A Declaration of Ecumenical Welcome and Commitment by The Parish of Seal St Lawrence (Seal Chart)

We, the priest-in-charge and people of St Lawrence’s, are aware that St Lawrence’s is the only church in the parish of Seal St Lawrence, and therefore invite all Christians in the parish to be as fully a part of our life and fellowship as they can.

We invite those of Christian traditions other than our own:
· to share in the ministry and mission of the Church in this community
· to worship and, if baptised and communicant members of other churches, to receive Holy Communion at St Lawrence’s [i]
· to be a part of the decision-making of the church [ii]
and to contribute to a common fund for the mission and ministry of the wider Church, in so far as their continued giving to another Church will allow.
We undertake
· to give pastoral care to all who desire it
· to invite ministers of other churches to take part in leading worship [iii]
· to incorporate the riches of worship of other traditions as appropriate [iv]
· to consult with neighbouring churches concerning the mission of the church in St Lawrence
· to include this ecumenical declaration as an integral part of the parish profile
Following the decision made by Churches Together in Kent (our ‘Intermediate Body’) on 10th December 1997 that such declarations may be made in the area in which they serve, we have sought and followed their advice as to which churches should first be consulted, and those mentioned below have given us their blessing and encouragement:

Signed by:
Revd Michael Cooke (Priest-in-Charge of St Lawrence’s)
John Morris and Gretel Wakeham (Churchwardens)
Revd Tony Trevithick (The Drive Methodist Church, Sevenoaks)
John Ellis (The United Reformed Church)

[i] Canon B15A (1972) enables the admission to Holy Communion of “baptised persons who are communicant members of other Churches which subscribe to the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, and who are in good standing in their own church ..”. If anyone by virtue of this provision “regularly receives the Holy Communion over a long period which appears likely to continue indefinitely, the minister shall set before him the normal requirements of the Church of England for communicant status of that Church”.

[ii] The Church Representation Rules 1985 enable a person to be enrolled if she/he is baptised, sixteen years or upwards and declares themself “to be a member in good standing of a Church which subscribes to the doctrine of the Holy Trinity … and also prepared to declare himself to be a member of the Church of England having habitually attended public worship in the parish during a period of six months prior to enrolment. ….. Making this declaration also confers eligibility to stand for election to the decision-making bodies of the Church of England.”

[iii] Canon B43 Of Relations with Other Churches (1989) says
“1. – (1) A minister or lay person who is a member in good standing of a Church to which this Canon applies and is a baptised person may, subject to the provisions of this Canon, be invited to perform all or any of the following duties –
(a) to say or sing Morning or Evening Prayer or the Litany;
(b) to read the Holy Scriptures at any service;
(c) to preach at any service;
(d) to lead the Intercessions at the Holy Communion and to lead prayers at other services;
(e) to assist at Baptism or the Solemnisation of Matrimony or conduct a Funeral Service;
(f) to assist in the distribution of the holy sacrament of the Lord’s Supper to the people at the Holy Communion;

if the minister or lay person is authorised to perform a similar duty in his or her own Church.”
[iv] Canon B43 (1989) also says
“9. The incumbent of a parish may {with specified approvals} invite members of another Church to which this Canon applies to take part in joint worship with the Church of England or to use a church in the parish for worship in accordance with the forms of service and practice of that other Church on such occasions as may be specified in the approval given by the bishop.”