Archbishop: Church of England schools can help shape ‘hopeful’ society

Archbishop Justin Welby visits St Bartholomew’s CofE primary school, London, 26 January 2016.
Archbishop Justin Welby visits St Bartholomew’s CofE primary school, London, 26 January 2016.

Read the Archbishop of Canterbury’s on the vision for CofE schools in this week’s TES:

Education is at the heart of the work the Church of England does for the common good.  Through its 4,500 primary and 200 secondary schools, it educates around one million children a day. It is estimated that around 15 million people alive today attended a Church of England school.

The fundamental purpose of Church of England education is to nurture people to live life in all its fullness, inspired by Jesus’s message in the Gospel of John: “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it abundantly.” Non-church schools also have inspiring visions, albeit articulated in different language; to inspire and educate the whole person, building them up to flourish in the world.

Click here for the rest of the article.

A Hopeful Future – Renewal & Reform

The second of four films themed on the vision and narrative of Renewal & Reform. The Bishop of Burnley is joined by Youth Council representative Alexandra Podd, and Archbishops’s Council member Rebecca Salter, in looking to a hopeful future.

Watch the second video in the series here:

Faith leaders call for revised refugee policy

 

rowan-williams

More than 200 leaders of faith communities have signed an open letter to the Prime Minister, Theresa May calling for urgent changes to the government’s refugee policy, particularly to allow families to be reunited.

The signatories are headed by Rowan Williams, the former archbishop of Canterbury, who will give a speech on Monday in front of an audience of faith leaders and refugees to reiterate the letter’s demands.

Elizabeth Butler-Sloss, the former lord justice of appeal, has added her name to the letter, which is also signed by leaders and representatives of the Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist communities.

The interfaith letter follows similar initiatives by 350 judges and lawyers, who wrote to the then prime minister, David Cameron, last October; 120 senior economists in January; and 27 humanitarian and refugee organisations, also in January.

24/7 Prayer Celebrating 17 years!

24-7-prayer

24/7 are celebrating 17 years since a group of young people gathered in Chichester to try and get a little better at praying – and inadvertently launched the very first 24-7 prayer room.

They’ve written a great blog sharing 17 achievements from the past 17 years, here’s a few highlights:

1. PRAYER SPACES IN SCHOOLS

Over 500,000 children have accessed a prayer space in a school, enabling them to experience prayer and learn more about what it is.

3. THOUSANDS MORE PRAYER ROOMS…

Since that first prayer room, others have taken place in locations across the globe – from the Houses of Parliament in London to underground churches in Asia. And across the nations of Ireland and Switzerland, there has been a whole year of unbroken prayer.

6. A WHOLE ARCHIVE OF PODCASTS

Our Christmas and Lent devotionals get downloaded 1.5 million times a year and are watched all over the world, reaching number 1 on the iTunes video podcast chart multiple times.

7. PRAYER ACROSS NATIONS

24-7 prayer has taken place in over half the nations of Earth and has become a cross-denominational movement with Anglicans to Pentecostals to Baptists to Roman Catholics joining to pray 24-7.

8. OUR YOUTH PRAYER COURSE

Origins, our Youth Prayer Course for 11-18s has been used across the UK and has already reached America and Australia…

10. WHY PRAY?

Our short snappy video explaining prayer has been viewed over 100,000 times online – and in countless churches, youth groups and conference around the world.

11. A VIRAL VISION POEM

Words scribbled onto the wall of the first prayer room went viral across the world, and now a brand new film is going to be released to celebrate this monumental poem.

12. THY KINGDOM COME

Last year we gathered to pray and to worship in 5 cathedrals across the UK simultaneously in one of the biggest Anglican prayer events in England. And plans for next year are well under way…

16. MISSION TEAMS

As well as long term 24-7 Prayer communities serving in all kinds of places from Ibiza to Cape Town, we’ve also sent short-term teams to Turkey, Macedonia, Spain, France and Greece to serve pray, and encourage.

 

Summer Christians and Discipleship

soul-survivor-worship

Jo Dolby, a brilliant youth worker from Bath and works for Bristol CYM as a youth and community work lecturer has written a fantastic response on the importance of discipleship over at Youthwork Magazine’s site to Will Jackson’s blog on new Christians at Soul Survivor.  Here’s a snippet:

 

But (you knew a but was coming!) there is something Will said in his blog that I can’t not respond to, something actually quite dangerous: “Sadly some of these young people probably won’t still be walking with God later down the line [i]but these things are not for us to worry about; that stuff is all in God’s hands”[ei].

In my opinion, these are exactly the things we are called to worry about. These are the things God has placed in our hands as his body … We were never asked to make people into Christians or converts. We were commanded to go and make disciples, and how do we do that? Baptising and teaching… or initiating them into the family of God and helping them live out everything Jesus taught. That’s our call, that’s our commission and we absolutely must stick to it, and not get distracted with the easy, adrenaline filled, fast-food business of convert-making.

Let’s be honest, getting converts is actually quite easy. We all know the emotional persuasive power of a room full of thousands of your peers, away from home, with the lights, the music, the talks – getting hands in the air and bodies to the front is not that hard.

But while making Christians is easy, making disciples is messy and difficult and takes flipping ages. In fact it takes forever. Hear me right on this: I’m not dissing Soul Survivor. I’m not even saying that emotive music, lights and altar calls are bad things, but they are bad when they are isolated, when they are not part of a bigger plan, a more concerted effort, a strategy and passion for the ultimate goal of making lifelong disciples of Jesus. They are bad when that is what we aim for, when the decision is the end goal rather than the beginning of something amazing.

So let’s have a giant party, let’s laugh, dance, celebrate and rejoice. But let’s remember that while these moments feel good, they are just a small part of the bigger mission we’re called to …

 

A Plentiful Harvest – Renewal & Reform

The first in a series of videos, A Plentiful Harvest, featuring both Archbishops on the Renewal & Reform programme is now live on the home page of the Church of England website and on YouTube. The series of videos will highlight the narrative of hope for the Church of England in the 21st century set out in the new Renewal & Reform web pages.

Crowdsource new Bibles for your church, school or youth ministry with GivingBibles.com

GivingBibles.com looks a brilliant new website designed by Hodder Faith especially for churches or other organisations that need Bibles but can’t afford them. Perhaps your church needs to replenish its stock of pew Bibles, or maybe there’s a growing youth group you’d like to give youth Bibles to? There are 30 different packs and individual Bibles to choose from, from individual gospels to packs of 20 church Bibles.

Whether you need Bibles for your church or school, or even for an Alpha or Christianity Explored course, Foodbank, Street Pastors’ group or for a local mission, GivingBibles.com is the place to come.

Anyone can set up an appeal, and it takes less than 5 minutes – just select the Bibles you need and write a short pitch as you might on JustGiving if you were running a marathon. Then share your appeal with your friends via email or social media.

GivingBibles.com from NIV Bibles on Vimeo.

Recruiting: Head of Alpha Northern Ireland

Interesting in working for Alpha?  They are recruiting a Head of Alpha for Northern Ireland.  Here’s some of the information they sent out:

We believe that everyone should have the chance to explore faith, ask questions and share their point of view; wherever they are in the world. We are looking for someone passionate about Alpha and the local church to head up Alpha in Northern Ireland. If you are living in Northern Ireland and are already involved with Alpha we’d love to hear from you.

As a team we strive for excellence and endeavour to be gracious and professional in everything we do. Alpha is an exciting and challenging place to work, where innovation, initiative and creativity are encouraged. As a Christian community, faith is an integral part of our working culture.

You can find out more details about this role here and, if you are interested in applying, further information is available from the people below.

Christian Selvaratnam – Head of Alpha UK Regions
christian@alpha.org

Amy Walker – Head of Alpha UK Operations
amy.walker@alpha.org

Youth Evangelism Officer appointed

jimmy_dale__002_Jimmy Dale has been appointed as the Church of England’s first national Youth Evangelism Officer.

In response to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s focus on evangelism. Jimmy will take up the role in October. He will hold a national remit to develop and disseminate models of evangelism among 11 – 18 year olds.

This new role aims to promote the mission of the church to and by 11-18 year olds. In collaboration with Dioceses, Jimmy will develop, pilot and evaluate effective models of youth evangelism that enable young people to reach their peers with the Gospel. Working alongside bishops, clergy, youth advisers and youth workers, he will then ensure that parish leaders have ready access to those models.

Speaking after his appointment, Mr Dale said:

“I’m so excited to be starting in this new role and the potential that it brings. It’s brilliant to see young people as they evangelise to their friends and support them in that, and helping churches reach young people with the good news of Jesus. I am really looking forward to working alongside people across the country as we seek to support and promote where youth evangelism is working well, as well as dreaming together of new ways to reach young people with the gospel.”

Mr Dale will work with both the Mission and Public Affairs Division (MPA) and the National Education Office of the Archbishops’ Council, as part of a small team focussed on youth evangelism.

Jimmy Dale comes to the post having worked as Centre Director and founder of Newham Youth for Christ and with previous experience in youth work. He holds a BA (Hons) in Youth Work and Applied Theology from the University of Gloucestershire.

Welcoming the appointment, the Director of MPA, the Revd Dr Malcolm Brown, said:

“I am very pleased that we have appointed Jimmy Dale to this important new post. It represents a creative response to the priority of youth evangelism which combines the resources of the Education Office and the Mission and Public Affairs Division and will start to address the challenges of reaching out to a generation which can confound our assumptions about how they see the world, the church and the gospel.”

Chief Education Officer, the Revd Nigel Genders, added:

“The priorities set out in Going for Growth include every young person having a life enhancing encounter with Jesus Christ and the Christian faith and recognises the vital need to enable the capacity of young people as agents of change and transformation. We are delighted to welcome Jimmy to bring a specific focus on youth evangelism to this work and look forward to working with others across the church as we seek to enable young people to reach their peers with the good news about Jesus.”

Information about Going for Growth can be found here

YLG2016: Lab Session 2

The third Lausanne Young Leaders Gathering is happening in Jakarta.  YLG2016 is a gathering of 1,000 younger leaders from over 160 countries who will connect, pray, and discern together God’s leading of their generation for his global mission.  It’s a privilege to be here and to share my notes from the 2nd Lab Session with you.

Churches are notoriously slow at planning. Planning in churches often seems to be done backwards – looking back at what you did last year. You get constrained by history. Other organisations such as relief organisations are much more reactive and can find it challenging to plan in advance.

 

The questions on service and value need more time than we have available here but do take them and continue to wrestle with them.

 

This template is based from a friend who led planning for a complex large organisation. It is key that if you’re not clear what your purpose is – not what to do you want to accomplish in life – but a 3-6 months time frame of what you want to accomplish and why. For example, in October I want to come back to Indonesia to celebrate my birthday. The “what” is in Indonesia, the “why” is my birthday, the “when” is in October. Then in Priorities I find out it takes 6 months to get a visa so then I either have to go somewhere else for my birthday or go to Indonesia later on.

 

The timeframe can then cause problems, especially in a large organisation or if a committee manages you. It is important that we have a timescale to make things more concrete, but it can be adjusted.

 

Either leaders end up with 50 items to do or you assign it someone else in a large organisation. What does it look like to have 3 priorities, e.g. travel arrangements, visa, and what activities I want to do. Which of those is most important, in this case 1 or 2. Under these big buckets you can then chunk down such as airfares, other connections, buy a new suitcase. If I can only do one, what would help me get started and keep me on track?

 

Focus on the purpose statement and the 3 priorities in your groups as there may be some divine appointments with resources and experiences others can share.