first residential meeting for some years on 24 - 25 May this year. The details are on their website but to save you the trouble, they're also printed here!
The first residential meeting of the Free Churches Group to take place for some time has given the churches a fresh confidence for their relationship and common witness. Time was given to reflect on the common identity the members of FCG hold, how this is forged through closer fellowship and relationships and what common work and activity might arise from the relationship. The meeting considered where churches are already working together in common witness through Churches Together in England and various agencies, in order to highlight what might be specific tasks for FCG.
The central theme is that all that the Free Churches Group undertake is to be aimed at enhancing the mission of the member churches.
The following is the statement produced at the meeting:
THE COTSWOLD STATEMENT
This statement is an outcome of the residential meeting of the Free Churches Group
Wednesday 25th May 2011
We re-affirm our commitment to the importance of the Free Churches Group within the strategic relationships of Churches Together in England.
We believe that the Free Churches Group should have a clear identity alongside the Church of England, the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Churches and other streams within CTE.
We need to build on this in order to strengthen Christian unity.
We believe that there is a continuing Free Churches role within society, particularly with regard to chaplaincy and education.
We believe we have a responsibility to encourage our denominations to recognise their Free Church identity and to explore further ways of speaking out together in the public arena, for example through a closer relationship with the Joint Public Issues Team of the Methodist, Baptist and United Reformed Churches.
We believe that the resources of the Free Church Federal Council (Inc.) should be effectively used to strengthen the mission of the Free Churches.