Churches join up for festive card

PUBLISHED: 14:59 21 December 2011

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For the first time ever, seven churches in the Budleigh Salterton area have sent a joint Christmas card, publicising their festive services, delivered to homes throughout the area.

Ministers John Heavens, of the Evangelical Church on the Green, John Colwell of the Baptist Church, Anne Charlton of Anglican Churches of Budleigh Salterton, East Budleigh and Otterton and Jonathan Froggatt of The Temple Methodist Church have decided to advertise their services together.

It is the latest example of co-operation between the churches that began in 1991 when the four Protestant churches in Budleigh Salterton made a covenant that ‘they would work together to share the love of God within the community.’

What is different this year is that it is the first time they have jointly published services in one Christmas card, which has been distributed to the whole community of Budleigh Salterton, East Budleigh and Otterton.

The Reverend Anne Charlton said: “As the four Protestant church leaders within the area, we meet and pray regularly, and look to see how we might best serve the community as a whole.”

As a result of this, in October 2010 Messy Church was launched for families with children, a monthly afternoon of craft, worship and supper which is led by all four ministers in turn.

They also hold joint Lent study courses; Bible groups which include people from the various churches and monthly Sunday evening services.

In January, which sees the nationwide ‘Week of Prayer for Christian Unity’, they all swop pulpits and will be preaching in each other’s churches, and will be sharing daily services together, for a week.

They also jointly fundraise for various charities such as Christian Aid and Christians against Poverty.

“As ministers, we are all keen to stress that we are not in competition with each other, and encourage people to worship God in any of our churches. We are continually exploring new ideas to encourage people to share in the light of Christ, and this year we felt that a joint Christmas card, where the Roman Catholic Service is also included, was the right way to do that.

“May we take this opportunity of wishing all your readers a peaceful and happy Christmas.”

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