing and growing, of being healthy or unhealthy.
"It calls us to discover the remarkable unity that unfolds from our diversity, the riches of shared joy and suffering, the interplay of strength and weakness."
Goal 7 of Transforming Church, Transforming Lives is ‘reaching beyond our borders’. It calls us to discover the reality, the cost and transforming impact of the relationships that characterise life within the Body of Christ. It calls us to discover the remarkable unity that unfolds from our diversity, the riches of shared joy and suffering, the interplay of strength and weakness. This can be with the next parish, a nearby fellowship. But the potential increases with the differences in culture, experience, success and struggle, the very distance between us.
Many parishes have such links in Britain and across the world. It is good to be intentional about how these resource and enrich the two partners in mission. As we proceed we hope too that church to church, and school to school links will develop in our diocesan links with Nigeria, and with the Lutheran Church in Viborg, Denmark, and the Catholic diocese of Evry outside Paris.
As we respond to the call, let’s be open to new relationships, partnerships in the Gospel, beyond our diocesan boundaries, across our nation, across the Anglican Communion and beyond, and across the world. It takes the whole Church to know the whole Christ.