I went to Ely Cathedral last evening (Sunday) for a service. No, don't panic, I am not about to lapse into Anglicanism. The service was one of several held in various churches in Ely during the past week for Christian Unity. There were about 80 people at the service, representing Anglican, Methodist, Catholic and several Nonconformist churches (not sure which, they keep changing their names). And the Octagon Church Choir, who sang divinely. But then, you WOULD sing divinely in a cathedral, wouldn't you?
All good stuff, even though I didn't know any of the hymn tunes (too modern for my geriatric ears) and I lost my concentration during the sermon because my right knee was hurting (it still is). Wouldn't it be nice if all the denominations could meld into one?! Well, I am not sure it would. A united church might end up like the Anglican Church, all things to all men, so too diffuse to get a handle on things.
The Catholics from St Etheldreda's were there in good numbers and good voice. Nothing diffuse about the Left Footers. My favourite ecumenical story is of a lunch during an ecumenical conference. The Anglican bishop turned to the Catholic bishop sitting next to him and said: "As I look around this table, I feel great joy when I realise that we are all serving God in our various ways." "True," replied the Catholic bishop, "You in your way, and we in His."
You don't have to be a Catholic to enjoy that joke. Mind you, as Pope John Paul II said: "I, the Pope, am the biggest barrier to Christian unity."
By the way, the pagans and heathens among you should not demur from visiting Ely Cathedral:- the Victorian cast-iron stoves that heat the place are magnificent (see photo above).