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Parish Pump – April/May 2017

 

NEWS

Archbishop urges Britain to ‘seize and define the future’
Letter from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York after General Synod
Culture change for seven days a week faith welcomed by General Synod
General Synod hails reconciliation as Christians mark 500th anniversary of the Reformation


General Synod backs £2 maximum stake on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals 


Hidden gems from London’s chapels uncovered
New See to support multi-cultural communities in Leicestershire


Churches' Mutual Credit Union extends Common Bond to Catholic Church
Second wave of Scientists in Congregations grants unveiled
 

Enter the dragonfly!
800,000 shoeboxes for children in need of Christmas love
Maintenance booker – for your church
New CofE leadership programme for heads of Multi-Academy Trusts
Responding Well to Domestic Abuse: Policy and Practice Guidance
The Archbishop of Canterbury's Just Finance Foundation
Progress report on safeguarding
New Director for the Anglican Centre, Rome
100th anniversary for Episcopal Church in Yei
Indian Christians are targets of hate crimes

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Archbishop urges Britain to ‘seize and define the future’

In the Presidential speech at the February General Synod, the Archbishop of Canterbury argued that the current political and social climate is an opportunity for re-imagining the nation’s practices, values, aspirations and global role.

The Archbishop said “this could be a time of liberation, of seizing and defining the future, or it could be one in which the present problems seize our national future and define us.”

The Archbishop went on to argue that the Church of England can be a part of the answer: “we have a voice and a contribution and a capacity and a reach and above all a Lord who is faithful when we fail and faithful when we flourish.

“How are we going to contribute to the national future? There is before the churches of this land, over the next many years, an extraordinary opportunity to be part of reimagining a new Britain, its practices, values, aspirations and global role. To do so we must ourselves be cross shaped, Jesus following, confident in faith and humble in service, above all outward looking.

“We are called to be the people of the cross … seeing and loving the world around as Christ does, so that in this time of a choice between national hope and opportunity or threat and fear we may play the part to which we are called in reimagining our country and seizing the best future that lies before us.”

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Letter from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York after General Synod

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have written to members of the General Synod following the vote in February at General Synod NOT to take note of the paper on Marriage and Same Sex Relationships after the Shared Conversations.

In the letter, they say:

‘All of us, without exception, are loved and called in Christ. There are no 'problems', there are simply people called to redeemed humanity in Christ.

‘How we deal with the real and profound disagreement - put so passionately and so clearly by many at the debate - is the challenge we face as people who all belong to Christ.

‘We are therefore asking first for every Diocesan Bishop to meet with their General Synod members for an extended conversation in order to establish clearly the desires of every member of Synod for the way forward.

‘As Archbishops we will be establishing a Pastoral Oversight group led by the Bishop of Newcastle, with the task of supporting and advising Dioceses on pastoral actions with regard to our current pastoral approach to human sexuality. The group will be inclusive, and will seek to discern the development of pastoral practices, within current arrangements.

‘Secondly, we, with others, will be formulating proposals for the May House of Bishops for a large scale teaching document around the subject of human sexuality. In an episcopal church a principal responsibility of Bishops is the teaching ministry of the church, and the guarding of the deposit of faith that we have all inherited. The teaching document must thus ultimately come from the Bishops.’

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Culture change for seven days a week faith welcomed by General Synod

The Church of England is to undergo a major "culture shift" to mobilise lay members to spread the gospel in their everyday lives. General Synod has given its support to the report, "Setting God's People Free", which calls for Christians to be equipped to live out their faith in every sphere - from the factory or office, to the gym or shop - to help increase numbers of Christians and their influence in all areas of life.

The paper is a key element of Renewal and Reform, an initiative from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, to help grow the Church. It asks a key question of how to empower around 1 million Christians who are not ordained to live out their faith in all aspects of life Monday to Saturday as well as Sunday.

Canon Mark Russell, CEO of Church Army, said: ‘We want to help Christians be even better influencers for the gospel in their everyday lives. We see this report as marking the start of a vital journey.’

“Setting God’s People Free” calls for a shift in culture, looks beyond the institutional Church, seeks to affirm and enable the complementary roles of clergy and of lay people, and proposes steps to nourish, illuminate and connect what is working already in parishes.

The report follows research that shows lay people lack confidence in applying their faith into their Monday to Saturday lives. An implementation plan will be rolled out to introduce new learning communities in pilot dioceses. A bid will be made this year for financial support from the Church Commissioners which through the Archbishops’ Council which is resourcing key elements of Renewal and Reform. This will be used to resource the changes called for in the report.

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General Synod hails reconciliation as Christians mark 500th anniversary of the Reformation



The Church of England’s General Synod has welcomed signs of “convergence” between churches on key doctrinal differences which divided Christians for centuries in the wake of the Reformation.

Members of the Synod, recently meeting in London, backed a motion supporting further reconciliation between Roman Catholic and reformed churches as Christians around the world commemorate the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Reformation and celebrating the “rich spiritual blessings” the Reformation brought to the Church of England.

Moving the motion, the Bishop of Coventry, the Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, said: “The 500th anniversary of the Reformation, which began with Luther’s courageous insistence that salvation is not for sale, invites every Christian to join with the whole Church to be renewed in the grace of God and share the astounding news of God reaching out to the world, running to meet us in Christ and embracing us into His life by the Spirit with an infinity of love...”



In a joint statement earlier this year, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, spoke of the need to “repent of our part in perpetuating divisions.”
Although the origins of the Reformation are complex, Martin Luther’s protest against indulgences and other church practices, in Wittenberg, Germany, on October 31, 1517, is regarded as the trigger for the period of upheaval across Europe from which protestant churches, and ultimately Anglicanism, emerged.

One crucial dividing line between churches for centuries were disagreements about salvation.
 But more recent dialogue between churches led to a joint declaration by the Roman Catholic Church and World Lutheran Federation in 1999, setting out broad agreement on the doctrine of justification – or the forgiveness of sins.

The declaration, which was affirmed by the Anglican Communion last year, asserts that people are saved “by grace alone, in faith in Christ's saving work and not because of any merit on our part”.



**

General Synod backs £2 maximum stake on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals 



The General Synod has called on the Government to reduce the maximum stake on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) to £2 in a debate where members heard of the “huge suffering” caused by the machines.

Members unanimously backed calls for the Government as a ‘matter of urgency’ to bring forward proposals to lower the maximum stake on FOBTs for a single game from £100 to £2, in an amended motion brought by London Diocesan Synod.

The motion spoke of ‘widespread public concern’ over the large amounts being wagered on FOBTs in high street betting shops and the ‘destructive’ impact of the machines on the lives of families and whole communities. There is evidence that the ability to lose £100 ‘a spin’ ruins lives – and that the presence of FOBTs on the high street is contributing to a ‘spiral’ of poverty in some of the poorest areas of the country.

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Hidden gems from London’s chapels uncovered

Hidden gems from London’s ecclesiastical past - and present - are uncovered through a new project exploring the capital’s Anglican chapels through the eyes of a unique chronicler of church buildings.

London’s Unseen Chapels: From the Notebooks of Canon Clarke, a Heritage Lottery Fund-supported project, will leaf through the pages of Canon Basil Fulford Clarke’s (1907-78) notebooks.

The project uncovers the ways in which institutions such as Temple Church and Charterhouse Chapel provided spiritual care to those from all gradations of society, and continue to do so successfully today.

Canon Clarke, minister of St Peter’s, Knowl Hill in Berkshire, visited nearly 11,000 churches in his lifetime, keeping notes and postcards recounting both the architecture of the buildings and his own experiences.

**

New See to support multi-cultural communities in Leicestershire



General Synod has given its support to a proposal from the Diocese of Leicester to request HM The Queen to create a new See to be called the Bishop of Loughborough.

It is the first such new episcopal position since the See of Brixworth was created in 1987.
The Bishop of Loughborough will support the Diocese to grow new churches specifically those that reflect the cultural and ethnic diversity of the area.

This is part of a strategy that has already received financial support from grants as part of the national programme of Renewal and Reform, which offers a hopeful future for the Church.

**

Churches' Mutual Credit Union extends Common Bond to Catholic Church

A Credit Union first launched by the Archbishop of Canterbury and other church leaders is to expand to include eligible members of the Catholic Church in England and Wales and in Scotland.

Approval has been given by the regulators for the Catholic Church in England and Wales and in Scotland to become the latest Christian denomination to be included in the Common Bond of the Churches’ Mutual Credit Union (CMCU).

The move boosts the potential membership of the CMCU by an estimated further 37,000 people from eligible groups such as Catholic clergy and employees of the Catholic dioceses, including Catholic schools. The Credit Union will be rolling out membership throughout this year starting with the Diocese of Westminster.

The Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, said: “I’m glad to become a member of CMCU. Their work today is very important as this is a financial institution that directly reflects our shared effort to give everyone the opportunity to manage financially and to make the best of their resources.

The CMCU was launched in February 2015.

**

Second wave of Scientists in Congregations grants is unveiled
 


Outdoor walking ‘Eco’ services, a play based on nature imagery in the Book of Job and Evensong with science experiments are to take place in Church of England parishes across the country as part of a project to foster better understanding between science and faith.

Just two examples: Trinity Church in Lewes, East Sussex, is to receive a grant to draw up ‘eco system’ services with walks starting and finishing at each of the church’s three sites, examining the natural environment with explanation from an ecologist and theological reflection and prayer. 
 


Derby Cathedral is to receive money to mount a series of public lectures including Evensong services where scientists from Derby University will be invited to preach and conduct experiments to help congregations understand their work. 


The projects are among 10 to receive funding of up to £10,000 as part of the second wave of Scientists in Congregations, a grant scheme open to all mainstream Christian churches. The projects are aimed at helping churchgoers engage confidently with science, raising the profile of Christians whose vocation is science-related and changing the debate about science and faith in churches and communities.

**

Enter the dragonfly!

On 13th May, Christian conservation charity A Rocha UK is opening Britain’s only nature reserve that is managed primarily for dragonflies.

A Rocha UK bought the 11-acre grounds at Foxearth Meadows on the Essex-Suffolk border in 2015, thanks to supporters’ generosity. As A Rocha UK Conservation Director Andy Lester explains, ‘For its size, Foxearth Meadows is Britain’s richest site for dragonflies and damselflies.’

British Dragonfly Society Honorary Secretary Henry Curry welcomed Foxearth Meadows. ‘We couldn’t be more pleased,’ he said. The site already boasts 21 species of dragonflies and damselflies.’ Details at (http://arocha.org.uk)

**

800,000 shoeboxes for children in need of Christmas love

Operation Christmas Child last winter collected over 880,000 shoeboxes to send to children in need around the world, thanks to the support of individuals, organisations and churches across the UK.

Operating for 24 years, the project sees volunteers pack a shoebox with gifts. Ranging from school supplies and hygiene items, through to a unique WOW item, they are given to children in need regardless of race, religion, gender or any other characteristic.

**

Maintenance booker – for your church

A new website which makes it easy for churches to look after their architectural heritage has been launched by the National Churches Trust, the UK’s church buildings support charity.

www.maintenancebooker.org.uk has been set up to help churches and chapels avoid having to carry out major repairs to their buildings by making it easy to carry out regular maintenance.

MaintenanceBooker is being launched initially in Yorkshire and the Humber, but plans are being developed to extend the service to other parts of England and Wales. The website provides an online ‘one stop shop’ where churches and chapels can book accredited contractors for services including gutter clearance, tree maintenance and inspecting lightning protection systems.

**

New CofE leadership programme for heads of Multi-Academy Trusts

New leadership development programme launched
A leadership development programme for Chief Executives of Multi Academy Trusts has been launched drawing on expertise from the Church of England, academia and the City.

The Church of England Foundation for Educational Leadership programme for Chief Executives of Multi-Academy Trusts will be delivered in partnership with UCL Institute of Education, working with Deloitte.

The programme has been shaped to draw on the Church of England's involvement in education over 200 years, to include UCL IOE's deep expertise across the education system, including academies and leadership, and to learn from Deloitte's business knowledge and practical experience of working in the education sector. There will be input from leading experts and practitioners from education as well as learning from wider sectors.

The programme will be targeted at existing or aspiring CEOs from Church of England Diocesan MATs, MATs led by Church of England schools and those that include Church of England schools.

The Church of England recently launched its vision for education, which will feature heavily in the programme, informing sessions on strategic leadership, finance, marketing and school improvement. Speaking about the programme, Chief Education Officer for the Church of England Rev. Nigel Genders said: "The leaders of Multi-Academy Trusts are going to be absolutely crucial strategic figures for the future of our education system."

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Responding Well to Domestic Abuse: Policy and Practice Guidance

Church communities are being urged to address the issue of domestic abuse and raise awareness of its impact on adults and children.

The updated practice guidance and policy from the House of Bishops, recently published by the Church of England, encourages churches to become places of safety where domestic abuse is taken seriously, survivors are believed and respected, and alleged or known perpetrators challenged. The updated document reflects legislative and other changes since the 2006 guidance.

Under the policy, Church leaders and Officers working with children, young people and vulnerable adults will be expected to undergo domestic abuse training with the issue being raised in appropriate contexts within church life including youth groups, marriage preparation and ordinand training. They will also be expected to work closely with statutory and other specialist organisations.

Also published recently is the new House of Bishops Promoting a Safer Church statement which sets out the Church's commitment to making the church a safer place for all. This is a standalone policy statement, which was previously part of a wider document. Updated practical guidance to support this will be published later in the year. This policy and guidance applies to all Church bodies and officers and under new legislation all authorised clergy, bishops, archdeacons, licensed readers and lay workers, churchwardens and PCCs must have 'due regard' to safeguarding guidance issued by the House of Bishops.

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The Archbishop of Canterbury's Just Finance Foundation

The Just Finance Foundation (JFF) will oversee and continue the programmes previously initiated by the Archbishop's Task Group on Responsible Credit and Savings in partnership with the Church Urban Fund. The Just Finance Foundation has three key areas of work:

Promoting saving though the LifeSavers programme working in primary schools.
Through the Just Finance Network, building money skills, increasing the quality of low-cost credit where people need small loans and offering specific support for those in crisis.

Encouraging a wider debate about money and its place in our lives, building on the Archbishop of Canterbury's concerns about the responsible use of money.

Rowena Young has just joined the Just Finance Foundation from the Young Foundation where she was Director of Health and Education. She will be based out of the London offices of the Church Urban Fund.

Commenting on her appointment as the charity's first Executive Director, Rowena Young said: "The Just Finance Foundation is being established at an extraordinary point in time, when both more people are struggling to make ends meet and there is more recognition we need to change the conditions so that prudent financial management pays. With its combination of ethics and pragmatism, and a phenomenal network of Church members in communities across England, the JFF brings powerful new assets to the cause and I feel inspired by their example to make long-term change."

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Progress report on safeguarding

The Church of England's National Safeguarding Team has recently published a progress report, one year on from the Elliott Review, which recommended a range of safeguarding proposals for the Church, particularly in the areas of handling disclosures and accountability.

The Church has said it was fully committed to strengthening the training for handling disclosures with a bespoke module for bishops and senior church staff; an independent audit of safeguarding in all dioceses, due to be completed at the end of the year; and further plans to work more closely with survivors, to learn from their experience.

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New Director for the Anglican Centre, Rome

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and the Governors of the Anglican Centre in Rome have recently announced the appointment of Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi, Primate of the Anglican Church of Burundi from 2005 until 2016, as the Representative of the Archbishop of Canterbury to the Holy See and Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome. He succeeds Archbishop David Moxon who retires in June.

Born in 1948, Archbishop Ntahoturi grew up in a small village in Matana, Southern Burundi, the son of a poor farming family. After training at Bishop Tucker Theological College in Mukono, Uganda, he was ordained in 1973. He came to England to further his theological training at Ridley Hall and St John’s in Cambridge, and then at Lincoln College, Oxford.

After his studies, he returned to Burundi where he joined the civil service, becoming chief of staff to President Jean-Baptiste Bagaza. After the overthrowing of President Bagaza in 1987, in a military coup, he was jailed from 1987 to 1990.

In 1992, he became Provincial Secretary of the Anglican Church of Burundi until 1997. In 1997, Bernard Ntahoturi was consecrated Bishop of Matana Diocese and became Archbishop Primate of the Province of the Anglican Church of Burundi in 2005.

Archbishop Ntahoturi has served as chair of the Council of Anglican provinces in Africa from 2011-2016, and as a member of the Anglican Consultative Council Standing Committee from ACC 9-ACC 11 (1993-2012).

Archbishop Ntahoturi has been active in seeking peace in war-torn Burundi and the great Lakes region of Africa, and has represented the protestant churches of Burundi during the peace and reconciliation negotiations in Tanzania, which were instrumental in bringing peace to Burundi.

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100th anniversary for Episcopal Church in Yei

The Episcopal Church in Yei, South Sudan, the world’s newest country, is celebrating its 100th anniversary. It was in 1917 that the Rev Canon Paul Gibson travelled to Yei to begin a church planting ministry. From these humble beginnings grew the present day Yei, Kajo-keji, Lainya, Morobo and Panyana dioceses of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan.

Until mid-2016 Yei had been spared much of the ethnic tensions in the country, but by August 2016 the situation reversed and Yei has been a focus of conflict, with the town largely cut off by road and with a substantial portion of the population – up to 50,000 people – migrating to refugee camps in Uganda.

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Indian Christians are targets of hate crimes

At least 15 believers assaulted – including two women beaten by their husbands; two church meetings and two marriage services disrupted; several church buildings vandalised and looted; a Christian orphanage shut down by police for “child trafficking”; pastors threated; a peace gathering attacked by a mob. Such was the litany of frequently violent persecution experienced by Indian Christians at the hands of Hindus in a single month: February 2017.

The Evangelical Fellowship of India reports that Indian believers are living on the persecution front line in a country where they are supposed to be protected.



ickenhamchurchnews.co.uk

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