Issue Twenty Nine
From the Church of England Diocese of Bath and Wells
Hope in uncertain times Inside:
• A message of love from the Bishop of Manchester • Dr Tim Davy discusses the Book of Job • What’s concerning young people?
Read Reflect Pass On
Encouraging confident Christian communities in Bath and Wells hat in the world are you worried about?’ Where to begin you may say, with recent world events. So how can we sustain ourselves when things look bleak? For The Right Revd David Walker, Bishop of Manchester, who reflects on his city’s response to a tragic act of terrorism, love is most definitely the answer. Thankfully, those of us directly affected by such terrible acts as that visited on Manchester are rare. Financial worries, health concerns and family matters are much more common to us all. In this edition of Manna we talk to people in our diocese living with and giving hope in some challenging circumstances and we also gain an insight into what is worrying our young people and how we can help them. ‘Where is God in all this?’ is a common refrain when things are tough, whether in the media or perhaps from someone you know. Dr Tim Davy, research fellow at Redcliffe College, shares his insight into the Book of Job to help us reflect on that question, while Rural Affairs Adviser Rob Walrond and The Revd Joy Hawes share their feelings of hope as they talk about their faith and their work. Louise Willmot Editor Image credits: All images copyright of the author and licensed under Creative Commons, flickr.com. Cover: Adventures of KM&GMorris 3: Show your love for Manchester raver_mikey 2 & 13: Refugee Bengin Ahmad 13: EDSA Shrine Jun Acullador 15: Job Poster – The Bible Project 2 Autumn 2017
3 The Right Revd David Walker, Bishop of Manchester
4 Living in hope
9 Held by God
10 Concerning young people
12 Dr Tim Davy – Where is God in all this? All in a day’s work 16 Rob Walrond, Rural Affairs Adviser News in brief 17 Updates from the Diocese of Bath and Wells Out and about 18 Happenings and news from the parishes Time out 20 Hope floats 21 Broken and remade
22 We See You
Manna editorial panel for this issue Rt Revd Ruth Worsley, Bishop of Taunton (Chair) Revd Steve Tilley, Nailsea Revd Esther Smith, Bath Walcot Jane Tompsett, World Mission Adviser Louise Willmot, Communications (Editor)
Get in touch
Email: manna@bathwells. anglican.org ph: 01749 685145 Diocese of Bath and Wells The Old Deanery Wells Somerset BA5 2UG T: 01749 670777 Manna Magazine
A call to hope
By the Right Reverend David Walker, Bishop of Manchester.
ne of the teachers at my secondary school wrote a foreword which went down so well with a publisher that it appeared at the beginning of textbooks on every subject from French to Chemistry. As a joke, I and others learnt to recite it by heart. It began with the phrase, “We live in a rapidly changing world, some may say too rapidly”. That was in 1967, a period that many now look back to as simpler and less threatening. To every generation, the challenges were faced in former times, yet I cannot remember a period when we haven’t had to live with the uncertainties of war or terrorism alongside threats to humanity from famine or climate change. The recent round of terrorist attacks, in my home diocese of Manchester and elsewhere across Europe, represent the latest, tragic variant, on what is all too perennial a theme. The keynote to our response, echoed in other cities, has been the deliberate and vocal choice of love over hate. For me, and for many others, both Christians and those drawn from wider world faiths, that assertion of love is grounded in another of the things that St Paul tells us “last forever”, hope. When I lit a single candle at the public vigil on the evening after the Manchester bomb, I set out that hope which lies, echoing the words of St John, in the light that shines in darkness, and which the darkness will never conquer. It is a hope first and foremost in God himself. He has not created us, or this world, for destruction but for abundant life. We have our part Manna Magazine
“Our response has been the deliberate and vocal choice of love over hate.”
to play in the flourishing of his creation, but his purposes, revealed in Christ, will never be ultimately defeated. And, secondly, I have hope in my fellow human beings. We are made in God’s image and, though we fall far short of its fullness, we are all capable of behaving as our Father’s children. On the streets of Manchester, in the days and weeks after the terrorist attack, I came across countless examples of people engaging across the boundaries of visible difference. Men and women chose to reach out to each other in love, in mutual grief, and in determination that those who perpetrate atrocities would not change the warmth and welcome of our city. We live today, as in my schooldays, in times of huge and threatening uncertainty. And yet we live with a hope that remains equal to the task. A hope that can inspire us to the very acts of love and acceptance which are the greatest discouragement to those who seek to harm our communities ■ Autumn 2017 3
Living in hope Manna talks to some people about what has helped them through challenging times.
or busy working mum and town councillor Alison Morgan from Backwell, it was inconvenient at first when she pulled a calf muscle when stepping off a bus back in 2002. After six frustrating weeks she expected to be up and running again but it wasn’t to be. Instead, as the muscle failed to heal and other muscular issues developed, she faced several weeks in hospital and innumerable tests for conditions including multiple sclerosis and motor 4 Autumn 2017
Alison Morgan (centre) with her fellow campaigners on the new accessible path at Backwell Lake.
neurone disease, only to be told that they did not know what was wrong with her. A naturally positive person, Alison acknowledges it was a difficult time. “I was sent from one person to another and getting appointments for six to 12 months ahead, before being sent on for the next load of tests after another long wait. Work naturally wanted to know what was happening and as I didn’t have a diagnosis it was a real battle to get any benefits and I eventually lost my job.” Manna Magazine
For Alison, however, the worst impact was that on her family. “It was upsetting, worrying and quite frightening for them especially as mobility aids began appearing that they had seen in elderly friends’ and neighbours’ houses that they felt was ‘not stuff mums have’. Life changed for all of us. I was upset about what I couldn’t do for them and didn’t want to burden them or affect their growing up.” But family, friends and faith sustained Alison as her health declined and was ultimately given the diagnosis of unspecified myositis which, she explained, is one acknowledging she has muscle damage for an unknown reason. She says: “Being a Christian and part of a church, the support network available to you is fantastic so I was lucky. People would help with meals and lifts and offer prayer support. In the past I have said to people in difficult situations ‘I will pray for you’, often wondering is that really any help at all. But when I was on the receiving end of it I really got to know that knowing people are praying for you is a real support.” She also received some help from an unexpected encounter, what she terms ‘my touched by an angel moment’. “I was invited to attend a healing church in Bristol and I have to say I was sceptical, but desperate. People were going up to the front for laying on of hands and prayers. I didn’t feel able to go up so I just sat there getting more and more emotional when I felt someone’s hand on my shoulder. A lady, who I later found out no one had seen before or even seen arrive, said ʻGod has asked me to give you a message. He’s told me to tell you not to worry, everything’s going to be okay.’ I didn’t leap out of my chair, there was no blinding flashing light, but I did feel my anxiety lift. All my pent-up worry and anxiety about what’s going to happen disappeared as I realised it Manna Magazine
Alison acknowledges that in some ways her illness has made her family, including children Lucy and Chris, even closer.
“I really got to know that knowing people are praying for you is a real support.”
was in God’s hands now and He’s taken that worry for me. That was a real turning point for me. But that’s not to say it doesn’t test my Christian faith at times, not just because of my circumstances but also for friends with illnesses that I have met on my way.” Campaigning is also something that has also helped Alison, although it has been challenging too at times. She has successfully campaigned to get dropped kerbs introduced around her town and for an accessible path around Backwell Lake. She also continues to lobby Great Western Railway to provide an accessible ramp for both platforms at her local station – an issue she first raised as a mum with two toddlers in a double buggy. “The biggest positive I have found from campaigning is that as a society we have woken up to the fact that we shouldn’t be exclusive but inclusive. I’m lucky to live at a time when we have the Equality Act (formerly the Disability Discrimination Act). I’ve realised sometimes barriers are there because people haven’t realised there is a problem and they are quick to address those barriers when they are pointed out.” ➜ Autumn 2017 5
“Looking back I can see God at work and I have to feel that isn’t going to stop. I feel that God has been with me on the way. And when I have been low and down about it there have been other people around who have raised me up when I haven’t been able to pray.” “For anyone without hope I would say trust in a higher power. I’ve encountered God through the doctors, the nursing staff, the physiotherapist and all the help that has always come my way. It is about accepting that you can’t control everything yourself and not worrying too much about what the future holds, but just take each day as it comes and deal with what comes at you. Looking back I can see where God’s been at work and I think that is not going to suddenly stop.” For the young people that Karen Deverell, Chief Executive of YMCA Mendip comes into contact with, hope can often be something they are missing and her goal, and that of her colleagues and volunteers, is to give them that hope. Karen says, “The young people we meet have all the things to worry about that every other young person has but, add to that, having to be away from home, perhaps after an unsettled upbringing, and being disconnected from family, and it is very tough for them. 6 Autumn 2017
YMCA Mendip offers young people warm and welcoming places to go.
“Looking back I can see God at work and I have to feel that isn’t going to stop.”
“We are here to help them find a sense of themselves and of their future – to find the positives in themselves and their lives. Many of them feel they are not worth helping which is tragic at such a young age.” YMCA Mendip offers young people warm and welcoming places to go, including accommodation, but also youth clubs and drop-in centres. Karen explains, “We try to send these young people the message ‘We do care about you. You are valuable. You can do anything!’ In essence we try to offer anything a good family should.” It’s a system that is working, as some people have moved from using the services offered, to becoming volunteers and staff members. One such young person, who wishes to stay anonymous, said: “I was first introduced to the YMCA as a homeless 16-year-old, following a really difficult childhood. I was put into emergency accommodation and then into the YMCA’s Frome Foyer, their local support/ meeting room. Depression and anxiety led to self-harm and more serious incidents as I was not able to cope. Staff within the Foyer supported me with this and helped me get counselling. Over time and with help, I started to Manna Magazine
manage my depression better and deal with my past. I became more positive about my future. Staff helped me apply for a college course and I was given opportunities to be part of a youth steering group for residents. “With help from YMCA staff, I became independent, learnt to manage a home and my mental health. So, to say thank you, I started volunteering at one of their youth centres. Now I am an employed youth worker, in a very different place in my life and working for a charity I am passionate about. The YMCA does incredible work which can be life-changing and life-saving for many, including myself.”
Young people give YMCA Mendip a thumbs up.
Karen Deverell was joined by the wider Street community to celebrate the opening of YMCA Mendip’s Street Foyer.
While funding cuts are a problem for all charities, Karen points out that there is much more awareness that times are hard from the public, so they have had increasing public support which helps balance the loss of local authority support. In Frome, for example, the community has recently raised £90,000 in four months to keep a drop-in centre for young people. She says, “We’ve always had great support from churches and the wider community, be that with food, volunteers, board members or fundraising. Times may be hard but it is important that we keep developing to meet needs, regardless of the world around us, and we have expanded our service at a time when others have been forced to cut back. “The Dean of Wells is one of our patrons and we are holding a celebratory service, open to the whole community, on 21 October at 2pm in Wells Cathedral to mark 125 years of YMCA Mendip. That history is important to us, not least because the founder of the YMCA organisation George Williams came from the area, but also for its reassurance. We’ve been here for a long time and it is important for young people in Mendip to know that we will continue to be here to support them.” Looking further afield, the diocese’s World Mission Adviser, Jane Tompsett, witnessed the fruitfulness of hope at first hand when she visited the Parish of Mwenda, a huge parish in the Luapula Diocese. The diocese is the newest in Zambia and is located in the far north west of the country and only has 10 priests. Jane explained, “This one parish has five congregations that are scattered across an area larger than Somerset, with only one priest to serve them. In November 2017 a bushfire completely burnt down the main church St John at Mwenda which could have had a terrible impact on the community. “Thankfully, the local people know how to live in the hope of Jesus. From ➜ Autumn 2017 7
a position of hopelessness they looked among themselves to their gifts. They got a building committee together and, using funds raised from the local and very poor community, managed to rebuild the church in a month. They now plan to raise money for seating inside the church and a borehole. I found their enthusiasm and dynamism astounding and exciting. Their pride in accomplishing this without help was evident and has become, instead of a tragedy, very empowering for them.” Another positive outcome from the tragedy was a reinvigoration of the link with Wellington team parish. June Best, churchwarden of St Giles’ church in the Wellington and District Team, is a member of the Mwenda Group. She explained: “We made a big fund-raising push a number of years ago to help the parish build a priest’s house but progress was slow and communication between us and Mwenda was challenging. Since the parish has rebuilt its church it has also made progress with the priest house and has sought assistance from us only for help for those items you need to buy, such as the roof, windows and door frames.
8 Autumn 2017
Mwenda’s church was rebuilt in a month.
We are now in frequent contact with Canon John using WhatsApp, smartphone messaging service. We regularly pray for each other and I have a real hope that this will be the start of a stronger link. Previously I was starting to wonder if the link had a future. Now I am sure it has.” Out of what must have felt like a hopeless situation in rural Zambia, 18 months later they have a new church and high hopes that the new house will attract a priest to come and work with them ■
The new church is being put to good use.
Join us to celebrate 125 years of YMCA Mendip at Wells Cathedral at 2pm on 21 October.
Held by God
By Revd Joy Hawes.
orn knowing God’ is a phrase I heard recently and it seems appropriate as there has never been a time when I didn’t believe in God. My faith however can feel contradictory, a profound knowing and yet not knowing, and it has changed and grown over the years. I grew up as part of the Methodist Church but at university I kicked over the traces of Christian practice. Looking back though, I see that God was very much involved in my life as I became more confident and concerned with issues of social justice. In later years, when my family and I were involved in independent charismatic evangelical churches and I was heavily involved in pastoral work I felt a strong sense of call to train as a counsellor. I felt sure God wanted me to work alongside others as they sought greater wholeness. Life was good, so it came as a shock to experience a crisis of faith which led to me leaving the church. But I couldn’t completely let go and started going to services in Wells Cathedral where the beauty of the music and liturgy was balm to my soul. It gave me space to encounter God afresh and find for myself an authentic faith. I attended the Exploring Christianity course and loved learning about Anglicanism and discussing theology in a small group. I discovered the Exploring Spirituality course and this opened up whole new vistas of spiritual practice; contemplative prayer especially nourished my soul. Manna Magazine
The Revd Joy Hawes at her ordination.
“My counselling training has been invaluable as I support students and staff through choppy emotional waters and sometimes poor mental health.”
Years later, I became chaplain to The Blue School; an unlikely job in some ways but my life experience and training seemed to fit. I found it an immense privilege — and fulfilling to listen to others and accompany them through the highs and lows of life. I loved working with teenagers, although leading an assembly of 250 was daunting at first! My counselling training has been invaluable as I support students and staff through choppy emotional waters and sometimes poor mental health. The first murmurings of the call to ordination occurred a couple of years into the chaplaincy work and the support of the then Dean of Wells and the vocations team led to me training as an non-stipendiary minister in 2012. I am convinced the church has a role to play in promoting good mental health as part of the healing ministry of Christ. As I look back over my life I can see the grace and faithfulness of God running through it, using the various circumstances and experiences to bring me more into the person I am created to be. I am continually learning to trust that I am held by God whatever the future may hold ■ Revd Joy was one of the speakers at the diocese’s recent Discovering Wholeness Together, a conference to help churches engage with mental well-being. Would you like to share your personal journey of faith? Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org Autumn 2017 9
Concerning young people
Tony Cook, Assistant Director for Youth and Children for the diocese, asks ‘where is the hope for young people in uncertain times?’
he recent Good Childhood Report from The Children’s Society suggests that a significant number of 10-17-year-olds are facing shocking levels of multiple disadvantages and that their happiness with life is at its lowest since 2010. Add to this young people’s concerns about the uncertainties of Brexit, terrorism and many other issues, and where indeed is the hope? Generations have been supported by youth work/ministry in their formative teenage years, having adults who listened to them and journeyed with them in any given situation without judging them – and offered them a sense of hope in uncertain or difficult times. Sadly the decimation of youth provision in many of our communities has left many young people bereft of this vital interaction with adults who are not parents or teachers. Youth work/ministry is not the sole answer to addressing the findings of the Good Childhood Report, or the other worries and pressures young people face today, but it is certainly one. While The Children’s Society is using its findings to challenge the Government to urgently review the funding available to local authorities for Children’s Services to help address the scale of the issues, we in the church have a significant role to play to ensure young people know: 10 Autumn 2017
Jeremiah 29 verses 11 – 12 (NIV), “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.”
Get in touch with the Go Team to find out how you can support children and young people in your church. Email tony.cook@ bathwells. anglican.org
• We value them and are there for them, providing space for them to just be themselves • We will try to listen to them, their ideas, their concerns and their aspirations • We can offer advice if required or signpost to others who might be able to help • We are committed to journeying alongside them as they try to be who they are, without judging them • We will help them explore different choices and hopefully make good and informed decisions • We will endeavour to unpack and debate scriptures with them, so they know that God loves and values each one of them • We can pray with them and for them in any given situation • We will try to share Jesus with them in both word and deed.
At a session on hopes and worries with young people at my church we talked about these things in the context of their Christian faith and we prayed about the issues they raised. It was clear their faith was not a mask for the bad things happening in the world or their own lives, but it did offer some of them an element of hope. If our churches can offer just a glimpse of this to young people, we will see lives transformed and enriched by the amazing grace and hope of God in these uncertain times. Manna Magazine
I’m worried about...
Lives of th ose vulnerable women caught up in the sex trade
Not fitting in at school and sixth form and not being as clever as everyone else
g tall Not bein play to enough all basketb
Where going am I to b the fu e in ture?
My future career
The concept of the unknown in my future and in the world with storm School in America and things and GCSEs out of our control
What gives me hope...
Putting in the effort to do well
up People standing against terrorism and not giving in
t nstan The co t of threa ism terror Safety of my parents
Natural disa caused b sters y glob warming al Environment/ global warming
Prayin ga my fa nd ith
Being organised The police
Being e nc by othe ouraged rs and the things they sa y
uble All the tro ced e for people ar ugh in to go thro ries unt poorer co
Knowing that there is still time to do th ings
nd Eating a sleeping enough
Exams and not fulfilling the grades and expectations of the school / college and parents
to Working hard at school get the GCSEs that I want to get. What I’ll do as a job when I’m older
ior g infer Feelin ers to oth
I try not to think about stuff in the world too much or it makes me depressed
eat of The thr rest un nuclear orth nN betwee merica nd A Korea a
rming Perfo s me low – it al t go to le
y Riding m horse
The people who keep on fighting no matter what dreadful circumstances they find themselves in
Support from loved ones
Trusting in Jesus even when things don’t work out as I hoped or expected
Our thanks to the young people from West Somerset College and local churches who shared their worries and sources of hope with us ■ Manna Magazine
Autumn 2017 11
Where is God in all this?
One of the books of the Bible that people look to in times of turmoil is Job. Manna talks to Dr Tim Davy, Research Fellow and Lecturer in Biblical Studies and Mission at Redcliffe College.
hy do you think people who are suffering are drawn to the Book of Job?
It’s a bit like a moth to a flame. It seems to touch something quite deep within us in terms of our human experience, dealing with universal themes like suffering, family matters, wealth and poverty. They resonate with our experience of life, but at the same time like the moth we may get a bit burned because although we know the answers are there, they aren’t always that easy to find. It is a maze and people can’t always see through its complexities and get to the real gold.
Did you choose to study Job to make it more accessible for people?
I took quite a circuitous route to studying Job. I was initially focusing on the The Widow, the Orphan and the Stranger from the Book of Deuteronomy. This was inspired in part by the time my wife and I 12 Autumn 2017
Dr Tim Davy.
“It is a maze and people can’t always see through its complexities.”
spent working in Russia where we witnessed the terrible situation of children living on the streets, sheltering from the weather in the sewers in winter. When I moved on to my PhD I planned to look further at that story, but I also looked at Job, as many sections talk about vulnerable children. When I hit a block in my studies my tutor suggested I concentrate on Job and when I did so I began to see that this is a really important book and that is why I have stayed there. Manna Magazine
What insight does the book offer to help give us hope?
One of the key things in the book is that it faces the struggle that we all have, head on. It’s wonderful that we have the book of Job as it is a book reflecting on suffering, which is a universal experience that we don’t understand. It isn’t about persecution which, terrible though that is, we know why it is happening. Job deals with suffering when there is no obvious cause. It makes us ask ourselves, ʻHow can I, as a person of faith, live as a person of faith when I, or those around me, are suffering?ʼ
As we seek to put mission at the heart of all we do, what do you think we can learn from Job?
Job takes someone’s suffering really seriously. It gives it time to breath. We have in the Book of Job an example of God taking humanity’s pain seriously and wrestling with it. There are no easy answers in the Book of Job but then there are no easy answers in life. The book honours the pain that people have, points to a way through it or with it and that is a valuable thing for a minister or anyone journeying with someone who is suffering. We have room for praise and worship in our churches but we don’t tend to make
Children’s suffering led Tim Davy to study the book of Job.
time for a lament and worship and we should make space in the church week for that. In terms of mission I think it is saying, take people’s pain seriously who are outside the church as well. Genuinely listen. Don’t offer really simple answers. When someone is going through grief or something similar we may ask ‘How are they doing?’ and a friend may respond ‘Really well.’ We need to consider that they may not be able to really answer that until six months or even five years later. After all, what does it look like to grieve well?
We need to interpret Job through Jesus Christ.
How do we answer ‘Where is God in all this?’
The book of Job doesn’t give an easy answer to where is God in the London bombings or other atrocities, but somehow He’s in the midst of it. In Job, God himself comes and encounters the sufferer in a sustained way that you just don’t see in any other book. He takes Job’s pain seriously. The book tells us we don’t have any simple answers but there is something of an answer in an encounter with God. Job’s perspective transforms not when he gets better, but when he encounters God. And so there is something about meeting with God that doesn’t necessarily solve the pain in a simple way but it allows it to be heard. ➜ Autumn 2017 13
Ultimately, as Christians we need to interpret the Book of Job through Jesus Christ as well. And in Jesus’s life, death, resurrection and ascension you see all these themes of Job come to a climax in a way. A lot of people don’t like how complicated the book of Job is, indeed I feel that I have just scratched the surface. But if it was a simple book with simple answers it would be useless because it wouldn’t reflect how things are in the world.
“To allow space for pain is actually a deep sign of faith.”
What do you think the Book of Job offers to someone who is suffering?
What do you think Job teaches us about friendship?
I think Job offers us some big lessons on friendship. Job’s friends have a very tight knit-view of how the world works. If you are righteous, God will favour you. If you are unrighteous you are punished. If Job really hasn’t done anything wrong that whole system breaks down and in their mind, ‘if it has happened to Job then it could happen to me’. That is deeply unsettling for them as it can be for
people providing pastoral care to someone in need. It can remind us ‘that could happen to me’. Job is a reminder of our failing as friends and a warning not to be too prescriptive in our support of those we seek to help and a challenge to us to take pain seriously and sometimes just shut up and listen.
Job offers some big lessons on friendship.
I think the book shows there is no one way to react to suffering. You’ve got the Job of the prologue who is still drawn to worship in his suffering and some people may react to suffering like that. But in the confusion and anger we see in the rest of the book you will see Job say some terrible things to God. We’re probably not going to suffer as terribly as Job does, and we probably won’t react in such an extreme way as Job, but the book does give us permission to, if that’s how we feel, or to do it in our own way. Job challenges us to face our own pain. I think that’s a profound admission; it’s showing a genuine relationship. Job’s anger comes out of his deep commitment to who God says he is. So to allow space for pain is actually a deep sign of faith, but it doesn’t always feel like that. If we can create the conditions in our churches, in our home groups, to faithfully lead a lament, then that could be a good, healthy way to live your faith.
Job comes out of it changed. Do you think that is another key message?
Pre-calamity Job did have vigorous ethics and he seemed to have quite a righteous relationship towards the poor and the marginalised. It seems following his experiences he sees a solidarity with them that perhaps he 14 Autumn 2017
did not have before, so I think the book says something quite important about how we relate to people in the margins. As we dwell in the book of Job I think it makes us more sensitive to the pain around us. We live in a relatively secure and comfortable place in the South West and I think Job is a bit of a wake-up call. It’s an uncomfortable challenge to think of the suffering of others.
What would you say to someone who was contemplating reading the Book of Job?
I think people should not be afraid to go to the more difficult texts in the Bible. We are often quite selective in what we read and what we preach from but it is from some of the more Manna Magazine
Find your way into Job with The Bible Project’s video and poster.
difficult parts of the Bible where there is real treasure. They address some of the really deep issues we are wrestling with, not just Christians but all of us ■
Watch The Bible Project’s video introducing The book of Job or download the poster
“People should not be afraid to go to the more difficult texts in the Bible.”
http://bit.ly/2fdWG2u www.thebibleproject.com Read Tim Davy’s article in Guidelines: Bible Study for Today’s Ministry and Mission January-April 2016 available on Amazon. Autumn 2017 15
All in a day’s work
Rural connections By Rob Walrond, Rural Affairs Adviser.
s Rural Affairs Adviser my role is to help parishes see how they can live out their faith in their communities. It is a part-time role that I do alongside my day job as a working farmer a position which, along with my membership of a small rural church in Pitney, keeps me rooted in rural life. Church is the one rural network that remains and is always going to be there. I am very encouraged when I visit rural parishes and see the hope and optimism amongst Christians working in the countryside and the way they live out their faith, often by being involved in the village hall, the parish council and supporting local schools. This contrasts with the common perception that rural church is in decline. As part of my work with deaneries, in which I support them and work alongside them as they develop and implement their Deanery Mission Action Plans, I have also seen some great projects. More than any time I can remember, the rural church is seriously looking at how it can effectively serve its communities. The church’s role in connecting its communities is particularly important in rural communities where isolation can be a real issue. I am not just here to support farmers, it’s about us helping all sections of the community to connect. Our recent Taste the Harvest saw children from 40 schools visit farms to find out where their food comes from and enjoy a lively harvest worship. It is a great learning experience and a fantastic way local Christians, the farming community and schools can connect. 16 Autumn 2017
Rob Walrond, Rural Affairs Adviser.
“The rural church is seriously looking at how it can effectively serve its communities.”
That is not to underestimate the strain some farmers are under, and offering pastoral care is also part of my role. I am a chaplain to the Farming Community Network (FCN), a Christian organisation which gives practical and emotional support to farmers experiencing hardship, depression and other difficulties. There is a lot of uncertainty in rural communities due to Brexit. Farmers fear food/agriculture is seen as less important than other industries and that they will be forgotten in the negotiations with Europe. Farmers are incredibly resilient and innovative, however, and I do try and share the positive stories I come across as I travel the diocese. No day is ever the same in my job, a bit like farming. One day I could be liaising with a deanery on their action plans, the next I will be sharing my rural parish perspective at a diocesan meeting, such as the recent Innovation Day held at Wells or the Environmental Conference in Frome. It’s impossible for me not to feel hopeful. In my farming I am surrounded by new life which embodies hope and potential and as a Christian I am blessed to witness God at work in our rural communities every day ■ Manna Magazine
News in brief
News in brief
Updates from around our diocese.
Exciting changes coming to ‘A Church Near You’
Bath’s New Archdeacon
Exciting changes are coming to the popular ‘A Church Near You’ website, including the chance for parishes to use it to create their own free and bespoke websites. A Church Near You is the online information portal accessible to all churches across the country. Each church can own its own page and keep it updated with the latest information about what is happening. The new look format, which goes live next month, will offer more options and from next year parishes will have the opportunity to use ‘A Church Near You’ to create their own bespoke websites ■
Celebrating 40 years of the Bath and Wells – Zambia link
The Revd Dr Adrian Youings is the new Archdeacon of Bath. Adrian was most recently Rector of Trull and Angersleigh, two parishes on the edge of Taunton where he has served since 2003 and was Rural Dean of Taunton Deanery from 2015 ■
Old Deanery relocation The Diocese of Bath and Wells is seeking to move its offices from The Old Deanery on Cathedral Green in Wells to a newbuild site elsewhere in the city. The decision, in principle, was agreed by Bishop Council. Poor access for disabled visitors, the lack of environmentallyfriendly credentials, the limited number and size of meeting rooms, and the high repair, maintenance and running costs of The Old Deanery buildings were all cited as major reasons for recommending a new-build option ■
Parishes in Bath and Wells and Zambia have supported each other to live and tell the story of Jesus in their communities since 1978. We will be celebrating this milestone with a programme of thanksgiving and celebration in 2018. Events will begin in Zambia in April with ‘Live the Link’ which will see a group of Bath and Wells’ folk visit Zambia on an immersive, educational experience. Special services will be held in the five Zambian
All are welcome at Adrian’s licensing at Wells Cathedral, 3pm on Sunday, 5 November.
dioceses and our Bishops will visit Zambia to give thanks for the partnership and be welcomed to a national celebration on 29 April. In Bath and Wells, celebrations are planned for July, including a service at Wells Cathedral on Saturday 14 July and a tour of link parishes by our Zambian bishops. The programme culminates with a summer youth exchange in August. See www.bathandwells.org.uk/ zambia40 for more details of how you can be part of the celebrations! ■ Autumn 2017 17
Out and About
across Bath and Wells
Send your images to email@example.com To see more photos, visit our Facebook page www.facebook.com/bathandwells Swedish choir (Right) ■ Fifteen members of the choir from Christ Church Nailsea and St Quiricus and St Julietta enjoyed their third annual choir exchange with Ivetoftakören, a church choir from Bromölla in southern Sweden.
Harvest Home lunch (Middle Right) ■ Vicar Anne Farmer, who led a service at St Lawrence’s before the Wick, Hewis and Puxton Harvest Home lunch, said, “It’s always a great occasion, but it was somewhat tinged with sadness this year following the death of 84-year-old Ted Cox who had been attending since he was in a pram, and president, Derek Mead.”
Cycle ride fundraising (Above) ■ Well done to the team from St Andrew’s, Wiveliscombe, who cycled 100 miles to raise funds for their church reordering project.
A stellar success (Below Left) ■ Nearly 100 children enjoyed the Space Academythemed holiday club put together in Wellington. Over three days the Starship Crew travelled through space to share the “Goodness, kindness, generosity, honesty and mercy of Mission Command”.
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Getting crafty (Right) ■ Children young and old enjoyed an ‘awesome’ craft morning at St Mary’s in Berrow.
Taken (Below) ■ Lloyd Notice, Holy Trinity Frome parishioner and professional actor, is bringing the gospel of St Mark to life with his one-man play, Taken, inspired by Terry Waite’s book Taken on Trust. You can find out how to book it for your church at www.lloydnotice. com/taken
Out and About
SJs Little Ones (Below) ■ A brand new pre-school initiative is starting in St John’s Church, Peasedown St John. ‘SJs Little Ones’ builds on the success of ‘SJs Toy Library’, which has been a big hit with parents and children since 2014.
Laughter, loppers and ladders (Left) ■ An overwhelming ‘to do’ list for Jill Perryman, churchwarden of Holy Trinity church, Street, was made lighter in more ways than one following a recent ‘Work Drop in Day’. To find out what’s happening across the diocese, see our events calendar at www.bathandwells.org.uk/events Manna Magazine
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Hope floats By Richard Calverley.
e all love a happy ending. Isn’t that why we find movies inspirational and motivating? Many films have an element of hope; these are only some that explore this further. Castaway (1999). Tom Hanks is the FedEx man washed up on a desert island after surviving a transportation plane crash; staying alive in the hope of returning to his love. That’s complicated; a parcel from the wreckage provides the purpose he needs. Soul Surfer (2010). If your destiny is to surf professionally but you lose your arm to a shark attack, what chance is there of getting back in the water, never mind fulfilling your potential against unlikely odds? A biopic of Bethany Hamilton; highlighting where her hope lies. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946). This is much more than an old Christmas standard. George Bailey, after serving his town through many years and hardships, finally loses hope after crippling losses threaten his bank; and he attempts suicide. An angel points the way but it’s his community that rallies round. Still powerful; a reminder how we need each other in dark days. The Bucket List (2007). Two men find new purpose and quality of life, despite the impending shadow of terminal illness, by completing a list of ultimate life experiences. A comedy; exploring how joy may be found, whatever the circumstances. The Shawshank Redemption (1994). Andy Dufresne, falsely imprisoned for murder, survives adversity despite an unjust system and a corrupt governor. Never failing to move its audience, it explores how choosing hope is key to survival; ‘the best of things that never dies’ ■ 20 Autumn 2017
Knowing where to find sound support and resources particularly in times of uncertainty can be overwhelming. These may help.
Dealing with issues and need advice? www.citizensadvice.org.uk is a reassuring starting point. Need to talk in confidence? Find perspective and a safe place. www.samaritans.org For more specific areas of need:
Struggling with financial difficulties or changes to income? www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk offers a full range of strategies including debt management and budgeting. www.careforthefamily.org.uk gives support and advice, for all areas of family life, including marriage guidance, managing teenagers and bereavement counselling. When relationships come under pressure, www.relate.org.uk also provides face-to-face counselling and support to resolve difficulties. Uncertainty or conflict in the workplace? www.acas.org.uk primarily works with employers but its Helpline Online service will answer individual queries. Need the sound of hope? Don’t be alone. Encouragement, inspiration and music through UCB Radio; they will even pray for you. Available as digital broadcast or online. www.ucb.co.uk The Diocese of Bath & Wells is not responsible for any content on external sites. Manna Magazine
Broken and remade Book reviews by Richard Greatrex.
he artist David Jones once remarked that ‘a thing is only true if broken and remade’. According to Thomas Dilworth, in his recent absorbing, startling and revelatory biography, ‘David Jones: Engraver, Soldier, Painter, Poet’, this axiom reflected both his art and his life experience. A pupil of Eric Gill’s, Jones’ oft-reproduced early religious engravings shine with his master’s influence. Transcending his Ditchling roots he became a pioneering British modernist artist, regarded as of the first rank by his peers. He also developed into one of the foremost poets of his generation, respected deeply by T.S. Eliot and Dylan Thomas. Jones’ long poem ‘In Parenthesis’ was thought by many to be the greatest verse of the First World War, indeed, Richard Burton considered its radio adaptation the finest work he ever performed. Jones served in the trenches right through 1914-18, the war being his first great breaking and remaking. Bombed and battered, witnessing his colleagues slaughtered around him, the effects were bound to take their toll and Dilworth convincingly argues that he struggled with debilitating Post-traumatic stress disorder for the rest of his life. Increasingly reclusive, as his health fluctuated so he adapted and innovated in his art, switching from engraving to painting to drawing to poetry and finally, even, as his eyesight worsened, returning to the lettering that he had learnt through Gill to create a series of astonishingly original inscriptions regarded as modernist masterpieces. Much of his art reflects his Catholic faith which sustained and inspired him with hope throughout his life – a faith whose depth and vigour he Manna Magazine
“Hope came from something totally new.”
explored through marvellously complex works subtly layered like liturgy and shining with divine and human possibility. That ‘a thing is only true if broken and remade’ could be a summary of Walter Brueggemann’s classic text ‘Hopeful Imagination’. In 587 BCE the Temple in Jerusalem was burned, the Holy City destroyed, the Davidic dynasty terminated and the leading citizens led away into exile in Babylon. God’s people felt abandoned: where was hope to be found? The Old Testament prophets Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Second Isaiah struggled to convince both the exiles and the remnant left behind that God was working through Babylon and Persia to bring about a new life for Israel. They had an even harder job convincing their fellow Jews that the faithful ones weren’t the remnant left behind, but the exiles led away into captivity. They also needed persuading that their destiny didn’t lie with cushy jobs in the Babylonian civil service but in building a new God-centred nation in Israel. Hope was to be found not by looking for a perpetuation of the status quo, or the restoration of the old ways. Instead hope came from something totally new, a completely fresh engagement with the world, a new relationship with God. Brueggemann sees this as a lesson for our fractured and dissonant times, a challenge to embrace brokenness and allow ourselves to be remade in God’s image. As with Dilworth’s biography, we encounter a text that draws us into an essentially Eucharistic pattern of breaking and remaking, rooted in the resurrection hope of our Christian faith ■ Richard is the manager of Aslan Christian Bookshops and associate priest in Long Ashton with Barrow Gurney and Flax Bourton. Autumn 2017 21
‘We See You’
Most people are unaware that modern slavery is taking place within our communities, in full view of our everyday lives.
ecently I have watched a film, Unseen, produced by a student from Bath and Wells. This film was the winner of the 2014 Royal Television Society Student Drama award and is a short drama exposing the lesser-known side of human trafficking, domestic servitude. What I found particularly shocking about the film was that it was filmed in Bristol, where I live. Some of the film is shot in the open space around Cabot Tower, a well-known and very visible city monument on a hill in the centre of Bristol and some in a beautiful Edwardian House (probably in Clifton, Bristol). In the middle of this city, considered by some to be the best place to live in the UK, an African girl is held prisoner, psychologically and physically abused by the female householder while her young daughter looks on. Part of the African girl’s task is to take her abuser’s daughter to school and thus it is clear that she walks among those of us who are privileged — ‘unseen’. Is there any hope or justice for her (you will have to watch the film)? Our individual response to this young woman, and to others who are enslaved, should be governed by our faith. Christianity teaches us that the Spirit, sent by the crucified and risen Christ empowers our invisible world, our minds, our hearts and our consciences. We know that if we seek and then surrender ourselves to this sweeping tide we become, through our faith, a temple of the Holy Spirit. As a representative of the Risen Christ we cannot fail to recognise injustice. 22 Autumn 2017
Unseen: a film about modern slavery.
“As a representative of the Risen Christ we cannot fail to recognise injustice.”
In tension with this we know that the Son of God was not born to set up an organisation to end injustice (not even The Clewer Initiative!) We all struggle to make justice present because it is a sign of the new order of Christ (2 Corinthians 5 v17-19). In reality we are not always sure what the new order of Christ should look like but still the challenge is for us to bring the Good News into our lives and the lives of others. What would the new order of Christ have looked like for the young African woman in the film? Tackling slavery at a local level needs everyone in the community to provide vital resources and intelligence to prevent and uncover slavery, hence ‘We See You’ ■
Interested in finding out more about modern slavery and how the Church is responding, email firstname.lastname@example.org Watch the film: http://bit.ly/2xhHCLX Visit www.theclewerinitiative.org Manna Magazine
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Published on Sep 26, 2017