I’ve been around the Church of England a lot lately. Well that’s kind of obvious seeing as I’m Anglican… but I’ve been thinking for a while about the differences between the churches.
A book I was given called ‘…isms’ has been very helpful in my understanding, but I’ve been wanting for a while to actually get out there and speak to the people to find out from them what they believe and how they worship and what they can tell me of their faith group.
So starting off my journey of discovery, I headed to my local Methodist Church.
The Minister for the church wasn’t there but I was introduced to Pastor Bob, who after talking with inside the church had a coffee with me in the churches together café next door. We ended up talking for about an hour and it was all much more informative than I ever expected.
When we first talked about the differences in the services I thought as I had before that we were so very different. In what we wore, in how we entered, in the way we took communion, how often we took communion, who preached, etc.
At first all these differences were rather overwhelming and I couldn’t understand how we Anglicans could possibly join together with the Methodists.
He told me about the history as well, how the Methodists formed, and then we went in for a coffee.
In there he asked me about my journey and after going through that we compared stories and past experiences, talking about how God has worked in our lives and how we’ve learnt so much from our past.
We also talked about the café we were in, named ‘Centrepoint’ and how it would be great if people from all the different churches in Bramhall actually went in and chatted to each other some time! Most people, me included until today, really just thought it was a place for the Methodist Church.
And when I was talking to Pastor Bob, I realised that we did have our differences, but we also have a lot of similarities.
And I don’t think I would ever have really seen that unless I’d sat down with someone like I did today with Bob and just talked about how God worked in our lives.
I being in quite a high Anglican Church, I think this made it more difficult for me to see us joining together. But maybe the lower churches would get on well with them. This is why I need to keep going in my exploration of the churches to discover all this diversity!
There was a moment whilst having coffee where he told me of what being with God in the church made him feel, and what worshipping God and meeting the people meant to him. And answers from within my church really wouldn’t have been that different!
We have our differences, but now I know that we have our similarities as well.
They are more… laid back than me, the Methodists are much more informal. Most of them anyway!
I’m going along to a service in a few weeks to experience that as well, because I think it’s a really important part of my journey. We’re all Christians, and I think it’s important to know about the different branches.
It was great to meet Pastor Bob. I don’t expect I’ll be seeing him very often because I am of course in the Church of England and that’s where I need to be focused and learning and getting support from for my ministry from! But I expect I’ll see him around. Maybe in the café which really does need more recognition!
As we left, Pastor Bob told me he hoped and prayed that my calling was clear for me so I didn’t have to wait too long. And I hope so as well. I’d love to go for training to be ordained in the years to come from university… but would I be ready? I imagine I may need more experience of churches and to learn more information about scriptures and the laws and such. But I believe I’ll be ordained one day… unless God changes his mind! Life’s full of surprises ‘ey!
I can’t see the Church of England joining together with the Methodists. But I can really see the potential there. We could learn a lot from one another… but we’d probably really rag each other sometimes as well! A lot of times we wouldn’t see eye-to-eye I’m sure!
I think something that they do that I find we in my church don’t do so much, is that of getting together in small groups to pray and talk about our journeys or about a piece of scripture.
The Methodists seem to have a lot of groups going on to support one another, pray together, and study/learn together.
And it’s not always that the Minister of the Pastor is there… just general meetings amongst the congregation.
We really don’t seem to have a lot of that and I really think we should.
First off, and I really need to suggest this to someone, although 3 people from my church have this blog website so… here’s the suggestion! I’m thinking we should get a support group together for people who come to church alone. And who I mean by this is that a lot of people come to church whilst their families, their children or married partners, stay at home. A woman came to me a few weeks ago and said that it could be really hard sometimes. And even in my situation, I think it could be a potentially good group get-together every now and then just to remind those who struggle that they aren’t on their own! The woman who came to me who shall remain nameless I think really needed to be around those who felt the same, so that they could share and talk about what it’s like. I think she worries about them not being there sometimes and it can’t be that easy. My situation is different but not that different.
That’s an idea anyway! I may be 16 but I wouldn’t mind leading one every now and then if people would like to have a group like that. I’m a volunteer!
Secondly, I think we should promote Centrepoint Café a bit more. To talk to people from other churches I think would be a really good idea. We are very formal, and I’m not saying we need to relax our services! I’m saying that we should relax ourselves outside the church building itself so that we can open ourselves to people who seem quite different. I think we could learn a lot from one another!
Anyway… I’ll put up my notes from today where I’ve identified some of the differences between the churches of the C of E and the Methodist up on here when I’ve finished writing them up. It may take me a while though as I haven’t finished writing them down yet… it’s all in my head!
The URC next I think.
Yours as ever,
thankyou for reading and taking a look at my journey and ramblings here!
Rachael Eliz 🙂
Key: C of E, Methodist
At the beginning there is a procession and the priests, servers etc. walk to the front together down the central aisle.
At the beginning the steward (who is like the sidesman in the c of e) reads out some notices, e.g. coffee is on.
Communion is every week.
Communion tends to be once a month.
In Communion bread wafers and red wine is used. These are shared out from cups which I think are called chalices.
In Communion bread rolls are broken up and grape juice is used. The bread is handed out and the juice is given in a small cup for each person.
The C of E has an altar.
There is no altar, there is a communion table.
Our Vicar/leading priest normally gives the sermon each week.
The Minister gives the sermon quite often, but often the Pastor and also trained lay people share this duty.
The priests partake in the service if they attend it
Ministers/Pastors like to occasionally sit with the congregation in services and not take part in leading it
Robes, cassocks, surplices, chasubles etc. worn by those partaking in the service
Smart suits worn. Badge for the Pastor and a collar worn by the Minister. Occasionally a cassock is worn by the Minister.
Creeds used to declare our faith
Creeds are not used – they didn’t want to declare their faith all together because of different views