Journeying with others

This item was posted a while ago, on 1 January 2006.

What thoughts spring to your mind when you see a black-leather-clad motorcyclist?

Forgive me for imagining that not many would automatically think, ‘There goes a Priest!’ In Knowle West, we are becoming accustomed to thinking just that.

The Rev. Martin Schnurr is our new and much loved motorcycling friend and colleague. He writes:

“Three years ago, my wife and I arrived in Bristol. We are both ordained ministers of the Lutheran Church in Bavaria, Germany, and we were appointed by the Diocese of Bristol as Lutheran/Anglican Chaplains to Bristol University, working within a Local Ecumenical Partnership (LEP).

“This appointment was made possible by the Meissen Agreement (signed in 1988), in which the Church of England and the Protestant Churches in Germany embarked on a joint journey, ‘On the Way to Visible Unity’. On this basis, since 1999, Lutheran ministers have been serving with the Diocese as University Chaplains and Honorary Curates to St.. Paul’s Church, Clifton, and since recently as Associated Ministers to the parishes of St.. Barnabas and Holy Cross in Knowle West.

“Having worked along Christians from other denominations, I have discovered a richness in different traditions and liturgies that I hadn’t experienced before. But encountering differences is not always easy, and I found myself often challenged, both from within Christianity and from those of other faiths. I have learnt a lot about others and above all about my own faith too.

“Inspired by the experience, I was looking forward to coming to Knowle West and to working and engaging with the people of St.. Barnabas and Holy Cross ― and here again; to meeting and learning in Ecumenical Encounters within the framework of ‘Churches Together’ in Knowle West. My experience after two and a half months [October 2005] is very positive.

“The people I meet are very open. The local churches have found ways of engaging with the wider community by responding to the needs caused by unemployment, drug addiction or violence. The ‘drop in’ Centre (previously featured in Rapport) is a good example of Christian outreach and discipleship ― following Christ’s footsteps in this world. The Ecumenical approach is vital: people from different traditions (Anglicans; Methodists; Catholics; Baptists; the Church of God of Prophesy) are coming together in partnership, to be witnesses of God’s love, and to help make a difference to people’s lives.

“I’m glad and grateful for being part of this exciting journey.”

Martin Schnurr will be returning to Germany later this summer. We miss him already! Please pray for Martin and his wife Jutta. Thank you for all your prayers.