In 1982, as the culmination of 20 years of informal cooperation, the ministers and congregations of St Peter & St Paul, Edenbridge, the Edenbridge Baptist church, St Lawrence's Roman Catholic church, and St John's United Reformed church made a covenant together, before God [give weblink to it - viz the covenant itself - see attachment]. This groundbreaking commitment is believed to have been the first one in the United Kingdom to have involved all four denominations together, although others had already been established by combinations of some of them. Since then, Holy Trinity, Crockham Hill, & Marlpit Hill Baptist churches have joined the original four churches. So, too, did the Sisters of St Andrew, until they moved to London in late 2013. The Edenbridge & Marlpit Hill Baptist churches have become the Eden Church.
Bishop Say, who preached at the inauguration of the covenant challenged the membership of the churches to "do together what should not be done separately."
Building on existing cooperation such as St Lawrence's Rest Centre, and Christian Aid Week collections, the ECC made a starter grant to Edenbridge Area Traidcraft, and agreed to support the Eden Christian Trust Youth Worker. From these small beginnings, Edenbridge became Kent's first Fairtrade Town and public witness has included Easter events, Pentecost celebrations in the park, and carol singing in the town. The work of the Edenbridge Christian Trust (ECT) for local primary and secondary aged pupils has become well established.
BRIDGES was initiated by members of the Inter-Church Fellowship and has become a significant channel for voluntary Christian service within the community. In April 2015 BRIDGES celebrated it's 20th birthday. The work of the Parish Nurse and her team, including the God's Hands Food & Furniture Bank has become very well established & hugely appreciated in the town. Other activities such as Christian Aid, and support for the Edenbridge-Romania Link charity continue as usual.
All are welcome to these meetings starting at 8 pm. Dates for 2015 are Wednesdays: 21st January, 17th June, 16th September (AGM), and 18th November. All will be at BRIDGES by kind permission of the trustees.
Part of the covenant was a pledge to joint prayer and worship. Joint ECC services give an opportunity to experience different styles of worship and to get to know our fellow Christians. These are on Sundays at 6.30 pm. In 2015 the dates are:
25th January at St Peter & St Paul
24th May at Holy Trinity, Crockham Hill
19th July at St John's Marsh Green
20th September at The Eden Church
22nd November at St Lawrence's RC.
There was a splendid afternoon celebration of 20th anniversary of BRIDGES opening at the Eden Church.
Ecumenical Lent meetings help us to prepare for Easter, together. In 2015 these will be in housegroups, on the theme Challenging Poverty based on the newly devised course produced for the Anglican Rochester Diocese.
The ECC Council comprises all clergy, representatives from the five churches, plus officers. At the AGM in September 2015, it was the turn of Holy Trinity Church, Crockham Hill, to take over the lead of the ECC. So for the year 2015 - 2016 the officers are:
Chairman: Richard Diggory
Secretary: Kev Reynolds
Treasurer: [to be appointed]
St Peter & St Paul's representatives are Hilary Morgan & Anthony Shipwright. For further information, do speak to one of your representatives.