Displaying items by tag: United Kingdom
Financial data released by the Church of England shows that each bishop costs almost £120,000 a year, in addition to receiving £46,000 per year as a stipend. ‘As a member of General Synod for over a decade I have questioned the cost of bishops’ lavish lifestyles and opulence at the top while parishes up and down the country struggle to meet their bills, and even close their door,’ said Sam Margrave, a lay member of General Synod and a former local councilor, in a written statement submitted before last weekend’s synod meeting. The CofE spends, on average, £70,800 on the ongoing maintenance of each bishop’s house; 26 bishops live in houses that have more than six bedrooms.
England and Italy players took the knee at the Euro final. Priti Patel publicly opposed this at the beginning of the Euros, saying that she did not support ‘people participating in that type of gesture politics’. Asked if she would criticise fans who booed England players taking the knee she said, ‘That's a choice for them, quite frankly’. After they missed penalties in the final, Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka and Jadon Sancho were targeted by racist abuse. In response Ms Patel tweeted that she was disgusted. Tyrone Mings said, ‘You don't get to stoke the fire at the beginning of the tournament by labelling our anti-racism message as 'gesture politics' and then pretend to be disgusted when the very thing happens which we're campaigning against.’
The CofE has abandoned a proposal to appoint 42 ‘racial justice officers’ across the country, one of the recommendations from its report on tackling racism in the institution. In April 47 proposals were made to address institutional racism and improve diversity in an attempt to end a ‘rut of inaction’ spanning several decades, with the Archbishop of Canterbury conceding that people of colour had been ‘bullied, overlooked, undermined and excluded’ within the Church. With the taskforce warning a failure to act against racism would convince people the Church was ‘not serious about racial sin’, one suggestion was for paid, full-time racial justice officers to be employed in every diocese for a five-year term. However, the idea was scrapped. The Archbishop of York said, ‘The Archbishops' Council has concluded that it cannot support this recommendation in this formulation at this time, given the need to reduce costs in diocesan and national administration.’
Police reported ‘significant increases’ in stalking in England and Wales during the pandemic; over 80,000 incidents were recorded last year. However arrests struggled to keep up - growing at half the rate of the rise in offences. Chris has been stalked for six years by a man she met briefly in a team meeting at a previous job. He has inundated her with messages ever since, and contacted colleagues about her over 2,000 times despite them both leaving the company. She made around fifty separate calls to the police during the pandemic. One visit the man made to the offices of her current employer was even captured on CCTV while current colleagues have recorded obscene calls he has made asking to speak to her. Despite her passing this evidence to the police and reporting at least fifty incidents, the man has never been charged. She is one of many feeling let down by the police.
Society has been shaken over the past year, revealing that we need wise leaders in the church and in the public arena more than ever before. The Evangelical Alliance is inviting Christians working in the arts, media, academia, business, education, civil society, politics, healthcare and all other sectors to enrol in their Public Leaders Course. A public leader is a Christian who is intentional about bringing their faith to their leadership wherever God has placed them. The ‘public’ element means they are open about their Christianity and their leadership role is not internal to the church. The ‘leadership’ refers to where they have influence: workplace, local community, online, a social group. We can pray for filmmakers, writers, entrepreneurs, educators, health workers, civil servants, lawyers and all in the secular workplace to hear God’s call on their lives to live out their faith and draw others into God’s kingdom.
Kristie Higgs, a Christian pastoral administrator, was sacked for two of her Facebook posts that raised concerns about transgenderism and sex education at her son’s CofE primary school. On 14 July she won the right to appeal her case and will challenge her dismissal at an employment appeal tribunal. She will argue that her dismissal breached her freedom of speech. We can pray that this appeal will successfully raise important issues on the approach currently adopted by tribunals regarding demonstrations and expressions of beliefs. The judge directed that the appeal be listed in ‘Category A’, which means the case will be heard by a full three-member panel because it is complex and raises points of law of public importance.
Richard Sandland was ordained on 4 July and will serve in the parish of Bromsgrove, ten years after watching a play that changed his life. In his previous job at the Royal Shakespeare Company, they did a play called Written on the Heart, about the writing of the King James Version of the Bible. In one scene, Lancelot Andrewes and William Tyndale debated translations of the Beatitudes. He recalls, ‘As I watched and listened these words came alive for me. Gradually, I realised that I had been wrong all my life about God.’ As a direct result, Richard bought a copy of the Bible and began attending church in Kidderminster. Reflecting on his journey to ordination, Richard says, ‘God has drawn me on, step by step, until I reached a place where I knew the call was right.’
A church that was formed from a WhatsApp group during lockdown now meets every fortnight. Lay pioneer minister Venessa Pinto distributed postcards during lockdown to her neighbours, inviting them to join the group as a way of staying in touch during the restrictions. ‘Within a couple of days we received many messages, mostly from young adults.’ Venessa said. ‘We started engaging on questions of spirituality and faith and out of that we began meeting on Zoom for social activities and to talk about faith. Gradually that transformed into something more formal and into an intercultural worshipping community that we call Roots.’
From 19 June to 4 September, mission teams from Through Faith Mission are walking the ‘Via Beata’ footpath through the countryside of central England and Wales. The teams are going out literally without bread or money and no agenda or programme, trusting the Lord to provide both their needs and opportunities to share the gospel and serve others (Matthew 10:1-15; Luke 10:1-20). By mid-June, around 100 people had signed up for one or more of the eleven weeks. A similar number have pledged to pray. Join them in praying that the Lord will use the teams to bring the hope of the Gospel to many in the countryside of Britain and encourage rural churches along the way and add to their number. Also you are invited to join ‘Hope Countryside Online Prayer Gathering’ on 31 July, where intercession will be for the churches and communities for rural Britain. See
As many in England and across the Land are gripped by the euphoria of football and the Euros, multitudes are learning how to prophesy and believe in Hope. With the singing of ‘its coming home’ everywhere, people may not realise it but they are actually declaring Hope. In the same spirit of faith, may we declare as believers that ALL of God’s Will and promises for our family of nations are coming home! May revival, transformation and restoration visions or prophecies that many have been waiting for over many years finally begin to be fulfilled in this generation. On 8 July, believers joined a Zoom call to pray and declare God’s will and Kingdom promises over our land. This is a regular event. Those who miss the prayer gathering will find it is available on YouTube and Facebook to watch again.