WHERE THERE is renewal, there is a commitment to Christian unity, an ecumenical charismatic gathering Westminster, last week.
Father Derek Lance, a parish priest, author and students' chaplain. quoted a remark by Cardinal Hume: "To be a Roman Catholic in England today is to be committed to Christian unity. Fr Lance said he would like to couple this with an equally important statment: "To be a Roman Catholic in England today is to be committed to Christian unity."
Both were works of the Holy Spirit and, where you had renewal, you had a commitment to Christian unity, said Fr Lance.
The Westminster event, an ecumenical charismatic gathering of praise, was the second of the "All Saints Celebrations." There were four speakers — Fr Lance, an Anglican canon, a leader of the House Church groups and an American Pentecostal evangelist.
Bishop Guazzelli, one of the Catholic bishops of Westminster, who had introduced the speakers in February, was not able to be present, and his place was taken by Father Michael Gwinnell, one of the founder members of the Catholic Charismatic Days of Renewal.
Fr Lance recalled what was perhaps the most moving occurrence during the Pope's recent visit, when 40,000 young people were gathered in Ninian Park.
Another witness to the matter was at Dublin in 1978, at the Catholic International Charismatic Conference, when a group of Protestants from Northern Ireland were publicly welcomed as brothers and sisters in Christ.
At a recent gathering at Northampton when a large number of Christians of all denominations had come together to listen to the evangelist David Watson, they heard that "what unites is more important than what divides."
One of the things which the young people at Ninian Park did was to make an act of dedication led by a young girl, to accept other people as they were. They then went to the Pope to ask him when he went to Argentina to take a message of genuine love to the young people there from those of Great Britain.
The Pope accepted this and did as he had been requested. The request was met with a torrent of applause.
The unification of the individual Christian was of the utmost importance. Sometimes we could get "all screwed up" and had need of inner healing, healing of memories, healing from guilt, and this could come about only through God's Holy Spirit.
Fr Lance spoke of a priest, who soon after being ordained, was in a state of deep depression and who even contemplated suicide. He was prayed with, and the Lord delivered him, said Fr Lance. His experience was like the blind man in the Gospel who said: "All I know is that once I was blind and now I can see."
The second speaker, Canon David McInnes, an Anglican from Birmingham, said that Jesus was looking for three things in his church — unity, holiness and service. The Charismatic Renewal had grown tremendously since its early days. Baden-Powell, in connection with the Scout Movement, had said 'Look Wide'. This was good, but it was of the greatest importance also to go deep.
The third of these meetings is to take place on October 2. It is hoped that Cardinal Suenens will be one of the speakers.