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Spring issue includes: Churches reach out to serve Feature on the Cinnamon Network
Made in the Image of God A biblical overview of euthanasia
Saying Goodbye Helping families going through loss
Gambling Bill Good news from CAREâ€™s Public Affairs team The University Challenge Feature on the Christian Unions Crucial questions for Scotland Stuart Weir explores current thinking 50p and a caravan The BIG Promise report
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SERVING COMMUNITIES By Nola Leach
elcome to the Spring edition of Catalyst!
As we travel the country meeting supporters I am constantly excited by the stories of how God’s people are working to serve their communities. The Church really is the hope our nation. 2
Thinking about this, I am reminded of those powerful and challenging words in John 13 where Jesus knew that ‘all authority and power were given to Him by God, that He had come from, and was going to, the Father.’
to engage with contemporary culture through the lens of Scripture. In my role as Chief Executive, I attend many meetings and functions and it is thrilling to meet former members of the programme, now working in influential roles around the world.
‘Servant Quarters’ In CARE it our privilege to serve you as you seek to make a Christian difference. Through evaluate, our relationships and sex education programme in schools, young people’s decisions about their sexual behaviour are being changed through its trained volunteer teams.
Having said this, the first thing he then did was to wash His disciples’ feet. Here is the most amazing ex‘We often call ample illustrating that His whole life was one of our headquarters servant leadership. On in Romney that occasion too, Jesus Street not our commanded His disciples HQ but our SQ to follow His example and to love one another as He - our Servant had loved them.
In addition, CARE supporters are being helped and supported to engage with their elected representatives locally or nationally, to bring God’s justice to bear on legislation. And we speak on your behalf Quarters.’ to the policy makers in the parliaments and asLeadership roles semblies of the UK and in Brussels. That Much has been written about the na- is why we sometimes call our Romney ture of leadership and what it should Street offices not our ‘HQ’ but our ‘SQ’ look like. The idea of servant leadership Servant Quarters! is at the heart of CARE’s unique LeaderI hope that this edition of Catalyst, ship Programme. For over twenty years with its focus on the outworking of our it has been our joy to invest in the lives gospel responsibility and how Christian of young graduates to equip them for love in action transforms lives, will strategic roles around the world. The encourage and inspire you. experience of a placement in politics, the media or with a voluntary organisa- Wishing you every blessing as you seek tion for almost a year, and of studying to serve our Father and those around together once a week, prepares them you in your own communities.
CRUCIAL QUESTIONS FOR SCOTLAND Catalyst asked Stuart Weir, recently appointed CARE’s National Director for Scotland, to share his views about current Scottish thinking.
n my opinion, Scotland is leading the rest of the UK in the secularisation of society, with many important ethical and social issues being contended in Holyrood and the Scottish media. With the independence referendum vote set for 18 September, the talk everywhere is no longer about the weather or the state of Rangers or Celtic football clubs, it’s all about the future of Scotland! There
National Director for Scotland, Stuart Weir hasn’t been such a sense of political anticipation in my lifetime. Whatever the outcome, I believe the country is thinking through some crucial questions relating to society, identity and politics. What a time of challenge we face.
Biblical truth Given how badly the same-sex marriage vote turned out, it would be understandable for the Christian community to ‘batten down the hatches’, wishing none of this was really happening. Privileges the
Church has had in so many areas in soci- CARE for Scotland is working in Holyety are rapidly being stripped away, but rood to effect change and to influence we need not be despondent and take up decision- makers. My colleague Gora defensive or overly aggressive stance don MacDonald – our Policy Officer against the world. I think that if the has built up a network of relationships kingdom is to grow in influence, the key with MSPs, seeking to serve them. is to increase the witness and work of Meanwhile I am eager to equip and encourage Christians to the local church. I would love to be a key part of ‘The talk everywhere be active light and salt throughout Scottish sothat vision, and am prayis no longer about the ciety. Through our Leading for opportunities to ership Programme CARE encourage, work alongweather or the state is also training young side and equip Scottish of Rangers or Celtic Christian graduates leaders. football clubs, it’s all some in Scotland - to beEverything appears to be about the future of come a tribe of influencup for grabs; many asers in politics, media and Scotland!’ pects of our law and sothe third sector. ciety, historically founded on biblical truth, will be challenged. We want CARE to be the go-to organisaHow can we, as God’s people, respond tion when it comes to influencing public policy and resourcing local churches at this time of radical change? and individuals.
We need the Holy Spirit to fill us with renewed conviction about what we actually believe – whilst recognising that Christians have no automatic privileges by virtue of who we are. This parable in Matthew inspires me: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.’ Let’s be that yeast - engaging with committed faith and graciousness, standing up for that which we believe is right and good! CARE‘s interaction with the political world needs to continue to be a creative and sensitive influence from the inside out.
Spirit-led action Why bother with this seemingly impossible task of challenging the rise of secularisation? To me, no one answers this better than former Dutch Prime Minister Abraham Kuyper. ‘There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence,’ he said, ‘over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, Mine!’ If Scotland is Christ’s we must devote our prayer and Spirit-led action towards its political and social welfare. That’s our mission, and CARE is here to serve the church to see God glorified in this challenge.
Made in the
image of God Dr Peter Saunders [pictured below] tackles the delicate but topical issue of euthanasia, exploring biblical and medical evidence. 4
The Bible teaches that human beings are unique amongst God’s creatures in being made in the image of God, and it is on this basis, after the flood, that God introduces to all humankind the death penalty for murder. The prohibition against killing legally innocent people is later formalised in the sixth commandment: ‘You shall not murder.’ The Hebrew word for murder is ratsach and its meaning is further defined in four main passages in the Pentateuch.
here are two instances of euthanasia in the Bible. In the first, Abimelek, believing himself to be fatally wounded, with a fractured skull after being hit on the head by a millstone, asks his armour-bearer to kill him to spare him the ‘indignity’ of being killed by a woman. Then later on, an Amalekite despatches the mortally injured Saul, still alive after a failed attempt at suicide. These two cases demonstrate the two main arguments for euthanasia, autonomy ‘death with dignity’ and compassion ‘release from suffering’.
These passages resolve any ambiguity for us and give a precise definition of what is prohibited, namely the ‘intentional killing of an innocent human being.’ Euthanasia clearly falls within this biblical definition. There is no provision for compassionate killing, even at the person’s request and there is no recognition of a ‘right to die’ as all human life belongs to God. Our lives are not actually our own. Suicide and, therefore, assisted suicide, is consequently equally wrong.
Spirit of love In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus teaches that that we should go beyond
the mere letter of the sixth commandment to fulfil the very spirit of love on which it is based. We are called to walk in Jesus’ footsteps, to be imitators of God, to love as he himself loved. Sadly, however, despite the Bible’s clear teaching many Christians today are confused about euthanasia and waver when faced with emotive hard cases and false dichotomies. Or alternatively they feel tongue-tied when asked for their opinion.
Powerful arguments But we have three powerful arguments to marshal against it: euthanasia is dangerous, unnecessary and morally wrong. Euthanasia is dangerous because any change in the law to allow it would place pressure on vulnerable people – those who are elderly, disabled, sick or depressed - to end their lives for fear of being a financial, emotional or care burden on others. These feelings would be greatly accentuated at this time of economic recession with families and health budgets under pressure.
This is why the medical profession, disabled people’s advocates and British parliaments have opposed legalisation so strongly. The present law making assisted suicide and euthanasia illegal is clear and right and the penalties it holds in reserve act as a strong deterrent to exploitation and abuse, whilst giving discretion to prosecutors and judges in hard cases. In a free democratic society there are limits to human freedom and the law must not be weakened to accommodate the wishes of a small number of desperate and determined people. We must instead speak up for those vulnerable people who have no voice. Euthanasia is unnecessary because the demand for it is vanishingly small when people’s physical, social, psychological and spiritual needs are adequately tended to. This is a huge challenge for the Church. God calls us as Christ’s followers to give our whole selves to the love and service of others by expending our time, money and energy in finding compassionate solutions to human suffering.
Historically, this has found practical God, where there is ‘no more death or shape in the hospice movement and in mourning or crying or pain.’ For those, good palliative care - pioneered mainly however, who do not know God, euthaby Christian doctors and nasia is not a ‘merciful renurses. We must push to lease’ at all. It may rather be ‘We must speak make this good care more propelling them towards a up for those widely accessible. judgement for which they vulnerable are unprepared. It may be But perhaps the most people who have the worst thing we could powerful Christian arguever do for them! ment against euthanasia is no voice.’ that death is not the end. Euthanasia is illegal for God’s intervention through Christ’s death good reason and God says it is wrong. and resurrection for our sins means that He points us instead to a better way, ofthrough the eyes of faith we can look fering protection, hope, love and comforward to a new world after death with passionate care in abundance.
Peter Saunders is Chief Executive of Christian Medical Fellowship (CMF), Campaign Director of Care Not Killing (CNK) and Chair of the European Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPCE) CMF - www.cmf.org.uk CNK - www.carenotkilling.org.uk EPCE - www.epce.eu A version of this article, complete with all the Bible verses, may be found on CARE’s website www.care.org.uk
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Internet and online safety B
aroness Howe’s Online Safety Bill, backed by CARE, requires every internet service provider (ISP) and mobile phone operator to block adult content. If made law, internet users would have to ‘opt-in’ to accessing such material, subject to age-verification showing they are 18 or over. At Second Reading, last December, the Bill received widespread support in the House of Lords; it now goes to a Committee Stage. In January this year, Baroness Howe moved an amendment to the Children and Families Bill which incorporated the content of her Bill. Although defeated, the amendment gained significant support from right across the house, including the Labour front bench. The Government say that the present system of self-regulation deals with the relevant online safety challenges, but there are a number of problems with this argument:
· ISPs making up between five and ten per cent of the market
have not signed up to the self-regulatory agreement. This means that one million households and hundreds of thousands of children are not protected.
· Mobile phone operators have been ignoring their own self-
regulatory code which provides for an opt-in system. In Baroness Howe’s Second Reading debate the fact that Tesco Mobile was flouting its code came to light. Nola Leach was
reported in the Daily Mail and the Times saying, ‘The shocking revelation about Tesco Mobile shows that it is not enough to rely on voluntary agreements with profit making companies to make our children safe.’
there are no protections to prevent children removing adult content filtering. Under the Government’s existing system, an email is sent to the internet account holder when anyone in the household changes the internet filters. In February a poll commissioned by CARE from ComRes highlighted the problems with this approach. The research demonstrated that one in three people would not read an email from their ISP immediately and one in six parents would be unlikely to ever open the email!
The approach proposed by Baroness Howe’s Bill is radically different. It would cover 100 per cent of the ISP market, mobile phone operators would have to conform and it would only be possible for someone to remove filters after first demonstrating they are 18 or over.
Abortion issues - UK updates T
his Spring, the Department of Justice in Northern Ireland will launch a wide-ranging consultation about abortion. CARE in Northern Ireland is deeply concerned that this might lead to a change in the law which would have a detrimental impact on both mothers and their unborn children. We have been engaging with Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) from across the political parties and will be responding to the consultation once it is released. We would strongly encourage you to do the same and will make some suggestions about this when the time comes. In England and Wales it was announced last October that the Crown Prosecution Service had decided not to prosecute doctors who sanctioned sex selective abortions. We are very disturbed by this and also by the fact that the current interim guidance for abortions in private clinics removes the rule that two doctors must meet and assess a woman seeking an abortion.
Baroness Howe with Dan Boucher
This change was introduced in July 2012 without any public announcement or public consultation. In January we responded to the Department of Health consultation on revising the interim guidance stressing the need for doctors to meet and assess women if they are to sign their forms. We believe that this rule is imperative in order to protect the woman, particularly if she is seeking an abortion on mental health grounds.
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Discussing CARE’s taxation findings: Lord Lawson and MPs in the House of Lords
Breakthrough for CARE on Gambling
Taxation, marriage and families
e are delighted to report two significant victories resulting from our work on the Gambling Bill which completed its passage through Parliament in March.
Hopes rise for marriage to be recognised in the Tax System - before the General Election
Giving people the option of asking gambling providers not to serve them for a fixed period, ‘self-exclusion’, is a recognised way of helping problem gamblers. The difficulty is that it does not work in an online environment; there are so many easily accessible sites that it does not matter how many you self-exclude from, there are always others available.
The Government responded to the work we have done in this area with Jim Shannon MP and Lord Browne of Belmont, by committing to introducing a mechanism that will allow problem gamblers to just self-exclude once, and for this to cover all licensed gambling sites.
Unregulated sites CARE also worked with Baroness Howe on amendments to protect the vulnerable from accessing unregulated sites. The Government initially resisted but eventually responded by developing arrangements with payment providers like MasterCard, PayPal and Visa Europe so that they will not process transactions between people in the UK and unregulated sites. ‘We are delighted that the Government has moved on both these key points, providing greater protection for the vulnerable,’ CARE’s Director of Parliamentary Affairs, Dan Boucher, said. ‘We pay tribute to the great work of Jim Shannon MP, Baroness Howe and Lord Browne, standing up for problem gamblers.’
ARE has long campaigned for marriage to be recognised in the tax system. In 2007 CARE’s fiscal policy consultants Don Draper and Leonard Beighton played a key role in persuading the Conservative Party’s Social Justice Policy Commission to back transferable allowances for married couples. David Cameron responded positively and made it a headline manifesto commitment in 2010. This was all very encouraging. Once elected however, it became apparent that the Government was in no hurry to honour its commitment. In June 2011 we worked with Fiona Bruce MP who put down an amendment to the Finance Bill to remind the Government of its promise and ask when it would be fulfilled. In November 2012 we gave assistance to Stewart Jackson MP, who secured a special debate, to argue that the Government should introduce them in 2013. During the debate on the 2013 Finance Bill, we worked with Tim Loughton MP who put down yet another amendment to introduce transferable allowances for married couples.
Transferable allowances and the Budget 2014 The Government promised they would take action ‘shortly’ but when they set out their timetable, implementing this was scheduled for April 2016, one year after the next General Election! At the launch of CARE’s Review of independent taxation 25 years on last October former Chancellor of the Exchequer, Nigel Lawson, spoke out about this, and the Draft 2014 Finance Bill published in December does include provision for transferable allowances for married couples from April 2015, just before the next Election. Presenting the 2014 Budget on 19 March, the Chancellor formally confirmed that one-earner families will be able to transfer ten per cent of their personal allowance to their working spouse. We have always campaigned for a fully transferable allowance; however we shouldn’t under-estimate the importance of this development as it restores recognition of marriage in the tax system, and provides a foundation upon which to build. We now look to MPs to pass the 2014 Finance Bill and make the Chancellor’s commitment a reality.
CHURCHES REACH OUT TO SERVE Congregations across the country are dealing with deep needs in their communities. Spurred on by the Cinnamon Network, they’re transforming their villages, towns and cities. Founder Matt Bird shared the story with Catalyst.
ver 3,000 congregations are engaged in leading community projects recognised as ‘best practice’ by the recently launched Cinnamon Network. Nearly 50,000 volunteers are serving almost a million people each year.
Social impact ‘The UK Church is facing an unprecedented opportunity to step up and step out to help those people most at need,’ said Matt Bird. ‘The Cinnamon Network is trying to make it as easy as possible for the local church to make that happen.’ Cinnamon began in 2010 in response to the Government’s commitment to address the need for public sector reform,
reduction of the deficit and empowering the voluntary community sector. Matt gathered a group of 50 chief executives of Christian ‘social impact’ organisations to discuss how the Christian community could help families and individuals under pressure. ‘Our challenge was, how can local churches deliver more transformation – on a national scale?’ he said. Cinnamon Network was something businessman Matt began in his spare time. However, demand is so great, it now takes up half his working week. ‘As a result, we’ve strengthened our governance and management. That included inviting CARE’s Executive Chairman Lyndon Bowring to chair
Mobilising churches: Founder of Cinnamon Network Matt Bird Cinnamon Network’s Advisory Council. ‘It’s a great privilege to be part of the Network’, Lyndon told Catalyst. ‘We are all called to serve and this is one of the most rewarding ways.’ So how does the network actually help
What the people say ‘The legacy of our Make Lunch kitchen extended way beyond those few weeks over that first summer. Families kept in contact, joining us at church for a Christmas panto, and working together to create a fruit and veg co-op. These things are great, but they point to something far greater – the Make Lunch kitchen tore down the walls of isolation that poverty had built up.’ Viktorja Shacklady, Skelmersdale Lunch Hub, Maghull Baptist Church.
• access funding - £1,500-£2,000 micro-grants are available towards the costs of starting a Cinnamon Network recognised project.
School dinners churches deliver their much-needed social programmes? It encourages churches to: • get started - by understanding local community needs, resources of the local church and how best to match the two. • work together - by delivering more community projects - working with the local council and police wherever possible. • choose a project - by selecting a scheme from a menu of over 25 recognised best practice churchbased projects, such as Foodbanks, Street Pastors and Night Shelters.
One enterprising example is Make Lunch, which mobilises local churches to work with local schools. The aim is to feed children during the holidays who might otherwise go hungry. Matt shared a story to describe this challenge: ‘The Archbishop of Canterbury was visiting a community and chatting with people,’ he explained. ‘When he bumped into a bunch of young people, he asked if they were looking forward to the school holidays.
‘Their response surprised and shocked him. “No, we aren’t,” they said, “because there are no free school dinners in the holiday and we go hungry.” Four million children are deemed to be living in poverty in the UK and over a million of them receive free school dinners.’ The challenge for churches is how swiftly and effectively they can respond to such social needs. Matt is aiming to involve a quarter of British church congregations. ‘If we had 10,000 local churches leading a recognised community project,’ said Matt, ‘mobilising over 200,000 volunteers, an amazing 2,000,000 beneficiaries would be impacted every year.’
For information about regional events, projects, micro grants, plus plenty of ideas about how to start, just go to www.cinnamonnetwork.co.uk
50p & a caravan What do Tom and Doreen, and over a thousand other couples have in common? They reaffirmed their marriage vows in The BIG Promise, as part of Marriage Week 2014.
he previous edition of Catalyst saw the launch of the BIG Promise - and we had no idea quite what the response would be! But one couple in Sheffield, Tom and Doreen, read about it and made up their minds not only to reaffirm their own vows, but to do so on the 8 February – which also happened to be their fiftieth wedding anniversary – in front of their whole family, a big one.
CARE’s team were thrilled to play a major part in in the organisation. ‘CARE has always supported Marriage Week’, said Nola Leach. ‘We were delighted that the BIG Promise of 2014 has been such a success – a real affirmation of marriage!’
How many? Over 1600 couples reaffirmed their vows as part of the BIG Promise 2014, at events across the whole nation.
The BIG Promise project just took off. Across the country ceremonies and celebrations took place, bringing much joy to many, and a great amount of media interest.
Fifty years ago Tom and Doreen married in 1964. ‘Things were very different then’, they told Catalyst. We had pretty well nothing to start with, just 50p – and a caravan to live in. But we were happy.’ Their glowing faces at the Sheffield event say it all – it was a joyful day of celebration. Their lives were not always as glowing though; both came from separated marriages and only found true happiness when they met each other. ‘We started out with nothing’, they admitted, ‘but our marriage wasn’t built on what we had, rather on who we were. Marriage has made us better people I hope. We were so excited to celebrate 50 years together on the same day as The Big Promise.’
Happy to reaffirm: Tom and Doreen in Sheffield and, above, with their family
‘I welcome National Marriage Week and am pleased to give it my support. Marriage is a declaration of commitment, responsibility and stability that helps to bind families.’ ‘The values of marriage are give and take, support and sacrifice - values that we need more of in this country.’ Prime Minister David Cameron ‘I am delighted to support this event and I am wishing all couples joy and happiness as they re-affirm their vows. Marriage is the building block of society and I welcome the efforts of The BIG Promise in upholding this’ The Bishop of Chester, Peter Forster ‘The simplicity and dignity of each BIG Promise ceremony held sends a clear message. The vows are the essential part of being married – not the fancy wedding, amazing reception, or exotic honeymoon. Marriage matters to every one of these couples, and should matter to all of us in society as the bedrock of stable family life.’ National Coordinator for The BIG Promise, Dave Percival
Communities came together, all with their own story and special day, with family, friends and local media. Many have told us that there has been renewed enthusiasm for marriage and a reconnection of the church in the community.
Social media played a big part in The BIG Promise:
With over 3000 people simultaneously praying, and recommitting themselves to the promises of marriage, the moment is one of spiritual importance too - from Cumbernauld to Dorset, Sunderland to Billericay, marriage was celebrated and heralded.
The press Newspapers and broadcasters caught the spirit up and down the land, and church leaders from all denominations shared their enthusiasm for the event. ‘It’s a great opportunity to bring the community together to celebrate.’ ‘Our intention was to highlight the importance of marriage and the blessings that can flow when God is at the heart of it.’ ‘What I said 60 years ago meant so much to me. I still feel it now.’ ‘As Christians we believe marriage is important. It is one of the building blocks of society.’
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THE UNIVERSITY CHALLENGE 12 12
How can a young Christian flourish and grow as a twenty-first century student? Catalyst talked to Richard Cunningham, National Director of the Universities Christian Unions UCCF - and Pod Boghal, Communications Director, about their vision. They shared the history and revealed a great new resource. Naturally we asked some students too!
The vision Richard is passionate about it: to facilitate evangelism and equip world view. ‘Young leaders of the future are really encouraged to go deep’, he told Nola Leach recently. ‘Not only with their academic learning but their faith, to ensure a firm foundation for their future lives.’ This is why there is a strong emphasis on the role of apologetics in UCCF meetings and Forum events.
Early Years In 1919 a critical meeting took place between student leaders of the Cambridge Inter-Collegiate Christian Union (CICCU) and the national leaders of the Student Christian Movement (SCM) to which it was then affiliated. Norman Grubb and his Cambridge friends had become concerned that the SCM was losing its evangelical moorings. As they talked, it became clear that SCM viewed the cross of Christ as ‘important’ but not central to the gospel.
Grubb later wrote, ‘I was in my room in Trinity College Cambridge, in 1919. God gave me a vision of the Inter-Varsity Fellowship (IVF) that was to be; I saw that not only must there be this witness in every university, but that God was going to do it.’ From small groups of students meeting the movement became a tidal wave of ministry. New groups were established in fourteen British universities over the next nine years. Today through UCCF there is a witness to Christ among students in over 155 nations.
Getting to know you Young people have many opportunities to exercise new-found freedoms when arriving at university. ‘Parties, club-nights and pub-crawls at every turn all with very cheap or free alcohol,’ Pod Boghal told us. ‘All that alongside research, essays, tough practicals, intimidating tutorials, new people to meet, and a handful of slightly eccentric lecturers! Technically speaking, there’s no one around to make students get up, go
Passionate vision: National UCCF Director Richard Cunninham to lectures, go to bed or turn the music down. It’s ‘the’ transition into adulthood. Loads of people will be telling them that university is all about experimenting, trying new things.’ Some students told Catalyst they really didn’t know much about the CU before they attended Freshers Week – where clubs, sports and activities all compete for new members. In fact it’s best for
One student told us how she grew through the support of UCCF and the CU. ‘To have focused bible studies every week, with Uncover, was actually crucial for my faith - ‘especially with all the other temptations thrown at me. The Bible was opened to me afresh.’
Encouraging new students: Communications Director Pod Boghal them to find out about it earlier, using UCCF’s online link up programme to connect with a CU where they are studying.
‘My faith was not that secure when I started uni, but I had a friend in the UCCF and after much persuading I joined. The CU members and Uncover transformed the rest of my time there. And yes, you can do the Uncover course in the pub!’
‘Uncover is a wonderful resource at university for the furthering of the gospel. It’s really helped me to share my faith with my best friend, opening up the book of Luke in a student-friendly, accessible manner.’
Uncover is a great UCCF resource for students wanting to know more. Essentially it’s a student friendly version of Luke’s gospel with an accompanying Seeker Bible Study guide. QR codes are used - barcodes you can scan with a smartphone - to access online gospel presentations, apologetics videos and testimonies. New students on the linkup programme also receive a free ‘Starting Uni’ version.
‘It fantastic,’ Richard enthused. ‘One gospel can really fuel a series of studies that can impact lives, and of course the material is available to churches anywhere.’
How does a CU work? Christian unions vary in their activities but they are all in the business of making disciples, and do so in lively ways with the help of trained student team leaders . Gareth Davies, CARE’s Head of Churches Department, previously worked for UCCF as a Team Leader. ‘Through my work with Christian Unions,’ Gareth told Catalyst, ‘I was privileged to see students grow in their love for Christ. This had a really positive effect on their commitment not only to defending the gospel but also their desire to telling their friends about Jesus.’ Weekends away, study groups, events and outreach initiatives are popular, lively and friendly. Social media is paramount; Twitter handles and Facebook pages guarantee a wide network with every click.
Studying ‘Uncover’ in the pub!
Spread the word Do you know someone starting university this year, or studying at the moment? Maybe they are in need of some extra pastoral support, fellowship and inspiration, especially during tough times. University can be a lonely place, so why not tell them that there is excellent help and support when they get there? Find out about UCCF, Uncover, social media links and all the events they organise during the year at www.uccf.org.uk - top marks too for their great interactive website. New students can go straight to www.uccf.org.uk/starting-uni for everything they need even before they even attend a lecture. Photos: courtesy of UCCF
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Better protection for trafficked children
he number of victims of trafficking identified in the UK is rising. National Crime Agency figures indicate that they increased by 47% in 2013.
Although better policing and greater awareness of trafficking have led to more people being included, the figures show the need to keep raising the level of our response to human trafficking – its causes, perpetrators and victims. The Government announcement to bring a Modern Slavery Bill to Parliament later this year is a perfect opportunity to do this. So far the draft of the Bill is disappointing. Although it includes some good criminal provisions, what is missing are any measures to protect and support survivors of human trafficking, especially the ones who are most at risk – children.
Child victims According to official data, children make up one quarter of all trafficked people. They are extremely vulnerable to threats from their traffickers. They often go missing from local authority care, drawn back into the hands of those who exploit them. Child victims need continual support and someone to accompany them to all meetings with different professionals and who can speak up for them if they feel unable to do so themselves. For a number of years CARE has been calling on the Government to provide every trafficked child a specialist ‘child trafficking guardian’ to give this kind of help.
In December we supported Lord McColl with an amendment about this to the Children and Families Bill. The proposal was well received, and was ultimately defeated by just 15 votes. The Government now appears to be realising the need for this role because in January the Home Office announced two pilot projects to provide special advocates for trafficked children. This is great news, but it is only a first step. In order for every trafficked child to benefit, CARE is calling on the Government to include provision for child trafficking guardians in the Modern Slavery Bill.
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Good progress in Northern Ireland
ord Morrow’s Human Trafficking and Exploitation Bill continues to progress through the Northern Ireland Assembly. It will be a much more comprehensive law than the British Government’s Modern Slavery Bill with its provisions for child trafficking guardians and assistance for all victims. We are delighted that agreement on much of the Bill has been reached with Ministers. Lord Morrow is now working on amendments to fine-tune the Bill, and the Assembly will probably also incorporate some of the measures included in the Modern Slavery Bill. CARE in Northern Ireland continues to support Lord Morrow with his Bill and we are hopeful it will become law before the end of 2014.
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Elections across Europe
CARE offers a guiding light through the confusion
n Thursday 22 May British people can elect candidates to represent them for the next five years in the European Parliament. Most other European countries will not vote until the following weekend, so we have the first say. The European Parliament, and all the other EU institutions, can seem remote and confusing. This leads many Britons to wonder if there is any point in voting. Since the Lisbon Treaty came into force in late 2009, in many cases EU member states must seek the approval of the European Parliament before they make a new law in their country.
Christian values This is important for us because in many areas of legislation our Westminster Parliament only votes on the
details after the framework principles have been agreed by the European Union (EU). That is why CARE has maintained a Brussels office since 1993, to watch out for proposals for new EU laws, and seek to persuade the European Parliament to amend any that could adversely affect Christian values and freedoms. However, the success of CARE’s work in Brussels depends on the MEPs that we elect to represent us! The more MEPs there who not only share our values but are also willing to stand up for them, then the greater the chance of success for CARE’s policy work in Brussels.
Website launch CARE’s dedicated website explains the issues, provides information about the
candidates and their party platforms, and the voting record of current MEPs on subjects about which CARE has been campaigning. You will also find details of the hustings events we aim to organise with local church partners in all the European Parliament regional constituencies. Please spread the news of this website to friends, family, neighbours – and especially your church – so that they can see how Christians can use their vote wisely to send the right people to represent us in Brussels and Strasbourg.
For all information about the European Elections just go to www.euelections2014.com
Embryos: three-parent children
n February, the Government published draft regulations to make legal the two procedures that would enable the creation of three parent children. Such is its controversy that so far, every country that has considered allowing this procedure has decided to prohibit the practice, as has the important international treaty, the European Convention on Biomedicine.
legislation in this Parliament after the redefinition of marriage!
Crossing the boundary?
CARE commissioned the polling agency ComRes to conduct polling on public attitudes to the Government’s proposals. Key findings include the fact that more women oppose the proposed change in the law than support it, 36 per cent against, and just 31 per cent in favour. This is particularly interesting because the proposed procedure is designed to help women!
However, if regulations are passed by Parliament, Britain would be the very first country in the world to legalise a practice that Christian bioethicists warn involves crossing the boundary to a ‘post-human future.’ CARE is extremely disappointed that the Government has published these regulations, especially as when speaking on Radio 4’s Today Programme last May, David Cameron promised there would be no more controversial social
The draft regulations are out for consultation until 21 May. Nola Leach, CARE’s Head of Public Affairs commented, ‘It is vital that as many people as possible respond to leave the Government in no doubt that this is a big mistake.’
For and against
When asked whether, given other pressures, the Government should be
focusing on three parent children, just 18 per cent said yes, while 41 per cent said no. When told that scientists from this country and abroad have expressed concerns about the safety of the proposed procedures 41per cent said it made them less likely to support the change in the law. Polling figures were cited in the press and by Jacob Rees Mogg MP in an important House of Commons Adjournment debate on 3 Parent Children which took place on 13 March. Please go to www.care.org.uk/news for up-to-date reports
PU B LIC
Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide I
t is currently illegal in the UK to encourage or assist a person to commit suicide. However, as Catalyst readers will know, in recent years there have been several attempts to change the law to legalise assisted suicide. In fact, since last December there have been three short debates in the House of Lords considering the current state of the law. In the next parliamentary session, Lord Falconer is likely once more to introduce a Bill to the House of Lords to legalise assisted suicide. A Bill has already been introduced to the Scottish Parliament by Margo MacDonald MSP. Both Bills represent a real danger to the most vulnerable in our society. These Bills also shift the focus away from investment
in care towards a desire for mere efficiency in how and when we die. Such laws can never be made safe.
Care for the living As people come to terms with their own mortality, a desire for autonomy and choice will inevitably see further pressure for the law to change. Mindful of this, CARE has been hard at work to produce clear information to both inform and equip Christians and non-Christians alike to grasp the importance of championing life, not hastening death. We will shortly be publishing some simple resources which address the key arguments, provide some vital background information, and also give a Christian perspective on the debate around assisted suicide. These resources will give you confidence to engage with these Bills when the time comes and to speak up for caring for the living rather than helping them to die. We will keep you informed.
Smacking ban blocked in Wales, for now I
n February CARE lobbied Welsh Assembly Members not to criminalise parents for smacking their children. We are particularly grateful for the powerful speech against the proposal made by Byron Davies AM.
Welsh Assembly Building, Cardiff
The Welsh Government asked AMs to reject criminalisation but only because they did not feel their Social Services Bill was an appropriate vehicle for a smacking ban. So although the proposal was consequently defeated, the Minister promised time would be made to address this issue before the next election. We remain vigilant.
YORKSHIRE CHURCH IS CHAMPION FOR THE POOR A
Harrogate church has shifted from being a ‘rather traditional evangelical gathering’ to becoming more of a ‘highly visible communitycentred movement’.
That’s the belief of Dave Bolton, who leads Mowbray Community Church (MCC) in Harrogate. He welcomed CARE’s Head of Churches Department Gareth Davies on a recent visit. The congregation is involved in ‘a myriad of outward facing projects’, said Dave. These include midweek ‘tots and toys’ group, a Christians Against Poverty debt centre, regional deaf church, a weekly drop-in centre for women, and a primary school club. And CARE’s ministry has become part of MCC’s vision too. Dave first discovered CARE more than 12 years ago, just before he moved to Belgium to live. Some time after his return, he met Gareth Davies at a CARE event in York along with Lyndon Bowring and Nola Leach. ‘I valued what I heard and decided to ask Gareth to speak at one of our evening services,’ said Dave.
Resources and framework ‘As a community church that desires to impact our society with Kingdom
Busy church ministry: Dave and An Bolton culture it was fantastic to have Gareth share with us on political and social justice’, he told Catalyst. ‘The content was succinct, memorable and outlined a biblical case for prophetic campaigning.’ Dave added, ‘If one of the greatest tragedies in life is a life without purpose, then perhaps one of the greatest challenges for those who do have purpose is knowing where to start and how to
go about it. CARE provides both the resources and the framework to signpost the way for Christians and churches to life an engaged lifestyle for Jesus.’ ‘It’s a privilege to be able to encourage churches across the country to get involved in social justice – as part of my job’, Gareth told Catalyst. ‘The driving and train delays are all worth it to meet and get to know these great people!’
If you would like to ask Gareth to speak at your church, and see how you can make a difference, just contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 020 7233 0455
OXFORD’S ‘DREAMING’ COMMUNITY 18 18
Thriving relationships: [left to right] Adam, Josh, Mark and Jem
Lives are being transformed on the edge of Oxford. Clive Price went with Gareth Davies, Head of Church Development for CARE, to meet a team seeing foundational change on a local housing estate
arton lies just outside Oxford - which poet Matthew Arnold described as the ‘sweet city with her dreaming spires’. But this housing estate became notorious as an urban outpost of disadvantaged families, weighed down by poverty and joblessness. Now that’s changing.
Jem Todd, a team leader with mission agency Innovista – which trains young leaders across both Europe and Eurasia – came to Barton four years ago as they started their first local mission in the UK there. ‘We came up with this model of “Thrive” teams,’ he said, ‘where we move to the estate, partner with a church and set up community projects.’ Now he lives there with his eight-month-old twins.
‘I understood those street kids,’ he recalled. ‘Even though we had a different background and opportunities, we still had a lot in common. That was a catalyst for wanting to come here.’
Thriving team So Jem became part of the change. And he spearheads a team of full-time youth workers, interns and 15 volunteers also contributing to Barton’s transformation. Team members started moving in from 2010 to the area.
‘What Thrive has brought to the venture has been foundational.’ wife and
Jem had spent part of his own childhood in the Philippines with his parents who worked among poverty-stricken street kids. That experience had inspired him about mission.
Adam Overton, 24, had grown up in a Christian home. Then his parents split. Dropping out of school in his mid teens, he suffered from depression.
Playing the piano became a way of expressing himself. Adam studied music at Oxford Brookes while volunteering with Thrive. He now lives on the estate and works among the youth fulltime. ‘I can relate to these guys,’ he said. Robin Peake grew up in a middle class farming family in Northern Ireland. He
Inspiring mission: Innovista team leader Jem Todd thought of people on housing estates as ‘scroungers and skivers’. But his attitude changed on moving to Barton in 2011. Robin’s prejudice was challenged as he saw natural leaders among the young people there who just lacked the opportunities to develop. ‘I saw a strong sense of community,’ said Robin, 27.
The Thrive team have built relationships with around 100 young people from Barton, growing up in a disadvantaged community. Among them are 16-yearold Mark and Josh, who is 19. Mark was never a troublemaker. But one night he was in a fight and was bundled into a police car. There, he heard a mysterious inner voice say, ‘This isn’t you, this isn’t the Mark I know’. His life changed from that point. ‘I met these guys and instantly connected,’ Mark said of Thrive. He’d grown up in Barton, and now wants to return to the estate to make a difference.
property was being damaged. But It’s very different now!’
Community pride Today, Barton is a place where folk are proud to live. ‘These people have made a major difference,’ Phil said, pointing to the Thrive team, ‘they got involved and gave something worthwhile for the youth to do, including some great events at Christmas.’ Thrive has started a service on the estate. Sunday@5 is part of Barton Community Church, a ‘plant’ from Headington Baptist Church. They aim to grow a worshipping community that reflects the local people.
For Josh, drugs, alcohol and crime were routine. ‘These people ‘What the Thrive team has One night in a police cell have made a major brought has been founin 2009, he also heard an dational,’ said Headington difference.’ ‘inner voice’. It told him, Baptist minister James ‘You’ve got to change or Bloice Smith. ‘Their work with young your life will go downhill.’ Josh and his people has established a network of young family were subsequently offered relationships and given us contact with four homes in a variety of locations. He whole family groupings.’ chose the smallest – a flat in Barton – so he could be part of the answer. Thrive work with young people oneto-one and in groups, to help them Adam, Mark and Josh now play music unleash their potential. Youth workers together. They’ve composed songs that build relationships with them on their offer positive messages to local youth. own ‘turf’. Some, like Mark and Josh, It wasn’t always like that. Josh’s dad grow into leaders themselves. Phil remembers Barton in the ‘70s. ‘The police were round here every night,’ he Such results have attracted the local recalled. ‘Cars were being stolen and media. Last summer, the Oxford Mail
Making a difference: Robin and Mark in Barton covered their young leaders’ programme and the BBC filmed a self-esteem group for girls in Barton. There may be no ‘quick fix’ solutions to all the community’s complex problems. But Thrive and their friends are a positive presence. And it seems to be working. 19
Innovista are looking for partner churches to launch new Thrive teams in tough communities within an hour of Oxford. Visit www.thriveteams.org to find out more. Photos: Cliveprice.com
Strong community: young people in Barton with Adam, Josh and Mark
goodbye Losing a child in pregnancy, at birth or in infancy, is devastating. It affects parents, friends and family. But one couple has turned their own loss into something which is transforming families.
tatistics show that around 250,000 babies are miscarried each year in the UK, 4,000 through stillbirth and significant numbers lost in infancy. That number adds up to tens of millions globally each year. So although you may think you don’t know anyone who has been affected by baby loss, you probably do. People just feel unable to talk about it openly. Zoe and Andy Clark-Coates lost five preterm babies, through miscarriage and ‘missed miscarriage’, all within the space of three and a half years. They never believed that they would be one of these statistics.
Experience and faith The journey has been long and painful for Andy and Zoe, but now they are proud parents of two little girls. Their experiences led them to set up an organisation that provides opportunities to remember and acknowledge the lives of lost babies. Saying Goodbye services take place at Cathedrals and Minsters across the country. The simple format includes mu‘our personal sic, readings, prayers pain can and a message of transform us hope. All are weland others.’ come, and will find elements of the service that work for them, whether they are Christians, follow another religion or have no faith.
A place of peace ‘It’s incredible to see people come in, and leave physically, emotionally and mentally changed,’ Andy commented. ‘Not everyone will have the happy ending of another child, but we hope they can be brought into a place of peace, where they can move forward.’ Zoe recognises the importance of having each baby recognised and remembered,
‘the simple format includes music, poetry, readings, prayers and a message of hope’
is vital,’ he said. ‘Giving time to grieve in order to begin to come to terms with living with loss needs to be encouraged.’
Proud parents: Zoe and Andy Clark-Coates but in the majority of cases this never happens. Before 24 weeks, there is normally no service and no certificate to acknowledge the life lost. Even after 24 weeks, services are usually held while parents are experiencing grief and trauma.
Changing views Saying Goodbye is part of the charity The Mariposa Trust, and has partnered with organisations including Tommy’s, Bliss and World Vision. Support from Professor Lord Robert Winston and the Archbishop of York has given the initiative a huge boost. Dr John Sentamu is an ambassador. ‘Love and support from family and friends at such a difficult time
They have now started the task of raising a million pounds to expand the work in the UK and worldwide, through churches, individuals and businesses. The charity has also launched an international service, offering help and advice for anyone who has been through loss, or supporting others in this situation. ‘We’re privileged to offer people a chance to say goodbye to their children, or those of family and friends, said Zoe. ‘People have told us, it’s as if their baby never existed; the world just goes on. We’re also hearing from men who feel that they are just a shadow of their former selves after losing a baby.’ One of the biggest challenges Andy and Zoe face is how to change the view of baby loss. It can be a taboo subject, almost impossible to talk about openly. But they know the hand of God is firmly on their work. Zoe concluded. ‘We all need to grieve, but weeping doesn’t have to end in pain and loneliness. By sharing stories and allowing tears to flow, our personal pain can transform us and others.’
For more information and dates of services, fundraising opportunities, and Zoe and Andy’s story, visit www.sayinggoodbye.org You can follow them on Twitter @SayinggoodbyeUK and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ sayinggoodbyeuk
MERCY AND GRACE IN TIME OF NEED by Lyndon Bowring, Executive Chairman, CARE
rom time to time, in the face of our own and others’ suffering, we may question why it is something God allows. The sad truth is that for many, life seems very unfair. Difficult things happen to lovely people while health, wealth and happiness is enjoyed by many who lead selfish, dishonest and cruel lives.
caught up in pornography addiction and the child exposed to harmful online material.
When I contemplate the vast fortunes made by those who traffic adults and children for sexual exploitation and forced labour, the private clinic owners who reap greater profit the more abortions they perform, the pornographers The question: ‘Why doesn’t God do who make money from producing and more?’ has been asked a million times, distributing violent and graphic matebut in sending His beloved Son God an- rial where women are abused, my heart grieves and I get angry. But I swered. Jesus lived among take great comfort from the us and suffered intensely on ‘The question: Psalmist: the cross when His Father ‘Why doesn’t turned away and rejected God do more?’ ‘Surely God is good to Israel, Him. He became sin, bearto those who are pure in ing the full wrath of God that has been asked heart, but as for me my foot should have fallen on us. I a million times.’ almost slipped, I almost lost believe with all my heart that my footing. I envied the arthe sovereign God, who is our suffering rogant when I saw the prosperity of the Saviour, cares more about pain, cruelty, wicked … until I entered the sanctuary disease, damage, danger and death than of God. Then I understood their final we could ever know or imagine. Hebrews destiny.’ Chapter 4 encourages us to ‘approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find Gospel responsibility grace to help in our time of need.’ We thank God for the privilege CARE has of being a Christian voice in the UK Parliaments and Assemblies and in Brussels Innocent people – initiating and supporting legislation In CARE we are constantly made that reflects His truth and compassion. aware of innocent people who struggle through no fault of their own – the Genesis 18:25 challenges us: ‘Shall not newly born child with special needs, the the judge of all the earth do right?’ and person who is physically disabled or ter- God promises that ‘at the set time that I minally ill, the adult with learning disa- appoint I will judge with equity’. (Psalm bilities, the one who has been trafficked 72:1,2) Meanwhile He calls us to preach and enslaved into a life of forced labour the gospel and to exercise our gospel or sexual abuse, the woman struggling responsibility - and bring healing, help, to come to terms with an abortion comfort, and hope to others wherever she now deeply regrets, the individual and whenever we can.
CARE 53 Romney Street London SW1P 3RF | 020 7233 0455 | For enquires, comments and to join our regular mailing list: email@example.com To further CARE’s ministry: www.care.org.uk/giving | Charity number: 1066963 Scottish Charity SC038911
S ER RT O GE PP PA SU
CHANGES TO ONLINE GIFT AID RAISE FUNDS WHILE YOU SHOP! COLLECTION! W
e are so grateful to all of you who donate through Give as You Live. To date, you have managed to raise over £700 to benefit our work here at CARE - just by shopping online! Give as You Live works with more than 3,000 of the leading stores and retailers who have signed up to donate a commission on every online purchase to the charity of your choice at no extra cost to you. • It’s so easy to download • It raises funds for us - at no cost to you • There are over 2,000 shops and stores in the scheme To find out how you can join thousands of other online shoppers raising money for their favourite causes, just visit: www.giveasyoulive.com/join/care And you can now install Give as you Live on your mobile. Download it for free and raise money whilst you shop on the go: www.giveasyoulive.com/join/care/_install
If you are reading this issue of Catalyst online, please read on!
MRC (HM Revenue & Customs) are moving to an online system for Gift Aid claims, whereby charities will be required to record each donor’s current postal address (first line of address & post code). Without this, the tax paid cannot be reclaimed. We are so grateful to all of you who Gift Aid your donations; it makes a huge difference. Also, if you are a donor who does not receive CARE mailings by post, please do remember to inform us when you move house – we will only use your address for Gift Aid administration – otherwise we may no longer be able to reclaim tax you have paid.
If you have any questions about Gift Aid, or are about to move house, please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone us on 020 7233 0455 where either Russell or Hannah will be happy to make checks and amendments.
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C ATA LYS T
n: a person or thing that causes an important change to take place
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