HISTORY was made in Okehampton last Sunday as Christians from various churches gathered to witness the signing of an agreement fostering closer links between the Okehampton Churches.

A special united service took place inside the ruins of Okehampton Castle on Bluebell Sunday and was led by Father Peter Morgan of St Boniface Roman Catholic Church.

The new ?Working Agreement? clarifies the purpose of Christians Together in Okehampton . The body exists to help build healthy working relationships between Christians in the member churches, striving for unity while respecting each others? freedom of worship and variety of traditions and beliefs.?

The agreement was signed by the senior ministers of the Okehampton Churches, namely: the Rev Stephen Cook (Church of England); the Rev Mike Davies (Church of the Nations); the Rev Derek Hayward (Baptist); Father Peter Morgan (Roman Catholic); the Rev David Waters (Assemblies of God) and the Rev Philip Wagstaff (Methodist and URC).

In his sermon, Mr Davies, said: ?Today is a significant time in the history of the church in Okehampton. We have a variety of churches. Some may say that we have too many churches. But what those people need to realise is that we are reaching into different cultural and people groups.

?As churches we need to embrace each other. Criticism is something far too common in our conversation.?

Mr Davies said that as churches, there needed to be improved communication, increased prayer for each other, and that attitudes needed to change.

?I implore you today to take on board that we represent not only individual churches, and that is of extreme importance as we touch people of different ages, backgrounds, and belief, but I implore you to listen to the word of God.?

Within the Working Agreement the member churches pledge to:

l Pray for each other in services and to continue to worship together regularly

l Support the work of member churches by appropriate publicity, by disciplining themselves to speak well of each other and by endeavouring to grow in mutual understanding

l Work together to identify and support joint initiatives in areas where they can be more effective working together than apart

l Consult and communicate with each other in areas which may be of concern to all

l Regularly review relationships and patterns of working in order to make them as effective as possible.

Mr Morgan expressed thanks to all who carried musical and PA equipment to the castle for the service.

Prayers were led by Mr Morgan, and Mr Waters, with readings from Mr Wagstaff and Mr Hayward. Worship was provided and led by New Life Church.

The service finished with a blessing from the Rev Mark Thomas (Church of England).