History of Churches Together in Rainford

On 24th July 1991, after previous meetings and discussions, the clergy of the four churches in Rainford met together at All Saints' Parish Church, to affirm the drawn upCovenant for Churches Together in Rainford.

Within the covenant the clergy pledged to seek a deepening of their communion with one another and to fulfil their mission to advance unity between the churches by all possible means. They agreed also to arrange services of worship together. A United Service was to be held in each church at least once every year to promote a mutual understanding through fellowship, study and prayer - and everything that could possibly be done together would be done.

As a result all four churches now take part in the annual Church Walking Day in June and in the Good Friday Walk of Witness which has been designed to acknowledge all four churches. Beginning with a short service at the United Reformed Church the walkers then proceed along a route designed to take them past All Saints and Corpus Christi before arriving at the Methodist Church for another short service which brings the walk to an end.

It was agreed also that the Churches Together would work for the good of the community, especially through work with young people.

They would also work towards justice and peace, at home and abroad, by supporting Christian Aid and other agencies.

It was further agreed that regular meetings of Clergy and committee members should be held, and that the Covenant should be revised periodically in consultation with the Merseyside Churches Regional Sponsoring Body.

Ecumenical Committee Meetings

Clergy and committee members from the four churches attend meetings in January, April, June, September and November, when feedback on activities is given and forward planning is done. The meetings are held on the premises of all four churches in turn.

In January the main topics are the format and distribution of Easter Cards, the arrangement of prayer and study groups during Lent, the joint service on Maundy Thursday and the Good Friday Walk of Witness. The Easter Cards are designed and produced by committee members and distributed by volunteers to allocated areas of the village.

The meetings follow the calendar with details of plans for fund raising Coffee Mornings which are held in March and April to support the Church Walking Day in June. Details of services and other church matters are discussed, along with plans for the distribution and collection of Christian Aid envelopes.

All four churches take part in the June Walking Day and the Ecumenical Cross is carried in the procession along with other church and school banners.

Later in the year Christmas Cards are discussed and format decided along with matters of reproduction and distribution. The cost is met by the four churches proportionately. Areas of the village are allocated, as at Easter, and the cards are delivered by volunteers.

There is a Ladies Ecumenical Choir, members of which are happy to attend church functions when invited and give concerts in the Parish Hall. They make donations to Walking Day Funds from the proceeds and in return members of the Walking Day Committee help with the preparations and the catering arrangements.

Towards the end of the year the churches support the village Carol Service, which is usually held in the Village Hall, and of course, the services in all the churches.

The year moves to its end and the pattern for the Committee is soon to start again in January with the joint service for Christian Unity.

New ideas are brought forward and discussed by the Committee in the search for new ways to bring about closer contact between the churches and the community.

Many of the pledges made in the covenant are, indeed, still being upheld by those who have followed on.