Saturday, 26 January 2013

Sharing - an ecumenical vision

Whilst I was on holiday recently in Cyprus I came across an example of ecumenical co-operation that I am sure is mirrored across the world. In Pafos the Ayia Kyriaki Chrysopolitissa Church, which was built around 1500, is used by a variety of congregations. The building is Greek Orthodox and complete with an impressive iconostasis. Bishop Chrysostomos, Metropolitan of Paphos, who is now the Archbishop of the Holy Orthodox Church in Cyprus, gave permission for the building to be used by the Roman Catholics, the Anglicans and the Lutherans. (Not all at the same time of course!)

This model of church building sharing should be used more often. I often see many church buildings on the same street, each with their own small faithful congregation who are having to devote a great deal of their time towards property maintenance such as keeping the roof watertight and the dry rot at bay. This could be a helpful model for several of the smaller Methodist and URC congregations in Scotland.
It requires a flexibility about timings - not everyone can have Sunday morning at 11am! And it requires an agreement about who will meet the bills. But with a spirit of co-operation rather then competition why doesn't it happen more often?  Perhaps a more basic question is why does the Christian church need buildings anyway - I don't remember much in the new testament about building up a property portfolio!

Source of photo - I took it myself when in Pafos...

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