Displaying items by tag: church
Many churches will be running a wide range of school holiday clubs throughout the summer months. Pray for the themed weeks to inspire children as they discover their Father in Heaven’s love and the friend that they have in Jesus. May the new songs that they learn be sung at home with their families and friends. Pray for God to give His strength and stamina to the many adults who will be guiding the children through various craft activities, sports and games, presenting interactive mime and drama, storytelling, singing and dancing, messy play and much more. May they find many opportunities to introduce their groups to Christ in each session. Pray for the clubs aimed at children who would normally receive free school meals. Pray for the evening clubs and café clubs aimed at older children to be fun and safe for all. May every Christian holiday club be used by God to open avenues between churches and communities.
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.’
At the end of 2020, national records reported that over 1,200 people had died of a drug-related death, putting Scotland at the top of the chart for drug-related deaths in Europe. The report painted a heart-breaking picture of loss and pain in so many families and communities across Scotland. Evangelical Alliance Scotland, Bethany Christian Trust, and Cross Reach carry out amazing work caring for some of the most vulnerable people in our communities, but they want to find out how they can further support the work of churches and agencies that focus on drug addiction. Therefore they are currently carrying out a survey with key questions around how drug addiction affects people's churches and how they can together provide sustainable solutions.
11-year-old Chan-Rey always wondered who created the whole world. Her mother didn’t know, so she kept searching for an answer. One Sunday a girl invited her to church. The Sunday school class was watching the Superbook episode ‘In the beginning’, about the creation of the world. ‘The story was AMAZING!’ she declared. ‘I saw the Spirit of God flying around. He said, “Let there be light”, and there was light! Then He made the world. It looked so beautiful. Then He created a man from dust and let them take care of everything!’ After watching the episode, Chan-Rey prayed with the teacher to become a Christian. She couldn’t wait to tell her family about what happened. ‘I shared the gospel with my parents and sisters. Then I brought them to church. Now they believe in Jesus too!’
Following the announcement in the Queen’s Speech that the Government will ban conversion therapy, the Bishop of London, Sarah Mullally, chair of the Living in Love and Faith Next Steps Group, said: ‘The Church of England believes that all people are made in the image of God and must be cherished for who they are. The General Synod has voted overwhelmingly to reject coercive conversion therapies, so we welcome the Government’s commitment to explore these matters further with a view to enshrining that position in law. We recognise the difficulties in defining conversion therapies, and look forward to working closely with the Government to develop a viable definition and subsequent legislation. We want to prevent abuses of power, and ensure that issues of consent are made absolutely central to any future legislation.’ Pray for people to recognise that gay conversion therapy is unethical, harmful, and not supported by evidence.
The Archbishops' anti-racism taskforce report calls for urgent changes. Failure to act could be the ‘last straw’ for many from the UK minority ethnic (UKME) backgrounds. Setting out 47 action areas across participation, governance, training, education and young people, the report states that racism is a sin. The church has been discussing the issue for 44 years. The nine-strong taskforce was set up in autumn 2020 to review previous reports of racial justice, discover whether their recommendations had been implemented, and prepare the ground for the establishment of a longer-term Commission on Racial Justice. One of the report’s main recommendations is the recruitment of more bishops and senior members of the church from UKME backgrounds, with suggested quotas. It highlights the fact that the new Bishop of Chelmsford, Dr Guli Francis-Dehqani, is the only UKME bishop in the Church of England.
England’s church leaders welcomed permission for communal worship under new lockdown. Pray that God will help congregations to take care, and for His shield of protection and wisdom to be around the vulnerable. Cardinal Vincent Nichols said, ‘The regular practice of our faith in God is a well-established source of personal resilience and dedicated service to those in need - vital in these difficult times. I am glad no measures have been introduced to obstruct or curtail this essential source of energy for the common good.’ Pray for God’s blessings to pour over all serving the needs of local communities. Meanwhile in Scotland all places of worship will be banned from hosting physical gatherings throughout January. The only in-person services allowed are weddings, limited to five people, and funerals, where 20 will be allowed. The Bishop of London, who chairs the CofE's Covid recovery group, said the new measures ‘underline the severity of the situation for the country’.
Four men have pleaded guilty to drug offences after selling cocaine from a property owned by the Diocese of Exeter. In May the group was arrested in Ide, near Exeter, after police discovered 2kg of the Class A drug in nearby woods. The street value of the drugs stash was estimated to be around £200,000. Police also recovered approximately £30,000 in cash. Three of the men admitted conspiracy to supply cocaine at Exeter Crown Court last week, and the fourth admitted to a charge of conspiracy to transfer criminal property, which relates to cash seized from his car. The sentencing will be given on 27 November.
Steve Chalke has urged the Government to reverse its decision not to extend the free school meals over the holidays until at least Easter. ‘If we believe that we have to provide these children with free school meals, because otherwise they lack the nutrition to be able to grow and thrive and study and succeed during school term times; do we imagine that they can exist on thin air through the six weeks of the summer, or the weeks of Christmas, Easter and half terms? We need to provide a steady ongoing care.’ Currently businesses, local authorities, and community groups have set up to provide thousands of free meals for children in need.
A group of black leaders from across the country, representing many denominations or none and pulled together by the Baptist Union president, have looked at ways of showing solidarity against the real injustices experienced by people of colour in our communities. Petitioning the government is one of those ways. They are encouraging people to sign a parliamentary petition calling for the government to implement recommendations previously raised to tackle the issue. They aim to attract 100,000 signatures so that the petition can be debated in parliament.