Glenbrook churches sign covenant promoting unity

29/09/2014

Catholic Outlook September 2014: Covenanting
From left to right: Rev Marjorie Roberts (Blaxland Uniting Church), Rev Susan Phalen (Glenbrook Uniting Church), Rev Fr Wim Hoekstra (St Finbar’s Catholic Church) who led the service during which the covenant was signed.

Originally published in Catholic Outlook September 2014

By Dr Gideon Goosen

It was a historic occasion in the Blue Mountains when three Christian churches joined in a covenant recently. This is the first occasion that a covenant has been signed in the Blue Mountains, although there are several other examples in NSW such as Epping, Bathurst and Wellington.

The covenant, signed by three local churches (St Finbar’s Catholic Church Glenbrook, Glenbrook Uniting Church and Blaxland Uniting Church), pledges them to work together in promoting Christian unity.

The items of collaboration are set out in the covenants. These churches have been collaborating with each other for more than 30 years.

The signing occurred during the service for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity on Pentecost Sunday. The service was attended by about 100 people.

Among the dignitaries was the Mayor of the Blue Mountains, Cr Mark Greenhill, and the Vice President of the NSW Ecumenical Council, Ms Weis Schiuringa.

The Catholic Church and the World Council of Churches are committed to restoring Christian unity and signing a covenant is one way of translating the policy into practice.

Ms Wies Schiuringa she felt uplifted by the sincere goodwill that was evident during the service and over a cup of tea afterwards. “The Christian churches have come so far in recent years to act upon their common mission and walk together on the ecumenical path,” she said.

“The clergy and church leaders at the Catholic and Uniting Church in Glenbrook and at the Uniting Church in Blaxland have given us an excellent example of ecumenism in action that can be followed by other churches.”

The agreement of the covenant at Glenbrook commit the churches  to a number of activities together such as the Annual World Day of Prayer Service,  the Easter Sunrise Service,  the Service for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity at Pentecost,  the Annual Ecumenical Dinner, the Christmas Carols in Glenbrook Park as well as collaboration on social justice projects.

For more information about covenanting, visit the National Council of Churches Australia website

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