THE MAGAZINE OF THE EVANGELICAL ALLIANCE
NEWS Comments Features
Saving grace Responding with compassion to AIDS around the world Good question
SCIENCE & FAITH
What role did God play in the Japanese tsunami?
Ken Costa on the relationship between the financial sector and the community
Is there a ‘Godspot’ in our brains?
In your words
The big intervew
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Chine Mbubaegbu: I’ve been struck by the enormity of suffering faced by people around the world.
idea-torial “Witnessing the suffering of others awakens compassion and drives people to action.”
Helen Keller once said: “All the world is full of suffering. It is also full of overcoming.” Putting together this edition, I’ve been struck once again by the enormity of suffering faced by people around the world. Krish Kandiah attempts to address whether or not it is God’s will that the Tsunami in Japan took place last year (p9) and we learn about the suffering faced by Christians in northern Nigeria (p26). But at the same time, I’ve been amazed at how witnessing the suffering of others awakens compassion and drives people to action, helping others to overcome their plights. So affected by the issue of human trafficking, Julie Immonen rowed across the Atlantic in an all-female crew to raise money for and awareness of the issue. We spend 60 seconds with her on page 7. Meanwhile, moved by the heartbreaking tales of those living with HIV around the world, Alliance member ACET works tirelessly in countries including India, Nigeria and the DRC to meet the needs of people with HIV holistically, as well as equips churches to educate people about AIDS. You can read about their inspiring work on page 19. I’ve also been empathising with those living in poverty in our world by taking part in the Live Below the Line challenge. Read my account of living on £1 a day for five days on the idea website or sign up for the challenge in May on livebelowtheline.com. Compassion, and a desire to help their communities, lie at the heart of the work of ordinary people doing extraordinary things. These are the people we hope to celebrate as part of this year’s Inspire Awards (p4).
CONTENTS FEATURES 14 Big interview
We talk to Ken Costa about God in the City
16 Pastoral disclosure Confidentiality in the pews
19 Cover feature
In the Thick of It explores the work of ACET around the world
31 Inspiring women
Christian leaders tell us which women they look up to
7 60 seconds with Julia Immonen, a member of the Row for Freedom crew
Find out what the Alliance has been up to
9 Good Question
Krish Kandiah answers a tough question about God’s will and natural disasters
12 On the job
Read our interview with Tim Plyming, who is in charge of the Beeb’s Olympic coverage
News from Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales
36 In your words
idea readers respond
38 Last word
Steve Clifford looks back on three years at the Alliance
Sophie Lister reviews Friends with Kids and asks – can it ever work?
We would love to know what you think about our articles, as well as the Alliance’s new-look website. So please do to take part in our online survey: eauk.co/commsfeedback or scan the QR code below.
33 We meet Christian singer-songwriter Luke Leighfield who has been dubbed the hardest working man in music
This is idea advertising manager Jack Merrifield’s last edition. I’d like to thank him for his tireless work and friendship. Without adverts we are unable to bring you the great stories that we hope you enjoy. We wish him well in his retirement. If you’d like to advertise, contact Candy O’Donovan email@example.com We’re on Twitter! Follow us @idea_mag MAY/JUN 2012
Head Office 186 Kennington Park Road, London SE11 4BT tel: 020 7207 2100 fax: 020 7207 2150 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 Conference room bookings email@example.com Email address changes to firstname.lastname@example.org Northern Ireland Office 440 Shore Road, Newtownabbey BT37 9RU tel: 028 9029 2266 email@example.com
Cover image: Huw Owen Thomas
Scotland Office Evangelical Alliance Scotland has moved: International Christian College, 110 St James Road, Glasgow, G4 0PS tel: 0141 548 1555 firstname.lastname@example.org Wales Office 20 High Street, Cardiff CF10 1PT tel: 029 2022 9822 email@example.com IDEA MAGAZINE / 3
Nominations open for the Inspire Awards 2012
Who inspires you?
Every day we hear great stories of how Christians and churches are being good news in their communities. So once again, we are joining forces with Inspire magazine to run the Inspire Awards 2012 and recognise some unsung heroes. In November 2011, we awarded inspiring individuals, churches and projects at a ceremony at the House of Commons which rounded off the Inspire Awards 2011. Following the ceremony Steve Clifford, general director of the Evangelical Alliance, said: “It was truly humbling and inspiring to meet all the individuals, and representatives of churches and organisations doing amazing work in their local communities, to hear their stories and to celebrate with them. “As Christians, we are passionate about community transformation. These fantastic, innovative projects being run up
and down the UK are feeding the hungry, housing the homeless and restoring the broken. They are just some examples of how Christians are doing great things.” We received scores of entries last year – and now we are doing it all again – this time adding a youth category. 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 that we are looking for unsung heroes rather than already recognised national ministries.
The prizes There’ll be a prestigious trophy and prize for the winners in each section, plus a high profile awards event in Westminster later in the year for the shortlisted entries.
How to enter Make your nomination using the form below, and remember – we’re looking for outstanding entries that will prove an inspiration to others. Stories of some of the entrants will be featured in idea and Inspire magazines over the coming months – as well as on our websites – before entries are judged and shortlists drawn up. The winners will be announced at the ceremony in parliament. Closing date: 31 July 2012
INSPIRE AWARDS 2012 (in partnership with Evangelical Alliance) [You can photocopy this form, or send the information by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org] 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:
Christine Deponio, who runs Emmanuel House in Gateshead, with her son Ryan, picking up the Inspiring Individual award in parliament.
Please return this form to Inspire Awards, CPO, Garcia Estate, Canterbury Road, Worthing BN13 1BW. Closing date for entries is 31 July 2012. 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.
Andrew Green: Today’s papers are full of comment from MPs on matters that concern evangelicals
in the media
The media doesn’t do God? How things have changed by Andrew Green, press officer, Evangelical Alliance When Alistair Campbell interrupted Tony Blair’s interview with Vanity Fair to declare that “we don’t do God” he set the tone for state engagement with faith. This now seems rather dated. Today’s papers are full of comment from MPs on matters that concern evangelicals – albeit in a sometimes controversial way. One vital matter that should unite the trinity of the government, Christians and the media is adoption. The Alliance’s Krish Kandiah has been speaking on Radio 4’s Beyond Belief and in the Church Times about how the Church should embrace and support families who adopt. “I know loads of Christians that have adopted and fostered, but they are quite often invisible in the Church,” he said. Together with Care for the Family, the Alliance will open consultations across the UK in June to understand the Church’s experience of adoption, especially over mixing ethnicities. Currently local authorities seem reluctant to allow adoption unless there is a perfect ethnic match. “If it is a choice between waiting for a perfect match, and the child never finding a forever family,
the cost is too much,” added Krish. Marriage Week allowed the Alliance’s general director Steve Clifford and his wife, Ann, to celebrate marriage through a series of 10 interviews on BBC local radio stations around England. The candid interviews allowed the couple to reflect on the debate about the redefinition of marriage, as well as give listeners insight from research that shows how marriage benefits society and children’s welfare. The findings of the parliamentary report Clearing the Ground were published in February. The report produced by Christians in Parliament was sponsored and facilitated by the Alliance. Following the report’s launch, press headlines said: ‘Equality law should be extended to include faith’ (BBC News), ‘We need reforms to protect the rights of Christians’ (Telegraph) and ‘Law on equality is anti-Christian and unacceptable’ (Mail on Sunday). And finally, the press were slow to report the growing list of signatories to the Coalition for Marriage petition. That changed at the launch of the government’s paper on same-sex marriage, which
Why I’m a member
I love the Alliance’s heart to bring together different denominations and church streams to think and to catalyse vision around the big challenges and opportunities for the Church in the 21st Century. Andy Frost, Andy Frost, director of Share Jesus International and the Pentecost Festival said that the actual number of responses won’t count. Next day the Telegraph said: “Church powerless to stop same-sex marriage even if hundreds of thousands object.” As we went to press, objections on the c4m.org website totalled 342,000.
Meet the Alliance at CRE Come and meet the Alliance team, including our general director Steve Clifford, at the Christian Resources Exhibition (CRE) taking place 8-11 May at Sandown Park. Steve will be on the stand on Thursday, 10 May, while head of public affairs Dr Don Horrocks will
be on the stand on 9 May, when you can come and talk to him about the Coalition for Marriage campaign. You can find us in Surrey Hall, stand 6, at the entrance leading to the Pavilion Entrance No 2. CRE is the largest and most successful Christian
exhibition, with more than 10,000 people having attended last year. The Alliance also has free tickets for members, so visit eauk.org/cre-free-tickets to sign up for yours. creonline.co.uk
IDEA MAGAZINE / 5
leaders in mission Developing leaders through Growing Leaders courses in 700 churches nationwide
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Supporting the leaders of 4,000 young people on Ventures and Falcon Camps
Appointing clergy passionate about mission and the relevance of the gospel in 500 churches
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I believe God has called me here to reach a city, not just run a church. We’re serving the people of Lancaster in various ways, and sharing the story of Jesus through mission initiatives such as an Easter festival in the town square.
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Exploring God’s call to licensed Anglican ministry through vocations events
Jon Scamman was appointed as vicar of St Thomas’s Lancaster in autumn 2010. CPAS is the UK’s leading evangelical patron, involved in the appointment of dozens of clergy each year.
‘Sharing God’s love from the heart of the city’ is our new vision, as we harness people’s passion to make an impact and build community with people outside the church.
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Julia Immonen: We were plagued by problems but I never panicked because I knew that God would provide a solution.
60 seconds with...
Julia Immonen rowed her way into the record books at the beginning of the year when her team, Row For Freedom, rowed 3,000 miles to cross the Atlantic Ocean. They became the first five-woman team to row any ocean and broke another record for the fastest crossing of the Atlantic Ocean by an all-female team. Claire Musters caught up with her on dry land… idea: Congratulations! How does it feel to be a world record holder? It is incredible, really surreal – the real icing on the cake. We always set out to raise awareness about human trafficking but the records meant so much as well. To knock five days off the fastest women to row an ocean, and to be a part of such a pioneering race, was wonderful. The records gave us an added credibility too, especially with the sporting world. Did you ever imagine you would be organising such an event, and crossing the ocean yourself? No! Less than 400 people have ever rowed an ocean so if you had told me even two years ago that I was going to do it, I wouldn’t have believed you. It’s so extreme and I’d never even rowed before. But it gave me a jaw-dropping media opportunity to talk about slavery. People have asked me how I organised such an event when I was working full-time but it became a labour of love. Why was Row For Freedom so important to you? It had been borne out of a passion about the injustice of human trafficking and I was desperate that it would be a success in order to raise awareness and inspire others to go and make a difference for something they are passionate about. How did you come up with the idea of your charity, Sport Against Trafficking? I was already running a half marathon for A21 [an anti-trafficking charity] and I realised how sport can be a powerful, positive way to raise awareness. I had tried speaking about the subject before but it’s a hard topic so being able to actually do something opened things up. I love sport and work in sport so it seemed a natural way to use what was in my hand to make a difference. Sport Against Trafficking is opening incredible platforms and opportunities; people are so interested because sport is such a proactive way to make a difference.
How do you think the time on board ‘The Guardian’ changed you? I’ve become more patient – five girls in a seven-metre boat for 45 days certainly taught me to let things go and I think I’ve brought that back home with me too. Things that used to annoy me don’t now. I’ve gained a new perspective – my family, friends and my faith are the things that are truly important to me. We were plagued by problems but I never panicked because I knew that God would provide a solution. My life was literally in God’s hands on that ocean and I think it brought me back to a child-like faith. What are your plans for the rest of 2012? My main focus now is to get Sport Against Trafficking registered so that I can expand what I do with it. I have also been amazed by the backing Row For Freedom had from the prime minister, celebrities and sporting figures – and I really believe that was supernatural favour. I want to round up those connections for a pre-Olympic campaign to raise awareness of the trafficking there always is in the run up to a huge sporting event. The whole Row For Freedom team are also taking part in the Queen’s Jubilee Flotilla in June and I have been asked to be an Olympic Torchbearer in Edinburgh on 13 June, which is a huge honour and a privilege. rowforfreedom.com sportagainsttrafficking.com
See Julia explaining why she decided to row the Atlantic IDEA MAGAZINE / 7
WHAT I WISH THE CHURCH KNEW ABOUT…
the brain and religious experience by Dr Alasdair Coles
Anne is 44 years old and a devout Christian. She is brought close to God by experiences every few weeks, which she has had since a teenager. Just before an epileptic seizure, she feels unnaturally tranquil. Her worries disappear and she feels surrounded by a loving force, God. And then she has the fit itself and all goes dark. This sort of epileptic seizure starts with electrical activity in the temporal lobe of the brain. They are called ‘Dostoyevsky’ seizures, after the Russian novelist who not only wrote about them in his books (especially The Idiot) but also experienced them himself. He said: “You have no idea what joy that joy is which we epileptics experience the second before a seizure … I do not know whether this joy lasts for seconds or hours or months, but believe me, I would not exchange it for all the delights of this world.” Karen Armstong, a contemporary theologian, had similar sensations before a fit, until she was put on anti-epileptic drugs; she lost her faith shortly thereafter. Wilder Penfield, a Canadian neurosurgeon, operated on patients who were awake. When he stimulated the temporal lobe of his patients, they reported mystical experiences as part of which some said they felt a benign presence in the operating theatre. So, what to make of these observations? For sure, they show that the temporal lobe contains the kit to have mystical experience. But so what? Well, some Christians are unsettled by the idea that the brain has anything to do with communicating with God; for them, their immaterial soul is directly in touch with God and has little to do with the body. IDEA MAGAZINE / 8
Such dualism is becoming increasingly hard to defend, as the brain is found to mediate other complex human emotions and experiences, such as belief, shame, joy, doctrine. Others will be troubled in another way: if seizures can induce ‘God’, perhaps all God-experiences are due to mini-seizures? But that does not take long to refute. For stimulation of different parts of the brain, in epilepsy, can lead to all sorts of strange sensations (seeing animals, hearing voices, feeling unexplained fear), but no-one is seriously saying that animals are just mini-seizures. In other words, studying the brain can never tell us whether God exists or not. Neuroscience can, however, tell us something of how humans experience God. One fundamental question, for instance, is this: did the human brain evolve a separate set of mechanisms for experiencing God? Do we have a private compartment in our brain for prayer and spiritual matters? Is there a ‘Godpsot’ in our brains? The answer from many recent neuro-imaging studies is quite clear: no. It seems that when we speak to God and listen to Him, we use the very same parts of the brain that are required to speak to, and listen to, other humans. You can look at this in one of two ways. Either we borrowed the bit of the brain for ordinary human communication when we started to experience God. Or, as we evolved
language to talk to those around us, we used those bits of the brain that were already there to speak to our Maker. What if our brains are damaged? It follows that we might experience God differently. People with diseases affecting their frontal lobes can act out of character and apparently lose their faith, or even gain a new one! People can lose the ability to pray or meditate, if their parietal lobe stops working. More subtle issues are raised by autism which impacts on the ability of people to intuit what others think about them, because this skill is also required when we imagine what God thinks about us. Speaking personally, my faith is deepening as I learn more of what it means for us humans, and our brains, to be made in the image of God, so that we can be close to Him.
Dr Alasdair Coles is a neurologist in Cambridge, who does research on multiple sclerosis and on the spirituality of people with neurological diseases. He is ordained and is a part-time chaplain at Addenbrooke’s Hospital.
God In the tsunami? heologian and Alliance executive director: churches in mission, T Krish Kandiah, answers the question: “If God does whatever He pleases, did it please Him to ordain the Japanese earthquake and tsunami?” On Saturday, 12 March 2011, we woke up to the terrible images of 40-metre walls of water sweeping over the east coast of Japan and destroying everything in their wake. It was preceded by an undersea megathrust earthquake of magnitude 9 on the Richter scale, and was followed by explosions and meltdowns at nuclear power plants. Some 15,848 people died that day; 3,305 are still missing and 341,411 are still in emergency shelters. How can we as Christians reconcile these terrible statistics with our belief that God is sovereign over the universe? Does everything that takes place, including tsunamis, occur with His blessing and for His pleasure? For me, the way into this is the Lord’s Prayer. Jesus’ model prayer for his disciples has been prayed unceasingly through the generations of Christian believers in all sorts of circumstances. It is not some obscure text but words of our Lord and Saviour and a prayer that has united Christians across the traditions, tribes and theological categories. Confessing God as our Father and calling for His name to be honoured is paralleled by a similar couplet asking that God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Within this simple prayer some profound ideas are implied. 1. In God’s coming kingdom God’s will is done on earth as it is in heaven. The logic, flow and literary structure of the Lord’s prayer encourages us to see that when we pray for God’s kingly reign to come we are praying for the fullness of God’s will to be done on earth as it is in MAY/JUN 2012
heaven. In other words we are to pray for perfect love and perfect peace and an end to sin and its consequences. 2. God’s will is currently not being done on earth as it is in heaven. By asking us to pray this, Jesus is stating that the world, although profoundly beautiful as God’s creation, is also profoundly broken because of humankind’s rebellion against God. The parable of the weeds in Matthew 13 explains why God allows evil and suffering to persist. Jesus likens the kingdom of God to a farmer’s field which has been infested by weeds. Rather than pull up the weeds immediately the farmer elects to wait until harvest time. Does the farmer take pleasure in the existence of the enemy’s weeds in his field? No but he chooses to allow them to remain. There is no question of whether God has the ability to end evil and suffering but it is His will and purpose that allows it to continue. A passage in 2 Peter 3:8-10 explains that God is providing every opportunity for sinful humanity to turn to Him and be saved. The existence of evil and suffering in the world is not proof of the indifference of God but of His compassion, as there will be no more opportunities for repentance after the day that God chooses to end all suffering once and for all.
ultimately be answered by His Father. The book of Revelation uses powerful apocalyptic language to assure a suffering church that God’s kingdom is coming. The vision in Revelation 21 shows us what it will look like when the kingdom of heaven finally and fully comes to earth, as in heaven: there will be no more suffering, sickness or death. We live in the in-between days. From the time of Jesus we see the kingdom of heaven breaking in through his healing ministry, his life of self-sacrifice, his challenging of inequalities between rich and poor and in his preaching a taste of the kingdom to come. He witnessed and experienced suffering first-hand and called the Church to be the firstfruits of the coming kingdom. This means that sometimes we will see situations where God intervenes and His kingdom is revealed, and sometimes we will witness the horror of our broken planet. In these times we are motivated to renew our passion as we pray the Lord’s Prayer urgently. We are also motivated to be the answer to our own prayers as we demonstrate God’s Kingdom in our life together and as we function as salt and light in our towns, in our nation and in our world.
3. God will one day fully answer this prayer He has given His people. There is an overwhelming conviction and certainty that God’s kingdom will come on earth. Jesus calls us to pray not empty words of wishful thinking, but a prayer that will
Krish Kandiah is the Alliance’s executive director: churches in mission. IDEA MAGAZINE / 9
Registered charity number: 220482
Find out how to build prayerful and practical support for your police at www.coact.org.uk
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For more information about the work of the CPA visit www.cpauk.net or phone 01234 272865
Krish Kandiah: Executive director: churches in mission, Evangelical Alliance
Confidence in the Gospel
Wanted: Trailblazer churches Would your church like to be part of a national initiative to help develop confidence in the gospel? The Evangelical Alliance is looking for 12 UK churches to be lead learners as we think, pray and work together to find effective ways to help Christians articulate the gospel in words and deeds in our contemporary culture. After a wide-ranging consultation over the last 12 months, speaking to leaders and thinkers from across the UK, we have discovered that although mission is clearly at the heart of what many churches are doing, talking about our faith as Christians is proving increasingly difficult. Adding more programmes is not what’s needed; rather churches have to somehow develop and nurture a gospel-confidence where effective evangelism is the norm for all believers. In order to bring about this culture change, we need you to help us. Read on to begin this journey of discovery. If you are reading this, I expect your church is already involved in active outreach. In fact it is getting harder to find a church that only runs Sunday services and house groups. Mission is clearly high on the agenda of most churches as many of us are plugging into national initiatives like Foodbank, Street Pastors, or Christians Against Poverty, as well as providing bespoke services for our communities. But despite the increased amount of community engagement, there is also an apparent decrease in our confidence and competence to verbally explain the Good News. When was the last time you discussed faith outside of your church? Research suggests that you are doing well if you managed one evangelistic conversation this month. The Alliance is working with Lead Academy to develop an exciting programme to help bring about systemic change in the UK Church. Taking 12 trailblazer churches from a range of different denominational, geographical backgrounds with varying congregation sizes and resources available to them, we hope over the next two years to work through common issues and develop realistic and measurable strategies that will significantly equip them for the next stage of their ministry. The experience could provide your church with the opportunity to reflect on what’s going on and consider how confidence could be nurtured, and how evangelism could become less about programmes and more about being an integral, and natural, part of the lives of all those who make up your church. As part of a learning community you would receive expert input, tailored coaching, but most significantly you would be learning from one another. By employing a collaborative learning approach, most of the input and knowledge comes from the front line of those involved in trying to reach out to our communities. This experience is not a course or set programme, and no specific model of ‘doing church’ is employed. There are no quick-fix answers and there are certainly no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solutions; however we believe that a group of churches, learning together, will find that a few tweaks here, and slight shift of emphasis there, could dramatically increase the confidence levels of churches throughout the UK. And if your church is not one of those selected to join in the initiative, we will be reporting progress as we go so we can all benefit from the learning and experimentation. As we hear stories of effective evangelism,
and as we establish key ingredients for success, then we will be passing on our good news so we can all learn. Visit the Confidence in the Gospel section of our website. Here you’ll not only discover exactly what being part of this journey will involve, you can also hear how other churches have benefited from being part of a Lead Academy learning community. eauk.org/confidence PASSIONATE PENTECOST WORSHIP AND PRAYER RELEASING GOD’S GLORY OVER LONDON THIS SUMMER! Part of
London’s Burning Saturday 26th May 2012 from 2pm - 8pm (doors open 1pm)
Leyton Orient Stadium Brisbane Road, Leyton E10 5NF Tickets from £10 (+ booking fee) To book or for more information www.londonsburning2012.org.uk Tel: 020 8558 6935 IDEA MAGAZINE / 11
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On the job
Tim Plyming: This summer will be one of the most exciting in our lifetimes.
Delivering Olympic viewing This summer, millions will be glued to their TV screens as the country looks forward to a summer of Olympics and the Queen’s Jubilee. Tim Plyming is part of the team responsible for making sure it all goes smoothly. Chine Mbubaegbu meets him… From the Diamond Jubilee through to Wimbledon through to the opening ceremony through to Usain Bolt in the 100 metre final, this summer’s events are really going to grip the nation, and the world. “This is going to be one of the most exciting summers in our lifetime,” says Tim Plyming. And as project executive, digital & editor live sites for BBC London 2012, he is right in the middle of the planning for the Olympic & Paralympic Games. As crowds from across the globe flock to the UK, all eyes will be on our nation. Tim, who attends All Souls Langham Place, has been overseeing the team working on plans for the Beeb’s coverage of the Olympics and also the Diamond Jubilee for the past four years. His is a job which brings together creative elements with the highly advanced technology that we’re going to be witnessing for this year’s Games. Working at Television Centre – and on one of the biggest events the nation has seen – would be a dream job for anyone with hopes of breaking in to broadcasting. But Tim says he has got there not through any “grand plan” but through great opportunities landing in his lap. Although as a young boy he wanted to be a policeman, he soon gained an interest in radio and at the age of 13 would hang around BBC Radio Sussex helping presenters, ferrying records about and helping to prepare ingredients for cooking features. “I thought a live radio studio was
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just the most exciting place to be in the world.” He then did some work experience at the BBC in comedy programming, working as a waiter at night to pay his bills. After landing a “proper job” at BBC radio, he went on to work for News International and on projects launching the media giant’s first ever websites and internet editions for the likes of the News of the World and The Times. It’s while working for News International that he was invited by a friend to a church in Pimlico where he became a Christian.
as usual which will include the presidential elections, Christmas and then on to 2013. It’ll be like the Olympics never happened.”
He was then asked to return to the BBC to create Radio 2’s first website. It was here that he joined the management team, working with the likes of Jonathan Ross, Terry Wogan and Steve Wright. He later became executive producer for the Electric Proms before joining the Olympic project.
He hopes that churches will pull together to plug in to the party atmosphere around the country this summer. “It will enable churches to provide opportunities for people to come together and celebrate an extraordinary summer. Churches through history have provided a great place for a community to have a focus. In times of tragedy or in times of great joy it’s quite often the churches that people turn to as a place to come together – that or the pub.”
“It’s been a fun journey really,” he says. “But it’s never been deliberate. Some people have very well-planned career paths and I have never been one of those people. I’ve been really blessed in having interesting projects land in my lap. I don’t try to wrestle control of some big plan, but I try to do every project to the best of my ability. “I’m a big believer in the fact that if you do a project really well, there are always new things that need doing and good people are always needed. I try not to get anxious about what’s coming next. For example, I don’t know what I’m going to do when the Olympics has finished and our team shuts. The BBC will go on to business
With a varied career history, what motivates him? “The projects I enjoy are bringing people together of different skills and expertise to deliver one project,” Tim says. “It’s a great symbol of how we’ve all been given different gifts and skills. It’s an enormous sense of achievement and I think it represents our involvement in creation. It’s amazingly life-affirming and exciting.”
Tim Plyming is the project executive, digital & editor of live sites at the BBC
For resources on putting on a church event around the Olympics, visit morethangold.org.uk
Planning a Big Lunch for the Diamond Jubilee? Watch this great video
Finding a place called home
by Krish Kandiah, executive director: churches in mission
As you read this there are 6,800 children waiting to be adopted in the UK and a further 8,750 foster families needed to cope with the increasing pressure on the care system. Some of those children are siblings currently separated from each other after already losing their ability to live with their parents and extended family, usually through no fault of their own. Some of those children are being told they are too old or too difficult to adopt. Funding is short, delays are long and every day more cases arrive on the desk of social services each with heart-breaking stories of children in our communities who are at risk. The God we believe in describes Himself as a “father to the fatherless”, protector of widows and orphans. If we are going to accurately reflect God’s character the Church must have the same reputation. As I travel up and down the UK speaking in conferences and churches I meet some of the hundreds of Christian adoptive and foster families, and hear inspirational stories of how they are making a difference in the lives of vulnerable young people.
I believe the UK Church needs to better support and encourage these families but I also believe we can go one step further and find ways to make adoption and fostering more normal in the life and practice of our churches. Working together with just one adoptive or foster family per church we could effectively provide safe and loving homes and end the wait for children in the care system. The UK Church has the potential to make a significant impact on the waiting children of our generation, and to begin this seed change, the Alliance is working in conjunction with Care for the Family to begin a consultation with families, church pastors and care professionals. Collectively we can begin to discover how we can instil a mindset change in our families and churches to open our arms and hearts to the children who need temporary and permanent homes where they can be accepted and loved unconditionally.
Please sign up for one of the consultation tour dates: Consultations will be taking place: Tuesday, 19 June – Cardiff Wednesday, 20 June – Belfast Thursday, 21 June – Glasgow Tuesday, 26 June – Manchester Wednesday, 27 June – Birmingham Thursday, 28 June – London Visit the Care for the Family website for more information and to book your place. If you’re interested, but unable to attend any of these consultations, please register your interest on the website and we’ll be in touch. careforthefamily.org.uk/adopt
Unity not uniformity The Alliance has committed to a future which better represents the ethnic diversity of the evangelical community in the UK, following meetings with national church leaders.
Senior staff from the Alliance have been meeting with key leaders in the months following the closure of the African and Caribbean Evangelical Alliance (ACEA) in May 2011 after 25 years of existence. Faced with this void, general director Steve Clifford, senior staff and Board members felt the need to address the issue in conversation with senior leaders from the black majority churches and to seek their input in mapping out a strategy for how best to reflect our diverse community.
Following an initial meeting on 6 October with a wide range of leaders, a commission including Bishop Eric Brown (national overseer of the New Testament Church of God), Bishop John Francis (senior pastor of Ruach Ministries), Bishop Wilton Powell (Church of God of Prophecy), Dr Tani Omideyi (Temple of Praise) and Pastor Agu Irukwu (senior pastor of Jesus House) met on 25 November to discuss and bring forward a report and recommendations as to the way forward for the Evangelical Alliance. Steve Clifford said: “We have used the opportunity to build relationship as, together, we seek to make an impact on
Alliance senior staff meet with key leaders of black majority churches
our world and be a part of the prayer Jesus prays in John 17 that ‘we may be one’. “This is about unity and not uniformity. This is a unity which recognises we’re family together. We are about a unity which challenges the norms of our society.” The wider group met again on 28 February to receive the report, which will go to the Alliance Board and Council later this year to agree the recommendations before they are made public.
IDEA MAGAZINE / 13
THE BIG INTERVIEW
Ken Costa: former vice chairman of UBS Investment Bank and former chair of Lazard International
God, the Church and the City Ken Costa is a busy man. But the investment banker, chair of Alpha, the Pentecost Festival and the National Parenting Initiative finds time to talk to Chine Mbubaegbu about the financial crisis, Occupy and how the Church can engage with a world that has strayed from God’s original plan. When the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral thronged with Occupy protestors demonstrating their dissatisfaction with the state of the financial industry last year, Ken Costa was asked to step in and facilitate dialogue between Occupy and the City. As chair of London Connection, an initiative started by the Bishop of London in the wake of the Occupy protests, Ken – who has been in the investment banking industry for more than 30 years – helped those on both sides of the fence hear each other’s voices and discover that their hymn sheets were not so different. “Although the protestors use different language and wear different clothes, the issues they are talking about are some of the things that I talk about with my colleagues in the financial world,” Ken says. “We too are concerned with the markets, the role of shareholders and the environment. These are key things that we are facing and in these dialogues we are tackling some very penetrating questions. The first task is to bring people together.” Ken, himself the former vice-chairman of UBS Investment Bank and formerly chairman of Lazard International, facilitated a meeting between Hector Sants, the CEO of the Financial Services Authority, and 10 Occupy protestors so that they could hear each other’s viewpoints.
It’s extremely important that there’s an ethical undergirding of the market economy But Ken, who chairs Alpha International, the Pentecost Festival and the National Parenting Initiative, told idea that the financial crisis and the shaking that has followed is not just an issue for the City of London, but one which the Church must engage with. “It’s very important for both society and the Church to grapple with these issues of what went wrong in the great financial crisis and how we can deal with the aftermath. St Paul’s Cathedral is a dominant landmark over the City of London and an icon around the world. It has a very important role to play in speaking very clearly to
IDEA MAGAZINE / 14
the nation and the world. I’m hoping this constructive engagement can be drawn together under the auspices of St Paul’s.” Despite being well-respected in the investment banking world, Ken is sympathetic to the Occupy protestors, having being involved in protests against apartheid while president of the Students’ Union at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg where he studied philosophy and law before going on to study law and theology at the University of Cambridge. “I was involved in these protests when I was young because of a passionate desire to see justice established in a very unequal country. So I have total sympathy with the demonstrators because I’ve been on a picket line. I’ve stayed out on cold nights. But I know that there’s something more important we have to grasp which is a relationship that exists between all that we do and everything that God intended us to do.” Many commentators have tried to explain what caused the global financial crisis dubbed the worst since the Great Depression in the 1930s. The US Senate’s Levin-Coburn Report found that the crisis was “the result of high-risk, complex financial products; undisclosed conflicts of interest; and the failure of regulators, the credit rating agencies, and the market itself to rein in the excesses of Wall Street”. But for straight-talking Ken, the failure of the financial institutions is ultimately down to one thing. “The major issue is there is a breakdown between ethics and finance. There’s also been a breakdown of trust between the business and financial sectors and the communities in which business operates,” he says. “It’s extremely important that there’s an ethical undergirding of the market economy. The market economy is a great servant and a poor master and it needs an ethical framework so that it doesn’t depart from its moral moorings. The market economy was always based on values but these values have been eroded over the past few years. “At the end of the day, the relationship that Christians seek to have is based on the original prospectus – the Old Testament and the New Testament. When we follow the teachings of the original prospectus, that’s when we can live an ethical life and be at ease with ourselves and the world around us.” Ken is certain that the original prospectus is for all people and not just for Christians. It’s why he is passionate about showing that it is only when we tune in to God’s way of doing things that we can find our true calling. As chair of Alpha International, which runs
It is reassuring to know that not only has God planned our lives and our ‘works’ for us, but He has also given us all we need to do them. And, importantly, our times are in His hands. (Psalm 31:15). If you are a nurse, could this be the time to consider a fresh career? One where your skills would make a difference in the lives of vulnerable, elderly people?
Deputy Manager in Tunbridge Wells The home in Tunbridge Wells has 28 care and nursing places. You will be joining an experienced and supportive management team.
If you influence London, you influence the world the Alpha course now undertaken by more than 15 million people around the world, he is keen for everyone to come to faith in Christ. It’s also why he is passionate about the Pentecost Festival, which he also chairs, and is eager that it engages the world outside the Church in London. Taking place 18-27 May across the capital, the Christian festival aims to showcase what the Church is all about with a range of events, talks, and visual and performing arts around central London. “If you influence London, you influence the world,” he says. “London is a microcosm of the world’s nations. Pentecost is a very important festival. We’ve lost the public battle for Christmas and Easter as religious festivals as they have been secularised. “But Pentecost is the birthday of the Church and it has not had much time spent on establishing it as a festival. Therefore, we want the festival to celebrate this event and to celebrate unity and show the Church is alive and is engaging with its society. The festival will create awareness by meeting people, putting on good discussions, forums, outreach and evangelism within a real festival atmosphere to engage our society.” For more on the Pentecost Festival, visit pentecostfestival.co.uk For more on Ken Costa, visit godatwork.org.uk
Deputy Manager in Frinton, Essex
Someone who can lead the care and nursing teams in the Anna Victoria Nursing Home, and deputise for the manager in her absence: and a committed Christian who can empathise with residents’ beliefs and take devotions from time to time. All our homes are renowned for their family atmosphere and Christian ethos, and if God is leading you to apply for this Deputy Manager role you will be a registered nurse and a committed Christian, able to lead devotions and empathise with residents’ spiritual needs. Does this chime with you? To know more, contact us through our website www.pilgrimsfriend.org.uk, or email email@example.com or telephone 0300 303 1400, or write to our London Office at 175 Tower Bridge Road, London SE1 2AL.
IDEA MAGAZINE / 15
The boundaries of confidentiality need to be made clear to all concerned
Careless talk costs lives How the laws of confidentiality affect church leader…
Church leaders operate in a complex environment when it comes to sensitive information and ‘careless’ talk can have legal and pastoral implications that are difficult to work through.
obtain their ‘explicit consent’. Sensitive material needs to be locked in filing cabinets, computer files need to be password protected and there should be suitable measures to recover data in the case of loss.
This applies to information shared with a church leader and information held by the church. What if an individual, a church member or someone else, tells you their secret in a pastoral conversation – and it involves breaking the law or other serious implications? Who else can you tell, if anyone? And how do you record not just the information, but its sensitive nature, and how it can be used?
There is an exemption under s29 of the DPA that can be applied if the police (or other similar organisations) need some information to prevent or detect crime or catch or prosecute a suspect. If the church is satisfied that the information is going to be used for this purpose and that failure to release it would be likely to prejudice any attempt by the police to prevent a crime or catch a suspect then they can disclose this information.
It’s affected by whether your church is subject to Canon (Ecclesiastical) Law. There is a clear distinction between information received through formal confession or gleaned during confidential conversations. Canon Law expressly states that there can be no disclosure of what is confessed to a priest. Where the person’s ‘secret’ is about child abuse or domestic abuse in a home with children although respecting their wish for confidentiality if there’s concern that the child is at risk or suffering significant harm their welfare must be the overriding consideration. Also, if abuse of children or vulnerable adults is admitted in the context of a confession the clergy member should urge the person to report their behaviour to the police or social services with this being a condition of the person’s absolution.
If you receive a request from the police ask yourself:
A “confidential conversation” is not the same as sacramental confession in churches regulated by Canon Law. Whether or not your church is in this category it is wise for church leaders to try to avoid promising total confidentiality. The boundaries of confidentiality need to be made clear to all concerned because information about matters of a very serious nature (e.g. terrorism or a threat to harm others) may require disclosure to a third party. When it comes to paper and computer files held by the church the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) applies to everyone who holds personal information. Special rules apply to what the Act calls ‘sensitive personal data’ – this can include that person’s beliefs and matters concerning the subject’s personal life. Before keeping sensitive information relating to non-church members, you must IDEA MAGAZINE / 16
• Am I sure the person is who they say they are? (especially if the request is made over the telephone) • Is the person asking for this information doing so to prevent or detect a crime or catch or prosecute an offender? • If I do not release the personal information, will this significantly harm any attempt by the police to prevent crime or catch a suspect? • If I do decide to release personal information to the police, what is the minimum I should release for them to be able to do their job? • What else (if anything) do I need to know to be sure that the DPA exemption applies? However, even if the above exemption applies you do not necessarily have to release the personal information. For example, if you think the information is confidential and comes within your other legal obligations you can ask the police to come back with a court order requiring the release of the personal information. This a fragmented, tricky area of law so get prepared now. Go through the process of identifying the different scenarios where you might use sensitive information, decide in advance what status the information should have in those scenarios, and write down the decisions. And when in doubt get legal advice... Fran Beckett: Consultant, Anthony Collins Solicitors David Hall: Associate, Anthony Collins Solicitors Emilie Pownall: Trainee, Anthony Collins Solicitors
Dave Landrum: director of advocacy
Where next for Europe? by Dr Dave Landrum, director of advocacy
If the Euro is a symbol of the grand project of the European Union, what does the present crisis suggest about the future of the EU? For many months the Greek economy has teetered on the brink of collapse. It may have escaped the notice of all but the most avid of watchers, but despite late nights in Brussels and numerous summits, Greece actually defaulted on their debts earlier in the spring. This situation makes the nightmare scenario of financial contagion spreading across the continent a distinct possibility. This hasn’t happened, or at least it hasn’t happened yet. It’s possible that all Greece’s recent default has done is delay problems which may well pop back up in a few months time. Alongside the Greek tragedy, the economies of Spain and Italy are not looking particularly healthy. All of which are sparking worries that Europe is a long way from a secure economic future. Apart from the now seemingly obvious fact that the economic model for the EU was seriously flawed, what has also become clear is that Europe has failed to develop a ‘soul’ – something that former president of the EU Commission Jacques Delors considered essential to its survival. Instead, a Union has developed that is largely technocratic and rule focused. Not something that fosters a sense of identity or empathy among its members. When the ill-fated EU constitution was under consideration a few years ago a quite breath-taking attempt at historical air-brushing was attempted. Those framing the nature of what it means to be European famously sought to leave out any reference to God in its preface, instead referring to a generic cultural, religious and humanist heritage. Although including a clause about God would not have solved the manifold problems that the constitutional treaty encountered, it did reveal a deeper problem – a problem that was identified at the beginning of the European project by one of its key architects, Robert Schuman. It does not have a common identity. What makes discussion of a European soul more difficult is the lingering MAY/JUN 2012
historical resonance that the Christian faith has across the continent. This may explain the default resistance among many very secular countries towards Turkey joining the Union. It would come to the table with a very different history, with very different traditions and expectations. It may also explain how the very different religious histories within Europe resulted in the drafters of the proposed constitution omitting any reference to God. Benedict Anderson wrote about the creation of new nations in the 19th century when Germany and Italy were more or less imagined out of nothing. They were, in his assessment, imagined communities, brought together more by political will and external threats, rather than through any pre-existing common bond. Sixty years on from the foundation of the European Economic Community, it is clear that beyond self-interest, the sufficient bonds necessary to hold these nations together, and help each other in times of crisis, have not emerged across the continent. Although Christianity is embedded deeply into the European identity, the combination of the Catholic south, the Lutheran north, secular France and
Anglican England meant a shared religious identity for the European Union was and remains a long way from reality. Nor has there been the political will or external threats necessary to force national leaders to forego their own identity to forge a European identity that will cross borders. In the place of a clear European identity there are continued calls for increased democracy within the EU, to address what is referred to as the democratic deficit. But without a common identity such a deficit will always remain, because new rules and institutions, more elections and elected officials, will simply lead to a technocratic state – without a clear vision for the future. This is what presides over the economic maelstrom enveloping Europe today. And countries seem intent on protecting their own economic interests above making the sacrifices needed for a pan-European recovery. What the future holds for the EU remains unclear, however, the failure of the economic crisis of the past few years to inspire and build any common identity suggests that the search for a soul will go on unfulfilled. And in the wake of that, the ambitions of the European project may well require a rethink. IDEA MAGAZINE / 17
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Cover story: ACET International is providing a compassionate response to AIDS
IN THE THICK OF IT
Saving grace by Chine Mbubaegbu
Photo: by Huw Owen Thomas
In countries where AIDS and HIV victims are suffering due to stigma and a lack of care, a Christian charity is providing a practical and compassionate response. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, a widow is raped by a gang of soldiers whose attack is so brutal that it leaves her with permanent damage, rendering her unable to work. Because she cannot work, her 12-yearold daughter is forced to work in the fields so that the family can eat. On the way home from the fields one day, she is also raped by soldiers “over and over until she faints”. This is how this young girl contracts HIV. In India, where 90 per cent of women with HIV have been infected within their marriage or a long-term relationship, Grace is disowned by her family when – while pregnant with her second child – she finds out she has HIV. She now lives in the slums of Hyderabad and begs for food.
Heartbreaking The stories of people affected by HIV around the world are heartbreaking. MAY/JUN 2012
And there are so many of them. According UNAIDS, there are around 33 million people living with it; and around 4,900 die every day from AIDS-related illness. It’s a huge and devastating issue and one which faces widespread ignorance and stigma which only goes to aggravate the problem, leading to more infections and further heartbreak. This is where ACET comes in. ACET (AIDS Care Education and Training) is working hard to provide a Christian response to the HIV and AIDS pandemic – a response that is unconditional and which demonstrates God’s love to all. Present in more than 20 countries, ACET works with churches and church leaders in the areas to provide a response which meets people living with HIV in those nations at the point of their particular need.
In Nigeria, for example, one of the key countries that ACET focuses on, 800 people become infected every day and 600 people die from AIDS, as just one in five of the three million people who have the disease are able to get hold of life-prolonging antiretroviral drugs (ARVs). The stigma of having HIV in Nigeria is so unbearable that many do not get diagnosed because they cannot face the possibility of being cast out by their family and shunned by their friends. This head-in-the-sand approach only leads to the further spread of HIV. Nigeria also has the highest number of AIDS orphans – some 2.5 million. The picture of AIDS in the west African country is overwhelming. But ACET is working with churches to equip them to change the course of HIV and AIDS in their communities, as well as working with local government and NGOs. IDEA MAGAZINE / 19
UNAIDS: 33 million people are living with AIDS
IN THE THICK OF IT
In Nigeria, the overwhelming issue is stigma. But in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the biggest issue is rape. Dubbed the “rape capital of the world”, there are more than 1,000 women raped every single day. It is now such a part of the culture that 22.5 per cent of women in the DRC say they have experienced sexual violence by their husbands or partners, according to the American Journal of Public Health.
Dr Patrick Dixon, who founded ACET in 1988 after meeting HIV patients who had been refused care at home or in hospices due to fear and stigma, recently visited Nigeria. “I met 20 church leaders who had just finished a week-long training course run by ACET Nigeria,” he says. “Up until now they would never have thought that HIV was an issue in their churches, but HIV testing had revealed that one in 10 of the leaders were infected. “Many said they had had to repent before God of their past hostility to those with HIV. And they were returning home having made three promises to take action over the coming weeks. Most of them did far more than they had promised: one leader had reached over 16,000 people with prevention messages within weeks of the programme ending. Others had set up support groups for people with HIV, orphan programmes and so on. A huge result from a single week programme for 20 people.”
DRC Part of ACET’s effectiveness lies in the fact that they cater to the specific needs of a country’s situation, rather than taking a one-size-fits-all approach to AIDS.
Once again, there is widespread ignorance about the disease, with just 17 per cent of 15 to 24-year-olds answering five basic questions about HIV and its transmission correctly. The Church in the DRC is ideally placed to do something about this, having been around since the 15th century and responsible for running not just parishes but health facilities and schools. Yvonne Kavuo, country director in the DRC, is working to encourage churches to offer compassionate counselling to rape victims. “You cannot do HIV/AIDS work in DRC without talking about gender-based violence,” she says. “It’s only when you talk to someone who has been raped that you truly understand the magnitude of the trauma. But talking about it is really difficult for victims, and you have to earn their trust.”
Hope The name for ACET’s Nireekshana headquarters translates as ‘hope’. And that is what Drs Sujai and Lavanya Suneetha, directors of the centre, are bringing to the high numbers of people being affected by HIV. In Andhra Pradesh, where the charity is based, HIV infection rates are the highest in India, with more than 750,000 people affected. The majority of women living with HIV have been infected by a partner or husband, but when forced onto the streets or into the slums, many have no choice but to work in the sex trade
in order to provide for themselves or their children – perpetuating the spread of HIV. The directors’ medical background means they are able to give holistic attention to people with HIV. ACET Nireekshana runs three clinics run by a team of medics supported by trained volunteers and staff, and also provides social care, as well as HIV testing and counselling. In order to reduce the fear of being tested, ACET recruits volunteers in the area – who are often HIV positive themselves – to go out into the community and persuade people at risk to get tested. Those tested positive are then referred back to ACET for further care.
Action With such vast numbers, such heartbreaking stories and a problem that in some areas seems to be spreading uncontrollably, the Church has a huge role to play in being good news within these communities. It is the hope of ACET that churches will catch the vision and see the need and how they can help. Patrick Dixon says: “The answer to HIV is a global people movement: this is about mobilising entire villages, towns and cities. “When people start talking about HIV, what it is, how it spreads, about testing, treatment and how people can protect themselves, then infection slows down. “When parents talk with their children, church leaders and their congregations, teachers with their pupils, office workers with their peers, and villagers with their neighbours, then behaviour starts to change. “When people with HIV feel accepted and able to tell their own stories; when families are able to grieve openly for relatives who have died; then the message grows in power.” For more information, visit acet-international.org
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IDEA MAGAZINE / 20
Now Grace lives in the slums of Hyderabad and begs for food.
…send someone like Grace a message of hope Like Grace, many of the 33 million people living with HIV in the world today have known only discrimination and rejection.
We’ll pass your message on, and share the responses of some of the recipients with you.
Will you write a message of hope to someone with HIV, someone like Grace, who desperately needs encouragement? It might be a passage of Scripture, or a personal message, or a prayer for them.
Dr Patrick Dixon, Founder of ACET
Be inspired with our FREE booklet
who grace to those
need it mos
ect Take Read Refl
ate Christian compassion A practical, nations AIDS in 23 to HIV and
at www.messageofgrace.org.uk or complete the coupon below and return to us. Freepost Plus RSBJ-CELG-KXEC, ACET, PO Box 588, ISLEWORTH TW7 9BA NB: We will not pass your details to the message recipient.
Post your message online
of stories, facts, scripture and reflections for personal or group study: Download from www.messageofgrace.org.uk or call us on 020 8568 7770 and we’ll send you a copy.
Your first name:
My message of hope:
Your address: Postcode: Email address: Telephone: Data Protection: We’d like to update you on how your support is changing lives, and share other opportunities for you to help those affected by HIV/AIDS. We will NOT exchange your details with other charities. We also want to communicate with you in the ways that work best for you, so please advise if you prefer NOT to be contacted in the following ways: Post Email Phone
ACET (AIDS Care, Education and Training) trains and mobilises churches and Christian groups to engage with the issues of HIV/AIDS in their communities with Christian compassion. Founded in 1988, we work in 23 countries worldwide.
ACET, PO Box 588, Brentford, TW7 9BA www.acet-international.org Telephone: 020 8568 7770 www.facebook.com/acetuk Registered Charity No 299293
IDEA MAGAZINE / 21
*Some details changed to protect her identity
Grace* was pregnant with her second child when the hospital told her she had HIV. Her family found out, and threw her and her young son out into the street.
Image © Huw Owen Thomas
When Grace found she had HIV, she became an outcast…
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ringing traffik to B a stop in Belfast
by Paul Meneely
In May, Northern Ireland will be causing a stir and creating a standstill to stop the appalling crime of human trafficking. Day in, day out there are hundreds of people in Northern Ireland locked in a room with no way out. They’re forced to work in the most inhospitable of conditions, or worse still forced to have sex countless times every day with strangers. Any sense of their human dignity and worth lies in tatters on the ground. They are invisible to society, exploited by a minority and ignored by the majority. Regrettably this is a reality in our country and it’s our time to stop it. The Belfast Abolition Collective (BAC) has come together to form a special kind of traffic jam. Human trafficking is a growing problem in Northern Ireland; we hold the undesirable record of having the fastest growing sex industry in the UK. BAC and others are working hard to bring it to an end. The profile against this crime is being raised, victims are being rescued and prayers are being answered. Northern Ireland has a colourful history to say the least, notorious for division, yet it is here that God is uniting people from all backgrounds to find a
solution to this sickening crime. And the Alliance in Northern Ireland is at the centre of this campaign. ‘No More Traffik’ – a week of events organized by BAC – will be launched on 12 May. It aims to raise awareness of human trafficking and to provide long-term solutions for victims. From politicians to the police, flash mobs to concerts, Belfast will be bombarded with the bad news about trafficking. Gemma Wilson, a co-founder of BAC, describes No More Traffik as a week to “inform street culture about a problem on our streets. We hope to shake the city and take a strong stand against slavery”. While the scale of the problem is big, Gemma points out: “Our God doesn’t have limits, so neither does His work.” Through No More Traffik, BAC hopes the people of Northern Ireland will become informed and enflamed about what is happening on their own doorsteps, on their watch. Sometimes the truth is hard to face; in Belfast’s case the truth is that too many of God’s image-bearers are facing injustice and oppression on a daily basis. And Isaiah
instructs us: “Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression” (Isaiah 1:17). This is not an optional extra, but a command, and BAC have taken it up. Of all the cities wouldn’t it be great if Belfast could tell the story of how it stood against trafficking and won? We believe in a transforming God. How better to reflect this than fulfilling this vision. No More Traffik will inform, educate and give direction to your actions, words and prayers. You are invited to an event that will change history and once again God is at the centre of it. This most certainly is ‘our time’ to act and this is ‘our place’ to take ownership; will you play your part? nomoretraffik.com/ @belfast_bac
by David Smyth, public policy officer
Human trafficking is a dangerous and complex trade. Sex is a gift from God best expressed within marriage. Selling and using others for sex is degrading and illegal. It’s abusing an image-bearer of God. Here’s what we’re doing about it… We absolutely need to rescue victims and target traffickers, but the missing piece of the puzzle is the punters – those who use trafficked women. Trafficking is rape for profit. The maximum sentence for rape is life imprisonment. The current legislation for those using trafficked women for sex in Northern Ireland is too weak. Section 15 of The Policing and Crime Act 2009 introduces the offence of ‘paying for sexual services of a prostitute subjected to force etc.’
The maximum punishment for this crime is a fine not exceeding £1,000. How can someone who pays for the services of a prostitute (or trafficked victim) subjected to force escape with a fine? Our campaign is simple. Someone convicted of using a trafficked woman for sex should face: 1. Prison – a mandatory custodial sentence. 2. Placement on the sex-offender’s register.
The framework of the legislation is already in place, there’s no need to delay. A £1,000 fine is no deterrent and sends out completely the wrong message to men who are using or are tempted to use trafficked women. See our website for more information, a video you can share and a petition you can sign. eauk.org/northernireland
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“We need to understand church in a different way” Albert Bogle, the next moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, is passionate about linking up the local, national and international Church. It’s what led him to establish the Vine Trust, which enables volunteers to make a real and significant difference to some of the world’s poorest children. Alistair Stevenson spoke to him ahead of taking up his new position… idea: What will be your main responsibilities as moderator of the General Assembly? At one level, it’s simply acting as the chairperson of the General Assembly, during the week that the Church meets to debate and discuss a wide variety of topics and reports. At another level you are acting as an ambassador for the Church of Scotland but only for a year until the next Assembly comes round. As moderator you have no power whatsoever. You are, as other ministers, one who comes to serve the Church. On some occasions you might have a little influence but that kind of influence can never be measured. But at a personal level my responsibilities are those of any minister of the gospel to share the gospel of Jesus Christ within a changing culture. What exciting things are happening in the Church of Scotland at the moment? You know, good news is not news. Human nature wants to hear about the failures, the problems, and the struggles. So I’m glad you’ve asked me about good news. I’d love your readers to check out Sanctuary First. This is an emerging church that is literally emerging out of St Andrew’s Bo’ness. It is all part of a worship service that seeks to explore a variety of media in worship; from painting pictures, to film, to music, to helping people engage with overseas development work. Each month a service happens in various locations around Scotland and is followed up on a daily basis with daily Bible readings and prayers that all link into the monthly IDEA MAGAZINE / 24
worship service. I believe there are amazing opportunities for the Church to engage with the communities we live in and be major shapers in helping communities engage with the responsibilities and also the joys of family life. There are still too many people in the Church naval gazing, looking at their ministries rather than lifting their eyes and looking at how Jesus did ministry. Notice the people he associated with; not too many of them would be at the mid-week prayer meeting. I’ll say no more. It’s time to look to Jesus, and hear his voice saying, come follow me, and I’ll show you what I’m doing. The number of people who go to church regularly are declining. How should the Church respond? The number of people attending football matches is declining, the number of people
who join political parties is declining. In fact, any organisation that is looking for committed membership is declining. We are living in a paradoxical society where we are disconnected yet ever connected. We need to understand church in a different way. We need to be relational, meaningful, and discover connectedness in a variety of different ways. However we should not judge the power of the gospel through numbers attending a particular building. It is not necessarily large numbers of people that will inherit the kingdom although that is our prayer and indeed our Lord’s prayer that none should perish. We must be in the business of growing men and women who, in the words of Paul in Ephesians, have “grown up into the full stature of Christ”. So how should the Church respond to declining numbers on a Sunday? Perhaps from a different perspective – I think we need to find ways to connect with believers who are no longer in the church building on a Sunday but are still believers. Some of these connections can be made through the internet while others may be made through a variety of community networks. What is your vision for the Church in Scotland? I want the Church in Scotland to become more humble in our attitudes to those groups of people we live among. To be more willing to listen and more open to work alongside each other. More willing to share plans and resources. Open to the possibility that we can have a shared vision without losing our individuality.
Support for collective worship in schools
by Gethin Russell-Jones
In one week, an e-petition to protect collective worship in Welsh schools collected three times as many signatures as a rival one to abolish it by the British Humanist Association (BHA) has in six months. The pro-collective worship initiative, launched by Jim Stewart from Evangelical Alliance Wales, came about through feeling a need to redress an imbalance. Jim said: “After the recent issue in Devon surrounding council meetings and prayer, I thought I’d find out more about what the BHA and National Secular Society were up to in Wales. Sure enough, I found that the BHA has had a petition up on the National Assembly for Wales website since
September, calling for collective worship to be abolished.
constituencies in Wales.
“While they are entitled to their opinion, what really surprised me was their claim to be the voice of non-Christian Wales, declaring that collective worship was ‘extremely unpopular’ among parents, children and teachers. My feeling was that a counterpetition would gain widespread support.”
Elfed Godding, national director for Evangelical Alliance Wales, is encouraging policy makers not to give the secularist voice too much attention. “Wales in 2012 is a diverse nation and while there are many who do not have a personal faith, the BHA does not represent the voice of the non-religious.”
The ‘pro’ petition has gathered more than 2,000 signatures covering all 40
Visit assemblywales.org to sign the e-petition
Church-planting Waleswide More than 200 church leaders from a range of Welsh churches met recently in Newtown to collaborate on evangelising the nation. The gathering was hosted by Waleswide, a network of evangelical churches and organisations and a partner of Evangelical Alliance Wales. Waleswide works with leaders to see churches established especially where there is no evangelical church presence, and where churches need to be strengthened in their effectiveness. During the day, the results of a survey commissioned by Waleswide in 2011 were released. More than 260 Welsh church leaders were interviewed. It showed that during the first decade of this millennium 5,728 people became Christians in their churches. However
in 2010 alone, 1,642 became Christians.
which are part of newer networks.
According to a survey of UK church attendance published by Tearfund in 2007, Wales has the lowest number of regular churchgoers (12 per cent) and the highest number of closed de-churched – people who once had some church contact and are resistant to any further engagement (46 per cent).
These 5:2 churches all share a common approach to connecting with their various communities. These included meeting the needs of their communities through debt counselling, Foodbank, working with prisoners, Street Pastors, and particularly working with families and young children.
The Waleswide survey identifies socalled 5:2 churches. These are churches which have seen five people from outside their faith community become Christians between 2000-2010 and two declaring a personal faith in 2010. According to the survey, larger churches in the south of the country with more than 100 members have seen the greatest growth, particularly church plants and churches
David Ollerton, chairman of Waleswide, said: The people who gathered all had a common cause; to see Jesus honoured in Wales and for churches to reflect him. The greatest challenge facing church leaders in Wales is to develop intentional gospel communities, as new churches or within existing ones, that are more interested in reaching out to people with few or no Christian links instead of maintaining existing structures.” IDEA MAGAZINE / 25
Let peace reign in Nigeria
Prayers for Nigeria after Boko Haram attacks Christian organisations have been responding to the series of attacks on churches in northern Nigeria over the past few months. reassured local residents, we also urge for sufficient additional security to be deployed at identified potential targets.” Release International is calling on the Nigerian government to step up its action against Boko Haram, which models itself on the Taliban, and wants to impose Islamic law in Nigeria. This would also include a more extreme form of Sharia in the north of the country. The group hopes to exacerbate tensions between Christians and Muslims in the country, which is why Jos – which is the dividing line between the mainly Muslim north and the predominantly Christian south – has been a particular target.
On 26 February, a suicide bomber drove a car into the Jos headquarters of the Church of Christ in Nigeria (COCIN) denomination during their morning worship service. The attack, carried out by Islamist group Boko Haram, resulted in three people killed – an 18-month-old child and two women – and a further 38 injured.
The attacks sparked violent reprisals in the area, resulting in two Muslim people being killed.
Two weeks later, a second church in the city was hit by a blast, killing 10 people.
“Most importantly, a palpable terror is being unleashed on Christians so that Sunday is transformed from a day of worship into a day of fear. We are appealing to the Church worldwide to pray without ceasing, and to members of the international community to speak up and take action on our behalf so that we are able to enjoy full religious freedom and worship God freely and without fear.”
The attack on St Finbarr’s Church took place on 11 March – 10 minutes into the second service. Commenting on the first attack, Andy Dipper, CEO of Release International, said: “One of the women, Hajara, had already fled Yobe state to escape the growing violence against Christians. But the violence followed her to Jos and on Sunday she was killed by a car bomb.” He added: “Hajara’s plight highlights the terrible insecurity facing the Christian minority in northern Nigeria, who are being driven from their homes, and the daily challenge to Christians living in Jos, who are being targeted by Islamist militants.” IDEA MAGAZINE / 26
Barnabus Fund reported the Anglican Archbishop of Jos, the Rt Rev Benjamin Kwashi, as saying: “It is worrying that two bombs have gone off within the space of two weeks, and many are fearing a third.
Andrew Johnston, advocacy director for Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), said: “We extend our heartfelt condolences to those who lost loved ones in this senseless attack, and in the subsequent violence that it triggered. While we are encouraged by increased security presence, which has restored calm and
According to the World Evangelical Alliance, analysts believe that Boko Haram gained technical sophistication and weaponry after it sought help, or was offered help, from groups like al-Shabaab in southern Somalia and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb following the government’s military crackdown in 2009. According to CSW, there were reports of the discovery of a list of potential targets in Jos, including the COCIN headquarters, the Evangelical Church Winning All headquarters, Living Faith Church and the home of the Anglican archbishop. “Boko Haram should not be allowed to grow in its influence,” said Andy Dipper of Release. “It is using violent bullying tactics to further its own ideals which are contrary to the vast majority of Nigerians, whether Muslim or Christian. “This terrorist group has no place in Nigerian society. We call upon the government of Nigeria to do everything in its power to stop this small group of trouble-making extremists. Let peace reign in Nigeria in 2012, built on growing communities where people can choose for themselves their path in life. “In response to this desperate situation we are asking Christians to devote a whole month to praying for our brothers and sisters in Nigeria.”
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Gok Wan introduces three local nurses who have been the subject of his makeover.
Have we lost the art of friendship?
by Marijke Hoek
As I watch a plethora of excruciating performances and eardrum-perforating screeches in the Britain’s Got Talent or The X Factor auditions I wonder: “Don’t these people have friends?” Was no-one able to speak some truth-in-love and convince them at an earlier stage to explore other avenues in life? Similarly, do we really need Trinny and Susannah, or Gok Kwan to tell us what (not) to wear? Are there no stylish friends around we can ask? On a more painful note, how is it possible that relations between parents and children so badly deteriorate that it needs intervention by a Supernanny? The range of such TV programmes tells us that we need specialists – whereas often we just need good friends. The Bible portrays friendship as a rich gift and a crucial vanguard for life. After IDEA MAGAZINE / 28
all, friends speak with a much-needed candour. Their valuable perspective and sound advice is vital for our growth. We need a circle of people with whom we can share our aspirations and struggles. We need friendships marked by openness and vulnerability in which we allow people ‘in’ and hold one another accountable. Wounds inflicted by them can be trusted – an edge that is missing in a host of shallower contacts. “A man with many companions may come to ruin, but a friend sticks closer than a
brother.” (Proverbs 17:17, 18:24, 27:6). Friendship originates in God. The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend (Exodus 33:11). Jesus models friendship in his relationships with Mary, Martha and Lazarus. He teaches that friendship is about self-disclosure and fruitfulness. “I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” Whereas servants don’t know the master’s business, friends do. He chose us as friends – that we
When life grows cold, friends provide a much-needed blanket.
“A man with many companions may come to ruin, but a friend sticks closer than a brother.” Proverbs 17:17, 18:24, 27:6
may remain in that bond of love, adhere to his words and bear fruit. Later, he will show the extent of his love in laying down His life (John 15:9-17). Sociologists have found that never before in western lifestyle has there been such an erosion of the wide range of relationships. In a busy lifestyle, we have neglected not only the role of friendship but also of tribe, extended family, fellowship, and community. This narrowing is causing an increased measure of isolation, and, conversely, places a huge strain on marriages – a weight of expectation the institution was never meant to carry. And, in a context of an increasing rate of marriage breakdown, the only question we are asking is ‘How can we strengthen marriages?’ Whereas, they suggest, we should consider the wider context of such relational poverty and ask ourselves: ‘How do we broaden again the
wider range of relationships?’ The rich relational tapestry found in the scriptures shows God’s intentions for society. It’s not good for man to be alone. The inherent incompleteness of our existence causes us to seek community in the form of marriage, family, tribe, friendship, fellowship and society. We are indeed created for community, the whole rich gamut of it. We detect the invaluable gift of friendship in David and Jonathan. Two are better than one. If one falls down, a friend can help him up. Though one may be overpowered, two can overcome. When life grows cold, friends provide a much-needed blanket. Together they see a good return of their work. These texts portray the strength of this cord of three strands (Ecclesiastes 4:8-11). The measure in which we develop good friendships will be shown in the fruitfulness of our life and the quality of
such tenacious, loving bonds. Friends, after all, love at all times and have a particular stickability in times of adversity. And, finally, the wider world needs our friendship. We follow in the footsteps of Jesus, “friend of sinners”. Research shows that most people find faith these days because they know me. Or you, even. Most find faith today because of the people of God who pour their heart, prayers, and time out on their friends, disclosing some of the love of Jesus, who after all laid down his life for his enemies – that they may become his friends (Romans 5:6-11).
Marijke Hoek: Forum for Change co-ordinator, Evangelical Alliance
EQUIPPING SLAVIC CHRISTIANS TO REACH THEIR OWN PEOPLE WITH THE GOSPEL
LOCALLY NURTURED LEADERS
STRATEGICALLY ERECTED CHURCHES MAY/JUN 2012
SPECIFICALLY TARGETED CARE
FRESHLY CULTIVATED PLANTS
Slavic Gospel Association is committed to working in partnership with local churches across Eastern Europe and Central Asia, helping them to address the particular challenges of building the Church of Jesus Christ in former Communist lands. This includes leadership training programmes, ongoing help for those in ministry, support for church planting initiatives, the erection of buildings and the provision of humanitarian aid.
For more information about the ministry of SGA please visit www.sga.org.uk call 01323 725583 email email@example.com Slavic Gospel Association, 37a The Goffs, Eastbourne, East Sussex, BN21 1HF
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Mats Tunehag: senior associate on business as mission for both the Lausanne Movement and the World Evangelical Alliance Mission Commission
BUSINESS AS MISSION
Serving God and people through business Did Christopher Columbus discover America? Not really. The Vikings were there many centuries earlier. So one may say that Columbus re-discovered America. Business as Mission (BAM) is not a new discovery – it is a rediscovery of biblical truths and practices. In one sense it is like the Reformation and its rallying cry: ad fontes – back to the sources. The term BAM is new but the underpinning concept is nothing new. During the Reformation old truths were highlighted and contemporary assumptions were challenged. This is what the global BAM movement is doing today. We are revisiting scripture, questioning jargon and traditions, and assessing the situation in the world. The Bible portrays a businesswoman as a godly role model of how to serve others and meet needs through business. Let’s briefly look at Proverbs 31 and translate a few verses into modern day language: 16
he considers a field and buys it; S She does a market assessment and invests Out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. She makes a profit and reinvests
CSR recognises the importance of serving several constituencies through business – not just the owners, but also staff, suppliers, clients, community and the physical environment. CSR includes three bottom lines and looks at the impact businesses have economically, socially and environmentally for the various stakeholders. BAM also recognises the importance of the triple bottom line as it is based on the God-given mandates about being a creative steward and serving people. But BAM goes beyond this, to CSR+, as we include the third mandate – the Great Commission. We are to glorify God and make Christ known among all peoples. This is the fourth bottom line. Thus BAM has a global and missional perspective as well. BAM is CSR+ where the + can also be seen as a cross – putting everything under the Lordship of Christ. We invite Christians everywhere to be a part of this re-discovery journey, which is an ongoing learning process on biblical views on work and business, but also taking a fresh look at our own legacy; like the Quakers who had a great holistic impact through business and had the motto “spiritual and solvent”.
She sees that her trading is profitable, She keeps books and manages cash flow 18
Responsibility. It is about creating wealth and producing products and services in ways which considers ‘your neighbour’.
he makes linen garments and sells them, S She is involved in manufacturing and retail and supplies the merchants with sashes. She has set up a supply chain
In the words of the Business as Mission Manifesto: “We call upon the Church worldwide to identify, affirm, pray for, commission and release business people and entrepreneurs to exercise their gifts and calling as business people in the world – among all peoples and to the ends of the earth. We call upon business people globally to receive this affirmation and to consider how their gifts and experience might be used to help meet the world’s most pressing spiritual and physical needs through Business as Mission.”
She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. She uses part of profit for charitable work s he provides food for her family She is the breadwinner of the family and portions for her servant girls. And provides employment
ive her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her G praise at the city gate. Her work in business should be recognised and is certainly commendable
The global BAM movement is right now in an intense re-discovery process, through the 2nd Global Think Tank on Business as Mission. To learn more and possibly become involved, please see bamthinktank.org
Many evangelical Christians put an emphasis on the Great Commission, but often make a great omission. This is only one of three mandates we have. The first is the creation mandate: we are to be creative and create good things, for ourselves and others, being good stewards of all things entrusted to us – even in the physical arena. This of course includes being creative in business – to create wealth. Many Christians limit their thinking to wealth distribution, but there is no wealth to distribute unless it has been created. Wealth creation is a godly talent: “Remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you the ability to produce wealth.” (Deuteronomy 8:18)
If it’s business that shapes the world, then how can we use it to shape the world for good and for God? Against the background of an international debate on business ethics and more just societies, this book looks at Godly business in Biblical, historical and practical ways. It includes advice on starting a business, and case studies of businesses already making a difference. There are lessons to be learned! And the world needs us to learn them. As Dr David Landrum from the UK Evangelical Alliance says: “Our most hurting and broken communities in the UK need Kingdom-oriented businesses. ... If we want to see transformed lives, we need to see business as mission – and take a lead.” If you want to discover a new way of doing business then this book is for you. Whether you are a would-be entrepreneur, a church leader with a vision that mission can be different or simply someone who wants to catch the new wave of what God is up to in the world of business, read this book and be inspired!
Bridget Adams has been a research scientist, a businesswoman in hi-tech and engineering companies and a freelance business consultant. She is now a priest in the Church of England and works to develop and network Christian-run businesses through WorkPlace Inspired.
The second mandate is the great commandment which includes loving your neighbour. In the first and second mandates you find a basis for what modern day economists call CSR – Corporate Social Together Adams and Raithatha run Instant Apostle.
ISBN 978-0-9559135-1-8 ISBN 978-0-9559135-1-8
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Bridget Adams / Manoj Raithatha
Manoj Raithatha has been a teacher, a Bafta award winning TV writer and a successful property entrepreneur. Raised a Hindu, he has been a Christian since 2008, and today continues to run his business while heading up the South Asian Forum (SAF), a grouping within the UK Evangelical Alliance, set up to equip the Church to share the good news of Jesus with Asians.
Building the Kingdom through Business
Forewords by Ram Gidoomal & Mats Tunehag
Building the Kingdom Through Business A Mission Strategy for the 21st Century World
Bridget Adams & Manoj Raithatha
The Alliance recently held a Business as Mission conference, bringing together entrepreneurs from around the world to discuss building the kingdom. For more on Business as Mission, read Building the Kingdom Through Business, by Bridget Adams & Manoj Raithatha, available at instantapostle.com
Christian women tell us who they look up to
The women that inspire us To mark International Women’s Day in March, we asked leading Christian women which females inspired them. Below is a selection, but visit our website to read all 12, including contributions from Ruth Dickinson, editor of Christianity magazine, novelist and curate Martine Oborne, and director of Lapido Media Jenny Taylor.
My inspiration is Irena Sendler, the Polish Catholic social worker in the 1940s who saved the lives of 2,500 Jewish children by smuggling them out of the Warsaw Ghetto during the Second World War. With a team of co-conspirators, Irena even smuggled out babies in ambulances, sometimes disguising them as packages. Years later, in a letter to the Polish parliament, a very frail Irena wrote: “Every child saved with my help is justification of my existence on this earth, not a title to glory.” Irena reminds me that being a woman is not about opting out, giving up or sitting back. The Bible and our own Christian heritage is packed full of women who changed the hearts of kings and the outcomes of wars, freed prisoners and fed the poor, built hope and founded companies, raised children and practised faithfulness, loved recklessly and lived generously. They are both companions to men and leaders of men in bringing God’s love to this broken world. I am so proud to be their sister! Rachel Gardner, director of Romance Academy
I’m particularly inspired by the Samaritan Woman, aka The Woman at the Well in John 4. I know that she is seldom thought of in leadership terms. In fact the popular idea is that she was an outcast, a woman of dubious morals. But this conclusion doesn’t really fit the facts surrounding her story. I appreciate her as a leader who emerges from the margins of society (incidentally, this suggests that she falls into the centre of God’s concerns), a Samaritan who happens to be a woman and a woman who happens to be a Samaritan. She is unnamed in the Bible, so in a very real way she could be any woman. Not only does she overcome resistance and opposition (not of her making), she also takes the initiative and persuades a town full of potentially hostile anti-Jewish Samaritans, that The Jewish Guy up by the Well is worth listening to and might even be the promised Messiah. If that isn’t an indication of huge leadership ability, what is? Kate Coleman, founder and director of Next Leadership
I’m inspired by Mary Magdalene, a woman who made dramatic changes in her life as she became a follower of Jesus. She took risks and did what she felt needed doing. She was criticised by others for anointing Jesus with expensive oil, but Jesus recognised what she did as motivated by her love for him and defended her against her critics. While other disciples stayed away after the crucifixion, she went to look for Jesus’ body in the garden – a difficult and brave thing to do, driven again by love. He met her there, and she became the first to see the risen Jesus and to share the good news of his resurrection. For me, through her discipleship she embodies righteousness, steadfastness, courage and love in action. Loretta Minghella, director of Christian Aid
My inspirational woman is called Hazel Carlisle. It’s ok- you won’t have heard of her, unless you live in the very small village I grew up in. Hazel has been a fixture at the village church since many decades before I was born. She is now in her 80s, but can still be seen peddling around the village on her upright bike, back as straight as a debutante. I wouldn’t be surprised if she was a debutante actually. Hazel is an inspiration in that hidden way that CS Lewis speaks about in The Great Divorce. She’s not done much that’s public, but she’s prayed and served, served and prayed with all her might her whole life. When she speaks of God her eyes warm and her cheeks crinkle as if she’s talking about a new lover, and I know it’s from all the hours she’s sat with Him. I’d like to be like her. Elizabeth Hunter, director of Theos think-tank
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Sophie Lister: is a researcher and writer for The Damaris Trust. For more articles and study guides see culturewatch.org and toolsfortalks.com
Without Love Friends with Kids When Harry Met Sally set the blueprint for the contemporary romantic comedy more than 20 years ago. The film tells the story of two friends (played by Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal) who meet on and off down the years, becoming close but reluctant to take things to the next level. Their never-quite-platonic relationship raises a question that has echoed through many similar comedies since: can men and women be friends without sex? A glance at some recent cinema releases, however, shows that the question seems to be changing. No Strings Attached saw Adam (Ashton Kutcher), still hurting from a recent breakup, arrive at a casual arrangement with his commitment-phobic friend Emma (Natalie Portman). “Can you have sex,” asks the film’s trailer, “without love getting in the way?” Suspiciously similar comedy Friends With Benefits flipped the gender roles: Dylan (Justin Timberlake) is emotionally unavailable, while his friend Jamie (Mila Kunis) is emotionally damaged. “We’ve got to stop buying into this Hollywood cliché of true love,” she insists, and the two swear (on an iPhone Bible app) to keep their feelings out of the equation. Now, Friends with Kids (released in UK cinemas 29 June) is taking this line of thought yet another step further. The comedy focuses on a group of six young New Yorkers: two married couples just starting out as parents, and platonic friends Jason (Adam Scott) and Julie (Jennifer Westfeldt). Having witnessed second-hand the death of romance when babies arrive, Jason and Julie are cynical about family life. As the film’s poster puts IDEA MAGAZINE / 32
it: “Love. Happiness. Kids. Pick two.” Both of them, however, want children. And so they decide that, in order to bypass the messiness of negotiating parenthood while also keeping a relationship alive, they’ll do things a little differently. “We really want to have a kid,“ Jason points out, “so let’s share all of the responsibility and just skip over the whole marriage thing.” They will divide parenting duties, continue to date other people, and so avoid the negative aspects of child-rearing. Or at least, that’s the idea.
“In this society, caring deeply for anyone is becoming synonymous with losing.” Consumers Of course, things don’t quite work out that way and, inevitably, emotions complicate their convenient arrangement. As with the couples at the centre of No Strings Attached and Friends With Benefits, Julie and Jason find that life simply cannot be compartmentalised in the way they’d like it to be. Despite starting with a boundarypushing premise, these films spring few surprises when it comes to conclusions. Though this is partly just obedience to Hollywood formula, there’s also something more fundamental at work. Having sex, or having a child together, are not just
Photos courtesy of Lionsgate UK
experiences to be enjoyed and then set aside so that individuals can go their separate ways. We aren’t made to live like that, and there are consequences when we ignore the design. These comedies, and others like them, question whether conventional ways of doing relationships are really working out. They propose alternatives which appear attractive because the diagnosis of the problem is partially correct: relationships are hard, and painful, and often fall far short of the romantic ideal we’re promised. To people damaged and disappointed by their experiences of intimacy, avoiding it altogether looks like a wise move. In a culture which urges us to be consumers first and foremost, becoming relational consumers is the next logical step. We take the parts which suit us here and now, leaving the rest. In 1975, psychoanalyst Herbert Hendin concluded that “in this society, caring deeply for anyone is becoming synonymous with losing”. His observation now rings more true than ever. And as long as our understanding of love is based purely on positive emotion and experience, then ‘success’ in relationships is measured by how little we risk and how little we give. The answer to our struggle with human intimacy is neither to give up on it – as attempted by the new breed of romantic comedies – nor to idolize it, as the genre conventionally has. Instead, it’s to model relationships on the kind of sacrificial commitment shown by Jesus. After all, we can no longer treat the business of love so lightly if it’s true that God has loved us despite the staggering cost. Friends With Kids is released on 29 June
DIY pop for a new season by Chine Mbubaegbu
There’s more to Christian singer-songwriter Luke Leighfield than meets the eye… He looks like a guitar player. But he plays the piano. He looks like he might be living the rock and roll lifestyle. But he lives at home with his parents in a sleepy town where phone reception is pretty ropy. He looks like any other musician trying to hit the big time. But he is refreshingly grounded and recognises that he might have to give it all up one day. Luke has been dubbed the “hardestworking man in indie music”. And it would be difficult to argue with that. The 24-yearold’s DIY approach to his orchestral pop music means he is not as removed from his fans as many other artists are. In fact, he has been quite happy to perform in people’s living rooms, at BBQs and has even organised a trip to the zoo with some fans. He does much of his own PR, organises his own tours and handles his own CD orders. He releases his music – and that of his friends – through his own record label Got Got Need Records. When idea speaks to him, he is busy preparing pre-orders for his new album New Season, is immersed in “lots of packages” and is getting ready for his tour. “I don’t have a real job so I can do it myself. MAY/JUN 2012
It’s hard work, but I choose to do it like this because you get out of it what you put in. I try to make it personal. I don’t see music as just making good music. It’s about the whole package as opposed to just songs.” When we ask Luke what his hopes for the future are, he does not say a Brit Award and sell-out tours, but in his typically down-toearth manner explains: “At a very basic level, success will be me being able to make a vague living from music; to get to perform a few times a year and play to a few people. I just want to make this a viable operation. I know I can’t do this all my life because it’s just not practical. I’m lucky enough to have supportive parents who are letting me do this and live at home without paying rent. All I’m hoping is that I can do this for a living and have people like the songs; reach some people and be able to do some good.” He may be self-deprecating, but he has received great reviews, including from Radio 1 DJ Huw Stephens, who describes his music as “a breath of fresh air in this world of gloomy winters and moody blues”. His music has also been used on Football First on Sky Sports and Channel 4’s Made in Chelsea.
Watch a video of Luke Leighfield’s Garde Ta Foy
Despite the difficulty in earning a proper wage from making his music, Luke is donating £1 from every album to Christian Aid. For him, this is about far more than just music. His lyrics and his approach to life show that it all serves a greater purpose. “I’m inspired by the words of Martin Luther King and Mother Theresa. I don’t make music just to be big or to make songs that are fun and make people feel good. I just want to sing about bigger issues,” he says. “I feel we have it really easy here in Europe, but in some ways it’s really hard. It’s very hard to care. Because we have the best of everything. It’s hard to get people to think about going deeper, rather than just being materialistic and egocentric. “I just want to put some of these themes of justice and going deeper across in my music. But I also don’t want to force it on people. I try to put these themes across in a way that’s obvious if you are listening out for them, but if you don’t want to hear those things then they’re not there.” Read a review of New Season on page 35.
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Pam Rhodes: I’m a bit of an anorak about hymns
Hearts and Hymns Songs of Praise presenter Pam Rhodes tells us about the hope and meaning she finds in timeless classics… Whether it’s Thine Be the Glory, Amazing Grace, Praise My Soul the King of Heaven or In Christ Alone, everyone has a favourite hymn. And no-one loves them more than self-confessed “hymn anorak” Pam Rhodes. The Songs of Praise presenter, writer, journalist and broadcaster recently celebrated the landmark of presenting her 600th episode of Hearts & Hymns – a programme on Premier radio. “Hymns are like little prayers in your pocket. Whether it’s the psalmist or Stuart Townend writing, these songs find the right words to help us through hard times,” she tells idea.
“I’m a bit of an anorak about hymns. I love the stories behind the writing of them. They are always talking about human experience. When the words get teamed up with the right piece of music they become amazing. We might not be able to find the right words of prayer or remember the right Bible quote but we do remember a hymn.” It’s the tales of overcoming life’s hardships or praising God through it all that really move Pam when she is speaking to people on Songs of Praise, which she has presented for 25 years. “There are so many memories, but the ones I remember most are the really intimate and moving interviews with ordinary people. People who may be at the end, looking to their own death perhaps, or their experience of losing people they love. I think the audience also remembers the testimonies most.” What about those people who say
Showing Films If you are showing film scenes or entire films in your church activities then you are likely to need copyright licences from CCLI.
the programme should have no place on the Beeb because of its overtly Christian content? “Songs of Praise is a thoughtful, educational, moral and Christian programme,” she says. “It can be watched on many different levels, whether you’re a Christian or not. “If you hear someone talking about bereavement, the chances are that what they are saying may be exactly what someone watching is going through. We sew different seeds with the Christian faith, not knowing where they will find fruition.”
Pam shares her favourite music playlist in Hearts & Hymns an album of hand-picked hymns from Kingsway.
For further information and advice visit www.ccli.co.uk/showing-films or contact the Sales team on 01323 436103 quoting A026.
Registered in England & Wales: 2580472. VAT No. 583 6735 03. Registered Office: Christian Copyright Licensing International (CCLI), Chantry House, 22 Upperton Road, Eastbourne, BN21 1BF IDEA MAGAZINE / 34
Reviews Courageous (DVD) Authentic Media February 2012 This is a film every father should see,” said my precocious nine-year-old cousin as if he were a walking advert for this new film, which looks at bravery, integrity and fatherhood. I didn’t expect Courageous to be as good as it was. The cinematography is fantastic, and the plot does its best not to follow the clichéd ‘Christian film’ path. It’s gritty at times, and at other times tragic; but with some laugh-out-loud moments in it. It follows four police officers as they pledge to be the best fathers that they can be, despite the various challenges life throws at them. A great gift for Father’s Day. Reviewed by Chine Mbubaegbu
Insurrection: To Believe is Human; to Doubt, Divine by Pete Rollins (Hodder & Stoughton) Don’t start this book thinking it’ll be a comfortable read. Prepare to have your tightly-held ideas about the Christian faith challenged and possibly overturned. Rollins presents his book in two sections: Crucifixion and Resurrection – acts of Christ which he argues should be lived out among believers in the here and now, rather than merely pointing to a future story that we tell ourselves to avoid the present. At times frustratingly opaque, he convincingly rails against all forms of escapist Christianity and phony religiosity. Rollins tries to make the case that it is possible to avoid turning faith into ideology, but in doing so he creates his own ideology that allows plenty of room for doubt – which indicates that we inevitably cling to ideology to tell the story about reality. Reviewed by Anna Moyle
Do I have to be good all the time? by Vicky Walker (River Publishing) I smiled at the wit and candour with which Vicky Walker ponders about topics such as romance and friendships in the Christian life. With a love for life and for God, Vicky discusses various questions and weaves in the wisdom she has gleaned from life and the Word. Her conversational and pictoral style of writing crafts a mirror that reflects some unhelpful communal subcultures as well as personal challenges. The book is a pleasure to read and her honesty creates an opportunity for grace and truth to further shape us. We will hopefully not turn away unchanged. Reviewed by Marijke Hoek
To get you in the mood for The Games, here’s our top five pick of the best Olympics-themed films of all time. Chariots of Fire:
The true story of two British track athletes competing in the 1924 Summer Olympics. Eric Liddell is a devout Scottish missionary who runs for God, and Harold Abrahams is a Jewish student at Cambridge who runs for fame and to thwart stereotypes that Jews are “inferior”. The film won four Oscars that year including Best Picture.
A feel-good film, based on the true story of the first Jamaican bobsled team trying to make it to the Winter Olympics.
by Luke Leighfield (Got Got Need Records) Despite only being 24 Luke Leighfield has performed 650 gigs in 14 countries, recorded live sessions on Radio 1 and Xfm and has just released his fourth album, New Season. His latest offering is a delightfully uplifting collection of orchestral, piano driven indie pop, that offers the perfect soundtrack to spring. The thoughtful and hope-infused lyrics are honest but don’t get unnecessarily bogged down with introspection. The album starts out slowly with the aptly titled ‘Slow Down’ and gradually builds with a broad range of instruments such as the introductory strings of ‘The One Thing’ and the superb deployment of trumpet in the crescendo to ‘Garde Ta Foy’ which acts as a microcosm of the album as a whole. More musicians should use trumpets like this. Despite being a thoughtfully crafted album with moments of mellow reflection Leighfield has retained a sense of energy and power throughout. The breadth of musical instruments on show is particularly impressive considering his DIY approach to music making which extends to him running his own record label. And despite still living at home with his parents in Southampton as his music career takes flight Leighfield has chosen to donate £1 from every album to Christian Aid. Reviewed by Joe Ware
This is Steven Spielberg’s rendition of the 1972 tragedy at the Munich Olympics, when eight masked Palestinian terrorists invaded the Olympic village, killing two Israeli athletes and abducting nine others, and later killing the nine hostages when trying to escape Germany. Most of the story dwells on the aftermath, which is a fictional account of a Mossad agent who has conflicting feelings about carrying out revenge on behalf of Israel.
A classic, inspiring sports drama about the 1980 US hockey team which defeated the unstoppable Soviets to win the gold medal at the Winter Olympics. As the victory occurred during the Cold War, many Americans interpreted it through the lens of global politics.
After being commissioned by the 1936 Olympic Committee to create a feature film of the Berlin Olympics, Leni Riefenstahl shot a documentary that celebrates the human body, which some film historians have labelled as Nazi propaganda. But the film includes extraordinary footage of Adolf Hitler looking on in amazement as African-American Jesse Owens wins an unprecedented four gold medals in track. IDEA MAGAZINE / 35
IN YOUR WORDS
Letters: Have your say
In your words We love hearing from you, so have your say on any of the issues raised in idea or any comments about the Evangelical Alliance by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org PROTEST OR CAMPAIGN? I enjoyed J John’s article Should Christians protest (Jan/Feb) but I don’t completely agree – I don’t think Christians should protest, I think we should campaign. Protest sounds like trying to stop something we don’t like, but it works better not just to say ‘Don’t do that’ or ‘Something must be done’ but to say ‘don’t do that, and here’s what we’d like you to do instead,’ which is what I mean by campaigning. But I couldn’t agree more with J John that protesting – or campaigning – can be a powerful way to show that we follow a God of justice who commands us to care for our neighbours. I particularly remember a joint service at Westminster Central Hall before a climate change march, partly because of the power of worshipping Jesus together before taking our place beside marchers from across society, and partly because it’s the only time I’ve had to turn people away from a church because it was completely full – an experience I’d like to repeat. So next time Tearfund lobby our MPs or hold a rally, I’d love to invite J John to join us and see what he thinks of it. Ben Niblett, head of campaigns, Tearfund
ENTERING THE MINEFIELD I was interested to read of Andrew Green’s new job as press officer at the Alliance and that of changing the perception of the media concerning evangelicals. I wish him much wisdom as he enters the minefield. Hardly a week seems to go by without some negative news or comment about evangelicals being picked up by the media, often sadly aided, by the actions or words of our American cousins on the far religious right. Public opinion however has the possibility of being changed, when it is seen that evangelicals are involved in all kinds of activities – which they are – IDEA MAGAZINE / 36
that benefit society. The respect with which the Salvation Army is held is an example of this. It therefore seems a serious omission if the work that is being done by evangelicals, when mentioned on the media, is not attributed as being Christian, either through carelessness or even editorial policy. John Hattam, via email
Heard in tweets “Just signed the church up to become member of the @EAUKnews - a common voice is louder than that of a lot of individuals.” Follow the Alliance on Twitter: @EAUKnews Are you reading this, but haven’t yet signed up to become a member of the Evangelical Alliance? What are you waiting for? Join us! eauk.org/join
WASPS UNDERRATED I read the article Why did God create wasps by Andrew Wilson (Mar/Apr) with interest. I was heartened that he believed that all of creation was waiting to be liberated into the freedom of the people of God. Also that he understood that it was our rebellion as human beings that has caused the suffering that is now being endured by the whole of creation. However, I was a little disappointed that he did not see any intrinsic value in wasps apart from the fact that their colouring was aesthetically pleasing, they taught us humility and they made some sting pain index guide possible! Wasps may not be the most popular creatures on the planet but their diversity is truly amazing. In the UK alone there are 7,000 different species. They are efficient pollinators of plants, they are also useful predators of other pest species such as greenflies and lastly, their beautifully crafted nests (works of art indeed) provide a home for many other smaller insect species. I do not believe that God makes mistakes and therefore am certain that wasps are all part of the plan. Samantha Chamdler, via email
SCOTTISH MARRIAGE I am writing about the article Don’t Change Marriage (Mar/Apr). Whilst I whole heartedly support the article it does fall into a trap. What many people fail to realise is that where domestic politics are concerned Westminster only deals with England. I know the Scottish Government is pursuing a similar policy but I did not see in the article any mention that this article only applied to England and what the situation was elsewhere in the UK and how members in those areas could make their opinions known. David Chalmers, via email Editor’s reply: The Alliance in Scotland is part of Scotland for Marriage, which is opposing the redefinition of marriage. Visit scotlandformarriage.org for more information.
Editor Chine Mbubaegbu – email@example.com Consulting editors Steve Morris, Krish Kandiah Contributing writers Claire Musters, Anna Moyle, Sophie Lister Advertising manager Candy O’Donovan – firstname.lastname@example.org Design Red & Green Marketing Printer Halcyon Print & Design idea is published bimonthly and sent free of charge to members of the Evangelical Alliance. Formed in 1846, the Alliance’s mission is to unite evangelicals to present Christ credibly as good news for spiritual and social transformation. There are around two million evangelical Christians in the UK, according to a 2007 Tearfund survey. idea is published in accordance with the Alliance’s Basis of Faith, although it is impossible in every article to articulate each detail and nuance of belief held by Alliance members. Articles in idea may therefore express views on which there is a divergence of opinion or understanding among evangelicals. Letters and story ideas from members are welcome, and will be considered by the editorial board, which reserves the right to edit letters and stories for length and style. We regret that we are unable to engage in personal correspondence. Unsolicited material will only be returned if accompanied by a stamped, self-addressed envelope.
idea accepts advertisements and inserts to offset printing costs. Advertising in idea does not imply editorial endorsement. The Alliance reserves the right to accept or refuse advertisements at its discretion. Articles may be reproduced only with permission from the editor.
What’s it all about? NEW EDITION
USING CODE EA12 AT CHECKOUT £8
Find out what it really means to live the Christian life and follow in Christ’s footsteps in this eight-week journey through Philippians. Ideal for new Christians as a follow-up to Christianity Explored, or for anyone wanting to study Philippians in small groups.
Steve Clifford: The general director writes…
Looking back and going forward
As I write this Last Word I find myself in reflective mode. It’s three years since my first day as general director. What a three years it has been! At times I have found myself wondering ‘how on earth did I get myself into this’ but time and again I’ve come back to the tremendous sense of calling into this role. If you have been able to follow events via our website, emails or other communications, you will know that the last few weeks have been some of the most eventful. Here’s a quick snapshot of what’s been going on for your encouragement and ongoing prayerful support.
has worked with an all-party parliamentary group of MPs and peers in an inquiry into issues associated with Christian freedom in the UK. This report is a remarkable piece of work, widely picked up by the press and will bring a challenge not just to government
a redefinition of marriage coming and had been working with other key organisations (Christian Institute, Care, and Christian Concern) to provide a united, coherent and gracious voice by way of challenge. At a time of major unemployment among young
After months of preparation, February saw the very first Gather conference, drawing together for three days around 150 key leaders from 50 towns and cities across England. I would have loved you all to be there, if only to hear the God stories as Christian leaders (not just church leaders) are connecting, building long-term relationships, praying, planning and committing themselves to see transformation in their communities. God is doing some amazing things in our cities; the Church is ‘alive and kicking’! At the same time, Waleswide saw 200 leaders from across the evangelical community in Wales come together, sharing stories, praying and planning for the evangelisation of Wales. February also saw the next step in what I’m convinced is a wonderful ‘God movement’. For some time now conversations and meetings have been taking place among key national leaders, reflecting on the ethnic diversity of the Church across the UK and how the Evangelical Alliance needs to change in order to better reflect, represent and serve this community. A commission has been established which will work towards the unity we aspire to see reflected regardless of our culture or ethnic background (watch this space for more news). I hope you have also noticed our new look! I am so grateful to our amazing media team who have refreshed all our communications. Our website, idea magazine, emails and logo have all been re-energised, making them more accessible, easy to read; and a better reflection of a 21st century organisation. On 27 February we were crammed into the Jubilee Room at the Palace of Westminster for the launch of the Clearing the Ground report. For the last six months our advocacy team IDEA MAGAZINE / 38
The unity of God’s people cannot be an optional extra but a faith-filled response and media but also to us as a Christian community. It will shape much of our work in Westminster in the coming years and, I trust, provide a launchpad for further work for those serving God in the corridors of power. Then of course there’s been marriage. February began with Marriage Week and ended with launch of the Coalition for Marriage (C4M). I can’t remember how many interviews I did during the week, many with Ann. It was great to be able to celebrate commitment and what marriage brings to us as a society, without forgetting all the challenges to see relationships succeed. It was in stark contrast with a sense of disappointment as we embarked upon the Coalition for Marriage. Of course we had seen David Cameron’s desire to see
people, troubles on our streets, economic pressures faced by so many families, not to mention issues such as global poverty and global warming, it is disappointing that we are having to defend marriage as it has been defined for centuries. It is a major building block in growing communities and raising families. These are days of enormous opportunities and challenges. The unity of God’s people cannot be an optional extra but a faith-filled response both to the ends of the world that surround us, and the heartbeat of Jesus whose prayer continually echoes – “may they be brought to a complete unity so that the world may know that you have sent me and that you love them”.
EXPLORE EVOLUTION What’s the controversy about?
Darwin’s theory is 150 years old and the theory still remains the focus of intense public controversy. Why? Whether you are a student, teacher, lecturer, parent or just an interested lay-person, and are concerned about the uncritical and propagandist nature of Darwinian education, this is a book to open your eyes. It makes a refreshing change from the polarised and often unsubstantiated assertions which characterise the debate. Explore Evolution:
• • • • • •
Looks at the biological evidence in detail and is exclusively scientific in content Sets out systematically the evidence for and against Darwinism as popularly understood Encourages critical thinking Written in clear and accessible language Uses striking illustrations Suitable for senior high school students and undergraduates
This book will help you make up your own mind, from the scientific evidence, about the adequacy of Darwinism to explain the development and complexity of life.
There is probably no other book like this that leaves you to decide. Get it for your students. They need to know the facts! Sponsored by:
www.exploreevolution.co.uk Authors: Stephen Meyer, Paul Nelson, Jonathan Moneymaker, Scott Minnich, Ralph Seelke, Published Hill House, 2009, ISBN 978-0-947352-51-6
The Wheatsheaf, Speirs Wharf, Glasgow G4 9TJ email: email@example.com www.c4id.org.uk
Tyndale Fellowship - Philosophy of Religion HugHes Hall, CambRidge, July 14th 2012
Design in nature?
Scientific and philosophical perspectives
The natural world appears to be full of order from the macro-scale of the apparent ‘fine-tuning’ of the universe to the inside of the cell. Is this apparent order real and if so, how did it get there? This one-day Cambridge Conference will feature four perspectives on different aspects of the question as to whether this apparent order should lead us to think there is intelligent design, or if it can be explained in purely naturalistic terms (e.g., in the case of biology, darwinism).
ReGISTeR on-lIne aT THe ConFeRenCe WeB SITe
Intelligent Design The Most Credible Idea?
‘Why some people like the idea of design in nature – and others don’t’
standard rate £40 includes morning and
Dr Stephen C Meyer (director, discovery institute’s Center for science and Culture), will present a paper arguing that the most scientifically credible hypothesis is that the intricacies of cell biology are signs of intelligent design.
Prof. Steve Fuller (Professor of sociology, Warwick) will discuss why the hypothesis of intelligent design is not more popular among scientists and others.
Cheques payable to uCCF-Tyndale Fellowship send to: design in nature, Tyndale Fellowship, 36 selwyn gardens, Cambridge Cb3 9ba
afternoon refreshments and Cafeteria lunch. Student rate £20 with identification validated on entry.
Registration 9:30 a.m. for 10:00 am. Concludes
How Darwin Destroyed Reason: Formal and final causes
Design in Biology and Physics Strengths and weaknesses
Prof. Stephen Clark (emeritus Professor of Philosophy, liverpool) will argue that darwinian theory abandons the idea of purpose, and makes mathematics, morality, and the whole scientific enterprise dubious.
Dr David Glass (lecturer, school of Computing and mathematics, university of ulster) will discuss the comparative strengths and weaknesses of the cases for design in biology and in physics.
at about 4:30 pm. some car parking on site. easy access from Cambridge train station. www.hughes.cam.ac.uk
For general information about Tyndale
Fellowship Philosophy of Religion group visit www.tyndalephilosophy.org.uk
IDEA MAGAZINE / 39
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