New Anglican-Methodist partnership in Guildford
A special service marking the beginning of a new church partnership took place last Sunday, uniting Guildford Methodist Church (GMC) and St Maryâ€™s Church (part of the Parish of Holy Trinity St Maryâ€™s), in Guildford.
The two churches have been working closely together for several years, and the service on 1 September to join them marked a very significant milestone in their journey together.
Sundayâ€™s service, named â€˜Pilgrimâ€™s Progress: Christians on a journey togetherâ€™, started at GMC at 10am where members of both congregations and representatives from other churches in the Circuit walked to St Maryâ€™s Church on Quarry Street with a Guildford Methodist Church banner and the Salvation Army band.
The service continued at St Maryâ€™s where the congregation sung hymns such as, 'One more step along the world I go', and 'Tell out, my soul, the greatness of the Lord', and heard readings from 1 Peter 2.4-10 urging them: 'like living stones let yourselves be made into a spiritual house', and from Joshua 1.1-9, where God commissions Joshua to be strong and courageous as he leads the Israelites into the promised land.
In the middle of the service, the Methodists processed up to the chancel arch and each laid a rock on the pile of stones already there from St Mary's.
Rosamund Trembath, from the Methodists, gave testimony of the mutual goodwill as the two churches work together to lay the foundations for future growth and nurture, serving God and serving each other now from St Mary's, in the knowledge of God's love.
David CarlÃ©, from St Mary's, spoke about how much he values the peace and serenity of the ancient church, a place steeped in the prayers of the faithful for at least 1,000 years.
Finally, everyone present was called on to participate in an Act of Dedication, and the service was followed by a party to celebrate the new venture.
Rector at Holy Trinity St Maryâ€™s, the Revd Canon Robert Cotton, said: â€œToday the congregations of Guildford Methodist Church and St Maryâ€™s Church begin a new phase of their life together.
â€œWe recognise that we will travel better together as neither denomination is complete without the other. Each brings traditions and gifts that will enhance our common life.
â€œGod is our host â€“ we (both Methodists and Anglicans) are guests at the Lordâ€™s Table and all are called to love, serve and be faithful.â€
Methodist Church South-East District Chair and Superintendent of the Guildford Circuit the Revd John Hellyer, said: â€œWe believe that the urge to share in Godâ€™s work together in the centre of Guildford has been planted in peopleâ€™s hearts by God.
â€œJesus made it clear that he expected his disciples to share in Godâ€™s mission together, and the symbolic journey from Woodbridge Road to St Maryâ€™s evokes the Biblical image of pilgrimage.
â€œIn the Bible, those who went on a pilgrimage did not always have a clear understanding of their intended destination, or what would await them when they arrived.
â€œOn their journey there was direction to be sought, lessons to learn and setbacks to be overcome. We have to learn to trust God as together we try to discern what sharing in mission and unity means at the heart of Guildford.â€
This new partnership comes as the Church of England is urged to prioritise the Methodist Anglican Covenant, which was signed ten years ago, in order to bring the Churches closer together in mission and holiness, and to rejoice in the partnership progress that has been made so far.
Read more about the Methodist Anglican Covenant