Viewpoint by Rev. Andy Murphy, Methodist Minister in Market Harborough, Kibworth and Naseby, and Vice-chair of Churches Together in Harborough.
The invasion of Ukraine and the ongoing war and refugee crisis continue to shock the world into action. There’s been an outpouring of solidarity and support, and a greater sense of unity across many nations including our own.
When countries and political parties realise that they face a common enemy, and we see such devastation and pain (the likes of which not seen in Europe since the Second World War), it can give us a sense of perspective, making some of our divisions seem less important.
The unity and resolve of the people of Ukraine and their leaders gives us, every day, cause to believe in the strength of human love and compassion over evil and hatred. Such words are easy to write from the comfortable surroundings of my home in Market Harborough, but I am in awe of those who find the strength and courage to persevere daily, in the cities of Ukraine, or on the roads and refugee camps, as millions try to find safer places for themselves and their families.
This is a time of great strain and uncertainty for the world and our society.
Unity and courage are greatly needed, as is a greater awareness of the hidden struggles faced by many people. In this time leading up to Easter, in our churches we speak of ‘reconciliation’ – believing that Jesus came to reconcile humanity to God, and trying to preach the ‘reconciling’ message of his cross.
As we do so, we know also the shame of a divided church. This division rightly causes confusion when we wonder just why are there so many different types of church. However, as I speak to my colleagues through Churches Together in Harborough, I find friendship that breaks through any sense of division. In many ways we are very different in our styles of worship, understanding of leadership and theology. But despite our differences, we are not divided.
Despite any disagreements, we are not in opposition. Despite our diversity, we can learn to value the gifts and insights offered by each church. Where we are especially united is in our desire to serve our community, to stand together and pray for our world, and to reach out in support and solidarity with any who are in need.
On Good Friday (April 15) at 11am, we will be standing together as churches in the Square in Market Harborough to worship and pray for our community and for peace, in a short 30-minute service. We invite you to stand with us, as we try to make space for a little bit of unity, in a world that so badly needs it.
Rev. Andy Murphy is Methodist Minister in Market Harborough, Kibworth and Naseby, and Vice-chair of Churches Together in Harborough.