Caroline and I attended a nice service at St. Bridget's Catholic Church this afternoon organised under the auspices of Isleworth Christians (Churches Together in Isleworth).
It was headlined "A United Service of Thanksgiving", and was held to celebrate the 160th anniversary of the building of Isleworth Congregational Church, 40 years since the rebuilding of All Saints Church and 100 years since the building of Our Lady Of Sorrows & St. Bridget Of Sweden (to give it its full name).
Our Pastor, the Revd. Antony Ball, gave a typically inspiring sermon, contrasting the spirit of unity which exists between the various Christian denominations in the village today with the animosity which probably prevailed at the time of the respective Churches coming into being. He joked about Congregationalists rarely agreeing with other Christians and rarely agreeing with each other, but this light-hearted exercise in self-effacement actually conceals what I perceive to be the strength of the Congregational Church - its democratic ethos and the fact that it is run by the members. Indeed Congregationalism is not in itself a brand of theology, but rather a method of government. I like to think of the Congregational Church as the ICG of the Christian world!
Whatever the respective merits of the various denominations, what is significant about Isleworth Christians is that its strength and success lies in well-meaning people agreeing in good faith to be different together, in a way that recognises and respects the much more important things that we all have in common.
Anyone see where I'm going with this?