This week’s Tablet has an article by the Archbishop of Canterbury which looks forward to next month’s centenary Week of Christian Unity.
His article is titled No common language yet. It starts this way:
A hundred years on from the establishing of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, how much further forward are we? And what exactly are we praying for during this week of prayer? On the whole, it’s become a fixture for most “mainstream” denominations, a few days when the more enthusiastic or more biddable members of the congregation turn up to someone else’s church for a well-mannered but often rather lukewarm joint service or two, or perhaps for a talk by a prominent local leader.
The aspiration that we end up relating better with each other, or even that we end up more willing to engage in witness and work together is entirely worthy, and is probably widely fulfilled. But are we praying for anything more than this?
For some people, the answer is clearly “no”. To look beyond this fostering of local goodwill, they would say, is always in danger of slipping towards the yearning for some universal institution with clear central control – at worst, a Pullmanesque Magisterium, some people’s nightmare of Roman Catholicism…