Life JAN - MAR â€™13
Baptists: In transition for mission
4 page Home mission pull-out
Baptists from across the Union reflect on what Jesus means to them READ ONLINE AT WWW.BAPTIST.ORG.UK/BAPTISTLIFE
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Knowing Jesus by Jonathan Edwards - BUGB General Secretary
t the start of a New Year it’s good to reflect on what matters most. St Paul was clear that there was nothing greater in this life than knowing Jesus. As we serve God in 2013 it is good for us to remind ourselves of that, and to reflect on the way in which that conviction is going to shape our way of life. The big problem is that we are easily distracted. Life is so busy, and it is constantly tugging us one way and another. It is frankly hard to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. And, if we are honest, church life can be as distracting as any other. We can get so wrapped up in the catering, the music, the buildings, the money, the meetings and a thousand and one other perfectly honourable things that we can, with remarkable ease, lose our focus on Jesus.
a way of life in which we keep a continual conversation running with Jesus. He is there to share our frustrations and our fears just as much as our joys and our hopes. There is also a corporate dimension. Early Baptist confessions talked about ‘walking together and watching over one another’. Wrongly interpreted this could sound agonizingly intrusive but, motivated by love, there could be no greater privilege than to share intimately in one another’s lives for the sake of Christ. Our Baptist family is passing through challenging times and, for many of us, this year will be one of massive change. At such a time, of all times, we need to recommit ourselves to walk closely to one another so that through our shared life we will get to know Jesus better. Whatever happens in this New Year, may we all set knowing Jesus as our priority.
How then do we make things different? How do we ensure that our church lives and our personal lives are focussed on knowing Jesus? The answer is partly personal and partly corporate. Personally, we need to look hard at our way of life to ensure that we see Jesus as our constant companion. Prayer needs to be Credits: Baptist Life is edited by Chris Hall. Design by Alex Baker. Printed on recycled paper Baptist House, PO BOX 44, 129 Broadway, Didcot, OX11 8RT, England Telephone 01235517756 Fax 01235517715 email firstname.lastname@example.org Registered Charity Number 1125912
Knowing Jesus Yesterday today and forever You are the same, you never change Yesterday today and forever You are faithful and we will trust in you Vicky Beeching
s you probably know the Baptist Union of Great Britain is undergoing a time of great change. During this period it seems appropriate to focus on Jesus, who is always there for us and is never changing. For this issue of Baptist Life we have asked some people from across the Union to focus on the following bible verse and to respond creatively to it: What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowingÂ Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ Â Philipians 3:8
What about you? If you are inspired by this verse why not write your own poem, reflection, drama, song, video, or something else, and send it to us by 31 January. With Baptist Times editor Paul Hobson and a number of others I will pick some of the best entries which will then appear in February on The Baptist Times website. The aim will be to produce a number of resources that can be used by churches and individuals across our Union, to help us know Jesus more. Email your creative contribution to me (Chris Hall at chall@ baptist.org.uk) or post it to the Baptist House address (see page 3). I look forward to hearing from you! Chris Hall, Baptist Life Editor
Knowledge alone is Not the way Of Witnessing in our communities. It Needs Genuine, heart-felt, personal faith in Â
Jesus. Especially Significant is the Unique love gift God gives to us in His Sonâ€™s sacrifice at Calvary. Irene Britton is a member of Beacon Lough Baptist Church in Gateshead (Northern Baptist Association).
Whatâ€™s getting in the way? Try this exercise on your own or in a small group: 1 2 3
5 6 7 8 Chris Hall is editor of Baptist Life
KNOWING JESUS MORE Money, love, recognition, image, security Clothes, house, car, holidays, All the ‘Stuff’ which controlled me, which I thought defined me All the ‘Things’ which I desired yet left me constantly dissatisfied, unfulfilled Always comparing myself with others, always wanting MORE of what THEY had MORE of what I thought I deserved MORE and MORE and MORE... NOW AT LAST I finally understand All the Stuff and Things are insignificant, unimportant Compared to Jesus And now the MORE for which I yearn is only MORE of Him, His Love, His presence MORE of Jesus in my life MORE and MORE and MORE... Cathy Le Feuvre is a freelance writer, press officer and communications consultant who is a friend of the BUGB Communications Team.
KNOWING JESUS Knowing Jesus, as we do He’s gentle, meek and mild Except when clearing religious market places. Knowing Jesus, as we do He’s a man of sorrows: acquainted with grief Unless he’s telling funny stories to his friends. Knowing Jesus, as we do He’s a friend of sinners Apart from those whitewashed religious hypocrites. Knowing Jesus, as we do He’s the stone the builders rejected If you exclude the cheering crowds and women anointing his feet. Knowing Jesus, as we do He speaks what his Father tells him to say Except when he’s silently doodling in the sand. Knowing Jesus, as we do He’s unconventionally unpredictable Until we confine him in a doctrinally-sealed box.
“Knowing Jesus means more to me than anything else” So tell your boss she’s garbage by comparison and see if she’s impressed Tell your family they’re relatively rubbish and leave them feeling depressed Announce that money is practically pointless and watch the bank manager’s face Jump off the corporate success ladder and your colleagues will fight for your place “Well, it’s more a figure of speech.” “Isn’t it?”
Nick Lear is senior minister of Colchester Baptist Church in Essex (Eastern Baptist Association)
Prayer Guide Welcome to the BUGB Prayer Guide â€“ your opportunity to pray for the wider Baptist family over the next three months. This time the Prayer Guide is a bit different to what we have done previously. It is inspired by the new values and principles agreed by BU Council for our shared life together. It is these values and principles that will inspire decisions, projects and how we work together across the Baptist Union in the coming years. We have also changed the style from the third person to first person and written them as prayers rather than prayer points. The aim is to emphasise our relationship with Jesus, as this is the theme of this issue of Baptist Life, and also our relationships with each other â€“ we are all part of the Baptist Union of Great Britain and are experiencing this time of change together. We hope you will include these prayers in your services, home groups, church magazine etc and use them in your personal quiet time. If you would like more prayer resources, contact your Baptist association or go to www. baptist.org.uk/prayer.html where you will find a range of materials including monthly prayers of intercession.
January 6 – 12 January Jesus at the centre Jesus we pray that across our Union, from the local church to associations and the team at Didcot, we will recognise that you are Lord. You are the head of our church and are before all things and in you all things hold together. We pray we all will have dynamic relationships with you that inspire our actions personally and corporately.
13 – 19 January Pioneering proclaimers of the Gospel www.incarnate-network.eu/ Lord you have called us in your Great Commission to share your good news. We pray as Baptists that we will have mission at the heart of every church, every college, association and at Didcot. Help us to encourage and resource innovative mission, the ministries of pioneers like those in the Incarnate Network.
20 – 26 January Week of Prayer for Christian Unity www.ctbi.org.uk/606 Lord we praise you for the close relationships we have with other churches at local, national and international level. We pray that these bonds will strengthen in the coming year through events like Crossing London, the work of the Faith and Society team at Didcot and our links with the World Council of Churches.
27 January – 2 February Being Inclusive You have called us Lord to be a body in which every part matters. Help us in our churches to value everyone, to champion this regionally through our associations and nationally through the Women’s Justice, Disability and Racial Justice Groups. Let us allow space to hear the voices from those on the margins as well as the centre.
Just imagine... Playing your part
Home Mission is a wonderful way of expressing our commitment to God and to one another. Through Home Mission we give our yes to God, and we show our desire to be part of his plans.
This special pullout explores the place of prayer and giving to enable the Baptist family to continue to do the work of Home Mission, and how you can play your part.
A season of prayer and creative generosity – just imagine! Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine, according to his power that is work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:20
ast autumn I was invited to Mount Pleasant Baptist Church, Northampton to an evening of music to raise funds for Home Mission. Entitled ‘Hearts, minds, hands and voices - music to inspire the whole of life’ the event was hosted by the senior minister Paul Lavender. Over 75 people attended and £400 was raised. During the evening Paul himself played the organ and piano and was accompanied by his very gifted guests who worship at Northampton Cathedral. Paul, Alison Roddy (Soprano) and Teresa Brown (Violin) performed some pieces from Bach, Mozart, Scubert, Fleming, Dvorak, Liszt and Widor. It felt like I was in Covent Garden rather than Northampton as I listened! It was a very creative way to hear top quality music and yet raise funds for such an important cause. The following day in the morning service I was asked to share more about the way Home Mission funding supports other churches in their mission calling. It was a real opportunity to bring to life how raising £400 the night before – beyond what the church already gives to Home Mission – will go towards enabling other churches. Churches like Kislingbury and Upton – only a few miles away – where Home Mission funds the stipend of minister Marilyn Webb, allowing her to serve a small village community as well as host a Wednesday morning mums and toddlers group on a new estate. The idea to stage this lovely musical evening for Home Mission was born out of the planning for the Baptist Union Day of Prayer on 9 September 2012. To date over 6,500 people have accessed the BUGB website resources provided to enable churches to pray about the future of our Baptist family, a previously unheard of number! This turned into a Journey of Prayer as prayers from each association were uploaded weekly onto the BUGB website. Apart from dreaming about the future, concern about current funding issues was also a topic for prayer. Just imagine what the Holy Spirit is doing as many thousands have been praying and how our churches might be responding? What gifts does your church have that you could creatively use to do something special for Home Mission? For more ideas why not visit www.baptist.org.uk/home-mission.html. For more information on the ongoing Journey of Prayer please visit http://bit.ly/R4EfuO Amanda Allchorn, Head of BUGB Communications
Leaving a Legacy
brand new Baptist Union Legacy Programme is being launched, giving people the opportunity to consider leaving a gift – however large or small – in their Will to enable the visions and dreams of others within the Baptist family to become a reality. The call to mission has been at the heart of our Baptist life for 400 years. Churches within the Baptist Union have always sought to make a difference in local communities. For many years generous giving has supported mission projects, enabled churches to support ministers’ stipends, funded chaplaincies, and equipped churches through guidance from Association Teams and national specialists. Home Mission is the fund supporting all of this work.
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Week by week Baptist churches and individuals offer luncheon clubs for the elderly, visit those in need, run children’s and young people’s groups and even debt advice centres. Chaplains based in education, the armed forces, the retail sector, healthcare, prisons and sport touch the lives of many in their day to day lives. Without a Home Mission grant many of these opportunities for sharing faith in the work place could not happen. By leaving a gift to the Baptist Union of Great Britain you can express your commitment to the Baptist family in a way that will help people experience the love of Christ. So would you prayerfully consider, in consultation with your loved ones, remembering the Baptist Union of Great Britain in your Will. Just imagine how your gift could make a lasting difference that will live on in the lives of others.
Just imagine... There are many ways you can play your part in supporting Home Mission:
Commit to pray for the wider Baptist family and the work that Home Mission makes possible. Use the prayer guide in Baptist Life or your association’s prayer diary. Why not ask your association to let you know where Home Mission is making a difference near you?
By sharing stories
Use the Home Mission Service Pack on the BUGB website which has been developed to provide you with ideas and resources for a Home Mission service. You’ll find an order of service, sermon outlines/ideas, stories of Home Mission funded ministries, all-age talks, Bible passages, suggested hymns and songs, and links to resources on the BUGB website at www.baptist.org.uk/praying-for-home-mission.html
By holding a Gift Day and giving a percentage to Home Mission
Book a date and hold a Gift Day event at your church. You could have a ‘bring and share’ lunch after the morning service and provide desserts! Ask a speaker or show one of the Home Mission films and invite people to make a donation to Home Mission.
By collecting stamps, coins, medal and postcards
In 2011 £5,892 was raised by simply collecting stamps and other ‘collectibles’. Why not put a box at the back of your church to collect these items and then send them to Alan Cookson, 41 Pemberton Close, Aylesbury HP21 7NY?
February 3 – 9 February Growing healthy churches Lord we thank you for the many exciting things you are doing through our churches, for those that are growing and seeing innovative ministries bear fruit. We pray for our colleges, associations and the new specialist teams at Didcot, that they together will help every BUGB church to be healthy, to pursue the vision that God has called them to.
10 – 16 February Lent Lord, we are sorry when the busyness of church life prevents us from spending time with you, leading us sometimes to get burnt out and go astray from your calling. Help us to use this season of Lent as a time to get closer to you Lord, to be refreshed and renewed in our service for you.
17 – 23 February One in Christ We are a union of autonomous churches. Help us though to value interdependence over independence, to work and walk together as one in Christ. We pray for those enablers across the Union encouraging people to do this in our colleges, associations and at Didcot. We pray for clusters and other networks of Baptist Christians that are actively working together.
24 February – 2 March Supporting those called to ministry Lord we thank you for the women and men you have called to service and ministry. Help us to help them build up the Body of Christ and to support them pastorally. We pray for the work of colleges, associations, and the Ministries Team responsible for the recognition, formation and accreditation of those in Baptist ministry.
March 3 – 9 March Adapting to change
In a world of great change, help us to be a Union that is more ready to adapt to the new work you are calling us to. Help us to travel lightly, to be a network able to handle new expressions of mission and changed patterns of working in society. Help us during this transitional period of changing our structures to achieve this.
10 – 16 March Being good stewards
Lord we want to be radical believers, living out the bold mission you call us to. Help us though in this time of reduced finances to be good stewards of our resources, to invest wisely now and for the future. We pray for BUGB Treasurer Malcolm Broad and for all those responsible for finances across the Union as they undergo this task.
17 – 23 March Being accountable
Help us Lord to be a Union that encourages Baptists to lead, to innovate and pioneer. Help us to release the gifts of others and not be too controlling. However we pray that across our Union we will ensure that leaders have a clear sense of strategy and are made accountable where appropriate.
24 – 30 March Holy Week
Lord Jesus, we recognise that our churches and our lives often fall short. We have often let you down through the things we have done and what we have failed to do. Help us to recognise this Holy Week the cost of our sin you paid on the cross and to celebrate the joy of your resurrection.
31 March – 6 April Serving our communities
Lord we want to be churches that are playing an active part in this country, to be serving our communities, to be helping those that are lost and in need. Help us to support each other in local mission, to be outward looking and not in holy huddles, to be salt and light where we live.
The Kingdom of Making New Read Mark 1 Memorise Mark 1:35
he coming of Jesus is about making things new, bigger than the first creation. Another way of saying this is that ‘the kingdom of God is near’ (Mark 1:15). When the moon is closest to the earth – the peligree moon – it affects the tides. When the kingdom is near it affects the tides of history, time and all created things. It is no coincidence that at the beginning of the gospel of Mark Jesus goes off to a solitary place, very early in the morning, to pray (Mark 1:35). If we want to begin in the new beginnings of the kingdom, we need to start the day in a solitary place and pray. When we do that we step into the gravitational pull of the kingdom of making new. When Simon and the other followers come looking for him, in the original language of the gospel, they literally ‘hunt’ him down. There are many other distractions in our lives that will hunt us down when we try to pray. One of the riddles set at the beginning of Mark is that if we want to be available to others, we need to make ourselves radically unavailable. One of the profoundest themes in the gospel is the stark presentation of how the disciples
(and by implication we) are painfully dislocated from understanding Jesus and the kingdom; how complex a task it is to locate that place of understanding within; and how long it takes to re-locate to the place where the kingdom is near. Even after numerous miracles, Jesus’ lament to his disciples in Mark 8:17 is, ‘Do you still not see or understand?’ Our central task is to locate that place of understanding and awareness within. Finding that place is a gift from God, but we are also called to play our part – whether it is by putting ourselves in the place of stillness and solitude, allowing the Word to indwell us, or sailing close to the wind of the Spirit. Our culture has given us double-glazed eyes and selective hearing. We need Mark’s gospel to grasp the pain of our dis-location, and snap our understanding back into place. If we are to notice the echoes and resonances, comprehend the riddles, then we need the attentiveness and awareness that comes with Jesus’ command to be watchful (Mark 13:37). Shaun Lambert is a Baptist minister based in Stanmore, North West London. This is an extract from his book A Book of Sparks, A Study in Christian MindFullness that was originally serialised on The Baptist Times website
I have now been a Baptist minister for 25 years. Over the course of those years I have seen time and time again the power of a faith in Jesus to allow people to ‘cut loose’ from the regrets and restrictions of the past. When I look at this photo of a paraglider caught against a perfect Norfolk sky, I am reminded of those people. Time and again, their new-found faith has enabled them to start afresh, soaring free like the man in the photo. I never take my ringside seat for granted – the privileged position where I get to witness these changes first hand. As I was on that summer’s evening with my camera, God has often placed me in the right place at the right time to see them, and I am immeasurably grateful. Richard Littledale is minister of Teddington Baptist Church (London Baptist Association) and author of Who needs words? and The Littlest Star. He also serves as a contributor to BBC Radio 2’s Pause for Thought.
Giving our all
ith every New Year comes that inevitable catalogue of anniversaries and commemorations that are scheduled for the forthcoming 12 months. One such event will be on 4 June this year, marking 100 years since the suffragette Emily Davidson (pictured) threw herself in front of the Kingâ€™s horse at the Epsom Derby. Debate continues as to whether this was her precise intent, but we know from other events in her life that this was a cause to which she was willing to give her all. Her pursuit of justice and hunger for what she believed was right mattered more to her than anything else. We enter 2013 at a crucial stage in our life together as Baptist Christians; realities that what we are having to face reflect the prevailing uncertainties in society as a whole. For all the changes we are making in our corporate life, actions like those of Emily Davidson ask a much deeper question of each of us. What are the issues of principle and justice that we would be willing to give our all to pursue? What matters to us above everything else? Paulâ€™s words to the Philippians offer us a challenging answer to that question â€“ knowing and following Jesus came before anything else he could claim to be; a truth to which he clung, even when imprisoned and facing probable execution. I would dare to suggest that the place that each of us gives to Christ in our lives, will impact our churches and influence society, far more than any of the necessary changes we are making in our systems and structures. Early Baptists were no strangers to the kind of persecution and rejection that Emily Davidson and her companions suffered; yet they counted it as nothing compared to their call to be true to Christ. Centuries later, our priorities have not changed. Living Lord Jesus; Open our eyes to the riches of Your Kingdom, And place within our hearts a hunger for what is right, That the pathways we follow And the causes we pursue Might be those of a people For whom Christ is truly above everything. Phil Jump is Regional Minister Team Leader, North Western Baptist Association
Baptists: In transition for mission
ajor decisions about the future of the Baptist Union of Great Britain (BUGB) were made at Baptist Union Council in November 2012. This followed many months of consultation and prayer including the Day of Prayer on 9 September. The changes have been motivated by a need to move to a balanced budget, and by a burning desire to ensure that all that we do encourages the growth of healthy churches that are working together in mission. Here are five main changes that will be implemented in 2013:
1 A new General Secretary
It has been decided to combine the roles of the General Secretary and the General Manager in order to form a radically new job description for the General Secretary. The Revd Jonathan Edwards and Richard Nicholls will therefore be leaving their current roles. A nominating group has been established to look for a new General Secretary. Please pray for this hugely important appointment.
Administration including the Baptist Union Corporation) and Ministries (previously Ministry). Some work currently done at Didcot will be taken on by associations.
3 Home Mission Grants
Many churches have a grant from Home Mission towards a ministerâ€™s stipend or mission project. The awarding of and management of grants being dispersed has been done at Baptist House for many years but will in future be administered through six association partnerships.Â These partnerships will make strategic mission decisions about where funds should be allocated in their region.
There will be an emphasis in future on encouraging Baptist churches to work closer together through networks, clusters and collaborate on creative mission projects. See the October-December 2012 issue of Baptist Life for inspiring examples of where this is already happening. www.baptist.org.uk/baptistlife
5 Mission and stopping the decline of the church
A report was presented to Council that looked at mission challenges facing our churches today and signs of new ventures for example the Missing Generation initiative of the Younger Leaders Forum, for those in the 18-30 age group. A number of recommendations were passed that emphasized the importance of whole life discipleship across our Union.
2 Didcot staff
The staff of the Baptist Union working at Didcot will be decreased by 14 full time equivalent posts. There will be three new specialist teams: Faith & Society (previously Mission, Faith and Unity, Communications), Support Services (previously Finance and
For more on the changes visit http://www. baptist.org.uk/about-baptists/bugb-futures. html and www.baptisttimes.co.uk Change is not always easy so please pray for all those whose working lives will be affected.
in brief Be illuminated in Blackpool
www.baptistassembly.org.uk The Baptist Assembly returns to the seaside this spring (3-6 May). Back at the Norbreck Castle Hotel in Blackpool the annual gathering of the Baptist Union of Great Britain and BMS World Mission will see a new look seminar programme which organisers say will ‘focus on equipping us for service and growing healthy churches’. Speakers this year include incoming BUGB President Ernie Whalley, Regional Minister Team Leader of the East Midland Baptist Association Dianne Tidball, lead minister of Edmonton Baptist Church Joe Kapolyo and lead pastor of Gold Hill Baptist Church Malcolm Duncan. For more information and to download a promotional video visit the new look Baptist Assembly website. There is also a Facebook page and Twitter feed you can like or follow.
Today … not tomorrow
www.todaynottomorrow.org.uk Recent research has found a drop in the number of young adults could be linked to a lack of discipleship of children and young people. Around 80% of the population who become Christians do so by the age of 12 so it is vital for the future of the church to address this issue. This spring the Baptist Union of Great Britain in partnership with Arise Ministries will be launching at a series of roadshows a new set of resources called Today...not tomorrow to help churches examine the ways in which they nurture and develop disciples of all ages. “We believe it is about empowering children and young people to play the part God’s calling them to, in the church, right now,” says Arise’s Ed Jones. “Through the Today...not tomorrow initiative, we want to stand with you, we want to support you, we want to see lives changed today!”
A Moving Story
www.youtube.com/baptistuniongb The second in a series of films in which Ruth Whiter from the West of England Baptist Association tours the region’s churches by bicycle focuses on Weston-super-Mare. “Researching the town’s churches, I noticed a pattern,” she says. “It seems to be written into their DNA to keep moving to where the people are.” This was true in 1903, when Wadham Street Baptist Church helped establish a Baptist witness amidst new housing at Clarence Park, and it’s equally true now, when two couples at Worle Baptist Church are moving into new houses at Locking Parklands with the intention of building a Christ-centred community there. This short film compares church planting then and now, and also the way Home Mission has evolved to support new ways of working.
Interviews with people from across the Baptist Union of Great Britain Roy Searle is a leader of the Northumbria Community and former President of the Baptist Union of Great Britain Favourite Bible verse: Proverbs 3:5-6: ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.’ Life changing words of wisdom embraced as a new believer, given at my baptism and realised in greater measure throughout the ensuing years of journeying in faith. Favourite hymn or chorus: The depth and all encompassing nature of St. Patrick’s Breastplate hymn, I bind unto myself this day the strong name of the Trinity or the beauty and simplicity of Lord of all hopefulness. Both are reminders of the nature of God, the encounters and experiences of his love and grace and his call upon the totality of our lives. How can we find God’s peace in a hectic, uncertain world? By renouncing the ‘idols’ of individualism, ‘driveness’ and frenetic busyness and instead cultivate wisdom, peace and godliness through a recovery of the spiritual disciplines and the gift of community. We need less shallow activism and more fostering of relationships with God, self and others; less prescribed programmes and more authentic ways of living out the faith.
Joy Clark is Director of Check it Out, part of Viza-Viz Ministries and will be a leader of the youth programme at the Baptist Assembly in Blackpool Favourite Bible verse: I guess my favourite verse is actually a passage - Philippians 2:511. What a great triumphant passage…that at the name of Jesus EVERY knee will bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and EVERY tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord…Wow! Favourite hymn or chorus: Probably Everyday by Joel Houston (Hillsong). This is a declaration that every day I will live for Jesus, standing on his word, knowing that he walks with me every step of the way. Every time I sing it, it challenges me. The Bible says that ‘today is the day of salvation’ and that we should be able to make this statement everyday of our lives, whatever we are doing. What’s the best way of helping young people keep and grow their faith? I think for most young people it is having role models who can show them how to make their faith relevant – showing them that a life lived with Jesus at the centre makes all the difference in the world. Encourage them in their gifts, give them responsibility and accountability and ensure that they understand that they are a valued member of the community, accepted and loved.
Change the world this Lent
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Since 2007 over 400,000 people have taken part. Why not make 2013 the year you join in and change the world for good? Find out more at www.livelent.net or follow us on Twitter @LiveLent
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