One Army, One Church, One Body

Author: Phil Williams

Picture: Wikimedia Commons

One Army, One Church, One Body

One Hope Project are working with St Paul's, Shadwell to build authentic Christian unity. Phil Williams of St Paul's shares the story.

We had been worshipping for 50 minutes when Emily suddenly stepped up to the open mic.

I’ve been thinking about how we are God’s army,” she said.

“We might be in different regiments, but we’re all in the same army, and to truly be united we can’t hold anything against one another.

I think that God wants us to take a moment, just to say sorry, if there’s been anything that we’ve done, thought or said to fracture God’s army.

Jesus, would You heal the divisions, would You forgive the hurt, would You unite Your army, so that Your Kingdom may come.

Part-prophecy, part-prayer, it was a powerful moment that summed up a remarkable evening with the One Hope Project when 150 young people - a mixture of Catholics, Anglicans and more - gathered together at St Paul’s, Shadwell, in East London and embraced one another in the context of worship.

We stood together, we worshipped Jesus and we prayed for unity.

At SPS, we love being a tiny part of Jesus’ body, the Church. We love that we are part of something so much bigger than us.

"We LOVE Unity!"

One of our primary values is to partner with others, to give and receive, to learn, serve and worship with followers of Jesus from all backgrounds and styles and traditions. We love diversity and we LOVE unity.

How could we not? Jesus Himself cried out for it, so surely we should too?

In John’s gospel, we read that Jesus prayed for those who would believe in him: "May they all be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you… May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”  (John 17:21-23)

Yes, Jesus! May we be brought to complete unity that the world may know the love of God!

Here is a video of our evening worshipping together with One Hope Project:


Spirit Is On The Move

The love of God has been poured out into the world. If that which threatens to obscure it is disagreement amongst those who believe, then it is clear what needs to happen.

Of course, 2000 years of fractured church history attest to the fact that unity is tricky, so Jesus’ prayers are seriously needed.

Yet I am encouraged. The Holy Spirit is on the move in our generation and we are rediscovering that praise is the  great ecumenical tool.

It is in worship that we lift our eyes off away from ourselves, and our differences, and on to Jesus.

As we focus on Him together, we are reminded that what unites us is infinitely more powerful than that which divides us.

Healing In Worship

People can -and do- argue all day about how to reason with tradition, scripture and experience - and this is important.

However, regardless of where we happen to be journeying on the spectrum of Christian spirituality, as we turn our eyes to Jesus, we simply find a Saviour whose reach embraces us all.

It is in worship that the wounds of a divided church can find healing.

The call, as it always has been, is togetherness: to join in with the diverse chorus of heaven, as every knee bows and every tongue shouts aloud that Jesus reigns.

So, we are going to keep singing and we are going to keep praying: Jesus, would You heal the divisions, would You forgive the hurt, would You unite Your army, so that Your Kingdom may come.

  • Phil Williams is the rector of St Paul's Anglican church, Shadwell:

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