Welcome from Revd Howard Mellor, our new Chair

With One Voice

Recently, at the AGM of Churches Together in Winchester, Revd Canon Dr Howard Mellor was appointed as Chair. We asked him to introduce himself.

My first appointment was in Deptford and Greenwich in the early seventies. I learned so much here, in an area still bearing the scars of bomb damage, with plots surrounded by rusty corrugated steel fencing.

I was invited each week to a minister’s prayer group, focussed around Holy Communion, at the Church of the Ascension where the vicar was Revd Paul Oestreicher. Afterwards, we all went to his place for breakfast. It was in these heady days that I first realised the importance and power of working together as one. This has been proved in all my appointments, leading to joint bible studies in Croydon called ‘Life in the Spirit’, a big community mission. It influenced all the work we undertook at and from Cliff College.

And so, to Winchester where, working together, we were able to present the Winchester Passion. Then to Hong Kong where the churches organised an international Justice Conference.

Faith we hold in common

These are the headline things but they were only possible because of the relationships, shared times of fellowship and prayer, opportunities to acknowledge difference and yet to celebrate the faith we held in common.

This ought not to be surprising because Jesus called us to be one ‘that everyone may know you are my disciples’ (John 13:35). The importance of working together ecumenically is underlined by Paul in Romans 15:5-6: ‘May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus, so that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.’

Shared ministry and mission

The biblical record is quite clear that speaking is not only audible but also leads to action. So when Paul speaks on ‘one voice’, he also implies that we engage as one and act as one. I’m a Methodist and recall that, when John Wesley met with his preachers in 1744, someone asked him a question. ‘What may we reasonably believe to be God’s design, in raising up the Preachers, called Methodist?’ The answer is illuminating: ‘To reform the nation, more particularly the Church, to spread scriptural holiness over the land.’

John Wesley

John Wesley. Stipple engraving by J. Cochran after J. Jackson. John Wesley (1703-1791). Contributors: John Jackson (1778-1831); John Cochran (active 1821-1865). Credit: Wellcome Collection

I have the hope and vision that, together with other churches in the city, we might have Wesley’s vision as part of what we do in shared ministry and mission:

  • speaking prophetically to issues in our nation
  • serving pastorally our community
  • sharing in engaging ways our faith in the transforming power of Jesus

There are already many ways in which we see these things being done as we work together. I’m convinced that working together, ‘with one voice’, there is increased scope to engage in mission and ministry in the public arena, increased power in our shared message and a deeper engagement in the city. It is a pleasure and a privilege to serve in this way and I look forward to what lies ahead.

Blessings to you

Revd Dr Howard Mellor

2 Comments

  1. May I welcome Howard into his new role. As someone who no longer lives in Winchester but works in Winchester, I am interested to see what is happening amongst the Winchester Churches. There is a small group of us, mainly but not exclusively christians from local churches called the MAD (Making a Difference) Group. We mainly meet roughly every 4-6 weeks to update each other on what we are up to and to encourage each other. It could be that others might like to join us, if so, please email me: bruce.white@cfirst.org.uk for a chat.
    I look forward to finding out what God will be doing through CTiW and pray God’s blessing on you all.

    Bruce White (Community Development Officer – Winchester & Fareham 07384 115 320

    P.S. I wonder if the CTiW website might be updated?

    • Hi Bruce
      Thanks for your comment. It’s good to see that you are meeting to Make a Difference. What is the purpose of the group and how do you make a difference in society? If you send us some details, we might be able to publicise your group’s activities on the website and through CTW social media. You can drop an email to communications@ctwin.org.uk. Thanks.

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