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Reform Magazine | October 30, 2020

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New puritans needed

New puritans needed

Inspired by the Mayflower puritans, we must reform the Church of our own times, argues Stephen Thornton

On 7 February 2012, the United Reformed Church and the Church of England held a ‘service of reconciliation, healing of memories, and mutual commitment,’ in Westminster Abbey. There, we forgave one another for past misdeeds and promised to work well together in the future. I have to say that I have noticed no difference in the relationship since the event, and none of my Anglican friends have ever heard about it, except through me.

Since then, both Churches have continued to decline in number, and,
for the sake of our country and the Gospel, all our churches need to do things differently. Most people acknowledge that we shall come out of this pandemic a changed nation, and it seems to me a golden opportunity for as many of the churches in this land as will, to come together, and make plans so that we shall become better servants of the Gospel in the future, and do it together. We all need to be different!

This September, we celebrated 400 years since the sailing of the Mayflower, remembering the vision of those puritans, many of whom were Anglicans, who were agents of the real Reformation in this country, and whose ideals are as relevant today as then. The Church of England from whose power they sought to escape, was a construct of King Henry VIII, Queen Elizabeth I and others, and the monarch’s main purpose was to unify the nation in one Church, to which everyone belonged. There were severe punishments for those who would not conform…

Stephen Thornton is a retired United Reformed Church minister

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This is an extract from an article published in the September 2020 edition of Reform

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