Home

Current Issue

Back Issues Links More
 Christian Festivals  |  E100  |  Church News Service

Ickenham Online  |  St Giles' Online  |  U.R.C. Online  |  Ickenham Festival  |  Hillingdon Choral Soc.  |  Glebe School  
 Ickenham Res. Assoc.  |  HFHS  |  My Area UB10  |  CLICK Rukiga

Home /
This Month /
Church News Service Articles

Parish Pump – June/July 2017

 

NEWS

Church services to celebrate Godparents
CofE’s National Safeguarding Team
Cathedrals Working group
Bible success in northern Iraq
More than £340,000 raised for East Africa Famine Appeal
Egypt church bomb attacks
Bible that is more accessible
Church of England joins forces with academia & City to shape education


Shakespeare in cathedrals
Living with Gods
The role of Faith in politics
Iraq’s church leaders call for help to protect ancient Christian communities
Hospital in Pakistan forces Christian staff to recite from the Quran
India -  ‘alarming rise’ in attacks by Hindu nationalists
What do you think Mission is?
Feeding more than 5000
Help stop slavery in the UK
New help for glaucoma sufferers
New Lambeth library
Looking for the signs which helped keep England holy
Church Commissioners announce 2016 financial results
Holy Trinity Hull
Former chorister Ken Dodd sings praise of the Book of Common Prayer


**


Church services to celebrate Godparents

At least six million people have been asked to become a Godparent at a Church of England christening since the millennium, according to a new analysis.

Around 120,000 Church of England baptisms take place every year, with an estimated six million people taking up the role of Godparent since the millennium alone.

Godparents' Sunday was launched last year (2016) by the Church of England. It followed research with 1,000 parents conducted in 2013 showing that having Godparents was one of the key reasons for wanting to have a child christened, alongside wanting God's blessing and starting a child on the right path in life.

During a christening, Godparents will make important promises to pray for their Godchild and support them as they discover more about the Christian faith.

Godparents also spend time with their Godchildren, and help them to make good choices in life for themselves and for others. They are there as a listening ear for their Godchild over the years and help children discover more about the Christian faith, through their church and in other ways.

The Rev Canon Dr Sandra Millar, who leads research on christenings for the Church of England, said: "Our research shows that Godparents are really important to families. Parents put a lot of thought into choosing Godparents, often honouring existing friendships.

"Godparents are part of child's life for a long time and families really appreciate having an extra voice to bring wisdom, encouragement and love.

"It's a mutual relationship - Godchildren and Godparents bless and pray for each other. Godparents' Sunday is a great day to be in touch, to be supported and encouraged on the journey by the wider church and to discover more about the amazing journey of faith that starts at a christening."

* (Godparents Sunday is the third Sunday of Easter; this year 30th April)

**

CofE’s National Safeguarding Team

The Church of England's National Safeguarding Team has 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 independent review, by safeguarding consultant Ian Elliott, was commissioned in 2015, to look at lessons learnt in the case of 'Joe', a survivor of clerical sexual abuse. The Church has issued an unreserved apology to Joe and on publication of the report last year, said it was fully committed to implementing the recommendations.

The responses to these include: Strengthening of 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; further plans to work more closely with survivors to learn from their experience. The full recommendations and responses can be read at https://www.churchofengland.org/media/3955684/elliot-review-one-year-on.pdf

**

Cathedrals Working group

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have set up a Cathedrals Working Group, CWG, in response to a request made by the Bishop of Peterborough in his January 2017 Visitation Charge on Peterborough Cathedral. He asked that a revision be carried out of the adequacy of the current Cathedrals Measure.

The CWG will review aspects of cathedral management and governance and produce recommendations for the Archbishops on the implications of these responsibilities with regards to the current Cathedrals Measure. It will be chaired by the Bishop of Stepney, Adrian Newman, the former Dean of Rochester Cathedral, and the Dean of York, Vivienne Faull, will be the vice chair.

The Working Group will look at a number of different areas of Cathedral governance, including training and development for cathedral deans and chapters, financial management issues, the procedure for Visitations, safeguarding matters, buildings and heritage and the role of Cathedrals in contributing to evangelism within their dioceses.

The Bishop of Stepney and the Dean of York said: ‘Cathedrals contribute uniquely to the ecology of the Church of England, and we are a healthier, stronger church when they flourish.’

**

Bible success in northern Iraq

A team of Bible translators in Kurdistan, northern Iraq, working against the backdrop of civil unrest and religious persecution, have completed the first ever translation of the whole Bible into the Central Kurdish Sorani language.

For the last eight years, Church Mission Society mission partners have been an integral part of the team, working alongside indigenous Kurds and other foreign nationals drafting text, checking names, terminology and style, and finally checking both the Old and New Testaments so they could be published together for the first time as the complete Bible.

The whole translation of Old and New Testaments took 28 years to complete, and will enable six million native speakers of the Sorani language to hear and read the Bible in their own language for the first time. As well as physical copies, the new translation is available digitally, both through the YouVersion app and a newly designed Kurdish app called Pertukekem (‘My Book’).

**

More than £340,000 raised for East Africa Famine Appeal

The call to donate to the urgent appeal to help avert famine in countries on the verge of disaster has been met with a generous wave of giving from Methodist Churches and individuals across the world.

All We Can Chief Executive, Maurice Adams said, “The response so far to the East Africa Famine Appeal has been remarkable and humbling. The need is vast, and the resources required to tackle this ongoing emergency continues to be immense.”

A grim picture of human misery is mirrored across much of East Africa, where conflict, economic crises, drought and poor governance has resulted in the worst humanitarian catastrophe since the formation of the United Nations.

**

Egypt church bomb attacks

Release International has deplored the latest attacks against Egypt’s Coptic Christians, the oldest surviving Christian community in the Middle East. Two bomb attacks targeted Palm Sunday worshippers, ahead of Easter, killing at least 44 people.

Release is calling for increased security to safeguard the largest, oldest remaining Christian community in the region. It has commended Copts for their courage in standing fast in the face of the militants’ threat. The head of the Coptic Church was present at one of the churches targeted, but escaped uninjured.

Release is also urging Christians worldwide to stand with Egypt’s Coptic believers in prayer. At least 44 people died when bombs were detonated in two morning services – one at a church in Tanta in the Nile Delta region and one at a cathedral in Alexandria. Both were timed to go off during church services and cause maximum loss of life.

The first bomb went off inside St George's Church in Tanta, about 60 miles north of Cairo. The explosion, near the altar, left at least 27 people dead and more than 70 injured. That church was targeted by bombers last month, but on that occasion the device was found and defused.

In the second attack a suicide bomber detonated his device outside St. Mark's Cathedral in Alexandria, killing at least 17 people and injuring more than 30. The dead included four police officers who reportedly intercepted the bomber.

**

Bible that is more accessible

Now there is a Bible that can easily be accessed by people with sight loss, learning disabilities, or lower levels of literacy.

The NIrV Accessible Edition has been created by Biblica working in
partnership with Livability, The Torch Trust and Urban Saints, to develop and produce a Bible designed to address this need.

**

Church of England joins forces with academia & City to shape education



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.

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.

**

Shakespeare in cathedrals

A new production of Shakespeare’s Richard III by the theatre company Antic Disposition is to be staged at Leicester Cathedral this month (July), where the king’s remains are interred. The production will then be seen at Ely, Peterborough, Gloucester, Bristol and Salisbury Cathedrals, until it concludes at the Temple Church in London in September.

**

Living with Gods

BBC Radio 4 and the British Museum are collaborating on a 30-part series, Living with Gods, on the world history of religion told through historical artefacts. The British Museum is to open an exhibition in November to run alongside the series, which will be broadcast on Mondays at 9:45am from 23rd October.

**

The role of Faith in politics

Faith has a central role to play in politics, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York have said.

In a recent pastoral letter to the parishes and chaplaincies of the Church of England, Archbishops Justin Welby and John Sentamu urged people to remember Britain's Christian history and heritage. They called for reconciliation, for a drawing on shared British values based on cohesion, courage and stability.

This is a time of “deep and profound questions of identity," they said. "Opportunities to renew and reimagine our shared values as a country and a United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland only come around every few generations. We are in such a time. Our Christian heritage, our current choices and our obligations to future generations and to God's world will all play a shaping role.”

The Archbishops highlighted major concerns over poverty, housing and the dangers of “crushing" debt, among other issues. They called for a hospitable welcome to refugees and migrants, but also warned against being "deaf to the legitimate concerns" about the scale of migration into some communities.

They also single out the importance of standing up for those suffering persecution on grounds of faith around the world. Faith, they argue, has a unique role to play in preventing extremism and religiously motivated violence.

"Contemporary politics needs to re-evaluate the importance of religious belief," they insist. "The new Parliament, if it is to take religious freedom seriously, must treat as an essential task the improvement of religious literacy."

They add: "Political responses to the problems of religiously-motivated violence and extremism, at home and overseas, must also recognise that solutions will not be found simply in further secularisation of the public realm."

**

Iraq’s church leaders call for help to protect ancient Christian communities

Iraq’s three main church traditions have issued a joint statement calling for international action to safeguard the “rights of Christian communities in the historic Nineveh Plains”, including the establishment of a “safe haven” for Christians in the region.

The joint statement by church leaders followed a proclamation by a prominent Iraqi Shia cleric that “Jihad should be implemented in regard to the Christians in order for them to convert to Islam. Either they will become Muslims or we must fight them, or they ought to pay jizya.” Jizya is a tax paid to an Islamic government by non-Muslims as a sign of subjugation, according to classical Islam.

The threat of anti-Christian violence continuing, despite the progress made in defeating Islamic State, remains a real concern for Iraqi believers, reports the Barnabas Fund. An Iraqi MP has recently stated that around 1.5 million Iraqi Christians have fled the country since 2003.

**

Hospital in Pakistan forces Christian staff to recite from the Quran

A Christian worker in a Lahore hospital has reported that a number of non-Muslim staff have been faced with the choice of reciting from the Quran, or being marked absent from work.

In one instance, Marshal, a Christian paramedic, was physically assaulted by the hospital’s Superintendent when he refused to attend the morning gathering, where staff have been compelled to quote verses from Quran.

Police have conducted an inquiry into the incident and evidence has been referred to the Punjab Health Department, reports the Barnabas Fund. Another paramedic at the hospital, Fahad Ahmed, told journalists: “I do not know why the administration is forcing our Christian brothers to do this. This is totally unacceptable.”

A senior law enforcement official, speaking on condition of anonymity, stated that extremism among medical staff in public hospitals was nothing new, “The issue of Mian Mir hospital [in Lahore] is just a small manifestation.”

**

India - ‘alarming rise’ in attacks by Hindu nationalists

Attacks against Christians in India have been rising at an alarming rate, according to new reports. They are politically motivated, and have increased since the March 2017 elections, which saw a landslide victory for Hindu nationalists.

The latest report of the All India Christian Council records an increase of almost 20 per cent in attacks against Christians in 2016. It says physical violence against Christians is up 40 per cent and murders have doubled.

In states across India, church workers have been beaten, threatened and killed.
Attempts have been made to force Christians to renounce their faith and convert to Hinduism. Church services and prayer meetings have been disrupted, churches and Christian school have been bombed, torched, vandalised and demolished. Bibles have been torn to pieces and burnt. Militants beat one evangelist with chains, stripped him and forced him to drink urine. A Christian cemetery was desecrated and skeletons dug up and strewn across the graveyard.

The report, Atrocities on Christians in India records a fresh attack every 40 hours. It says: ‘The attacks have become severe and more frequent. Incidents used to be confined to a few states. Now the violence has spread to 23 states.’
The sharpest rise has been recorded in Uttar Pradesh and the state of Telangana. 


Right-wing Hindu nationalism has been gaining ground since the BJP took power in 2014. Since further gains for the radicals in the March elections, five Indian states have now imposed anti-conversion laws. There has also been moves to bring in nationwide legislation aimed at outlawing evangelism, to prevent Hindus from converting.

Release International reports that in Andhra Pradesh a pastor was beaten to death by a Maoist. In Assam, a couple who had recently converted to Christianity were murdered in their home. A pastor and his seven-month pregnant wife were doused with petrol by religious extremists, who threatened them with swords and demanded they chant, ‘Hail Lord Rama’.

In Chhattisgarh, a gang raped and murdered a 14-year-old Christian girl who was on her way to school. Villagers had excommunicated her family for accepting the Christian faith. The authorities have yet to take any action against the culprits.

Some attacks appear to be a reaction against what reads like a Christian revival in parts of India. 


**

What do you think Mission is?

Church Mission Society has launched a major new campaign called ‘Mission Is…’
The aim is to first ‘listen’ and discover what Christians nowadays think is involved in Mission, and then to seek to renew people’s confidence in mission.

As a spokesman for Church Mission Society explained, “Our central belief is that all of God’s people are called to join in God’s mission, but we suspect that many people’s confusion over what ‘mission’ really means is a central factor in this generation’s hesitation about getting involved.

“We’re not talking about dropping the word and becoming Church­­­­ ‘Blank’ ­­­­­­­Society, but we are seeking to make mission easier to understand and ultimately, be part of.” Visit: http://www.churchmissionsociety.org/events

**

Feeding more than 5000

A recent survey of all free-food providers in Norfolk has found that churches and Christian groups are feeding at least 7000 people every month.

The survey found churches are providing free food through a mix of foodbanks, soup runs, breakfast clubs, community lunches and other outlets. “Collectively, the Christian community has come up with dozens of innovative and inspirational projects to meet the basic needs of vulnerable and sometimes desperate people.” More info at: http://norfolkfeeds5000.co.uk

**

Help stop slavery in the UK

The Church must direct its ‘unconditional energy” towards detecting and then supporting those trapped in the brutality of modern slavery here in the UK. So says the Bishop of Derby, Dr Alastair Redfern.

In a recent keynote speech at a conference on modern slavery at Lambeth Palace, he said that there are too many communities in Britain where “people are treated like commodities, with no rights, no proper pay, who often have their passports confiscated, and are trapped, dominated and made to work.” An estimated 45.8 million people are trapped in forms of modern slavery across the world, including about 11,700 victims in the UK.

Dr Redfern went on: “Prostitution and sex slavery is growing exponentially, especially because of the internet, and the age of those trapped – girls, particularly – is getting younger. The internet…fuels the industry.”

Dr Redfern, who chairs the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner’s Advisory Panel, said that Churches can use their unique position in the heart of their communities to identify and report such instances of modern slavery. Christians should be “people who notice what is going on, and try and help others notice it, too, and respond.”

**

New help for glaucoma sufferers

The Christian Blind Mission (CBM) has welcomed a new eye test that can help detect glaucoma, a disease that leads to irreversible blindness.

Glaucoma affects 60 million people worldwide, ten per cent of whom become blind. The chief executive of CBM UK, Kirsty Smith, said: ‘Although it is early days, it’s particularly exciting that this test could…. be developed for use in low-income countries. “

**

New Lambeth library

Lambeth Palace is to build a nine-story tower in order to house the biggest collection of religious works outside the Vatican. The new library will stand at the far perimeter of the grounds.

The first library at Lambeth Palace was founded in 1610. The construction of the new one will begin next year, and hope to finish in 2020. It will be the first new construction on the site for 180 years.

**

Looking for the signs which helped keep England holy

Do you know of any church that has a sign or plaque marking the work of the Incorporated Church Building Society (ICBS)?

If so, the National Churches Trust would like to hear from you, as it is searching for photographs of ICBS commemorative signs to help celebrate the church building charity’s 200th anniversary, which takes place next year.

Following the turmoil of the Napoleonic wars, and faced with the rapid expansion of industrial towns and cities, the ICBS was set up in 1818 to help keep England holy. With a rapidly growing population, in the early decades of the 19th century there was a severe shortage of churches. And so the ICBS was responsible for the building and enlargement of many hundreds of Anglican churches and chapels.

If you can help with locating a plaque, please contact the National Churches Trust at info@nationalchurchestrust.org

**

Church Commissioners announce 2016 financial results

The Church Commissioners for England recently announced the publication of their 2016 financial results. The total return on its investments in 2016 was 17.1%, compared with the previous year's return of 8.2%. Over the past 30 years the fund has achieved an average return of 9.6% per annum.

In 2016 disbursements by the Commissioners totalled £230.7 million, accounting for approximately 15% of the Church's overall mission and ministry costs. This represents an increase in church expenditure of 5.6% from the previous year.

The Church Commissioners' funding is targeted towards mission opportunities and those areas which are most in need, as well as meeting on-going responsibilities for bishops, cathedrals and clergy pensions.

**

Holy Trinity Hull

England’s largest parish church has recently been made a minster. Holy Trinity Hull faced closure in 2009, but was transformed by a £4.5million development project, and the energy and commitment of its congregation, which has tripled. The 700 year-old church was founded by Edward I, and is as old as the city.

**

Former chorister Ken Dodd sings praise of the Book of Common Prayer

The Book of Common Prayer is a guide to life, according to 89-year-old comedian Ken Dodd. “The Prayer Book is, in many ways, very up-to-date,” he says. “It’s a wonderful piece of literature, beautifully-written and based on fact.”

Sir Ken has been a life-long devotee of the Prayer Book, with which he became familiar at an early age as a chorister at the Church of St John the Evangelist in Knotty Ash. He still worships there periodically, but the pull of choral evensong means that he also attends Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral now and then.

 

 



ickenhamchurchnews.co.uk

Home  |  Current Issue  |  Back Issues  |  Links  |  More