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Church unity is key says Transforming Norwich 

The benefits of building relationships across church boundaries and working towards church unity were the key messages from the annual general meeting of Transforming Norwich held at St Peter Mancroft’s Octagon chapel in the city centre on Friday June 13. Keith Morris reports.

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Transforming Norwich chairman, Mark Fairweather Tall said: “I value Transforming Norwich because it helps me to take the plank out of my own eye when I meet up with other people, because I see outside my own or my denominational way of thinking.
 
“Meeting up with people who do things in a different way and think differently to me, enables me to also think differently and to enlarge my own thinking. I do believe that makes me, hopefully, a better Christian as I then see things about myself and my way of thinking that I can change. I often get a number of new ideas from other people and sometimes I steal those ideas and use them myself.
 
“My hope and prayer for Transforming Norwich is that together we will grow in our knowledge of who God is and what he does for us and the belief that as we share our different understandings and experiences that we can learn from one another.”
 
The annual meeting approved the organisation’s accounts and the election of two new executive team members, Danny Doran Smith of ENYP and Toby Skipper from King’s Church. Stepping down is John Betts from New Hope to whom tributes were paid for John’s key role in the metamorphosis of Churches Together in Greater Norwich into Transforming Norwich and his long and distinguished service with the organisation.
 
The meeting then heard from City Church Norwich senior pastor Phil Thorne, who has been in church leadership in the city for almost 30 years since the formation of City Church back in 1985. Phil reflected on the big changes in the local Christian community during that time.
 
“There is now great communication and co-operation between different churches in contrast to 30 years ago,” said Phil. “But there is still work to do – the Bible says, ‘through your love for one another will people know that you are my disciples’.”
 
Phil outlined his vision of a united local Christian community. “True unity is good, pleasant and rare,” said Phil, “it is like the oil of the Holy Spirit which covers everything and it is like morning dew – bringing daily refreshment and is a symbol of God’s blessing.
 
“A united church community commands God’s blessing,” concluded Phil, who used the symbolic example of the binding of sticks from 25 local churches during the recent Unite - Prayer for Revival meetings in Norwich.
 
To see the full Transforming Norwich annual report, including chair Mark Fairweather Tall’s report, the accounts and reports on a year of activities, click here to download.

Pictured above are Mark Fairweather Tall (left) and Phil Thorne at the Transforming Norwich AGM.
 
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