Anglican, United churches have close ties

The Rev. Ross Leckie (left) and the Rev. Chris Dow.
 on March 1, 2019

In a world of division and unrest, the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity might seem like a waste of time.  However, for two of the clergy in the village of Caledon East, it is a very real opportunity to put two congregations together, to join choirs and swap sermon times. After all, these people are neighbours, friends and even relatives.

This was the third year that Caledon East United Church and St. James, Caledon East shared services in January. The first Sunday was hosted by St. James, with the Rev. Ross Leckie of the United Church preaching. On the following Sunday, the service was hosted by the United Church with the Rev. Christopher Dow of St. James preaching.

The United Church was built on Old Church Road in 1880 as the Caledon East Methodist Church. St. James was built across the road from it in 1901. Over the years, the churches both experienced periods of growth as the village expanded. Mr. Leckie notes, “Caledon East’s population will grow at a fast rate in the next five years. The challenges and opportunities for ministry here will be many. I believe we can best tackle those challenges by working together.”

Mr. Dow began his ministry at St. James on Jan. 6, so this was be his first time preaching at the United Church. “I thank God for the powerful witness of the long-standing partnership between St. James and Caledon East United Church,” he says.

Although there are differences in worship services, both churches have a similar approach to scripture. For several years, the Anglican and United churches country-wide shared a hymn book and were actively working at unification. Although that direction has changed from an institutional perspective, the two Churches have a long history of working together. Last year in Caledon East, the churches co-hosted The Blanket Exercise, worked together on providing Messy Church at the United Church and enjoyed a combined Christmas carol concert. Each church is quick to invite the other to a special service or event; for example, St. James doesn’t have a woman’s group, but the ladies are invited to the monthly United Church Women’s Group. Mr. Leckie says that through these experiences “we have begun to care about one another’s lives – a true mark of community.”

Submitted by Diane Allengame.


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