richard passmore offers a very moving reflection on memories of being 16 and that he wouldn't survive today with the latest government proposals on young people which demonstrate
a society that has lost its way, a society of selfishness, greed and power
rene padilla hung out with cms for a few months earlier this year as a missiologist in residence. one of the phrases i picked up from him which is the title of one of his books is the church as an agent of transformation. his basic point is that the church doesn't exist in and for itself but to help transform the local community in response to whatever social or spiritual or physical needs there are. i was reminded of this today when i read tearfund's report in the thick of it. there is lots of stuff around (and i contribute to it from time to time) on the challenges the church faces in relation to the cultural changes often finding herself stuck in a world that is passing. it can end up in a bit of a negative spin. those challenges are real and i am not wanting to deny or minimise them but it was good to read a very different kind of critique of the local church that is saying what good news it is!the local church is uniquely placed, in the thick of it, around the world in local communities acting as an agent of change in relation to HIV, poverty, education, environmental challenges, justice and advocacy to name a few issues. in many ways the local church has a reach and connection to the local community that ngos find much harder and more expensive to gain. this is the opening to the report...
A dramatic untold story is unfolding in some of the poorest places on our planet. Here, at the heart of HIV epidemics, at the epicentre of disasters, the church is bringing transformation to some of the most vulnerable and remote communities on earth – sometimes singlehandedly. Often the church is reaching these places in a way that other institutions do not – and cannot. Its long reach and presence extends even into war zones, refugee camps and mountain hamlets. Crucially, it is tackling poor people’s material and spiritual poverty to bring development that is truly sustainable.
gospel means good news of course so it's good to hear the church can be good news in this way. and of course it raises the question for any of us in a christian community/church how we are bringing transformation in our own local communities?
i have visited bethlehem once in 19998. the trip i went on was amazing - hard but really good. i went with the amos trust, a small charity who punch beyond their weight standing in solidarity with the oppressed and campaigning for justice. because they are small they invest time in particular areas and relationships. palestine and israel has been one of those areas. anyway all this by way of saying amos trust are organising a trip the gospel under occupation in may next year. kester brewin and chris rose will lead the trip. and here's some info
i realise i never said anything about the last grace which focused on bethlehem. it included a 26 foot screen to show the actual height of the now walled city of bethlehem. and there were various segments of an amos trust video that were shown and a set of stations for prayer. one included standing in solidarity offering messages of hope to residents of the hamlets of humsa and hadidya, in the occupied palestinian territories. more details are on the Amnesty website. and dean has added a set of photos here...
this coming sunday (25 march) is 200 years since the abolition of the slave trade bill was passed in uk law through the house of lords. i confess my knowledge of the history is pretty thin. but one of the groups heavily involved in the campaign were the clapham sect who also founded cms. william wilberforce is the best known member of that group. amazing grace the film that tells the story of the abolition through his life is out this coming weekend and the preview is tonight.
the current issue of yes magazine focuses on the issue of slavery (15mb pdf).
the irony is that there are more slaves today than 200 years ago with child soldiers, sex trafficking, and forced labour. this is tragic. lots of groups are making the most of the anniversary to focus attention on the issue of slavery today. these are a few things i am aware of. feel free to add any others in the comments and i'll paste them in...
african snow - a play that cms has sponsored
free for all - the cms youth team are undertaking a huge tour round the uk
ending slavery resource pack - education pack for cizitenship, RE, and history
the truth isn't sexy - i love this simple campaign to raise awareness of trafficking through some fairly full on beer mats in bars and pubs. there's a parliamentary launch tomorrow - well done guys!
stop the traffic - coalition of organisations, with a particular campaign focused on chocolate.
chaste - churches alert to sex trafficking across europe
set all free - churches together site
rowntree uk slavery report
all this can be a bit overwhelming. find something that touches you, or grabs you and get involved. an example of a group getting involved that inspired me is a youth group from st pauls and st barnabas in oldbury who are working on a production esther's story. as part of the promotion for it they put a video together and it got aired on channel 5 news - amazing! the play blurb is...
Shocked by the imprisonment of young women in a nearby brothel a group of teenagers from an Oldbury Church are actively and creatively highlighting the modern day evils of human trafficking and sex traffiking through a youth theatre production at Leasowes Community College Theatre, Kent Road, Halesowen, B62 8PJ.
The performance will be on 27th and 28th March at 7.30 p.m. with doors open at 7.00 p.m. Tickets are reasonably priced at £2.00 for adults and £1.00 for under 16’s.
Tickets from Paul and Barnys 0121 4226700
si has been working hard along with others at protest4 to develop the truth isn't sexy - a campaign against human trafficking, an apt response to the 200th anniversary of the abolishing of slavery next year. a key part of the campaign is some beer mats to be placed in pubs and bars with the kinds of images you'd see stuck up in phone booths round london advertising prostitution which have true stories on the back. very edgy and a welcome campaign. there is a get together at greenbelt 2pm saturday - details are on the protest4 home page
i'd not come across it before but it was wonderful to find a fabulous coffee shop in covent garden that serves great coffee, is stylish and is the antithesis of the global corporate coffee chain. progreso is run for the coffee growers who own a share of the business - their coffee sold in their cafe. oh and i forgot to mention... free wireless internet.
looks like they want to expand the business so try and get one in your area...
i also went to the book launch of brian draper's new book searching 4 faith. brian is an amazingly gifted writer. i think of him in the league of mike riddell when it comes to writing on spirituality. i've not actually read it yet but i'm sure it will be good. it's a book for spiritual seekers introducing them to jesus.
to celebrate new year chinese lanterns are hanging in oxford street (and of course in chinatown)...
Protest4 is an open collective of individuals and groups in emerging culture responding to the issues of injustice in our world. the first issue being reflected on and campaigned about is human trafficking. si says:
Protest4 will hopefully simply act as a convergence point for anyone wanting to open source their knowledge, experience and projects tackling any and all issues of justice. While human trafficking is the first issue being looked at by various people, the court is wide open for people to converse and kick off conversation and action on a host of justice-related issues. So, if you're feeling so inclined, do register and add your voice, skills and passion.
the site drop down menus don't currently work in safari or explorer but do in firefox. this should be fixed shortly...
Mission 4 Justice April 15th, 7-9.30pm
Tom and Christine Sine are speaking on mission, justice, life and faith for students and young adults.
Venue: St Mary's Church, 57 Kennington Park Road, SE11 4JQ.
Nearest tube: Kennington or Elephant and Castle (10 minutes Walk).
Tickets are £5 available on the door.
They have been invited by SPEAK as part of the Trade Justice Global Week of Action
(click on the image for a full size version of the flyer)
went to a launch of act justly. christian aid have developed a team that is focusing on working with evangelical, pentecostal and charismatic churches. i guess this is a pretty smart move because historically i guess it has been more liberal or mainstream in the churches that it networks with. this launch was for this network to try and help charismatic churches move beyond aid to focusing on justice. act justly is a series of 6 sessions that you can download for free (pdf - 1.17mb) and are ideal for a cell/small group. there is also a video you can get. at a quick glance it looks like the themes covered tie in perfectly with the make poverty history campaign. there was also a launch of an appeal to raise money.
on the issue of justice and faith, i really liked this column don't hand religion to the religious right in today's guardian. it makes a refreshing change to have an article in the guardian that recognises that the christian faith has a history of activism and justice on behalf of the poor and rather than being cynical about christians the left would do well to make friends and work with christians. it suggests that the christian left...
...need to toughen up, get organised and invoke the spirit of millions of Christians, from St Francis to Donald Soper, who have fought against injustice throughout the ages. Twenty years ago, Faith in the City was a prophetic call to Britain: condemning the selfishness of Thatcherism and the greed of 1980s Britain. The current campaign, Make Poverty History, is a similarly significant moment.
But the present situation also demands a reassessment by the secular left of the religious left. Because only the religious left is capable of challenging the religious right with the language of faith. The secular left, in short, needs to stop sniping and start making new friends.
i went with si , debbie and phillipa to trafalgar square to hear nelson mandela address a huge crowd as part of the campaign to make poverty history. we bumped into several people we knew - lots of greenbelt faces in the crowd. the director of oxfam, bob geldof, jamlia, nelson mandela and others all joined their voices on the day before the G7 world leaders meet to consider their response(ibility). it was a wonderful occasion, moving speeches and a mood of optimism in the air. i'm sure it's a tough road ahead... bob geldof had some fantastic truns of phrase - i hope all the speeches will be online pretty soon... one of his that stuck in my mind was
the job of world leaders is not to manage the world as it exists but to enable a world that we want to create
i took a few snaps and have added a make poverty history photo album on the left hand side bar. get involved in the campaign...
following on from my post about the world wide ambient vigil, the following comment was left inviting people to light virtual candles with messages that will be used as part of a vigil in san fransisco. you'll need to be quick as the vigil is wednesday evening.... i thought i'd post it here for people who follow the blog via a newsreader and miss the comments
We need 3,000 virtual candles lit online at our website with your accompanying words and reflections by Wednesday in time for a giant 1,000 foot wide Candlelight Global Vigil for the Global Village.
Global Vigils were held on the two week anniversary, Jan 9th/10th, beginning and ending here in San Francisco. We spelled out H-O-P-E in giant letters using homemade lanterns on the beach.
Again, this Wednesday, on the one month anniversary of the Tsunami disaster, we plan to create a 1,000 foot wide outline of the Indian Ocean affected region, and light 3,000 candles at sunset. The outline will be made using plain paper with your messages hope and Tsunami related reflections.
Please light as many online candles and spread the word as far and wide as you can.
In a word, HELP. :-)
today's guardian has a fabulous section on london which it claims in 2005 can lay claim to being the most diverse city ever. there is a map(pdf) and key which shows the locations of various communities and cultures which it is worth getting the paper for in itself. there are also lots of articles and features that are gathered together at what is britain?
the editorial calls for diversity and not segregation. i have been thinking a lot about this in the last few months and was reminded of it again following richard's post. the editorial says
Such segregation is something which society and governments can change. True, a degree of "clustering" is helpful in consolidating a community's culture. But communities which do not overlap or have meaningful interchanges, breed fear, distrust and division... ... ...There are all manner of small schemes that can provide bridges - school twinning, interfaith networks, cultural swap programmes.
the church is the body of christ of all nations and tribes and cultures down all the ages... the most globally diverse network possible. the vision of the future is of a global city. how well are we doing at providing a foretaste of the age to come in our churches and especially in our emerging churches? (it's interesting to change the first sentence of the quote by replacing the words society and governments with churches).
blah... last night with brian mclaren went well. brian was talking about justice. he had been with a group of young church leaders in burundi in the summer and this provoked him to reflect on how the gospel message that was shared in those contexts didn't seem to have addressed issues of reconciliation and justice. at one stage rwanda was held up as an example of the success of the missionary movement and the east african revival but then the genocide happened and christians were involved - the gospel that they had heard hadn't equipped them to love their neighbour. this caused lots of soul searching... CMS historically was involved in this part of the world so i found it particularly interesting and have a whole new set of questions. there was some great discussion around the tables and some great questions but the most encouraging is simply that emerging church is talking about issues of global and local justice. i hope that is a continuing trend. brian quoted that wonderful verse from micah
what does god require of you but to act justly love mercy and walk humbly with your god
gospel and justice
the (emerging) church in the global north is grappling with mission in a postmodern world. the (emerging) church in the global south is grappling with mission in a postcolonial world. brian mclaren explores the intersection between the two and the justice issues that emerge. how does the emerging church engage with gospel and justice?
brian is a prolific thinker, writer and speaker on mission and the emerging church. he is one of the visionary leaders of emergent, a network of missional leaders in the USA. this is a fantastic opportunity to hear him. brian is in the UK speaking at the inclusive church conference 2-4 dec. make sure you catch him there if you have the chance.
in view of the theme, and it being a christmas blah... we will have an offering which will go towards supporting rape victims in the Congo. come prepared to give generously. (if you're not coming and want to give you can).
this is the sixth of a series of conversations hosted by CMS in 2004 on mission, worship, church and christianity in today’s rapidly changing culture. it’s a time to keep listening, chatting and reflecting as god beckons us into the future.
wednesday 1 december | 6:30-8:30pm | drinks and refreshments provided | admission free
venue: CMS partnership house, 157 waterloo road
[nearest tube waterloo - follow signs from station to old vic. go past old vic and partnership house is on the same side opposite the ambulance station]
it would help us to know numbers in advance so if you're coming please e-mail jonny
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