Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Ecumenical existence

I had a conversation today with someone who is very keen to become more involved with The Salvation Army but feels conflicted about not wanting to leave the church tradition that he grew up in and in which his family continue to belong. It's not the first time I've had this kind of conversation - though the details might change, the essence is very familiar. Of course, it shouldn't be a problem. The Salvation Army has always had involvement from people who were part of other churches, sometimes in highly influential roles.

On a completely different matter, I also met with our local Catholic priest. We discussed ways in which both of us, and our respective churches, might be able to help someone who is in desperate need and has regular contact with both churches. This kind of co-operative engagement is a great way to work together within a local community. I know a number of churches that see The Salvation Army as a great vehicle for practical mission and contribute through various social services in meaningful and valuable ways. We also receive regular food donations to our Community Program from a Buddhist group in another suburb of Melbourne. I know of another Salvation Army meal program that has an Islamic group volunteer to cook for them on a regular basis.

It's easy to get so caught up in our own programs and processes that we lose sight of the bigger picture. Let's not forget about those outside our movement who share our values and are willing to contribute to making this world a better place.

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