A little over a year ago, a group of young Christian adults began to meet in Liverpool to get to know each other and to celebrate what they have in common through their Christian faith.
A lively, interesting and very happy journey has taken place over the past year as the group has grown together in mutual understanding and a shared vision, with the Gospel at the centre of everything they do.
The group, called ‘Churches Together on Merseyside 18+’ is made up of members from the Salvation Army, Methodist, Anglican, Pentecostal and Catholic Churches – young men and women from different walks of life, all over the age of eighteen.
On reflection, it is easy to see how the Holy Spirit has been at work, as the young people have been so open to sharing their gifts and talents, in a spirit of collaboration.
Whilst acknowledging the difference in denominational traditions, a deep respect and appreciation of and for each other has developed, and these young people are on a mission to continue to spread the good news.
Since the initial meeting in November 2018, they have worked together to establish a common vision through shared leadership. Members have taken turns in chairing meetings and offer individual perspectives to enlighten each other.
For example, in April 2019, P J and Chloe (Anglican and Methodist) led the group in determining its purpose, and set out their hopes and dreams for the way forward.
Next time, in the month of May, Peter led the group through the Catholic Synod 2020 questions, which sparked a lively exchange of views and ideas. Following this, two members (Sam and Chloe) were pleased to participate in the Catholic Synod meetings, representing the Anglican and Methodist Churches. They were delighted to observe how their input was received and welcomed by Synod 2020 members.
Pentecost Celebrations on Sunday 9th June 2019 became a particular highlight for the group. They actively took part in the Pilgrimage of Hope (which used to be the ‘Two Cathedrals Service’ and was inspired by the Pope’s visit to the city in 1982). This Pentecost event celebrates the unity between Christians, and is also symbolic of the unity which exists amongst Christians in our city and region. Group members were honoured to have been asked to proclaim some of the readings during the service, and the bonds within the group were strengthened that day.
As the year moved on, relationships have deepened and lots of insights, food, and laughter have been shared along the way.
A need for prayer also emerged, and when it was Liam Mc’s turn to chair, he gave a brief talk on Ignatian Spirituality followed by guided prayer in the two main Ignatian forms – the examen, and imaginative contemplation of the Gospel. This was well received by all and deepened the group’s sense of spirituality.
During the Summer, the group enjoyed a relaxing walk along the dockside. A friendly chat and refreshments along the way made it a happy social occasion.
More recently, the group decided to dedicate some time to visiting the various denominations, in order to appreciate their work and traditions more fully.
In October 2019, the Catholic Chaplaincy of John Moores and Liverpool University warmly welcomed the group at St.Philip Neri Church, led by Liam Mahan and Fr.Neil Ritchie. Fr.Neil traced the history of this beautiful church and explained the symbolism of its sacred spaces. He also demonstrated the use of incense at the request of the other denominations, as they found it fascinating and wanted to know more.
November brought us to Childwall Valley Salvation Army, where Bek and friends offered to share their home for the evening, and explained how they live in community to facilitate their Christian outreach. And in December we enjoyed a bring and share Advent social at Quaker House.
The journey continues… a seed has been sown, and with God’s grace the group will flourish and produce rich fruit.
The young people are keen to welcome others to share in and become part of the journey, and youth workers are also welcome. We are grateful to Taras who has supported us along the way.
If you know any Christians aged between 18 to 30 in the Liverpool area who may be interested, please encourage them to contact Veronica on [email protected] or visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ctmr18plus/
Veronica McDonnell & Elisabeth Hachmoeller, Churches Together in Merseyside.