George Fisher has this info re the next Fellowship for Parish Evangelism conference:
Updated weekly by Rachel Jordan & NJC.
Gavin Wakefield sends details of this post in York diocese. As he says:
Cleveland Archdeaconry Training Adviser and
Adviser for Parish Evangelism and Church Growth
As a member of the Diocesan Training Team, the Adviser will provide encouragement and training in support of evangelism and church growth in parishes, deaneries and, where appropriate, chaplaincies across the diocese.
In collaboration with the other members of the Training Team, (s)he will ensure that the laity and clergy of the Archdeaconry of Cleveland have the appropriate skills and support offered to enable them in Christian mission and ministry.
The training aspects of the post are to be integrated with first-hand involvement in parish ministry, and so the post includes ministry as an associate priest in designated parishes.
Posted at 08:45 | Permalink
From Jim Currin at the Group for Evangelisation:
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Over at ACPI Bob and Mary Hopkins have news of this study day with Eddie reflecting on the lessons of his new book "ChurchMorph - how megatrends are reshaping Christian communities".
Posted at 08:37 | Permalink
From his new parish in Horstead Keynes John Twisleton has this review of the book "Fresh Expressions in the sacramental tradition". Thanks to John (who was missioner in Chichester dicoese before taking up this post a few months ago).
Fresh Expressions in the Sacramental Tradition Steven Croft & Ian Mobsby (Editors)
SCM Canterbury Press 2009 £16.99.ISBN 9781853119736 176pp
Mission takes time. Like all great achievements it needs time and effort even if it is also the work of God. There are no quick fixes since it is about building communities, and relationships take time to build not least that with God himself.
That insight recurs across the work of eighteen thinkers and pioneers from the catholic tradition of UK and US Anglicanism whose contributions are assembled in Fresh Expressions in the Sacramental Tradition.
The book starts magnificently with the Archbishop of Canterbury’s December 2008 address at the Coventry Cathedral fresh expressions pilgrimage Eucharist. Rowan Williams sees the Anglocatholic view of mission as primarily patient and community oriented, valuing action - including sacraments - more than words. The book moves on, a shade unevenly, between mission theory and practice - more theory than practice - to end with a Benedictine Abbot’s warning. Letting God be God rather than what we would like him to be indeed takes time, but it is the key to mission and unlocking the spiritual energy that drives it.
The book represents an awakening among Anglocatholics to the challenge of fresh expressions which traces back to the 2004 report on mission-shaped church. As Bishop Steven Croft notes in his chapter, Anglocatholics seem to have held back initially, like Gamaliel, to see whether the national initiative much favoured by Evangelicals would go anywhere. They are also concerned about the lack of sacramental vision in the 2004 report. Now a sacramental network exists within fresh expressions and has sponsored this publication.
Alongside short tasters on alternative worship, new monasticism, Contemplative Fire etc. this compendium draws out a basis for forming new ecclesial communities through contextual mission that commends patient endeavour geared to make space for God’s action. Fresh expressions of the church must be more than human constructs. To be so they need to be fully sacramental. As the Archbishop puts it, having priests ‘is not a matter of mechanical requirements imposed on a spontaneous human gathering, but a matter of how the human gathering remembers that it isn’t just a human gathering. Properly understood, the sacramental life in a congregation is inseparable from the impulse to silence, adoration, willingness to receive – all the things that break us free from the tyranny of hectic activism and trying to achieve’.
The same point is made in the chapter written by Contemplative Fire leaders, namely that the discipline of order and adherence to age old Christian disciplines can foster spontaneity and freedom. Creativity and playfulness emerge best out of deeply structured situations. Brian McLaren expresses this in his quotation on the cover of the book: ‘the road to the future goes through the past’. Both Sue Wallace and Phyllis Tickle pick up on how reading the trials and achievements of the saints intrigues, excites and energises the pioneers of our day.
Fresh Expressions in the Sacramental Tradition is a timely resource as the Archbishops’ fresh expressions initiative changes gear and leadership 5 years on from mission-shaped church. This book should inspire, intrigue and invite fresh energies into a new phase of Christian outreach that is both contextual and true to the faith of the church through the ages.
The Revd Dr John Twisleton, Rector of Horsted Keynes in Chichester Diocese
Posted at 08:24 | Permalink
Joe is a passionately committed, reflective mission practitioner whose life has been spent serving the Church in large urban estates. He's made his thinking available on his website; do commend it to people in your area working in similar contexts.
Posted at 08:14 | Permalink
David Keen (pioneer minister in Yeovil) has reviewed all diocesan websites to assess the public profile of Fresh Expressions and the mixed economy as the websites reveal it.
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Andrew Wooding writes:
Posted at 07:43 | Permalink
Norman Ivison has this news:
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The latest info--pack from Benita Hewitt and her colleagues at Christian Research. You can sign up for a direct emailing of this info by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org :
WEBSITE OF THE MONTH: Good news on world health
World Health Statistics 2009 contains the World Health Organisation's (WHO) annual compilation of data from its 193 member states, and includes a summary of progress towards the health-related Millennium Development Goals and targets. Although, clearly, the number of people suffering due to bad health throughout the world is still too high, there are some very encouraging trends to report:
· The estimated 12.5 million child deaths reported in 1990 has been significantly reduced to an estimated 9 million in 2007.
· Overall, the proportion of children under five years of age suffering from under-nutrition (according to the WHO Child Growth Standards) declined from 27% in 1990 to 20% in 2005.
· Some 27% fewer children died before their fifth birthday in 2007 than in 1990.
· 27 countries reported a reduction of up to 50% in the number of malaria cases between 1990 and 2006.
· The number of people with access to safe drinking-water rose from 4.1 billion in 1990 to 5.7 billion in 2006.
The 2009 WHO report is also helpful in providing perspectives on world health and the massive differences between countries and regions of the world. For example, it certainly helps to put swine flu into perspective. (There’s a helpful map on swine flu here: http://www.who.int/csr/don/h1n1_20090527_0800.jpg)
The statistics can be viewed at: http://www.who.int/whosis/whostat/2009/en/index.html
A survey for Christian men’s magazine Sorted has determined that men who go to church regularly prefer ‘proper macho hymns’ and feel uncomfortable with hugging – among other things! The on-line survey of 400 UK readers of the magazine identified that three quarters (75 percent) of men go to church to be intellectually and spiritually challenged.
Nearly 60 percent of respondents said they enjoyed singing, but were more motivated by ‘proclamational’ hymns such as All people that on earth do dwellthan sentimental-type ‘songs’. Male worshippers were also found to react positively to a strong motivating message and wanted to hear more discussion on how family issues and money relate to their lives. Half of those completing the survey said that they objected to dancing and 60 percent said embroidery and flowers in church turned them off.
Statistics on Alcohol, England 2009, published by the NHS on 20 May presents a range of information on alcohol use and misuse drawn together from a variety of published sources. The report aims to present a broad picture of health issues relating to alcohol in England and covers topics such as drinking habits and behaviours among adults and school children, drinking related ill health and mortality, affordability of alcohol and alcohol related costs.
Between 1998 and 2006, the proportion of men drinking more than 21 units a week on average fell from 28 per cent to 23 per cent and the percentage of women drinking more than 14 units a week fell from 15 per cent to 13 per cent. However, in 2007, 33 per cent of men and 16 per cent of women (24 per cent of adults) were classified as ‘hazardous drinkers’, which means that damage to health is likely.
Among adults aged 16 to 74, the report shows that nine per cent of men and four per cent of women exhibit some signs of alcohol dependence. The prevalence of alcohol dependence is slightly lower for men than it was in 2000 when 11.5 per cent of men showed some signs of dependence but there was no significant change for women between 2000 and 2007.
According to the findings of a new research project on ‘death and dying’ conducted by the public theology think tank, Theos, 50% of Britons admit to fearing the process of dying.
In the poll of over 1,000 adults, one fifth (20 per cent) admit to fearing both the way they will die and death itself. Nearly one third (30 per cent) say that they fear the way they will die but not death itself while a quarter (25 per cent) claim to fear neither death nor the way they will die.
The highest proportion of people fearing both the way they will die and death itself is among 18 to 24-year-olds (26 per cent compared with a national average of 20 per cent). More than two in five (42 per cent) of people aged 65 and over indicate that their religious faith helps them to deal with the death of a loved one and prepare for their own death compared with less than a quarter (23 per cent) of 18 to 24 year olds.
Recent reports provide evidence that the over 50s, the poorest youth and young adults are all suffering because of the recessions. Nevertheless, some in the business sector appear to be more confident.
Research from Help the Aged and Age Concern indicates that workers aged 50 plus have two major concerns: many are afraid they will be forced out of their jobs due to their age and worried that their retirement incomes will be decimated by the recession.
More than a quarter (28 per cent) of over 50s questioned feared that their age will see them forced out of their jobs. Recent figures showing that over the past year the number of unemployed people aged 50 plus has risen by nearly 50 per cent suggest these concerns have become reality for many.
While the fear of unemployment persists‚ many are also seeing their pension prospects hit hard by the downturn. Nearly half of respondents (47 per cent) said they are less confident than six months ago that their pension and savings will provide them with a comfortable standard of living in retirement.
This situation means that the need to continue working is seen as more important than ever before. Almost two thirds (60 per cent) of respondents said the recession has meant they will have to – or want to – work longer than originally planned.
A report by The Prince’s Trust and ESRC Centre for Giving and Philanthropy, Cass Business School, published on 27 May, warns that thousands of Britain’s poorest youngsters will bear the brunt of the recession. Furthermore, young people will be hit hardest in deprived areas as unemployment rises and local youth services become vulnerable to cuts, according to the report.
The report raises fears that youth charities may be unable to keep up with demand, as their services face spiralling demands from disadvantaged young people. For example, more than 450,000 under-25s in the UK currently claim Jobseeker’s Allowance – a figure that has risen by more than 80% in the past year. One in six young people are already claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance in some areas of the UK, including Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales and Wansbeck, Northumberland.
A report from Post Office Financial Services has revealed that many 18 to 24-year-olds believe their living standards will not return to pre-recession levels for more than a decade forcing them to rethink their spending habits.
The research found that nearly 50 per cent of the young people surveyed believe they will reduce their use of credit as a result of the ‘crunch’. This implies that the recession is causing a marked change in the attitudes and the potential behaviour of the younger generation – most of whom have only known relatively good economic times.
Having been forced to learn financial lessons the hard way, the research suggests that the next generation of adults believe they are likely to adopt a more responsible approach to credit and spending. Half of the young adults surveyed felt that the long-term impact of the recession would be that people would have to learn to live within their means and a similar proportion (48 per cent) said they were more likely to build savings to protect themselves. Over 20 per cent of young people said the legacy of this recession for their generation would be retiring into a lower standard of living than their parents and grandparents
Confidence among business professionals has risen for the first time since the end of 2007, the Institute of Chartered Accountants' (ICA) index of business confidence indicates: it rose to minus 28.2 at the end of March 2009 from minus 45.3 at the end of the previous quarter.
The ICA interprets these findings as suggesting that companies have heeded warnings and were managing the consequences of the global recession ‘remarkably well’. However, despite the apparent improvement in confidence, the ICA cautioned that while the change in outlook is encouraging, it still believes that difficult times lie ahead.
The Sunday Telegraph has reported on what it calls the “first poll of Churchgoers’. Clearly, one off the main objectives of the research will have been to generate copy and some of the more headline-grabbing findings include:
· 50 per cent of British Christians revealed that they had suffered some sort of persecution for their faith.
· 44 per cent said they had been mocked by friends, neighbours or colleagues for daring to be Christian.
· 20 per cent said that they had faced opposition at work because of their beliefs.
· 19 per cent said they had been ‘ignored’ or ‘excluded’ for the same reason.
The Telegraph report also points to new guidance from the government to employers which warns that evangelising in the workplace is 'very likely' to be seen as 'harassment'. It is less clear whether or not a non-Christian telling a Christian that their beliefs are untrue would equally qualify …
Editorial Policy: The aim of Research Brief is to be fact-based, relevant and topical. Christian Research does not accept responsibility for the accuracy of any third party information presented. The stories chosen for this Research Brief, and the information presented via links to third party websites, do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of Christian Research.
Posted at 07:38 | Permalink
From the Baptist Union Ian Bunce has this idea to float. If you'd like to get in on the ground floor email Ian or call him - his contact details are at the end of his post.
Get into the picture: Proposal
Forgive the unsolicited email, but I wanted to share a new initiative with you. Are you interested in getting involved?
The vision of “Get into the picture” is to see local churches or groups of churches building nativity scenes in the shopping centres/tourist centres during Advent. The plan is then to encourage passersby to get into the picture where a photo will be taken. The participants will be given an invitation to visit a website where the picture will be uploaded to. There they can download the picture of themselves in the Christmas scene. Information about the meaning of Christmas and times of local services and invitations to the local churches will be on the website.
This concept was first developed by Chris Duffett and piloted in 2008. Chris and I are keen to see it develop. To see what happened last year see http://www.jc4uk.com/ . It was run in Liverpool, Chester, Yeovil, Cambridge and Asda- Queensferry.
Although initially being supported and developed by the Baptist Union, we want this to be fully ecumenical as quickly as possible and sharing the values of co-operation developed by Hope 08. We would not look to having a strong Baptist presence on the resources.
The BUGB communications department will also work with us to highlight the initiative in the media. Amanda Allchorn, our head of department, is happy to take the lead along with her ecumenical colleagues.
The main site will serve as a dual purpose website:
- Firstly to get churches to sign up and be able to download materials
- Secondly as a home page pointing to the micro sites according to towns.
The micro sites will have the information about:
- The Christmas story (all micro sites will have the same here)
- The local churches and services (PDF)
- A contact me facility (managed through the core of the project)
- The photos taken locally for free download.
- Maybe include a cartoon/video of the Christmas story.
During June we will develop some guidelines for running a local project including
- How to set up a nativity scene (of various levels, from simple to complete
- Getting the permissions.
- Permission forms for children to appear on websites.
- Ideas for using the initiative
NB> No information about the people pictured will be included on the website in any form. An index system will need to be developed.
We are going to talk with some printers and banner makers to see if we can have some „off the shelf‟ banners that can be ordered with local details printed on them at a low cost. We will also develop some handouts that can be either downloaded and printed or ordered directly from the printers with all the local details on them. All these resources will be branded as per the website to maintain a cohesive feel of the project. The way individual centres run the project and what they wrap around the event will be up to the churches involved.
1) Sponsors – To keep the cost down in year 1 we are seeking sponsorship from one or two key people. The main costs are set up and website related costs. A sponsor may wish to be placed on the website as a sponsor. We hope to keep the costs very low (about £25 per town for basic project). Literature printing and banners would be more, but PDFs/jpegs for self printing will all be free.
2) Web designers – To help develop a high quality website at a low cost.
3) Printers and banner makers – There will be a single company who will be a lead partner. Ordering will be through the project but will be forwarded onto the single person for delivery.
4) Advocates and dreamers –This project is embryonic but has great potential.
Would you like to share the dream with us?
All requests for follow up will be directed back to the lead person at the local project. It is thought that relational follow up is always best. Consideration needs to be given locally as to how this would happen.
- To develop a core team
- BUGB will get this off the ground in 2009
- In 2010 it is hoped that this will be able to be autonomous, if successful.
- Partnerships will be developed between this project, Christian Enquiry Agency and REjesus.co.uk
01235 517716; email@example.com
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