Churches together in Hampsteadaffiliated to Churches Together in Britain and Ireland
CTH grew out of the fraternal group involving the clergy of Hampstead Parish Church, Heath Street Baptist Church, St Andrews United Reformed Church, St Mary's R.C. Church in Holly Place, Christ Church and a representative of the Quakers in Heath Street. The Hampstead Counselling Service, still flourishing today, grew out of those first meetings. Later CTH extended its boundaries to include the Unitarians in Rosslyn Hill and the Royal Free Hospital Chaplaincy, and more recently Emmanuel, West Hampstead, St Peter's, Belsize Park and St Saviour's, Eton Road have joined us. Other local churches, such as St Thomas More, like to be kept informed of our activities.
From the very beginning the original member groups came together each year to share Lent Groups, something we still do. Between the churches we try to run a house or church Lent group each weekday evening and two weekday afternoons, all studying the same material at the same pace so that anyone having to miss their usual meeting can go to one of the others without missing or repeating any of it.
In the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity we have held an ecumenical service at one of the churches to which all the other groups are invited. In 2011 it was a full choral Anglican Evensong at St John's, in 2012 a jazz Service at Christ Church conducted (in both senses) by the Rev Ewan King, the minister at Heath St Baptist Church. The Service in 2013 was poorly attended because the weather was atrocious and we decided to move it to Whitsun, and in 2014 it will be at Hampstead Parish Church with a sermon by the Rev Hugh Graham, new minister at St Andrew's.
Since the demise of the Palm Sunday Walk of Witness which went from Hampstead to Parliament Hill we have tried to come up with another joint activity but so far haven't found one everyone wants to pool their resources for, each church having its own cherished traditions. But the idea is still there - we feel there should be scope for one more ecumenical event in the year. We hold an informal picnic in July on the Heath and an annual Quiz Night in the Autumn which has encouraged friendly rivalry and much fun while raising impressive sums for the Camden Churches Night Shelter.
We don't meet often - there are already so many meetings that to turn it into anything more time consuming would be self-defeating - but when we do meet we share news of what's going on in our churches - what's going right, what's going wrong, our joys and sadnesses.
Secretary, Churches Together in Hampstead