THE MAGAZINE OF THE EVANGELICAL ALLIANCE
Have we forgotten about Pentecost? BIG INTERVIEW
Jackie Pullinger on mission
Pastoral care for those suffering in old age
Coming to a town near you?
60 seconds withâ€Ś
On the Job
NEWS COMMENT features
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Find out how to build prayerful and practical support for your police at www.coact.org.uk IDEA MAGAZINE / 2
For more information and how to get involved, please visit www.cpauk.net or phone 01234 272865 National CPA twitter @uk_cpa
Chine Mbubaegbu: Thatcher is not on the average One Direction fan’s radar.
idea-torial We have to move with the times to make the good news of Christ relevant in this drastically different context.
I am writing this 24 hours after the world learned of former prime minister Margaret Thatcher’s death. And what has become clear in the day since she died at the age of 87 is that this was a woman who divided opinion; admired by some, hated by others. There has been an outpouring of public vitriol for the policies she implemented during her tenure, while other quarters have praised her because they believe she made the country a better place. The polarising views about the Iron Lady are to be expected. But what has been surprising for many has been that to for so many young people, Lady Thatcher is simply … irrelevant. When Harry Styles, a 19-yearold member of boy band One Direction tweeted his tribute to the former prime minister, his army of fans were somewhat confused. Many of them had never heard of her. “It’s Market (sic) Thatcher,” one fan clarified. “Something to do with our queen.” Such ignorance stunned many older people; but it made one thing clear – we are living in a different world. Things have moved on. The context has changed. The heroes and villains, the public figures, the things that are important and not important are different now. Thatcher is not on the average One Direction fan’s radar.
CONTENTS FEATURES 10 Cover story
Have we forgotten about the Church’s birthday?
Pastoral care in old age.
28-29 Confidence and contextualisation
Laurence Singlehurst explores the importance of presenting the gospel in different contexts.
Enough Food IF: Ben Niblett of Tearfund answers questions about a global campaign to end world hunger
What’s going on at the Evangelical Alliance?
9 On the job
Meet hi-tech cyber crime prosecutor Esther George.
11 Good question
What does it mean to be filled with the Holy Spirit?
News from Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
36 In your words
idea readers respond…
38 Last word
General director Steve Clifford writes…
30 EAPPI: How Christians from all over the world are joining in solidarity with those living in conflict in Israel and Palestine
There’s a lesson here. To communicate the gospel to this new world, the stories need to be different. The references need to be updated. We have to move with the times to make the good news of Christ relevant in this drastically different context. That is what Laurence Singlehurst explores in his article on page 28. He writes: “In a world that no longer understands words such as ‘sin’ and ‘repentance’, how can we make the gospel relevant?” It’s difficult to know how we can. But it’s important that we do; in whatever that context may be. For the School Pastors featured on page 20, the good news means walking alongside pupils. For Jackie Pullinger, interviewed on page 26, the good news is helping to set people free from addiction. The gospel in context.
32 Chasing down dreams: Leonardo diCaprio and Carey Mulligan star in the big screen adaptation of F Scott Fitzgerald’s classic The Great Gatsby Head Office Evangelical Alliance has moved:
176 Copenhagen Street, London N1 0ST tel: 020 7520 3830
(Mon – Fri, 9am – 5pm)
Chine Mbubaegbu Editor
We’re on Twitter! Follow us @idea_mag MAY/JUN 2013
fax: 020 7520 3850 firstname.lastname@example.org www.eauk.org Evangelical Alliance leadership team Steve Clifford, Helen Calder, Fred Drummond, Elfed Godding, Krish Kandiah, Dave Landrum, Peter Lynas
Email address changes to email@example.com Northern Ireland Office 440 Shore Road, Newtownabbey BT37 9RU tel: 028 9029 2266 firstname.lastname@example.org
Scotland Office International Christian College, 110 St James Road, Glasgow, G4 0PS tel: 0141 548 1555 email@example.com
Wales Office 20 High Street, Cardiff CF10 1PT tel: 029 2022 9822 firstname.lastname@example.org
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News from the Alliance
The Alliance’s brand new home in King’s Cross. (Photo credit: Dan Ryland)
Looking back, moving forward – new home for the Evangelical Alliance. After more than 30 years at its home in Whitefield House in Kennington, south-east London, the Evangelical Alliance moved to brand new premises in the heart of the new King’s Cross redevelopment on 25 March.
In March 1981, the organisation moved from its former home at 19 Draycott Place in Chelsea intent on being based in a building that was a “visible expression of ‘spiritual unity in action’”, according to the Spring 1981 edition of idea magazine. Whitefield House was so-called because George Whitefield, the noted 18th century evangelist, used to preach in the open air in the gardens across Kennington Park Road. At the time of the move, the Alliance was joined by the Evangelical Missionary Alliance, the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelisation, and the resources centre of the Decade of Evangelism. Two magazines published by Thirty Press in association with the Alliance – Crusade and Third Way– did not move with the Alliance from their Chelsea property and instead took up a new home at the Scripture Union headquarters on City Road. Thanks to the generosity of its members, the Alliance was able to buy Whitefield House freehold in 1992, but in recent years it had become clear that Whitefield House is no longer fit for purpose. “When our neighbours unexpectedly approached us asking if we would consider selling them Whitefield House, we knew this was an opportunity from God,” said general director Steve Clifford.
First day at our former home in Kennington in 1981 IDEA MAGAZINE / 4
“We spent a lot of time carefully and prayerfully searching for new premises and considering how we can best use them.”
The Alliance leadership team were keen that the new premises be a contemporary and professional resource centre to serve the evangelical community across the UK. Eventually, prayer and hard work led to the purchase of a new premises at Copenhagen Street in King’s Cross – which is currently undergoing one of the largest regeneration projects in Europe. Steve Clifford said: “Whitefield House was our home for more than 30 years – and a hub for evangelicals in this nation. We welcomed so many dignitaries, church leaders and friends from all over the world through these doors. It is from this place that we prayed and worked hard for unity among evangelical Christians, to achieve social transformation of our nation by being a voice to the government and the media. “Though the mission we have had since 1846 remains the same, we feel that God is calling us to something new and exciting, symbolised in our relocation. We are really enjoying our new building in the heart of bustling King’s Cross and are expectant for God to do even greater things as we continue in our mission from a new base that reflects the relevant, 21st century organisation that we aim to be. We hope that you’ll join us in this journey.” Our new address is 176 Copenhagen Street, London, N1 0ST. Our main telephone number is 020 7520 3830 (Mon – Fri, 9am – 5pm). Please update your records accordingly.
Andrew Green: Christians on the BBC: traditional, old-fashioned, antiquated? Twitter: @tandrewgreen
in the media
Reviewing the BBC’s impartiality by Andrew Green, Alliance press officer
The Alliance has submitted its response to the BBC Trust’s review of impartiality. The Trust had invited submissions from “interested stakeholders” ahead of its review of impartiality across BBC factual – including faith – programming, which it will publish later in the year. In its report, the Alliance affirmed the vital role the BBC plays in contributing to the common good of British society as
well as acknowledging that there are many expressions of Christian faith that are heard only because of the BBC. Even so, the report continued: “The Alliance does identify a disconnect in understanding, which sometimes sees Christians as defined by traditional, old-fashioned, even antiquated values, rather than as social entrepreneurs, leaders and catalysts of positive societal change – which they often are.” Following the launch of Home for Good at Council in March, the Church Times reported the campaign’s broad backing by Anglican bishops, including the Archbishop
of York. Dr Sentamu said in the newspaper that the campaign, which encourages more Christians to consider adopting and fostering, offered Christians “both a challenge and an opportunity on our doorsteps”. Krish Kandiah was able to speak about Home for Good in a local context when 14 local BBC stations interviewed him about the campaign in April. BBC Merseyside also previewed his day of speaking about the challenges of fostering and adoption at Frontline, an Alliance member church in Liverpool, on 3 November during national adoption week.
Alliance Council meeting The Evangelical Alliance Council – a group of around 90 leading Christians from across the country gathered at its bi-annual meeting at St Mary’s Bryanston Square in March. This Council’s theme was focussed on child poverty and heard talks from academics and experts talking about the various forms of poverty found among children in the UK: relational poverty, spiritual poverty, material poverty and poverty of being. Presenter Diane-Louise Jordan was there for the official launch of the Home for Good campaign being run by the Alliance, CCPAS and Care for the Family. homeforgood.org.uk
Best of the web 1) MARGARET THATCHER DIES
3) Stop press: nothing changes
5) Friday Night Theology
Tributes paid to the woman described by some as the nation’s “most openly Christian” prime minister. eauk.org/margaret-thatcher-dies
Andrew Graystone, director of the Church and Media Network, reflects on a wasted opportunity following the Leveson Inquiry. eauk.org/nothing-changes
Sign up for a weekly theological reflection on a news story of the week delivered straight to your inbox. eauk.org/fnt
2) Home for Good In March, the Alliance launched its Home for Good campaign to change the culture in local churches throughout the UK, to make adopting and fostering a significant part of their life and ministry. Check out the new website. homeforgood.org.uk MAY/JUN 2013
4) A heartless generation? Jerry Beatson, a 15-year-old pupil from Thames Christian College, responds to the latest British Attitudes Survey which shows that the younger generation cares little about wider society. eauk.org/a-heartless-generation
IDEA MAGAZINE / 5
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Chair of Council: My prayer is that the Alliance grows in relevance
60 seconds with...
Kate Coleman Interview by Chine Mbubaegbu
We get to know Kate Coleman one of the country’s most influential black Christian women. She is founder and director of Next Leadership and also chair of the Alliance Council. She is also the author of 7 Deadly Sins of Women in Leadership. I’ve lived with a lot of surprises in my journey with God. I got called into leadership very soon after I became a Christian when I was studying biochemistry and pharmacology at Southampton University. Coming to faith was a surprise to me and it was a real surprise to the people who knew me. I wasn’t very warm towards Christianity. I thought Christians were remarkably arrogant, dogmatic and hypocritical. I had a very clear idea about what I was going to do with my life. But God had a very different idea. After I had finished uni I returned to London because God had very firmly closed the door on what I wanted to do. I wanted to discern what He wanted me to do with my life. My church didn’t believe in women in leadership. And neither did I. With God’s leading, I moved to Scotland and it was another huge surprise to me that during my time there God spoke to me very powerfully about getting into Christian leadership. It felt strange to have a very strong sense of calling when I didn’t believe it was possible. So I put the ball back in God’s court. I just said to God that if it really was Him then He had to make it happen because I couldn’t see how it was going to. Within two years I was leading the same church that didn’t believe in women in leadership. In a sense that became the tone of my life in terms of pioneering, breaking barriers and making shifts. There have been different milestones in every season of my journey. Something which has always been a highlight in my life and in my ministry has been taking a journey with people and encouraging them in their walk with God. I like to talk about milestones rather than highlights. There have been milestones in every new thing that’s happened; whether it was my being called to leadership initially within church and then pastoring my first church and then becoming the president of the Baptist Union. Before that, it was being the first black woman to be an accredited Baptist minister. I’m very passionate about leadership in different spheres. But I have a particular interest in women in leadership because I am one. The issues that women have to deal with are huge. The structures, values, systems and attitudes of society can make women’s leadership a very difficult endeavour, particularly in the Church. The issues that women have to deal with are firstly external. They’re also internal because we imbibe the messages that society gives to us. So we have to struggle with them and refuse them and embrace what God is saying to us as human beings but also as leaders called to lead. My major passion is that women will find themselves able to fulfil God’s original mandate to male and female to steward in accordance with His purposes. I believe until women are alongside men in leadership that God’s purposes can’t be fulfilled.
I had a very real sense that God wanted me to accept the chair of the Evangelical Alliance Council. I hadn’t had a great deal of contact with the Alliance before I became a Council member. Being chair of the Alliance has been an introduction on lots of different levels. I think my ignorance is actually a benefit. It’s amazing to see the groups that have got together around the table. I come with no axe to grind and no pre-conceptions. I have come ready to learn but also ready to bring whatever gifts I have that are needed. My hopes for the Alliance are that it grows in doing this work of gathering believers. I hope that the Alliance becomes more diverse culturally. It’s surprisingly monochrome at the moment, given the nature of belief in the UK and particularly given the fact that the fastest-growing churches are not majority white. I would love to see more representation; and also to see more women in the Alliance, as well as more young people. I want to see young people finding it a compelling, exciting and interesting place and wanting to make a contribution and them wanting to be part of this movement of believers to impact society. I would also like to see the Alliance growing numerically being heard more pervasively throughout society. My prayer is that it will grow in relevance; that its leadership as an organisation is strong, focussed and godly in a society that’s decreasingly any of those things. May the Alliance stand out as a ‘city on a hill’! IDEA MAGAZINE / 7
Nominations open for the Inspire Awards 2013
Who are your local heroes?
Who are the unsung heroes in your community? Now’s your chance to tell us about the great work they’re doing... We’re delighted to be working with Inspire magazine and Youth for Christ to present the 2013 Inspire Awards which will be announced at Westminster in November this year. Every month we hear great stories about people, projects and youth initiatives across the UK making a difference because of their Christian faith. We love to tell these stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things – because they inspire us. And we hope they inspire you, too. In November last year, we honoured the winners and runnersup in the 2012 Inspire Awards in London Westminster (Individual Award winner Mike Hulcoop is pictured left), and now we want to hear about your unsung local heroes that make a difference to the lives they touch.
THE CATEGORIES You can nominate in three categories: • An individual Christian in the UK who is an inspiring role model • A UK-based Christian-run project serving its local area • Work with children or young people in the UK making a real impact in a local area Remember: we’re looking for outstanding unsung heroes rather than already recognised national ministries. The winners will be announced at the Awards event in Westminster in November.
The prizes There’ll be a prestigious trophy and prize for the winners in each section, plus a high profile awards event in Westminster in November for the shortlisted entries. Stories of some of the entrants will be featured in idea, Inspire and on our websites before entries are judged and shortlists drawn up. The winners will be announced at the Awards event in Westminster in November.
How to enter Mike Hulcoop from Aylesbury won the Inspiring Individual Award for the money management centre he runs from his local church
Make your nomination using the form below. Remember – we’re looking for outstanding entries that will prove an inspiration to others! Closing date is 1 August 2013
ınspıre AWARDS 2013
INSPIRE AWARDS 2013 (in partnership with Evangelical Alliance) [You can photocopy this form, or send the information by e-mail to email@example.com] Nominated individual/children & youth/project (delete as required) Their contact details – Address: Email: Website: Describe the work they do in up to 25 words: Why do they deserve an Inspire Award? (feel free to give more detail on a separate sheet) Your name:
Postcode: Email: Telephone: Your church:
in partnership with the Evangelical Alliance Please return this form to Inspire Awards, CPO, Garcia Estate, Canterbury Road, Worthing BN13 1BW. Closing date for entries is 1 August 2013. lease tick if you would P like to receive occasional updates from Inspire and information relating to products and services from the publisher CPO. It is our policy to ensure your details will not be disclosed to third parties.
Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord
ON THE JOB
ackling global T e-crime We meet Esther George – a senior policy advis0r and prosecutor who works for the Crown Prosecution Service. Esther’s interest in computer crime began when she got hooked on cult US television sci-fi programme Babylon 5. The year was 1996 and she had become addicted to the American space opera created by J Michael Straczynski. Desperate to watch the next series which was only available in the US, she was told that she could read descriptions of future episodes uploaded to the fledgling internet, typed up by fellow addicts and computer whizzes. This sparked her interest in all things related to computers and the internet. At the time, she was working as a lawyer in the youth branch at the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) – the government department that prosecutes criminal cases investigated by the police and other investigators in England and Wales. The CPS advises on and reviews cases for possible prosecution, determines the charges to be brought, prepares cases for court and presents them in the magistrates’ and the Crown Courts. After having specialised in youth court prosecutions for a few years, her foresight – and her love of Babylon 5 – made her realise that the internet would become increasingly significant in the legal realm. She enrolled in a computer science course in her spare time to understand more about the inner workings of computer technology. “By 1998, I knew that computer crime was here to stay and it was only going to get bigger,” she said. “Computer crime is anything that involves a computer or a mobile phone or the internet, including computer-enabled crime such as downloading and computer-enabled fraud. “I foresee that in time significantly more crimes will be computer crimes. Because soon everything will be connected to the internet – even your fridge will be phoning up the internet to say it’s out of milk. We are living in a digitally-enhanced world and the end game is that every prosecutor will have to have a fundamental knowledge
of this computer crime.” Esther, who attends New Wine church in Woolwich, was instrumental in developing the CPS’s approach to cyber crime. When she moved to the CPS headquarters and was given the opportunity to specialise in e-crime, she was dealing with the more serious cases and started to instruct the police before taking up a job in policy in 2002, working on a new hi-tech crime project. The plan was for there to eventually be a CPS hi-tech crime specialist in each CPS office. Today, there are more than 200 specialists. Some time after, Esther – who had been designing training for the hi-tech crime specialists – came up with the idea for a Global Prosecutors E-Crime Network (GPen), an online information sharing network to bring together and train e-crime specialist prosecutors around the world. It was launched in 2008 by the then Attorney General Baroness Scotland. In 2010, Esther was awarded a Certificate of Merit for her work in setting up GPen at the International Association of Prosecutors awards in The Hague. Speaking about her award, Keir Starmer QC – director of public prosecutions, who leads the CPS – said: “Esther’s award recognises her work as the main architect of GPen and is well-deserved. She realised that prosecutors dealing with hi-tech crime around the world would benefit from being able to share solutions to problems they were experiencing in their work and so set up GPen. Esther has also been instrumental in designing a GPen approved training programme.” Esther says that the award was one of the highlights in a career that has been committed to the legal profession and justice. “I was always interested in law and in helping others and this career seemed like a good fit,” she says.
“The ideas of truth and of justice – which I think are basic to all mankind - definitely come into it. This is more than just a job. Most people you speak to here will say that it’s a vocation. I think being a prosecutor is the best type of lawyer to be. Our job is to put before the court the full case. It’s not about getting a conviction at all costs. We put the full facts forward so that justice can be done.” Esther leads the Prosecution Christian Fellowship (PCF) – a group of Christians who work for the CPS who meet weekly for prayer and reflection. Her faith and sense of calling have also led her to be an instrumental part in the personal and career development of her colleagues. In 2010, she set up the Pro Bono & Volunteering Network at the CPS, to encourage social action among prosecutors. “For me, my faith isn’t just about Sunday meetings. There has to be a holistic application of it.”
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Andy Frost: director of Share Jesus International, and a member of the Alliance Council
Pentecost: the forgotten festival?
Stained glass church window depicting Pentecost in the Dom of Cologne, Germany.
Andy Frost, director of Share Jesus International, and a member of the Alliance Council, explores this important festival in the Christian calendar. Pentecost used to be a big deal in the UK. Churches would gather and march through town centres. Brass bands and choirs would play in the streets. There was even a special bank holiday on the Monday up until 1971. But somehow, Pentecost seems to have been lost from society and even from our Church calendar. And I think it’s time we re-discovered the celebration of Pentecost. Here are four reasons why: First, Pentecost is a celebration of life. The term Pentecost comes from the Hebrew term shavuot which means seven weeks. It marks the 50th day after the Passover. Fifty days after the first Passover, the wandering Israelite tribe had arrived at Mount Sinai. Moses came down from the mountain top with the Law, to find the people worshipping a golden calf. That day, 3,000 people were executed. Some 1,500 years later, as the disciples were catapulted out of the upper room; they had received not the Law but the Holy Spirit. As Peter gets up to preach, anointed by the Spirit, 3,000 people respond to the message of good news and join the Jesus movement. Pentecost is in its very essence a celebration of new life. Second, Pentecost is a reminder that all are welcome. We read the incredible stories in the Old Testament of the Spirit of God dwelling in or coming upon certain individuals who had a specific calling from God. This powerful anointing was available but only for the few. But when Peter begins to preach in Acts 2, he quotes Joel 2:28: “And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.” Pentecost is a reminder that we can all receive the Holy Spirit. Whether we are Jew or Gentile, black or IDEA MAGAZINE / 10
white, young or old, we can know salvation as the Holy Spirit seals it. Third, Pentecost is our birthday. Lesslie Newbigin writes: “On that day (Pentecost) we may say that everything was ready for the Church’s life to begin. Christ’s atoning work had been completed. His revelation of the Father in word and deed was complete. The nucleus of his Church was chosen and ready … And yet they had to wait. All was complete: and yet nothing was complete until the Spirit of God Himself should be breathed into the new race of men.” It was at Pentecost that the Holy Spirit ignited the disciples to be the Church. Too often we celebrate our own fellowship’s anniversary, which is great; but we, as one Church, should also learn to celebrate our birthday together. Fourth, we should celebrate Pentecost, which this year takes place on Sunday, 19 May, because it is a call to evangelism. In Acts 2, we discover the disciples had prayed; they had been empowered by God; they had left their building and they had started to communicate the good news. In the UK, we have begun to discover that we can’t just wait for people to turn up in our buildings on a Sunday morning. Over the past five years in London, the Pentecost Festival has used the tag-line “the Church has left the building” because we are not bricks and mortar. We are the people of God. Pentecost is a reminder that we need to enter a hurting world to share God’s love with hurting people. The disciples were supernaturally gifted with the ability to communicate in the language of the day and we must do the same. As Jerusalem was full of different people groups, so the same is true today. We live in a society packed with different tribes and tongues. There are so many sub-cultures
that range from the urban hip-hoppers to the suited and booted City bankers, to the football fan who travels the country religiously Watch this following his team. Pentecost Each culture has its Festival video and be inspired own language, which is more than mere words and which dictates dress, values, behaviour and belonging. As we spill out of our church buildings, it is important that we communicate the message of Jesus to these sub-cultures. The message does not change but the way in which we reveal it has to show its relevance. And if we are going to communicate to the culture, we need to listen to what the culture is saying. There is a church that I pass regularly that has luminous pink sign with big black letters that states “Jesus is the answer!” This sign for me sums up something of the communication issue that we have. We tell the world that the answer is Jesus but we have rarely taken the time to discover the question. Pentecost is about communicating relevantly the truth of Jesus. And so, I am asking for your help. Will you help the Church rediscover the potent message of Pentecost and more importantly, will you help this nation discover the message of Pentecost? I believe the Church needs more parties and fewer meetings and so over the next three years we aim to take the Pentecost Festival nationwide under the banner: “The Biggest Birthday Party ever!” We would love to see Pentecost put firmly back on this nation’s calendar. For more information, check out pentecostfestival.co.uk
Spiritual gifts: Is being filled with the Spirit about more than speaking in tongues?
What does it mean to be filled with the Holy Spirit? On the day of Pentecost, the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit. But what does that even mean? We asked a few experts to give us their take. Rev Paul Bradbury, pioneer minister for Poole Town Centre & Hamworthy and community leader of Poole Missional Communities I am glad that we are perhaps moving away from doctrinal and interpretative differences on this phrase and exploring more and more the praxis of being spirit-filled. The ‘Toronto Blessing’ and all that focus on experience has now left us with the question: ‘OK, but what difference does it make? How does it build the kingdom?’ Ultimately the Spirit is the agent of mission. Jesus breathed the Spirit on his disciples after the resurrection and they became agents of mission (John 20:23). Our own mission is about joining in with the directing and empowering ministry of God’s missionary Spirit. We are therefore dependent on the Spirit. Times spent resting in, listening to and being filled again and again by the Spirit become indispensable to the task of mission. Without such times we risk turning mission into an enterprise of our own making. poolemc.org.uk
Lucy Peppiatt, dean of Westminster Theological College I think that being filled with the Spirit begins when we yield to God’s presence and power in our lives, and when we accept the gifts He wants to give us. Then it continues every time we do this. It requires trust and faith to allow God to shape us and mould us into the likeness of Jesus by the power of the Spirit. We’ll change because we’ll understand more about the Father’s extraordinary love for us, who we are to Him, and how He sees other people. It will both break our hearts and deeply heal them as we learn to see God, ourselves, and the world through Jesus’s eyes and heart. The Spirit begins the process of giving us the mind of Christ, and the courage and power to make his love, his forgiveness and his healing known. wtctheology.org.uk
Pastor George Oppong, an elder at Ruach City Church I’m reminded in Acts 1:7 of Jesus speaking to his disciples and saying they would be his witnesses when the Spirit came on them. Being filled causes us to be ambassadors of the living God. The Bible also talks about when Jesus after he had waited in consecration for 40 days came out and was filled with the Spirit and the Spirit began to work through him mightily. Being Spirit-filled is a pre-requisite of our Christian walk – it’s ultimately about spreading the love of Christ. I think being filled is more than just speaking in tongues. It’s more than acting in a way we charismatics sometimes do. I believe there’s more to it. It’s about showing the power and love of God to our dying world. The passion of the Holy Spirit causes us to move in ways that we wouldn’t normally. The Holy is an enabler. He enables us to work in love, to minister to the people that are dying and hurting, to love those that society says are unlovable. We need more of the Spirit. ruachcitychurch.org
Ian Buchanan, executive director, Langham Partnership “At a personal level being filled with the Holy Spirit is about the imparting of gifts that empower us for ministry. But this local event is part of a far more interesting global project. God wants to reverse the damage done by sin. To do this He pulls out and recreates a people. He reshapes them into the message they proclaim – they become like Jesus. So being filled with the Holy Spirit has a glorious practical purpose behind it. Through his empowering we have an opportunity to bring authenticity to the gospel – people see it alive in us.” 9aday.org.uk MAY/JUN 2013
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G8 in NI: Once in a lifetime opportunity? Evangelical Alliance Northern Ireland director Peter Lynas (PL) chats to Tim Magowan (TM), Tearfund NI director, about the G8 summit in Enniskillen and how Christians in Northern Ireland can change the world. PL: What is the G8 and why should we care that it is in Northern Ireland? TM: The G8 is a forum for the eight wealthiest nations in the world who meet every year to discuss shared interests. This year it meets in Enniskillen. The last time the G8 was held in the UK, the Make Poverty History campaign prompted countries to cancel $110 billion of debt owed by developing countries, and significantly increased the aid budgets of G8 countries. Since then, there are five million children alive today who wouldn’t have survived if we hadn’t made global changes that would stop them dying from utterly preventable diseases like diarrhoea. But still too many people die from hunger, which is ridiculous because of course there is enough food in the world for everyone. And yet one in eight people will go to bed hungry tonight. That’s why we need to take notice of the G8 coming to Northern Ireland. Christians here have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to stand up and demand change. Faith and politics have a complicated relationship in Northern Ireland – however we can find unity in the clear biblical mandate to advocate for the poor. PL: What is the IF campaign about? TM: The IF campaign is a coalition of 120 aid agencies and faith groups with a simple message: there’s enough food for everyone in the world, but not everyone has enough food. G8 countries can tackle hunger IF: they meet their aid commitments and invest them in smallscale farming and nutrition, and keep their promise of money on top of aid to help poor communities adapt to climate change. Also, if they help developing world countries to raise taxes from multinational companies to address hunger; they ensure a fairer and a more sustainable use of land; and they enable global companies and developing world countries to become more transparent. We believe God has kept His promise, made in the very first chapter of the Bible, to provide enough for us to eat. There is enough. God is faithful and he has provided. So if some people are going hungry, it’s not God’s fault. What if this year could make Northern Ireland famous for being the place where decisions were made that would bring about the beginning of the end of hunger? Wouldn’t that be an answer to prayer?
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PL: That sounds great, but what can I as an individual, or my church, do to help? TM: There are three ways you can help us change the world: 1. Speak out: send your message to David Cameron demanding action and change. Downing Street has responded positively to the IF campaign so far, but we need you to continue to show how important this is. 2. Get your church involved: Tearfund’s A Recipe for Change resource has an inspirational film, sermon notes and campaign cards to help your church pray and act. 3. Join us on the afternoon of Saturday, 15 June, in Belfast and Sunday, 16 June, in Enniskillen and show your support for a better world. PL: You mentioned the Make Poverty History campaign in 2005 – do these campaigns really work? TM: Yes. In 2005 we saw the G8 cancel $110 billion worth of debt in developing countries and G8 countries significantly increase aid budgets. These changes help local churches in the poorest communities bring long-term transformation to lives. Sam, a Ugandan farmer, is an example. He is disabled and HIV positive, and was unable to feed his family. With our help, a local church ran a programme with Sam telling him he was loved by God and by others, and showing him how he could better use his resources. He is now running his own business, feeding his family and those around him and has set up his own charity helping others with HIV. With Tearfund’s help 90 churches in the area are helping 9,000 people like Sam work their way out of hunger. Their story shows that with a little assistance hungry people can flourish to become the people they were created to be. For more on the IF campaign, turn to page 25. Read all the up-to-date information about events, resources and actions: tearfund.org/nireland eauk.org/northernireland
What kind of nation?
by Fred Drummond, national director, Evangelical Alliance Scotland
The theme of identity is an important one for all people. What makes us the sort of people we are? Are we shaped by our culture, history or environment? What determines our view of ourselves and others? From time to time questions around identity become more important. A spotlight falls on issues around who we are and our position in the world.
our nation for our children and subsequent generations? All these questions and others are coming to the fore in Scotland. As focus moves towards a vote on independence, conversation among commentators and wider society is hotting up, around who we are and what we want to be.
For Christians it is always good to be reminded of who we are in Christ. This is especially true when we feel isolated or marginalised. In Peter’s first letter he reminds his readers that they are exiles, living stones, a royal priesthood. In all these titles he is seeking to strengthen them and remind them of not just their place in the world but also their ultimate destiny. Their identity is linked to Christ through his saving work. The Christian community under pressure was encouraged by being reminded that their ultimate identity derived from their connection to Jesus.
It is hard to overstate the influence Christian faith has had in the shaping of Scotland. Celtic, Catholic and Calvinist traditions have all been major influences in our past and as the Alliance we feel that the faith community must speak confidently and creatively into this present debate.
If individual identity is important, national identity is more complex and just as vital. What are the characteristics of our nation? How do we relate to each other and to other nations? What does a modern country look like? How do we want to shape
Our desire to galvanise the Church in engaging with these issues led us to brand all we do over the next couple of years around the theme of Scotland: What kind of nation? We will be creating forums, engaging with Church and politicians, trying to be an engaging and unifying voice around the future of Scotland. What will the nation look like and what will be the role of the Church in it? We will continue in our calling to bring unity for transformation, seeking to
Scotland United in Prayer for Parliament
by Kieran Turner, public policy officer
EA Scotland was delighted to be part of the inaugural Scotland United in Prayer for Parliament that took place in February. Around 50 leaders and intercessors from congregations across Scotland gathered to pray for some of the Christian MSPs and also for the political life of our nation. The next event will take place on Tuesday, 28 May, in the members’ dining room of the Scottish parliament. If you would like to attend this exciting event please contact the EA Scotland office for details. firstname.lastname@example.org MAY/JUN 2013
build coalitions around mission, prayer and public policy but we will be doing them with a wider eye and how they can impact the future of our nation. We long to see the Church in the nation vibrant and full of faith, a Church confident in the gospel, diligent in prayer and in love with Jesus. A Church which speaks with a prophetic voice for the voiceless. A Church less interested in empire-building but passionate about kingdom-advancing. Together, in the power of the Holy Spirit, people could help shape the future of a nation by working together. We believe that as the Alliance we have a significant role to play in all of this. It is a big task but we believe it is a crucial one at a vital time. eauk.org/scotland
Give thanks for Kieran’s trips to Lewis, Skye, Inverness and the north-east as part of Scotland for Marriage and pray for wisdom as we continue to deal with this sensitive issue. Give thanks for the response to Fred’s talks at the Alive Conference in Inverness and the continued interest in what we are doing across the nation. Pray for the Serve Scotland working group as it meets to discuss the possibilities of a council of the Christian Voluntary Sector in Scotland. Pray for the leadership team of Clan in Scotland as it prays about its future work. Pray that the Church in Scotland would not lose sight of its missionary calling to the people of the nation. IDEA MAGAZINE / 13
Welsh Christians campaigning against slavery on the Sinai Peninsula
Welsh Christians are bringing the plight of Eritrean refugees in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula to the world’s attention. This was the theme of a recent public meeting held in Cardiff. Death in the Desert was attended by 82 people and featured addresses from Dr Khataza Gondwe of Christian Solidarity Worldwide and Eyob Haile of Release Eritrea. Organised by Evangelical Alliance Wales and hosted in partnership with the Welsh Centre for International Affairs, it was also supported by Oxfam Cymru and the Welsh Refugee Council. The meeting’s objective was to raise awareness of the people trafficking of Eritrean refugees in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. Such is the growth of this practice that the United Nations has described it as one of the most unreported humanitarian crises in the world. At least seven members of the Eritrean
community in south Wales have had to pay ransom money to free relatives. The most recent example was in January when an Eritrean in Cardiff paid £13,000 to secure the release of his nephew. Many of the refugees fall into the hands of Bedouin people traffickers after fleeing their poverty-stricken country, where they are then held for ransom until friends or relatives abroad can pay. Berhane* (not his real name), a refugee who has been in Wales since 2006, received a phone call out of the blue three years ago from his brother, who was being held by traffickers in the Sinai. “He was crying,” said Berhane, “his hands and legs were chained and they were beating him and he was screaming. I asked how much do they want
him to pay, and he said $8,000.” Iseyas, a leader of the Eritrean Pentecostal Church in Cardiff, says that even paying the ransom doesn’t guarantee safety: “I know four people in Cardiff who have paid money to the trafficker to free their family members but on two of these occasions, the family members were still killed.” Jim Stewart, public affairs and advocacy officer for Evangelical Alliance Wales, said: “The Eritrean community is very hardworking and has suffered enough with the ongoing instability in their country. We need to do all we can to raise awareness of their appalling treatment in Sinai and to see the kidnapping brought to an end.” Twitter: @EAWales eauk.org/wales
Bringing the gospel to a new generation of Welsh speakers Anyone who’s been to Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium (or Cardiff Arms Park in earlier generations) to watch Wales play international rugby will have heard many hymns. Most famously of course is the stirring Bread of Heaven, followed closely by Calon Lân (pure heart), penned in the 19th century by Daniel James. It’s also the name of a new missional group that has been launched in the capital city. The group recently hosted a prayer and worship evening in Cardiff’s City Temple IDEA MAGAZINE / 14
on St David’s Day, 1 March. Apart from a few sentences in English, nearly 40 people worshipped, prayed and shared stories exclusively in the Welsh language. One of the highlights of the evening was the opportunity to celebrate the online publication of a new Welsh Bible. Beibl.net has been published by Arfon Jones, Evangelical Alliance Wales’s first national director and a scholar. Arfon has translated the scriptures from Hebrew and Greek into modern, colloquial Welsh. This momentous
achievement is the fruit of 25 years of dedication and hard work. Commenting on Beibl.net, Elfed Godding, national director Evangelical Alliance Wales, said: “ Arfon stands in the dynamic tradition established by Bishop William Morgan in 1588; making the Bible available to the ordinary people of Wales. We honour his labours and his faithfulness to the vision God has given him. We pray that that this fresh new rendering of God’s word will be especially powerful among the nation’s young people.”
word alive 7–12 April 2014 John Piper 12–17 April 2014 Don Carson www.wordaliveevent.org
Daniel Webster: Alliance’s parliamentary officer Twitter: @danny_webster
Working with local authorities by Daniel Webster
According to Doncaster Council “by working together with faith groups we can do and achieve more. Faith groups often stand on the side of the hungry and poor and provide support for those who are grieving”. Likewise Thanet District Council said “faith groups often work with communities that contain the most vulnerable people, or the hardest to reach people and are therefore our most deprived communities”. These were just two of the findings from a large-scale survey and report of local authorities and their interaction with faith groups conducted by the Evangelical Alliance on behalf of Christians in Parliament. The forthcoming report will provide an overview of how authorities work with faith groups, and identify some of the barriers to stronger engagement and the benefits of working together. Every local authority in England, Scotland and Wales received a survey and the response rate was far higher than expected, with 155 authorities responding. The results paint a fascinating picture of churches and other faith groups at the heart of communities making a vital difference to the lives of many. But four IDEA MAGAZINE / 16
characteristics of faith group interaction with local authorities stand out: there is a lot of it; relationships matter; barriers persist; but benefits are worth it. Firstly the sheer volume of activity undertaken by churches and Christian organisations is breathtaking. The survey asked what services faith groups provided, and many authorities testified to the contribution of churches through the provision of church-based activities which they often partnered with. Sometimes these were through national networks of foodbanks or debt advice centres, or specific franchised schemes such as Street Pastors. In most of these cases faith groups led the activity but local authorities were willing to support and in some cases provide initial funding. There were also more unusual activities: churches are providing dog training and anger management classes (these are two separate activities). In a few areas the level of engagement was much
higher with faith groups taking on formallycommissioned services, such as in south Somerset where a local church is delivering the local council’s troubled families strategy, or in Warrington where a church has taken over a local library and are running it with services for the community. The breadth and depth of faith group activity was on display at the recent Gather consultation on civic engagement. A group of mostly church leaders met to discuss ways of working with their local authority, and other civic services including the police, to contribute to the life of their area. Representing churches from across the country, some of whom have been engaged in this work for many years, they sought to find ways to improve what they are already doing or take up new opportunities that are arising. Paul Barrett, leader of Croydon Jubilee Church, explained how he and fellow church leaders have strengthened their civic engagement, three times a year they
Faith groups and local authorities: There’s lots of interaction, and the benefits are worth it despite the barriers.
meet with the leader and chief executive of Croydon Borough Council and ask: “What is the biggest need in our town?” Following similar conversations in Southampton the local churches met together to hear from the city council about the financial challenges facing the city, and all other authorities; prayed about how to respond and are now pursuing four strands of work to serve the city. One of these which is now linked with the Home for Good campaign is to find 40 families from the churches to meet the need for foster homes in Southampton.
a distinct need in churches and local government for increased understanding and awareness of how each other operate and the commitment to work through organisational differences. There were also reports – such as from South Norfolk Council – of churches more concerned with internal church business that impacted on the services they had committed to provide. “A recent issue has arisen that Nightstop hosts [who provide emergency short-term accommodation to young people in need] have beenunavailable to provide the service that they are volunteering for because they
Politics far further than the impact of current austerity measures. She encouraged the church leaders, telling them that their work was vitally important for the nation. The survey found that churches are welcomed into partnership because of their volunteer capacity, because of their physical presence within some of the hardest to reach communities, and their commitment to help the poor and the vulnerable. Churches are doing the work they have always been doing, and the need for them to continue has never been more apparent. Roger Sutton, who leads Gather with his
“Churches are doing the work they have always been doing, and the need for them to continue has never been more apparent.” The second key finding of the survey into local authority engagement was also strongly echoed at the Gather consultation. Repeatedly stories were told of relationships built through a long-term commitment, and a willingness to engage in the structures of the local authorities, and learn the language and processes of engagement. The survey found that many local authorities have formal structures for faith engagement, whether this is a dedicated officer post or a faith leaders’ forum or a wider equality and diversity panel. But while these routes were often a necessary part of the process, the strongest engagement flourished out of personal relationships between church leaders and senior figures in the local authority. The picture, however, was not entirely positive. There were areas identified through the survey and expanded on in the forthcoming report where engagement with faith groups could be stronger, and barriers that prevented closer working. There was
are too busy at church-related meetings.” Further concerns were addressed over perceptions that faith groups would wish to provide services exclusively to members of their own faith, they would not be sufficiently committed to equality and diversity, and they would seek to evangelise through the provision of services. However, North Yorkshire County Council commented: “Generally, all of these perceptions are false or can be overcome through discussion and better understanding of each other – but they do create barriers.” Finally, local authorities recognised the immense benefits of working with faith groups. Addressing the Working Together consultation in March, run by the Alliance’s Gather initiative, Theresa Grant, chief executive of Trafford Borough Council, expressed her desire for churches to maintain and increase their engagement as the way local authorities operate changes and the funding challenges go
wife Lesley, said of the consultation: “It was a challenging and provocative two days at the Gather civic engagement consultation, with teaching, storytelling, prayer and friendship-building around engaging with our civic authorities with a servant heart rather than imposing our own agendas, and by building strong, long-term friendships with those in public leadership and nurturing, growing and encouraging our churches to develop a civic gospel in the spirit of unity. Delegates said it was good to hear directly from key individuals such as Theresa Grant, and to discuss working within the local authorities, and share fellowship and stories with other Christian leaders who are grasping the bigger picture of missional transformation.”
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Salt and light in schools by Chine Mbubaegbu
Schools are about far more than being the places where children gain their academic qualifications. For evangelical Christian parents, schools must also be places where pupils learn about morality – about what it is to be human, to act as part of a moral community, and also to learn about faith. Two thirds (64 per cent) of evangelical Christian parents wanted their children at a school with a strong Christian ethos, according to the Alliance’s latest research report: Do we value education? In this the eighth report in the 21st Century Evangelicals research series, it was also found that 58 per cent wanted a school where Christian beliefs and values are taught. The report revealed that Christian parents rate GCSE league tables (55 per cent of parents) and Ofsted reports (53 per cent) as less important factors than an education tailored to their child’s needs (92 per cent), and a school close to home (74 per cent). Despite the strong preference for a Christian ethos in schools, just 20 per cent of parents chose a church school or independent Christian school for their children. Opinions on Christian schools are varied, with some not choosing them because they feel learning to deal with nonChristian life as a child is important, while others choose Christian schools because they believe teachers should encourage children in their faith. Only 10 per cent agreed that faith-based schools tend to divide communities in harmful ways. The research is a reminder of the importance of faith literacy among teachers within schools.
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The Bible Society has warned that religious education teachers need a better understanding of the Bible if they are to do their jobs effectively. In their report to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Religious Education, they said that teachers were insufficiently equipped. The Bible Society’s Dr Ann Holt OBE, a former government education adviser and teacher, said: “RE remains the place where pupils gain significant biblical knowledge, yet this biblical knowledge doesn’t always develop into its fullest potential. “The most pressing needs of teachers of RE in both the primary and secondary sectors is for further training in biblical literacy.” Groups such as the National Secular Society criticised the findings of the report, claiming that evangelical Christians’ emphasis on religious education and a Christian ethos in schools are a sign that they are obsessed with “indoctrinating” their children. But Steve Clifford, general director of the Alliance, said evangelical Christians hold education in such high esteem because it is here that future generations develop a sense of character and what is right and wrong. As Christians we are called to be salt and light in the classroom so that we can in turn impact the communities around us now and in future generations.
“Evangelical Christians have a long history of involvement in education,” he said. “It’s part of our passionate investment into the wellbeing of society as a whole as well as into the lives of the poor and least able. “This report reveals an ongoing concern and desire to influence the way education is delivered in 21st century Britain. There is much that needs to change in our educational system, but it is essential we steer away from being critical to concentrating on providing a clear vision for continued Christian engagement.” Clive Ireson, director of strategy at the Association of Christian Teachers, said: “We welcome this wide-ranging research report by the Evangelical Alliance. We are encouraged that 45 per cent of churches represented in the survey regularly pray for their local schools. Evangelical Christians have strong views about education but this doesn’t always translate into active involvement in supporting teachers, support staff and schools. “Let this report be a catalyst to change so that the many opportunities to make positive change in our education system are taken up by evangelical Christians and churches.” The report is available online, where hard copies can also be ordered. eauk.org/snapshot
21st Century Evangelicals: Do we value education?
Snapshots • 84 per cent of those surveyed agree that sex education without a clear moral framework is harmful • 73 per cent want religious education with a predominantly Christian emphasis to be compulsory at some point throughout their school life • 73 per cent want a reduced emphasis on testing against target grades • 55 per cent of churches have regular opportunities to take assemblies in local schools • 19 per cent of churches have good contact with or ministry in their local university • 11 per cent of churches meet in school buildings • 1 0 per cent of churches are used for adult education courses
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In the thick of it
Pastoring in the classroom by Chine Mbubaegbu
First there were Street Pastors; and then there were School Pastors. And just like Street Pastors, School Pastors are a great reflection of the Church making a difference in its communities – but this time it’s in the playground, the classroom and the assembly hall rather than outside nightclubs giving a helping hand to revellers. The need is no greater or lesser in either. School Pastors – volunteers from local churches – help to care for and support the school community by promoting safety and endeavouring to cut down on anti-social behaviour. They listen, care for and come alongside young people, encouraging them to be good citizens. Martin Pointing, national School Pastor co-ordinator, said that limiting anti-social behaviour is an important part of what the School Pastors do. “The police have informed us that when school is finished at the end of the day, the incidents of crime and anti-social behaviour increase.
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“It is so good to be a visible presence and to be able to listen to young people as they begin their journeys home, they are reassured by our presence, and so are the shopkeepers and other members of our community.”
schools and churches that the initiative is able to be successful. The School Pastors partner with a local secondary school – Medina College which has 1,550 students aged between 11 and 19.
School Pastors was started in February 2011 by The Ascension Trust – the same charity that started Street Pastors. Founder Les Isaac was passionate about the Church being a catalyst for social action and it is this belief that underpins the ethos of both School Pastors and Street Pastors.
“The way we have been accepted has been one of the highlights for me,” Rebecca says.
Eighteen areas across the country, including Aberdeen, Newcastle, Ilfracombe, Southampton and the Isle of Wight, currently have School Pastor teams working in secondary schools and further education colleges in partnership with local authorities. Rebecca Kelly is the co-ordinator on the Isle of Wight. She told idea that it is through joint working with the police, local authority,
“Street Pastors is a very well-respected and professional charitable organisation. I do feel that this paved the way for School Pastors to be able to work with local authorities.” Contrary to what might be thought, it is not working with local authorities that presents the biggest challenge for School Pastors. Rebecca says it is earning the trust of the pupils which is the most difficult, but yet most rewarding part of the job. “Like with any organisation working with young people, it’s about the building up of trust and relationship. We have to make clear
School Pastors: We are a practical demonstration of God’s love.
to them that we’re not there to police them. We’re not that authority figure. We’re actually there to get alongside them. Gradually we are able to build trust and rapport and they understand that we are there for them. “We are unashamedly Christian and we say so when we lead assemblies, but we don’t force our faith on them. But we are really a practical demonstration of God’s love and we’re not there to evangelise.” For Rebecca, who has long had a passion for working with young people, being a School Pastor is an important part of her Christian witness. “It’s about meeting people where they are and offering them support. It’s being able to demonstrate our values and beliefs as Christians in a very practical way. School Pastors also work closely with pupils who are experiencing difficulty in an area of school life. They build relationship with and develop communication with those who might be disruptive in class, those regularly excluded from class, and those who might be finding it hard to take
In the thick of it
part in and engage in classroom learning. Rebecca added: “In this way we are fulfilling God’s mission to love, heal and care for the world and those that are within it. I feel that we are being Jesus’s eyes, feet and hands in the world. We’re bringing the kingdom of God here on earth, into these schools, by loving these young people.” The beauty of the School Pastors model is that it can be repeated in any area of the country. Martin has been encouraged by the number of calls he has received from people interested in setting up a new project where they are. “The way each new project that has started has been welcomed by the school communities they represent and the way each project has evolved into working in varying partnerships with the school has been one of the highlights,” Martin says. “Each project is able to have its own distinct flavour.” But there are many schools in many
areas of the country that would benefit from having Christians who care about their young people come in, walk alongside them and build relationship with them. “The cry I hear from young people is that they want to be listened to,” Martin adds. “They want adults to give them time. Christian people have proved themselves to be consistent at this and the young people trust them and speak to them. What an opportunity. “It is so good to see the Church on the streets. It is an opportunity to be God’s visible presence on the streets and not locked away in our church buildings as has often been the criticism in the past.” If you’d like to find out more about becoming a school pastor or setting up a School Pastor programme in your area, visit their website. You can also email Martin Pointing on email@example.com. schoolpastors.org.uk
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Dementia: caring for the whole person by Chine Mbubaegbu
The Alliance’s executive director: finance & services Helen Calder visiting her mother Mary, 91
There are currently 800,000 people living with dementia in the UK, according to the Alzheimer’s Society. And the number is only going to get bigger, with predictions that more than a million people will be suffering from the disease by 2021. With symptoms including memory loss, confusion and problems with speech and understanding, the onset of this progressive disease is terrifying for both the sufferer and their friends and family. Although there are a significant number of younger people with dementia, a third of people over the age of 95 have the disease and 64 per cent of those in care homes are sufferers. It is difficult for any family to deal with dementia. But the disease presents particular issues for Christians in thinking of the pastoral care of the patient and the carers, not just the clinical. What is clear is that having people to love and support them is of vital importance. The Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society’s care home in Surrey runs a specialist dementia care facility. They say that spending time with loved ones and friends revisiting past experiences is likely to have a more positive effect on those living with the disease than any material offerings. Care home manager Anne Kasey said: “For those living with dementia, time spent reminiscing, or flicking through old photo albums with their son or daughter is much more valuable as it helps to trigger memories. This is key to dementia care.” One of their residents, Mary Calder, 91, was diagnosed with dementia in 2010. Her daughter Helen Calder, the Alliance’s MAY/JUN 2013
executive director: finance and services, tries to ensure every gift she gives her mother has meaning behind it, to help slow the onset of the disease and preserve as much of Mary’s personality as possible. Past gifts have included a photo album of her 90th birthday celebration with friends and family which they look at regularly, and a return plane ticket to Boston, US, so Mary could visit a close friend who had recently moved there. The Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society urges sons and daughters to be on the lookout for the early signs of dementia in their mothers as an early diagnosis will result in subsequent treatment being much more effective. On supporting a loved one with dementia, Helen advised: “Spend time with them, look them in the eye, be demonstrative if you can and talk to them even if they can’t respond very well. My mother and I have shared some very special times as we have looked at photos, undertaken imaginary journeys to favourite places, done manicures, gone out for walks with the wheelchair and for drives in my car, attended church services in the home and said hymns and prayers together. My mother still remembers the words to her favourite hymns and comes alive when we say or sing them together. The services led by local churches are so valuable and greatly appreciated by residents who attend.” IDEA MAGAZINE / 23
Reflections on pastoral support in nursing homes Wes English of Mission Care reflects on the importance of providing pastoral care in nursing and residential homes along with some of the challenges it can bring. I lead a pastoral team with Mission Care, a Christian charity that provides nursing and residential care for vulnerable people in south-east London. Our team provides pastoral support to, and shares the gospel with, our 200-plus residents, their relatives and our staff. Most are older and need nursing care, and many are living with dementia. We have both Christian and non-Christian residents, and providing pastoral care in this environment is both challenging and rewarding. Although much of our work involves interaction with non-Christians, here I will focus on pastoral support for Christians. It’s easy to have a narrow, but inaccurate, understanding of what pastoral support involves. For many of us I suspect that the words ‘pastoral support’ or ‘pastoral care’ conjure up images of a member of the clergy providing a listening ear or shoulder to cry on in a difficult time. This is undoubtedly part of what pastoral support involves, but is certainly not all it should involve. The ‘one another’ passages in the New Testament epistles provide some of the ingredients for a more complete pastoral support recipe. In these passages we see that Christians are to honour, offer hospitality, love, serve, encourage, accept, admonish and teach one another (Romans 12:10; 1 Peter 4:9; 1 Thessalonians 5:11; Romans 15:7; Colossians 3:16). These are things that all Christians should be doing. So how might this look in a nursing or residential home? The one another passages mentioned imply the context of a Christian community, where believers are seeking each other’s best interest. One of the main challenges for Christian residents living in a nursing home is that they can become removed from such communities. This could be equally true of someone who is house-bound. Christian spiritual muscles can deteriorate from lack of use, just like IDEA MAGAZINE / 24
physical ones, and a nursing home can be a climate which fosters such deterioration due to the lack of regular involvement in a Christian community. Those providing pastoral support within nursing or residential home have the great privilege to get alongside residents and, at least partially, provide and help facilitate the Christian community many residents lack. But there are challenges. One big challenge is communication. Sitting down to teach someone the Bible or pray with them when they have trouble hearing, seeing, concentrating or all of the above is not easy. It takes sensitivity and patience on the part of the person providing the pastoral support, as well as on the part of the resident. Once you get to know a particular resident you will learn how to adapt to their limitations. If someone has bad eyesight, for example, you can print a Bible passage in very large type or read to the resident, rather than asking them to read. If you go into a nursing home for the first time to see people you don’t know then it is wise to first ask the care staff to make you aware of individual residents’ limitations. More could be said about how to deal with communication issues but the main thing is being aware that you will encounter them and learning to sensitively adapt your method of communication to best suit the residents with whom you are working. For those providing pastoral care, it can be easy to think you are doing the teaching, admonishing and serving, rather than receiving it. In a nursing home this mentality can be heightened when those to whom you minister seem so ‘needy’. However, the one another passages remind us that there is a reciprocal relationship between Christians – we need to teach and to be taught. Providing pastoral support in this environment may mean that in many cases you give most of the pastoral care, but it is important to remember that
Christian residents still have something to give back, and it is important that they do so. For example, when working with residents who have dementia, music is often a great way to communicate. Trying to have a discussion can be challenging, if not impossible, but some residents with dementia will join in when old hymns are sung. I can speak from personal experience of the encouragement I have received from seeing a resident sing out an old hymn. It is also important to try to provide ways for Christians in a nursing home to meet with other Christians in the home, if possible. Pastoral care in this instance can be in the role of a facilitator, providing opportunities for Christians in the same home to help each other. In one of our homes, we have pastoral volunteers who facilitate a weekly prayer meeting for Christian residents in that home. This provides residents an opportunity to support one another in prayer and generally share their lives with each other. The Mission Care pastoral team is by no means alone in our desire to see the elderly supported. Other Christian charities, individual Christians and churches across the UK are also seeking to support this demographic, whether in a nursing home or not. Our free annual training day, which focuses on issues surrounding pastoral support for older people and those with dementia, takes place on Saturday, 8 June 2013, from 10.30am to 4pm at Bromley Baptist Church (BR1 3HJ). We will be joined by speakers Roger Hitchings and Louise Morse join us, who have co-written the book Could it be Dementia? and both have a wealth of experience in working with older people and those living with dementia. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or 0203 434 0267.
IF campaign: A coalition of more than 170 organisations comes together to campaign for global justice.
Enough food for everyone Ben Niblett, head of campaigns at Alliance member organisation Tearfund, answers some frequently-asked questions on the Enough Food for Everyone IF… campaign. YES! The campaign has already had its first success on budget day: George Osborne announced that this year the UK will spend 0.7 per cent of national income on aid for the first time. The target was first recommended by the World Council of Churches in 1958.
Surely it’s not that simple? Well no, it isn’t – the reasons people go hungry are many and complex. So there are four areas: • Investment to fight hunger, from aid (by delivering the pledge to spend 0.7 per cent of national income on aid), and from new sources like a carbon levy on international shipping and aviation • Tax – cracking down on tax-dodging by companies operating in developing countries • Land – stopping poor farmers being forced off their land, and using land to grow food, not biofuels. • Transparency – making companies and government more open and accountable about things they are doing, and the money they are getting and spending.
What can I do? Join up through the Tearfund website, or enoughfoodif.org. Get a wristband from the website or local Oxfam shops. Most importantly Save the Dates of Saturday, 8 June, for a shindig in London, or 15 June for a shindig in Belfast, and regional events in the week following.
What is dementia? Is it the same as Alzheimer’s? What symptoms should you look out for? Where can you go to find help? What treatments are available? In this short but comprehensive introduction, Dr Simon Atkins clears away the myths, and sets out the facts about this increasingly common condition. Whether you are concerned for yourself or someone else, First Steps to living with Dementia will advise you on diet, exercise, conventional medicine, and alternative remedies.
In stats: Supporters and lobby • Approximately 208 constituency lobbies • 575 – number of contacts MPs/Lords have had with the Treasury on our issues • 1241 letters to HMT from the public, with five private letters from celebrities • Around 52,000 email actions taken (widget + ONE, Tearfund, Christian Aid, and Action Aid numbers) • Thunderclap [a Twitter gimmick enabling thousands to see the same tweet at the same time] to @hmtreasury with social reach of more than 30,000 • 90 per cent of Twitter conversations on aid on Budget day were positive (massive swing our way)
Also available in the First Steps series:
Christian organisations such as Tearfund, and churches, are at the heart of the campaign. In a time where Christians are known for what they are against, we are showing to our fellow organisations and the country what Christians are for. And Christians have a disproportionate impact – for example, within a week of the campaign launch, more Tearfund supporters had contacted their MP about it than supporters of many bigger organisations who are also taking part, and now more than 10,000 of us have.
rs, ends i ere uff nd fr s For mily a fa rs, are
Are Christians making a difference?
Ben Niblett (left) and David Golding (right) at the IF Budget event. (Photo credit: Craig Phillbrick, Tearfund)
Is it working?
In keeping with previous G8 years (remember Make Poverty History and Jubilee 2000?) this year has seen a coalition of more than 170 churches and other organisations come together to campaign for global justice. The campaign is asking the prime minister a simple question: why, in a world where there is enough food for everyone, do one in eight people go hungry?
What is it and why now?
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IDEA MAGAZINE / 25
THE BIG INTERVIEW
Chasing the dragon Joanne Appleton meets Jackie Pullinger MBE – a fiery missionary who has ministered in Hong Kong and seen more than 500 drug addicts saved from their addiction. She is also the founder of the St Stephen’s Society. When Jackie Pullinger left the UK to be a missionary, she was only 22, with a degree in music. She had been turned down by several mission agencies as unqualified, but still she felt compelled to ‘go’. “It was very plain every time I prayed or read the Bible that God was telling me to go,” she says. “The only thing I did was to decide where and how.” The ‘where’ was Hong Kong, and the ‘how’ slowly became clear as she began to work with Triad gang members in the notorious Walled City – an area where drugs, prostitution and crime were everyday activities and the police had a limited presence. Over time, Jackie learned that drug addicts could be healed from their addiction through intensive prayer; people could turn their backs on a life of crime through discovering the love of Jesus, and most of all, God had a purpose and plan for every life, no matter how much brokenness they had experienced in their past. So, from her perspective, what is the gospel? “I believe that preaching the word without the actions of Jesus is invalid – just invalid,” she says. “Jesus did what he preached. So in Luke 4:18 there is the proclamation about good news of the freedom for the captives, release for the oppressed, opening the eyes of the blind, announcing the year of jubilee, but this message was followed by miracles. I don’t believe that a gospel that is simply words is a gospel, otherwise God would have sent a Bible instead of a man.” So does she ever feel overwhelmed by the amount of need around her? “Yes and no,” she admits. “I am moved by the fact that we are called to go but it is not my job to meet everybody’s needs. I suppose that if everybody answers this command the Lord will meet the needs of the whole world through us – that has to be possible. Nobody is called to stay where they are – it may be that they remain in the house where they live, but we are all called to go somewhere, somehow. “What I try to do is to concentrate on one person at a time. I prefer to speak to one or two people than a crowd of a thousand because I am not sure I can minster to thousands. I can understand the one poor man – I am not convinced that because you speak to thousands it is therefore a thousand times blessed – it may be my message is for just one man in the audience, and I am speaking to him.” IDEA MAGAZINE / 26
Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine & Israel (EAPPI) provides protection by presence, monitors human rights abuses, supports Israeli and Palestinian peace activists and advocates for an end to the occupation.
Ecumenical Accompaniers Working as Human Rights Observers Living allowance + benefits Based in the West Bank and Israel in 2014 • 18 vacancies for 3 months’ service • 2 vacancies for 4.5 months’ service For more information and to download an application pack please check our website: www.quaker.org.uk/applyeappi Closing date: Friday, 21st June 2013. Please note that we will not be sending hard copies of the application pack and we can only receive electronic forms.
Jackie Pullinger: Nobody is called to stay where they are.
I don’t believe that a gospel that is simply words is a gospel. Even so, following the success of her book Chasing the Dragon, Jackie has spoken to thousands across the world. From 3-6 May, she will be in the UK at the GO2013 mission festival at Bulstrode in Gerrards Cross. The theme is ‘Healing a Broken World’. But Jackie is adamant our motivation to bring healing to others must be more than just ‘making a difference’. She reads from Jeremiah 12.5: “If you get tired while racing against people, how can you race against horses? If you stumble in a country that is safe, what will you do in the thick thornbushes along the Jordan River?” She continues: “I have great concern for the upcoming generation. Although many are very willing to go short-term, it is a very hard thing for them to persevere. We have people landing here to help us and all their friends know how they feel on Facebook by the time they
have landed. So, effectively, most of them have not ‘left’ their country to go anywhere else. This means they are not used to seeking God in a situation, because they are more used to seeking their friends’ advice. “The phrase that attracts young people is ‘make a difference’. They want to do this – to make a difference – but they don’t know about making disciples. And that’s what we are called to do. Going somewhere for two weeks makes a difference to you, but it might not make a difference at the other end. When we focus on discipleship, we are thinking more about what it does for that person, rather than what the experience does for us.” To find out more about GO2013 mission festival (and read the full interview) visit go2013.org.uk
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Confidence in the gospel
The gospel in context In a world that no longer understands words such as ‘sin’ and ‘repentance’, how can we make the gospel relevant? Laurence Singlehurst takes a look at contextualisation… Contextualisation is the process most closely associated with missionaries who, when going to a new country, have to put the Christian message into words that resonate in the culture and language. They need to connect in a way that is relevant, without watering down the content or imposing their own cultural norms. Contextualisation is more and more on our agenda. There is a process to it that normally begins with confusion – not understanding the culture. It moves on to creativity – the learning of the language and the thinking of what might work, early models experimenting in communication and structure. Lastly, working models bring the growth of the Church. Now we understand this process quite well in the context of going to another country but every now and then something unusual takes place. An existing culture goes through such a radical change that the existing contextualisation ceases to work. The Church is thrown into confusion and the contextualising process needs to start again. The UK has gone through just such a cultural change in recent years. Before the Second World War we were a nation with a strong Christian moral foundation. This affected our personal and corporate morality and church attendance was really high. However, in the 1960s, a whole generation of young people embraced a new set of ideas and values. Not all bad, but certainly different. Church was seen as increasingly irrelevant. But the real change IDEA MAGAZINE / 28
took place when the children of this 60s generation grew up, outside the context of church, outside the context of strong Christian morality and outside the context of Christian language and ideas. Events like Spring Harvest have spread new ideas throughout the Church, seeking to express faith and belief in a contemporary fashion. This is seen in many churches through new music being added to our historical inheritance of hymns and different styles of worship, communication and structure. Our understanding of mission and evangelism has gone through a time of huge change. In 1954, Billy Graham’s language was of forgiveness and repentance and this worked. Most of his unchurched audience had been to Sunday school so the language had some familiarity and forgiveness was a relevant message. In today’s world, people no longer understand the words ‘sin’, ‘repent’ and ‘born again’. They are not aware they have done anything wrong so forgiveness is not a connect point. Taking somebody to a gospel meeting for a ‘one-off moment’ may have worked in 1954, but not today. However, we have seen an amazing contextualisation called Alpha which has created a different space to bring people to, a space where the guest is in control. They can stay or go. The thoughts are propositional. They can discuss them. Importantly, the Church has realised that, in today’s culture, actions speak louder than words. We are cynical of anybody
who claims to have the truth, be they politicians or Christian leaders. We want to see the substance. Over the last 20 years, churches have realised that we must take an incarnational approach to mission; a ‘go’ approach, where every Christian is living out their faith in the context of community and work. Churches are reaching into their communities through social action projects. This has been best summed up in the work of Hope ‘08 and the current Hope initiative which has the strapline “do more, do it together, do it in word and action”. But, despite all this contextualisation, we still have a problem. After Hope ‘08, churches came back and said they understood incarnation, deeds and actions but struggled with words. What can we actually say to people if we are not going to say ‘sin’, ‘repent’ and ‘born again’? If forgiveness is not the key connect point, then what is? In the contextualising process we talked of early models or ‘prototypes’. We know that some work and some fail. Engineers and scientists don’t see failure as an enemy but as a friend. Maybe it is time to fail so we can seek new connect points in our future and find language that works. We can learn from St Patrick who, in coming to Ireland, did not speak Latin but Irish and connected his gospel message to aspects of the culture that he understood when growing up there as a slave. It was an honour to die in battle so he used the words of Jesus: “He who loses his life will find it.” And he called people to live for something
Confidence in the gospel
In today’s world, people no longer understand ‘sin’, ‘repent’ and ‘born again’.
bigger than them. Then he dealt with their fears by telling them that the trees and forests were made by God and were good. They were deeply involved in human sacrifice. He told them that one has died for all therefore no one else has to die. He spoke good news and he challenged them to a new life. What positive aspirations can we link the gospel to today? In our culture people are longing for self-worth so we have a message that says everyone is significant. What fears permeate our culture? What could we say to those fears? We have seen a huge rise of selfishness, the new religion. Could we express sin in the context of selfishness? 2 Corinthians 5:15 says Christ died for all that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him. Is the good news that we could live for something bigger than ourselves and be set free?
Or, another thought entirely. Perhaps this is a moment for us to actually talk about Jesus? Here is an experiment on a personal level. Think of a parable or a story about Jesus that you love the most and when asked about your Christian faith, tell this story. Three things will take place, one is we give people an understanding of the wonder of Jesus; two, because these stories are meaningful for us they will carry our passion and, three, telling a story helps us to change our language. So let us learn from the contextualisation we have already seen happen in the last 30 years and face the challenge together of being able to put the gospel message into words, connect points, and metaphors that people understand. Laurence’s further thoughts on this are available in his Grove booklet The Gospel
Message Today available from the Cell UK Ministries online bookshop at celluk.org. uk or by phoning 01582 463330 or email: email@example.com. He will also be speaking on this subject on Saturday, 15 June, at The Oval, Harpenden. Details can be found on the website address above. The Alliance, together with CMS, hosted a national consultation to explore the subject of contextualisation as part of our Confidence in the Gospel programme. The event, ‘A Relevant Gospel’ took place on 23 April and the talks, all approximately ten minutes in length are available online at eauk.org/confidence. These short films, and the accompanying discussion questions, are ideal for small groups and church leadership teams. eauk.org/confidence
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Standing in solidarity Chine Mbubaegbu travels to Israel to meet Ecumenical Accompaniers walking alongside ordinary people caught in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. When many of us hear the word ‘Israel’, we glaze over. Not because we don’t care, but because we don’t know what to think. Throughout our lifetimes we have been presented with the Israel problem and if the powers that be cannot see a solution, then who are we to get stuck in? When faced with an issue of such magnitude, most of us will choose to deal with those hardships closer to home. Not so for hundreds of people of all ages from all over the world – including the Philippines, South Africa, Latin America and the UK – who have volunteered with the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI). Since the programme began a decade ago, Ecumenical Accompaniers have travelled to Israel to spend a few months being salt and light amid the conflict. The ‘EAs’, as they are known, provide protective presence to vulnerable communities, monitor human rights abuses and support those people living in Palestine and Israel
cross into Israel – for human rights abuses. EAs get up at 3am three times a week to monitor various checkpoints across the West Bank. We join Keryn Banks, an EA, at Qalandia checkpoint where she stands from the crack of dawn to monitor numbers and be a positive presence. In one day, around 3,000 people go through Qalandia. It’s a cold, hard, dark place and I’m glad I only have to be there on that morning. But for the Palestinians crossing the border into Israel where they work or where they get medical treatment, it’s a regular occurrence. But Keryn is glad that in some way she can make a difference. “People say we are a help,” she says. “They say it’s better when we’re here. They stop and say thank you for watching. They say it’s good to know they are not forgotten.” EAPPI came about when in 2001 the Heads of Churches in Jerusalem called for the churches of the world to stand in solidarity with believers in Palestine and Israel. This call paved the way for the
Christians have a mandate to ‘speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed who are working together for peace. I met some EAs when I travelled to Israel with Christian Aid in November. They are hard to miss. By their distinctive EAPPI jackets, we know them. The outfits set them apart. They are immediately distinctive. Set apart amid the hustle and bustle of Jerusalem, these people just like you and I bring a strong and calming influence. One of the tasks EAs can get involved in is monitoring checkpoints – where Palestinians IDEA MAGAZINE / 30
creation of the programme in 2002 by the World Council of Churches. Over the past 10 years, the Church of England has offered support to the programme. Several bishops have provided direct support to EAs, while some parishes and C of E schools have provided platforms for returning EAs to speak. Last year, the General Synod passed a motion “encouraging parishioners to volunteer for the programme and asking churches and
synods to make use of the experience of returning participants”. While they are in Israel, all EAs go to church every Sunday regardless of their background, in order to support local Christians. As many of the EAs are exposed to suffering, hardship and pressure during their time, they also have access to a network of local pastors who they can talk to. Former EA Sarah Rowe said her time in Israel was an eye-opener. “The IsraelPalestinian conflict used to seem to me
Ecumenical Accompanier: The Israel-Palestine conflict became something I could no longer ignore.
Ecumenical Accompanier Keryn Banks with Palestinians at Qalandia checkpoint. (Photo credit: Sarah Malian/Christian Aid)
complicated and rather hopeless,” she said, “portrayed in our media only by those who could shout the loudest or when particularly terrible violence flared. “I was aware that human rights violations were taking place, but not really sure what I could do about it. Eventually though, it became something I could no longer ignore. EAPPI was set up to see and understand what was happening to ordinary communities as a result of occupation; to offer protective presence as internationals to try and reduce the chances of violations taking place, but also to be there with people when they do. “It is here to make sure that people know that the rest of the world has not forgotten them when their house has been MAY/JUN 2013
demolished, or their olive trees cut down; to walk alongside Israeli and Palestinian peace activists, and to make sure their voices are heard around the world, and not just those perpetuating conflict.” For Sarah and so many EAs, this is not about politics. At its heart, becoming a volunteer with EAPPI is about reflecting something of what it is to be a follower of Christ. They are there to walk alongside those suffering on both sides of the conflict. All EAs visit an Israeli settlement called Efrat, for example, to meet settlers and hear their perspective. They also spend a day in Sderot meeting local residents and hearing about having rockets fired at them from Gaza, and they also visit the Holocaust Museum and a Jewish Kibbutz.
“Just as EAs have a mandate because they are there at the invitation of local communities,” she says, “Christians have a mandate to ‘speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed’. It’s not that those who are seeking peace in Israel and the Palestinian territories can’t speak for themselves, but that often the world doesn’t want to listen. “To stand with people in difficult times and to share the stories of those making sacrifices for peace – that’s what EAs do. I can’t help but think that if Jesus found himself in Jerusalem or Bethlehem today, he would be doing something similar.” christianaid.org.uk eappi.org IDEA MAGAZINE / 31
Sophie Lister: is a researcher and writer for The Damaris Trust. For more articles and study guides see culturewatch.org and toolsfortalks.com Twitter: @SophieLister1
Chasing down dreams “We all seem to have an inbuilt longing for something transcendent.” Classics become classics for a reason. In the case of F Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby – a mainstay of must-read lists and school syllabuses everywhere – there are several reasons. The genius of the writing itself is widely recognised, and the story certainly scratched a cultural itch in the years after it was published, when its ideas were vindicated by the Wall Street Crash of 1929. But Fitzgerald’s tale of a mysterious man with a secret past and an unattainable dream also has something more far-reaching to say. This year, a new film version from Baz Luhrman (the distinctive director behind Romeo & Juliet and Moulin Rouge!) is set to hit screens. Tobey Maguire is Nick Carraway, a young graduate and First World War veteran who moves to Long Island in New York. His neighbour is Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio), a millionaire who lives in a mansion and holds extravagant parties. Drawn deeper into the man’s glamorous world, Carraway begins to uncover what makes him tick. Gatsby is infatuated with Daisy Buchanan (Carey Mulligan), an old flame whom he is desperate to win over again. But she is now married to the IDEA MAGAZINE / 32
rich, philandering Tom (Joel Edgerton), and is perhaps too comfortable in her privileged life to know what she really wants. Carraway grows steadily more disillusioned as Gatsby and Daisy start an ill-fated affair, and the glittering façade of Long Island life begins to peel away.
Hollow promise Fitzgerald, like his characters, was part of a young generation that felt it had been betrayed by the moral values and structures of the pre-war world. With boundaries of all kinds blurred, and wartime austerity left behind, the culture embraced decadence and hedonism. The American Dream – the idea that any individual could strive to elevate themselves into a better, happier life – was boiled down to its materialistic elements, and eagerly pursued. This dream is represented in the story by Daisy, who seems to offer Gatsby a world of irresistible possibilities, while always remaining just out of his reach. Fitzgerald was writing about the same realisation that would, many years and two global economic crises later, fuel the Occupy movement: the American Dream’s promise is hollow. Most
people can never attain the wealth and status which it seems to offer, and even for those who do, it won’t truly satisfy. Significantly, the problem isn’t just that events conspire to keep Daisy and Gatsby apart. We realise that far from being the idealised memory he’s worshipped for years, she’s just an ordinary human being, as inadequate and flawed as anybody else. Gatsby has tried to build his dream on sand.
Solid foundation The story reveals, not just the hard-learned truth that this kind of ‘good life’ can’t fulfil us, but a haunting fear that nothing else can. Like Gatsby, we all seem to have an inbuilt longing for something transcendent – for lasting beauty, and true love. The Great Gatsby concludes that we’ll always be reaching after these things, but somehow never quite grasping them, our efforts going against the current of reality. The weight of our aspirations will remain, as Fitzgerald describes Gatsby’s great dream, a “rock… founded securely on a fairy’s wing”. Fulfilment of these deeply-felt desires can only be possible if there’s something in
reviews LET IT BE KNOWN by Worship Central HTB-based Worship Central return with a second live album, led by Tim Hughes, Ben Cantelon, Nikki Flectcher and more. There’s no radical departure from the tried-and-tested formula that’s defined Worship Central and Soul Survivor albums for a decade or more, but highlights including Dry Bones and The Cross Stands will undoubtedly be sung at churches up and down the country. But the lyrics are frustrating; does the Church really need another album of incessantly-positive theology-lite anthems? Many churchgoers learn their theology through the songs we sing; more depth or songs of lament would be welcome. Reviewed by Nathan Jones
reality which is capable of meeting them. For Fitzgerald, who had left behind his Catholic upbringing for atheism, belief in such transcendence could make no logical sense. Influenced by Nietzsche, the author seems to have intended Gatsby’s tragedy to be symbolic of the bigger human story. We might delude ourselves that bigger and better things lie ahead, but we’re all destined, ultimately, for disappointment. Or are we? CS Lewis, wrestling with the same questions a few decades later, came to a very different conclusion. His answer has become an often-cited argument for the existence of a God who offers true satisfaction, and a solid foundation on which to build all of our hopes. “Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for these desires exists,” Lewis wrote. “If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.” The Great Gatsby is released on 17 May. damaris.org
WHAT WE TALK ABOUT wHEN WE TALK ABOUT GOD by Rob Bell (Collins) Rob Bell’s latest book is a less controversial affair than his previous offering, Love Wins, but is still likely to ruffle a few feathers. Parts of the book are brilliant, the way he tells stories, the pictures he uses to conjure emotions and convey his message on their own make the book worth reading. He also has this way of getting the reader to think twice about what they might previously have just believed. Where the feather ruffling might come in is when he suggests we should understand God as ahead of us. And therefore his character and will should be subject to constant progression, and a progression towards values that, it just so happens, are more accepted by the wider world. I’m still not sure what he’s talking about when he talks about God, but I like the way he does it. Reviewed by Daniel Webster
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UK Christian chart launched by Claire Musters
For the first time ever, the UK has an official Christian music chart. Launched on 11 March, The Official Christian & Gospel Albums Chart is a weekly salesbased top 20, compiled by the Official Charts Company and launched in partnership with Christian child development charity Compassion. The Official Christian & Gospel Albums Chart will be broadcast every week on Christian radio stations Premier and UCB, as well as published weekly at officialcharts.com. The launch comes in response to strong growth within the market. At the launch event, attendees were told that more people go to church every week than people went to the London Olympics. Meanwhile, Matt Redman’s 10,000 Reasons was the fourth biggest download of sheet music – second only to Adele in the UK. It was revealed that 300,000 people went to Christian concerts and festivals in the UK last year. And while Katy Perry’s songs were played 1.4 million times on the radio last year, Chris Tomlin’s songs were played 3.12 million times in churches. Jonathan Brown, managing director of Integrity Music, commented on behalf of Christian & Gospel Music Labels: “This is a defining moment and changes the landscape for Christian and gospel music in the UK. Christian music has always been a part of society in bringing hope and IDEA MAGAZINE / 34
Worship leader Martin Smith was among the performers at the launch of The Official Christian & Gospel Albums Chart in London. (Photo credit: Josh Hailes: joshhailes.wordpress.com)
encouragement. With the development of this new chart it will bring significant profile to this growing genre.” The chart was launched at the St James Theatre, Victoria, with a celebratory event that gathered industry leaders and artists together. Musician and TV vocal coach David Grant hosted the evening, and artists Martin Smith and the London Community Gospel Choir performed. Martin Talbot, managing director of the Official Charts Company, spoke at the event, saying that he’d “never experienced the enthusiasm we’ve had from the Christian and Gospel labels”. Bill Hearn, president of EMI CMG, commented: “I’m excited to see Official Chart Company recognise the importance of the Christian/gospel genre in the UK. This information will bring more media attention and consumer awareness to our artists and songs which is at the core of our mission as a company.” Freelance journalist Sam Hailes, who often writes about Christian music,
attended the launch event. He said: “It’s great to finally see Christian music recognised by the mainstream world. Critics of this new chart worry a Christian ghetto is being created. But thousands of people sing Christians songs in the UK in acts of unified worship that are, for the most part, hidden from the general public’s view. Having a Christian chart that is backed by a mainstream music organisation proves that Christian music is not some kind of strange sideshow for religious people. “This chart has been a long time coming. There’s been plenty of debate as to what constitutes ‘Christian’ music – and some of the finer details are yet to be worked out. But what should be celebrated right now is that Christian music has moved out of the ghetto. It’s been recognised as a legitimate, well-produced and relevant genre of music. There’s a plethora of artists and musicians who have been making outstanding music – this chart will give them the recognition they deserve and also spur others on to making the best music they possibly can.”
Grammy winner: Double scoop for UK worship leader who penned 10,000 Reasons.
Matt Redman awarded two Grammys by Claire Musters
Matt Redman picking up two Grammys for his song 10,000 Reasons in Los Angeles.
At the 55th Annual Grammy Awards, held in Los Angeles on 10 February, UK worship leader Matt Redman was awarded not one, but two, Grammys: best gospel/contemporary Christian music performance and best contemporary Christian music song. Both Grammys were awarded for the song 10,000 Reasons (Bless The Lord). Written by Matt and Jonas Myrin, 10,000 Reasons has enjoyed phenomenal success since it first appeared on Matt’s recent album of the same name. The album topped the US Christian charts and the song itself topped the Billboard Christian Songs chart last summer. Although nominated for a Grammy back in 2010, Matt is the first British worship leader to win one of the prestigious awards, which he made reference to when he picked up the award, saying: “Thank you so much. This is nice for a little Brit guy!” He went on to explain: “The composer Bach once said that the aim and the chief end of music should be the glory
of God and the refreshment of the soul. That’s what I’m writing songs for.” Twitter was understandably buzzing after the announcement, with other Christian artists quick to congratulate Matt and Jonas. Martin Smith wrote: “Very proud of my brothers Matt and Jonas for winning the Grammys. By far the most loved congregational God song of 2012. An amazing journey.” Matt himself posted the following after the ceremony: “We wrote this song for the glory of God, so He gets all the glory today too”. Commenting on her husband’s win, Beth Redman told idea: “As Matt’s wife, I’m so proud of him for his humility, authenticity
and his heart for Jesus. To see Matt win two Grammys was not something we ever dreamt of or built towards, but a beautiful surprise and all glory to God for that. “As worshippers, may we keep celebrating, trusting and never forgetting God’s extravagant benefits to us. 10,000 reasons for my heart to find.” The award for best contemporary Christian song was shared with Israel Houghton and Micah Massey for their song Your Presence Is Heaven. The other Christian genre categories were won by: Mary Mary – their song Go Get It won best gospel song. Lecrae, whose Gravity won best gospel album and Toby Mac won best contemporary Christian music album for Eye On It.
IDEA MAGAZINE / 35
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EMINENT SCIENTISTS Congratulations on your excellent series by eminent scientists, which has (I hope!) helped to dispel the myth that there is conflict between science and Christian belief. Inevitably it has provoked a strong response from some of your readers – shock horror from those who are amazed to find that there are Christians who do not read Genesis 1 as a literal account of creation, to those who believe that the scientific evidence for evolution is to be dismissed totally (In Your Words, Nov/Dec and Jan/Feb). The main issues with such correspondents are, I feel, two-fold. Firstly, how the different books of the Bible should be read and interpreted: that is, whether or not they are history, poetry, narrative, parable etc. Secondly, the nature of scientific evidence. Some things in science can be regarded as fact: for instance, nobody now disputes that the earth revolves around the sun (even though the Bible says otherwise, and a few centuries ago anyone disagreeing suffered at the hands of the Inquisition!). Thus, the overwhelming evidence from the fields of biology, geology, astronomy and physics is that the universe is billions of years old, and that life as we know it today has evolved by processes that are, of course, not fully understood. For Geoff Chapman, the biggest problem with evolution is a theological one. Certainly, any acceptance of evolution raises moral and ethical questions: when did consciousness, or an understanding of the difference between right and wrong, first arise, for instance. However, for the majority of professional scientists who are also Christians, there is no theological problem. Scientists are using their God-given faculties to investigate this wonderful universe; theologians are using their gifts to help us understand how to read
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I found the article about child poverty (Mar/Apr) very interesting and I hope an inspiration to help people address the spiritual, parental, social and aspirational poverty in the UK. But please don’t conflate this with absolute physical poverty. Chine starts by talking about shoeless, starving refugees abroad and then seamlessly describes 3.6 million children as living in “poverty” in the UK. How many of them do not have shoes then? How many are starving? This 27 per cent is a political figure that is defined as less than 60 per cent of the average income. This is not poverty as Rowntree understood it nor as most people in developing countries would understand it. I would go as far as to say it insults those who have suffered real physical deprivations in the past and in other countries today. Governments like to throw money at problems; while this may reduce the number of children on a less than 60 per cent median income it does nothing for their deeper needs as defined above. Indeed it may actually be counterproductive in addressing their true poverties (witness the riots in 2011 where people stole designer clothes, not books nor food). “Poverty in the UK” is a short wikipedia article that summarises these points clearly in a non-political way. I agree the Church is best-placed to deal with these very deep and difficult “other” poverties. But we need to understand the truth if we are to argue, campaign, persuade and be effective in our actions. Dr Mark G Reed, GP, via email
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Let the laughter return One of the privileges of fulfilling a role such as mine is finding out just how many people are praying not just for me but also for my family. We will never know – certainly in this age – the impact of these prayers, but I sense they are far more important than I could ever realise. A few months ago I was with a group of leaders who decided it would be good to pray. I briefly shared some of the pressures which we as the Evangelical Alliance were facing, and they prayed. It was both humbling and faith-building. Three words from one particular prayer have lived with me: “God’s not phased.” As I reflect on the prayer, I realise how easy it is for me to live as though God is phased; taken by surprise; struggling to know what to do next. Meeting up with people across the country, I realise some of the pressure so many of us are living with. Whether the events that surround us are concerns about our finances, paying the bills at the end of the week or month, insecurity in our employment or for many no job at all, relational tensions in family, among friends, neighbours, even within church. Then of course we watch the news. Many of us have prayed, signed petitions and contacted our MPs yet still the majority of them voted for a bill to re-define marriage. IDEA MAGAZINE / 38
It is so easy for us to feel overwhelmed by the erosion in public life of values we hold dear. And, of course, issues of justice – whether across the UK or internationally –which seem so easily ignored by our politicians and media. How is it that nearly a billion people go to bed hungry each night or that two million children die each year from malnutrition, in a world with more than enough for all? How can we possibly be considering spending billions on replacing our Trident submarines while our health service and care for the elderly is struggling to deliver even a basic provision for some of the most vulnerable in our society? It is at moments like this that the challenging words of Jesus echo in our ears: “Do not worry” (Matthew 6:25). How easy it is to worry, whether for ourselves, our families, friends, our nation or world. A friend of mine had a wonderful phrase describing worry as “unsanctified prayer”. We worry as if somehow worrying itself can make a
“God is not phased.” difference. In most of these situations, while we can be of influence, they are out of our control, which means prayer rather than worry is the most sensible response. A few years ago I visited one of the largest squatter camps in Africa. Kibera – on the edge of Kenya’s capital Nairobi – is home to almost 300,000 people. As I walked the camp, meeting up with Christians who were working there providing employment, healthcare and church-planting, it was
easy to be overwhelmed by the poverty, the smells, the rubbish, the mud, the desperately inadequate housing. However, my lasting memory was of the children – tens of thousands of children, wherever you turned, they were there with the greeting ‘how are you?’ The obvious response was ‘I am fine, how are you?’. The laughter, the joy, seemed like a lack of worry. Back to our own home in west London, most evenings we sit and eat around our meal table as a household. Sometimes it’s a quick 15-minute grabbed meal, but other times we take time to talk, reflect, tell stories and laugh together. Dallas Willard in his book Divine Conspiracy reflects on how easy it is for us to become “insufferably grim” – overcome with the cares and concerns of our lives. Willard comments: “Genuine shared laughter is one of the surest ways of human beings to come together and break the stalemates of life.” Isn’t it wonderful to know the Bible introduces us to a God who laughs? Yes, He weeps, gets angry and is, at times, frustrated. But He laughs. Psalm 2:4 says: “The one enthroned in heaven laughs.” He names one of our great patriarchs Isaac “laughter”, He promises those in exile would return “our mouths filled with laughter” (Psalm 126:2). How easy it is to miss in the life and ministry of Jesus the humour, the joy, the attractive personality which drew the crowds to him, laughed with him at his stories, while being challenged by his teaching. So let the laughter return and let’s embrace the truth that whatever is going on around us: “God’s not phased.”
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idea: the magazine from the Evangelical Alliance. In this Pentecost edition: Pentecost: the forgotten festival?, What does it mean to be fil...