THE MAGAZINE OF THE EVANGELICAL ALLIANCE
Evangelicals and the unemployed
ON GOD’S SIDE
OUR NEW HOME
Jim Wallis on politics and the common good
Maureen Greaves on forgiveness following her husband’s murder
The Archbishop of Canterbury officially opens our new building
IN YOUR WORDS
60 SECONDS WITH…
ON THE JOB
NEWS COMMENT FEATURES
In 10 years time her natural curiosity will be replaced by a realisation that the future holds nothing more than hardship and relentless poverty.
YOU CAN CHANGE ALL THAT.
COMPASSION UK CHRISTIAN CHILD DEVELOPMENT 43 High Street, Weybridge, Surrey KT13 8BB Registered Charity No. 1077216 IDEA MAGAZINE / 2 Registered in England No. 3719092
For just 70p a day your one-to-one support will enable a child living in poverty to attend a church-based Compassion project. Here, loving Christian staff will ensure children receive the healthcare, education, food, clothing, spiritual and social support they need to thrive.
Chine Mbubaegbu: Time – it so often feels like there’s just not enough of it.
idea-torial I still can’t quite get over the fact that this edition is the last of 2013.
I’ve been thinking a lot about time recently; about how it so often feels like there is not enough of it. Not enough time to juggle our work and church and family and social lives. The latest in our 21st Century Evangelicals survey Working faithfully? (page 18) reveals over a third of evangelicals are working more than 40 hours a week – and it’s those working in the church or charity sectors who are most likely to work long hours. It feels like there’s not enough time left for many of us to do that society-transforming business we’re called to. Time is running out. Over the summer, we were delighted to host the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby at our new home in King’s Cross, London (page four). The event brought to an end three years of planning our move. But more than that the move to our beautiful resource centre symbolises our desire to be a forward-looking 21st century organisation with the same foundations – of unifying the Church for the transformation and renewal of society – that have underpinned our 167-year history. Though times have changed, our vision has not. I still can’t quite get over the fact that this edition is the last of 2013. It seems only a short while ago that we were welcoming the new year in. Each time I write ‘2013’, it still has something of the futuristic about it. But Colossians 4:5 tells us to “make the best use of time”; and maybe that means we shouldn’t waste time thinking about how little of it we have – including getting hysterical about how many shopping days there are left until Christmas. Let’s look forward to the time we have ahead. In the next edition (rather than this edition as we’ve done previously), which will hit your doormats just before Christmas, you’ll also receive your annual Evangelical Alliance calendar. It features 12 amazing projects and organisations; 365 days of 2014 in which you’ll be presented with opportunities to be Christ where you are; 8,760 hours in which to grow deeper in relationship with Him and 525,600 minutes to pray for His kingdom to come.
CONTENTS FEATURES 14 Cally’s story
Read about Tearfund inspiring individual Cally’s work in youth prisons in Sao Paolo, Brazil.
24 Welsh outpouring An in-depth look at the Cwmbran Outpouring where people are flocking to see the spirit at work. Are evangelical churches doing enough to help the unemployed in their local areas?
The Archbishop of Canterbury officially declares our new home open.
8 Good question What’s wrong with polygamy?
Jim Wallis on the common good and being on God’s side.
This year we’ve partnered with HOPE in their Prayer Focus guide, rather than producing our own Advent Prayer. Produced by UCB, it is a specially-written prayer calendar, which you can order more copies of at ucb.co.uk/prayer
We’re on Twitter! Follow us @idea_mag NOV/DEC 2013
Catching Fire: Part two of The Hunger Games trilogy asks: do you become what you pretend to be?
26-27 Big interview Maureen Greaves on forgiveness in the midst of grief.
36 In your words
idea readers respond…
38 Last word
The general director writes…
Aime Aitken: A fresh young talent who is backing our Home for Good campaign Head Office Evangelical Alliance has moved:
A speedy send-off: We meet a funeral director who enables families to say goodbye to their loved-ones in a very unusual way…
Chine Mbubaegbu, Head of Media Twitter: @ChineMbubaegbu
18 Cover story
176 Copenhagen Street, London N1 0ST tel: 020 7520 3830 (Mon – Fri, 9am – 5pm)
fax: 020 7520 3850 firstname.lastname@example.org www.eauk.org Evangelical Alliance leadership team Steve Clifford, Helen Calder, Fred Drummond, Elfed Godding, Krish Kandiah, Dave Landrum, Peter Lynas
Email address changes to email@example.com Northern Ireland Office 440 Shore Road, Newtownabbey BT37 9RU tel: 028 9029 2266 firstname.lastname@example.org
Scotland Office International Christian College, 110 St James Road, Glasgow, G4 0PS tel: 0141 548 1555 email@example.com
Wales Office 20 High Street, Cardiff CF10 1PT tel: 029 2022 9822 firstname.lastname@example.org
IDEA MAGAZINE / 3
News from the Alliance
rchbishop of Canterbury praises A Alliance’s unifying work The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby praised the Evangelical Alliance for continuing to fight for a united Church in his address at the opening of our new premises in King’s Cross. He likened the Church to a married couple drifting apart but not quite reaching the point of divorce and charged the Alliance with wakening the Church “out of any comfort in disunity”. When asked whether he considered himself an evangelical, he said: “Yes I am. In theology, I am.” He went on to comment, however, that “in party terms I’m absolutely not an evangelical – the Bible tells me we shouldn’t have groups and factions within the Church”. Archbishop Justin was addressing evangelical leaders at the opening of the Alliance’s new home in King’s Cross, London, in August. He went on to praise the Alliance for its role in supporting racial unity within the Church through the One People Commission, and for its pioneering work to free children from long-term care by finding them adoptive and foster parents through its Home for Good programme. He referred to the past position of evangelical Christians as being against things but how that had changed since the establishment of the Alliance in 1846. “We are not against things. We are in favour of things. The Evangelical Alliance is an alliance and in the past I suspect that when it started… that there would have been a certain amount of it being an alliance that was against because that’s how Christians worked in those days. “I rather suspect that the thought of IDEA MAGAZINE / 4
an Archbishop of Canterbury speaking to it would not have been very welcome. Yet today we come knowing that we are one people, brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ. “And that is the most extraordinary work of the spirit. Alliances must be seen as for. One of the things that I think is most noticeable – where we make a bad impression in society at the moment – is when we’re seen as against things. We come across too easily as negative. We don’t intend to, but we do. What is so impressive about what is going on here [at the Evangelical Alliance] is that
this is for what the Church is for.” The Evangelical Alliance, which started in 1846, moved from its former home in Kennington to its new purpose-built resource centre in the heart of the King’s Cross regeneration area earlier this year. “We believe God is the one who has provided for us,” said Steve Clifford, general director of the Alliance. “This is a place that we very much want to dedicate to God, to His service, to the service of His Church, to a place where He is glorified in this environment where we are able to work together.” The Archbishop of Canterbury’s address is available on our website, along with other videos and audio recordings from the event. For general director Steve Clifford’s take on our official opening event, read his Last Word on page 38.
BEST OF THE WEB
1) ABC ADDRESS
4) JOIN US
Watch a video of Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby’s address at the official opening of our new home in Copenhagen Street. eauk.org/abc-address
If you’re reading this and not yet a member of the Alliance, come and join us! eauk.org/joinus
2) UNRAVEL Watch our threads hero Fred as he endeavours not to let his faith unravel in the face of life’s hardships. threadsuk.com/unravel
3) POLL OF THE WEEK Check our website every Tuesday afternoon to answer our latest topical question. eauk.org/#poll
5) WORKING FAITHFULLY? Read the latest in our 21st Century Evangelicals research report on work. eauk.org/snapshot
CONNECT OUR ONE-OF-A-KIND BIBLE ON THE WALL OF OUR NEW HOME IN COPENHAGEN STREET
As the Alliance continues to focus on being Christ-centred and God-focussed, what better reminder to our staff team than to have a 10-metre long Bible taking pride of place in the open plan area of our new home in Copenhagen Street,
King’s Cross. We’re delighted to have this one-of-a-kind full NIV text of the Bible in our work space, created for us by Spineless Classics. Carl Pappenheim of Spineless Classics said: “It’s not every day that you see the text of the Bible on
display in full and we were delighted to have been able to create this for the Evangelical Alliance. We think it’s a great addition to their fantastic new premises.”
lliance removes Avanti Ministries A from membership The Council of the Evangelical Alliance voted unanimously on 19 September to remove Avanti Ministries from membership of the Alliance with immediate effect. The Alliance has worked with Avanti Ministries since October 2012 to seek the truth about allegations which questioned the veracity of Tony Anthony’s testimony. These allegations were very serious and included that Tony did not spend his childhood in China, he was never Kung Fu world champion and never worked in close protection. There were also questions as to how truthful Tony had been about his involvement in a fatal road traffic accident. The Alliance recommended that Avanti set up an independent panel who heard evidence over three months and compiled a substantial report. The panellists – John Langlois, Keith Civall and Robert Amess – were recommended because of their experience, integrity and character. Following the report by the independent panel, Avanti have sadly chosen to only communicate with the Alliance through their lawyer. The Alliance worked with Avanti and their lawyer to agree a joint statement. Both parties agreed in the statement that the panel found that “large sections of Taming the Tiger which claim to tell the truth, do not do so”. It became clear from evidence in the public domain that following the fatal road traffic accident Tony Anthony was convicted of careless driving, failing to stop, failing to NOV/DEC 2013
report an accident and perverting the course of justice. He was also convicted of four separate harassment offences. He was sentenced to 15 months imprisonment for the above offences. We have encouraged Avanti Ministries to release the panel’s report in the interest of openness and transparency. They have failed to do so. We have asked Avanti Ministries to allow us to release the report. Avanti made clear through their lawyer they would not allow us to do this. Avanti have issued a further statement that says the panel produced a report “challenging the integrity of some of the facts of Taming the Tiger. Tony has since confirmed that he is considering a revision to the book.” This statement is deeply disappointing as it is inconsistent with the report and the joint statement. Avanti have indicated that they are closing their ministry. However, this may take some time and they are still listed on the Charity Commission website and with Companies house. They have also indicated that their relationship with Tony Anthony has ended. However, Tony has since issued a statement purporting to speak on behalf of the Avanti Board which they have failed to correct.
In light of all of the above, and having heard an oral summary of the confidential report, the Council of the Evangelical Alliance has removed Avanti Ministries from membership.
CORRECTION Those of you who looked at our Impact Report in the last edition of idea may have concluded that we had a significant surplus in the last financial year. Please note that the headline figures for income of £2,635,329 and expenditure of £2,348,179 include restricted and unrestricted funds and exceptional income and expenditure for the property project which had significant capital expenditure. Excluding the property project there were net outgoing resources of £29,304 for unrestricted funds and net outgoing resources of £9,397 for restricted funds. These figures are taken from the audited Annual Report & Financial Statements year ended 31 March 2013. Further information including the full document is available from the Evangelical Alliance at email@example.com or 020 7520 3830. IDEA MAGAZINE / 5
Star on our front cover! #whyilovechurch We love church! We think the Church is good news for our friends, our communities and our nation. We think Jesus is passionate about the Church. And we think we need to celebrate it. Up and down the country in villages, towns and cities, vibrant churches are bringing hope and life and good things to their communities. They are feeding the hungry, counselling the bereaved, sharing the gospel, giving advice to those in dire need of help with their finances. They are also the places where Christians gather to do life together, to mark births, deaths and marriages – to learn about the God we serve and what He has called us to be and to do. The Evangelical Alliance is so proud to have an amazing group of individuals, churches and organisations who are genuinely being salt and light where they are. We think we should celebrate all of this. Here’s where you come in. Are you a budding photographer? Are you able to capture some of the aspects of church
In February couples from across the UK will reaffirm their marriage vows. As part of the BIG Promise on 8 February 2014, churches are being asked to take part in the centre piece of Marriage Week. It’s an opportunity for married couples, both in the congregation and wider community, to recall the promises they made to one another. No matter how long you’ve been married, reaffirming your vows is a great way to witness to the importance of marriage. IDEA MAGAZINE / 6
life in all its vibrancy and poignancy in a single snapshot? Would you like to see your work featured in idea magazine – one of the country’s best-loved Christian magazines? We are on the lookout for an amazing image to feature on the front cover of our March/April edition church special in which we’ll be celebrating our member churches. As well as the front cover being up for grabs, we’ll also be featuring a range of different images you have taken throughout the magazine. How to enter: • Send your high-res (5 MB or less) images of church life with the subject line: ‘Why I love church competition’ to firstname.lastname@example.org • Tweet @EAUKnews or @idea_mag with your image and the hashtag: #whyilovechurch
The BIG Promise also aims to break the world record for the number of couples reaffirming their vows simultaneously; it’s currently 1,087. It can be as part of a service, a dinner, a party, the beginning of a marriage course, as long as the vows are reaffirmed at 5.15pm. To register your interest and find out more go to the website. bigpromise.org.uk
• Deadline: Friday, 10 January Entering the competition means you are giving consent for your images to be used by the Alliance across its platforms. This competition is open to those who attend member churches of the Evangelical Alliance. Is your church not a member? Whyever not? Find out more about joining the Evangelical Alliance: eauk.org/joinus
ALLIANCE HELPS AWARD £20K IN STUDENT BURSARIES Since 1994 the Alliance has administered a bursary scheme on behalf of the Jerusalem Trust. Each year the principals of Bible colleges which are either Alliance members or members of the Association of Bible College Principals are invited to submit applications on behalf of students with special financial needs. The students must be in training for lay pastoral ministry in the UK and Ireland. This includes courses with a focus on lay pastoral ministry, evangelism, youth work, counselling or music and worship under the auspices of a local church or charity. For the academic year 2013-14 15 grants totalling £20,000 were awarded to students representing nine different colleges. When the students have completed their studies for the year, the college principals submit a report on how the bursary has benefited them. Several students would not have been able to complete their studies without the extra funding. The Jerusalem Trust is encouraged by the number of people this initiative has prepared for lay ministry.
One Bible. One Year. Together. This is Mike. He’s joining us as we read the Bible in a year. To find out more and to watch his video blog go to
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Rev Dr David Instone-Brewer: Senior research fellow in Rabbinics and the New Testament at Tyndale House, Cambridge.
hy don’t we follow the Old Testament W fathers’ polygamous ways? Polygamy recently got a makeover in the HBO drama Big Love; about a fundamentalist Mormon and his three wives. For five years from 2006, Americans watched a polygamist lifestyle portrayed in a non-judgmental way, while highlighting the many problems it involved. Genesis also depicts the problems of polygamy. Many of the troubles of Abraham and Jacob were due to their complex families. Old Testament law allowed a man to marry more than one wife and it is amazing how many did, including great men like Judah, Gideon, David and Solomon. Men were even encouraged to take on a second wife if their married brother died without providing a child, and Onan was judged very harshly when he reneged on his agreement to do so (Genesis 38:8-10). Jesus, by contrast, was totally against polygamy. During a digression in his debate with the Pharisees on divorce Jesus presents two arguments against polygamy (Matthew 19:4-7; Mark 10:6-8). It is as if Jesus is saying: ‘By the way, here are some other things in the area of marriage which you get wrong.’ The Pharisees allowed polygamy, but many other Jews were opposed to it. The Dead Sea Scroll community argued from Genesis that God made “male and female” (Genesis 1:27) and pointed out that the same phrase occurs elsewhere alongside the words “two by two” (Genesis 7:3). From this they inferred that “from the foundation of creation”, marriage was made for pairs. The gospels summarise this argument in one verse: Matthew 19:5. Jews outside Palestine were also against polygamy, partly because the Romans had made it illegal. They did not allow any Jews outside Palestine to have more than one wife, though there’s no indication that those Jews actually wanted to. In every ancient translation of the Hebrew Old Testament, into Greek, Aramaic or Syriac, a word was added into the text of Genesis 2:24: “And those two will become one flesh.” No Hebrew manuscripts include the word “two” in this verse but whenever the text was quoted by non-Hebrew-speaking Jews, they added it. And so did Jesus. He too was against polygamy (Matthew 19:5; Mark 10:8). We are used to the idea that Jesus had the authority to change the Old Testament law, because we regard him as the Son of IDEA MAGAZINE / 8
the author of that law. But perhaps this is too glib – after all, it suggests that God changed His mind about what kind of law He wanted humanity to follow. Why give one law one day and another law another day? Humans didn’t change dramatically when Jesus came. Jesus’s death brought forgiveness, and the Holy Spirit gives us the power to overcome sin, but tragically Christians are far from perfect. Sins such as broken marriage vows are just as prevalent among Christians as non-Christians. There is a divergence of opinion, but this is the way I see it: the purposes of God never change. But laws have to change with changing circumstances in order to achieve the same purpose. For example, one of God’s purposes is to protect the innocent. In the law of Moses this was often done by a death penalty – even for young men who were persistently drunk (Deuteronomy 21:18-21). This is understandable when the nation lived in tents or mud-brick houses, so you couldn’t lock up criminals. Also, a law encouraging you to marry your dead husband’s brother made sense when there was no welfare system to take care of widows. But by New Testament times, secure prisons existed and most people were members of welfare groups called association groups who cared for members when they were sick or bereaved. These groups usually met in temples, so Christians had to form their own associations (or ‘fellowship groups’) to care for widows and others in need (eg 1 Timothy 5:9). We think of the Romans as bringing war, but in the first century they knew differently. The Romans were celebrated for bringing peace – the Pax Romana. In almost every preceding century, a high proportion of men were killed in battle, and those men left widows. So taking a second wife helped the balance of society. But there was much less need for this in times of peace. One of God’s purposes is to help the vulnerable such as widows and orphans – and this purpose will not change. In Old Testament times this purpose was helped by allowing polygamy, because this enabled widows and their children to be supported within a family network. But by New Testament times there were fewer widows and they were better supported, so
polygamy actually caused a new problem: rich men could afford several dowries, so this left too few women for poor men. God and His purposes never change – it is only human circumstances that change. Laws have to change accordingly, in order for God’s purposes to be worked out in the new circumstances. The Bible is not primarily a book of laws – it is a revelation of God’s purposes. It is these unchanging purposes which should guide our actions in all circumstances, and we should in every possible way be constantly seeking to bring about the will of God as revealed in his Word.- because God does not change His mind about what He wants. Rev Dr David Instone-Brewer is a Baptist minister seconded to the academic world as senior research fellow in Rabbinics and the New Testament at Tyndale House, Cambridge. He is kept grounded by his wife and two daughters. He enjoys computer programming and low-brow movies.
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60 SECONDS WITH...
Science and faith: It’s very important that church pastors learn how to address the big questions.
rofessor P John Lennox John Lennox is professor of mathematics at the University of Oxford. Phil Green asked him a few questions as they travelled back from the launch of Exploring the God Question in Kent; a DVD series featuring world-renowned contributors. Professor Lennox features in Exploring the God Question, which unpacks the questions raised by the cosmos, the natural world and the mind and consciousness. He has debated well-known atheists including Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens. His books include God and Stephen Hawking and Seven Days that Divide the World. PG: At the National Prayer Breakfast you described atheism as a “delusion” and a “fairy tale for those afraid of the light”. This made a lot of atheists very angry! [JL interrupts, “Good.”] Why do you think they were so angry? JL: Because I’m hitting a sore point. They think we’re the ones who believe in the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus and so on, and they don’t like the argument being put in the other direction. In my experience, they’re not very good at answering it either, when I accuse them of that. So there’s a little bit of me saying: “Look, you guys are doing this to us all the time, but what’s the justification?” Then pointing out the flaws, the very deep flaws, in atheistic arguments. PG: Is there a particular scientific theory that most challenges your faith and how do you deal with that? JL: Not really because I see that science is a different kind of explanation from God as an explanation. It’s the difference between mechanism and law on one hand and agency on the other. What we need to recognise is that science is more limited than a lot of people think. It clearly cannot deal with ethical questions and so on. We talk about a law of gravity and many people think that explains gravity. It doesn’t! Nobody knows what gravity is. Nobody knows what energy is. And Newton realised that; he knew he had a law on which he could do calculations, but he didn’t understand what the thing was. PG: Do you think churches need to do more to enable people to engage with faith intellectually? JL: It’s very important that church pastors learn how to address the big questions. There has been a danger of Bible study and preaching being reduced to devotional exposition, so that the Bible is over here and the culture is over there. It is very important to learn that if we take scripture seriously it has got real answers to the big questions and that if a pastor or a minister of a church can inspire confidence by demonstrating that there are deep biblical answers IDEA MAGAZINE / 10
Photo credit: Bible Society – Claire Kendall
and biblical stimuli to enable us to cope with these questions, that will put confidence in the right place. Unfortunately there has been a tendency – at least in some quarters – to deter young people from asking questions. A BBC survey a few years ago found the main reason given for leaving the Church, by far, was that it didn’t answer people’s questions. So rather than just an occasional look, we need to take the big questions seriously. And if church leaders haven’t got the resources themselves, they should use the people in their congregations who do have these abilities and use resources that are available, like Exploring the God Question. PG: Do you think churches needs to take apologetics more seriously, or is this an unhelpful way to frame apologetics? JL: Your second question is very interesting. The word apologetics is the most unfortunate word, because it’s not a translation, it’s a transliteration. We’ve taken the word apologia in Greek and made a word from it in English. But if we just translated it and put your question into English, that is: “Do you think churches need to take seriously the defence of the gospel?” Of course they should! The problem is by taking this word and making a special word of it that sounds very intellectual we reduce apologetics to a subgroup of Philosophy 101 instead of defending the gospel. One of the biggest problems we face is precisely that people say: ‘Well, I’m not into apologetics.’ That is absurd! What, you’re not interested in defending the gospel? Are you sure you believe it? It’s trying to get away from the mindset that apologetics is a special activity. That has been very bad and very dangerous. thegodquestion.tv johnlennox.org eauk.org/confidence Sixty per cent of respondents to our 21st Century Evangelicals survey said questions around science hindered evangelism, while 50 per cent blamed the rise of the new atheist movement in making faith-sharing difficult. The Evangelical Alliance is therefore proud to endorse the DVD series Exploring the God Question as part of our Confidence in the Gospel campaign series.
“Take action on behalf of the persecuted Church worldwide – whether through prayer, advocacy or financial aid.”
Photo credit: Release International Crossfire
Global persecution: ‘We must not ignore their plight’ Persecution of Christians worldwide has become such a significant issue that Release International, Open Doors, Christian Solidarity Worldwide and the Evangelical Alliance have joined together to form the Religious Liberty Commission. The Religious Liberty Commission exists to raise awareness of persecution, and also to encourage individual Christians and churches in the UK and Ireland to take action on behalf of the persecuted Church worldwide – whether through prayer, advocacy or financial aid. Steve Clifford, general director of the Evangelical Alliance, said: “The Evangelical Alliance is part of the Religious Liberty Commission because it is our brothers and sisters, members of our family, who are suffering and even dying for their faith. We cannot, and must not, ignore their plight. They must know they are not forgotten by us.” As part of the Commission’s aim to NOV/DEC 2013
inspire Christians to pray, it has produced a video which is available for use in churches and church meetings. The three-minute film has an introduction by Baroness Berridge of the Vale of Catmose and highlights the plight of Christians who face violence and discrimination under militant Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism. The video features powerful interviews from Nigeria, Sri Lanka and India. A church youth leader from India describes a raid on his church by Hindu extremists, and a pastor in Sri Lanka tells of the day his church was burned down by militant Buddhists. Florence from Nigeria describes the day militants broke into her home and killed her son and nephew
when they refused to convert to Islam. She explains the desperate need for Christians to pray: “They’ve started entering our houses, WATCH THE VIDEO killing all of us. We are appealing, we are pleading with you people; please help us… pray for us. All we need is prayer.” Please consider making time in your church service to show this video and pray for persecuted Christians across the world. Also spread the news about this video through social media. eauk.org/rlc IDEA MAGAZINE / 11
ON THE JOB
Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord
The overtaking undertaker It’s not every day you see a minister riding a motorbike with a coffin in the sidecar. Rev Paul Sinclair, aka the ‘faster pastor’, has been in the motorcycle funeral business since 2002, specialising in unique and personal goodbyes. He shares with Lucy Cooper why it’s not just transport, it is a journey… his first inspiration for the business began when he took funerals for local bikers. “It genuinely bothered me that the last time they were seen was in the back of a car and not on a bike. The final journey didn’t seem appropriate. No one took my idea seriously, so I put it on hold,” said Paul.
Paul Sinclair, the ‘faster pastor’
“At most funerals when the hearse arrives, people step back. At my funerals they step forward, smile and take a closer look, maybe take a photo and start to reminisce,” says Paul. “It is not just a vehicle to get to the crematorium, it’s a vehicle to help people get through bereavement. We incorporate character, because it is not purely about what the person believed, it’s about who they were. Saying goodbye involves each element of the process.” Holding the Guinness World Record for the fastest hearse, Rev Sinclair’s sidecar hearse is the first of its kind and a mini fleet transports 400 coffins a year. Families are able to celebrate the life of their loved one and provide them a chance for one last blast. Paul tells of how he hears people comment on how travelling to the crematorium behind their loved one in a slow-moving hearse is a harrowing experience. “I like to make it more positive. Did the deceased like to go quick? Yes, well let’s go fast. Did they love countryside? Well let’s go for a spin in the country en route. “Often I will stop a number of times so family can take a turn to sit pillion (behind me on the bike) beside their loved one. It is the only way you can sit beside them, enabling family to have a special goodbye trip.” As a former church leader in London, Paul became known for his motorbike and IDEA MAGAZINE / 12
It was only after a brush with death himself in a motorbike accident that he dug out the concept again. Paul and his now wife, Marian, were both severely injured in the collision but creative juices began to flow for Paul. “That was nearly me taken off in the coffin – that hit home! In that recovery period I worked on my sidecar hearse designs and decided that I was going to make it happen.” Paul insists that rather than deviating from tradition, personalising funerals is actually returning to a traditional way. “For centuries it would be appropriately dignified to have unique and personal funerals. However, after the war everyone got the same car, same service – all exactly the same. Our way is back to the way it used to be. We celebrate the life and preferences of the deceased. “If you are a Scot who loved bagpipes you wouldn’t expect Morris dancers. It is the same with this. People should have options and an appropriate send-off.” Funerals for children and babies use the motorcycle hearse due to its size and “you
will be very hard pressed to find a child that doesn’t like sidecars”, says Paul, “but children’s funerals are very difficult – they really affect you emotionally, so I’m careful that we share those duties among the team”. Motorcycle funeral clients are not just bikers, but also people you least expect, for example old ladies who were despatch riders during the war. Paul may joke about how he can “get you to the crematorium quicker than anyone else or your money back” or how he’s an “overtaker rather than an undertaker”, but he takes his business seriously, priding himself on a highly professional service. He is also making people feel at ease at a difficult time. “What I do opens doors. Everywhere I go people talk to me – it fascinates them. I’m able to share how God uses my ministry and what God is doing,” he says. “My job is very pastoral. I chat with people and I am genuinely helping folk in their bereavement journey. Even though I am officially a Rev, credibility and character are more important than credentials.” Motorcycle Funerals will be exhibiting at the Christian Resources Exhibition in Edinburgh in November. motorcyclefunerals.com creonline.co.uk
Christian Resources Exhibition In association with
EDINBURGH 2013 Royal Highland Centre 27 & 28 November
PETERBOROUGH 2014 Peterborough Arena, 29 & 30 January
CARDIFF 2014 All Nations Centre, 26 March
30 Birth th day
Sandown Park, Esher 13 – 16 May
For up to date information and to buy tickets go to
IDEA MAGAZINE / 13 Christian Resources Exhibitions is part of Bible Society (Charity Reg. No 232759) Tel 01793 418218
Breaking the chains of young offenders in Brazil How did a successful dancer and performer, more at home on a grand stage, find herself preferring to spend her days in youth prisons in Sao Paulo? Lucy Cooper finds that Cally Magalhaes is never afraid of a challenge… “Where’s my favourite place in the world? I can honestly say it is the youth prisons,” says Cally. “When I walk in I feel like my heart wants to burst.” In Brazil, Cally and George Magalhaes work with young offenders who have ended up in some of Sao Paulo’s 132 youth prisons after committing serious crimes. Realising the huge need, the couple get alongside the boys they have come to know and love through psychodrama sessions, coaching, mentoring and family counselling. A world away from Cally’s days as an aspiring performer growing up in a non-Christian family, she never thought she’d end up here. “From the age of 11, I dreamed of dancing in the West End. I was gutted when the doctor advised me to give it up due to spine scoliosis and I only agreed to rest because
in heavy rains. I started to cry and cry.”
a project in a serious re-offender unit.
Determined, Cally left for Brazil in 1999 with a six-month visa; convinced she was leaving the UK for good. “I started working in a slum on my own. I helped kids back to their families and chatted to the children, helping them in any way they needed. I had never seen a dead body before but there were nine people murdered in my first week. However, somehow I did not fear.”
“These guys have been in and out since they were 12 but we run small groups doing psychodrama therapy workshops for three months as they prepare for release. They re-enact crimes, role play and improvise as both the criminal and victim – giving voice and feeling to the victim. George and his team then talk about Jesus and help them reflect on the sessions.”
Falling in love with George from Brazil – a man who shared her calling – Cally soon had a husband and partner in her mission to bring hope to the streets.
When boys leave, there is risk of re-offending but the teenagers and their families have contact with Cally and George for up to two years after their release, getting help with life skills, education and employment.
“Allowing kids to dream that life can be different is key. Some children dream of becoming doctors or firemen and I tell them it’s possible. I use the example of the president of Brazil – he started life as a shoe-shine boy.
Six out of 10 do not re-offend, which is encouraging success. Many being released are finding employment and getting married. There are disappointing moments
"There were nine people murdered in my first week." I got glandular fever,” recalls Cally. “Later, my brief marriage had ended and my life fell apart. I was an actress but so unhappy. Yet, I kept bumping into people from New Life church and eventually gave in by accepting an invitation. “I remember handing over my life to Jesus, saying: ‘If you are real then I cannot live any less than 100 per cent for you. I’m not going to be a ‘sit-in-a-pew-on-a-Sunday Christian’. “One day I sat in my bedroom in Milton Keynes reading a magazine article about street kids in Sao Paulo and it hit me. I read how they were beaten and arrested by police and how they sleep under bridges and in the sewers, with many of them drowning IDEA MAGAZINE / 14
“Our prison work started when one boy, who used to call us mum and dad, was arrested. Staff began to ask us to visit others too – starting with petty thieves and moving onto serious criminals. They would ask what we were doing that caused such change. We had spoken about Jesus. “There would be a tense atmosphere and George would go into the courtyard, like Daniel in the lion’s den. He would join hands with 50 boys, praying with them for peace and everything changed. An evangelist’s dream.” Excitedly, Cally discovered that she could involve her passion for drama by introducing psychodrama therapy into
too though, Cally says. “You think they have come through and then they run away or steal from you – gutting. But five years later one text said: ‘I’m sorry I let you down, I’m doing well, I am now the youth leader in our church.’ Wow. “We can’t make the boys change, but God does exciting work. It is impossible for one person to change the world but you can change the world for one person.” Cally is one of Alliance member Tearfund’s inspired individuals – inspiredindividuals.org/individuals/ cally-george/ Associação Águia – The Eagle Project associacaoaguia.org.br
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Daniel Webster: “Wallis challenges those who run for election to have the right motivation.” Twitter: @danny_webster
Countering cynicism Daniel Webster, the Alliance’s parliamentary officer, meets US social activist and author Jim Wallis… I meet Jim Wallis while he’s in the UK to promote his latest book, On God’s Side: What religion forgets and politics never knew about the common good. The book opens with a definition of the common good which is his central theme. To make clear this isn’t a new idea, he emphasises the 1,700 years that have passed since John Chrysostom’s quote with which he opens the book: “This is the rule of most perfect Christianity, its most exact definition, its highest point, namely,
with my two boys for three weeks, and I found myself just gazing at them. Every parent knows this feeling. I never thought I could love so much as I love my kids, but I have to love other people’s kids as I love my own. That’s what Jesus says, that’s transformational and that’s supposed to be. “Christians can provide an energising, spiritual, even sacrificial foundation. I mean that’s what [Martin Luther] King did, and the black Church did for the civil rights
“Cynicism is spiritually dangerous. Cynicism causes us to withdraw, back off, not makes commitments.” the seeking of the common good … for nothing can so make a person an imitator of Christ as caring for his neighbors (sic).” “We’ve lost the common good in our public life, politics and culture,” Jim Wallis tells me. “When we as Christians live by the gospel of the kingdom we create conditions for the common good, which Catholic thought says is the creating of networks and relationships that allow human flourishing: what it means to live in a fully human way. And so just by living by the gospel we can create the common good, and if we can do that, it would just establish a credibility for the churches that we haven’t had for a long time.” For Wallis the common good is a concept that arises out of Christian belief but has a far wider impact: “Jesus brings a new order, and the kingdom of God is meant to change the world and us with it, it reverses the social order, and then the common good is more than just for Christians, it’s what we can create in a society. “How do you rise above your own interest, your parties’ interest, your social interests and how do we ask what’s good for all of us, how do we treat others as we would like to be treated? I was saying to some folks this week, I was on vacation IDEA MAGAZINE / 16
movement. We can provide sometimes the passion, the fire, the grassroots constituency, the kind of commitment you need to make something happen.”
POLITICAL PRESSURE Wallis has been part of a wide movement of Christians in the United States to put pressure on the government to introduce immigration reform. From all corners of the Church, Christians have taken the biblical idea of welcoming the stranger to heart and placed it at the centre of a call for comprehensive reform. “We had to really establish a strong biblical foundation first of all which we did. This couldn’t be just political, people had to see it as a moral issue, as a gospel issue, as a biblical imperative, so we worked hard at that. “We’ve had to persuade the Republicans and the Democrats to support this. I think it’s been powerful for everyone to see Sojourners and Southern Baptists get together on this, and the National Association of Evangelicals, and Focus on the Family joined us, so Paul Ryan [Republican Congressman] said, ‘you’ve done something we never had before, you’ve created a grassroots constituency which can influence the Republicans as well, that’s the new factor on this’.”
I ask Wallis about the apathy and even anger seen on both sides of the Atlantic: “Being sceptical of politics, and of politicians and parliaments, is healthy. But cynicism is spiritually dangerous. Cynicism causes us to withdraw, back off, not make commitments, and not take risks and chances, and surround ourselves with security, and if we think nothing will change then we stop committing ourselves. I think that overcoming cynicism is critical, and the apathy that often comes from cynicism.” “I love Hebrews,” Wallis goes on. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. I paraphrase that as: hope means believing in spite of the evidence, then watching the evidence change. That’s not just a rhetorical act, or a
romantic naive thought, we’re seeing that on immigration, we saw it on civil rights, we saw
outside of it rather than individuals within it. I do know politicians who will do what
“I’ve been arrested outside and I’ve had meetings inside the White House.” it when Wilberforce abolished the slave trade, we see that personal decisions of people of faith can literally change the world.”
A SENSE OF CALLING Wallis might have remarkable access into Washington politics, but it is from the outside that he sees hope for change: “What impacts politics are social movements from NOV/DEC 2013
is right even if it costs them the next election. I do know some of these. But I don’t know more than one hand count.” And has he thought of running for political office? “It’s probably more of a temptation than a vocation. People have asked me and I have considered that, but I think that my vocation is leading movements from outside. I’ve been arrested outside and I’ve had
meetings inside the White House. The trick is to have the message the same in both places.” Wallis challenges those who run for election to have the right motivation: “I would always ask them why? Just to be an office holder, or because you want to change something? What do you want to change, where do your gifts allow you to do that best, what’s the most strategic place for you to be? “For me it’s about what are we changing? Not how am I fitting in. The world always needs changing, and do I do that as an activist, as a lawmaker, as a writer, as a marcher, as a service provider, as a nurse, a doctor, a teacher.” Turn to page 33 for a review of On God’s Side IDEA MAGAZINE / 17
Bringing hope to the unemployed
Eddie Stride: CEO of City Gateway
Evangelicals think helping the unemployed is important, but few churches are doing anything about it. Chine Mbubaegbu explores the work of Christian organisations helping people into work and encourages more churches to do the same… Evangelical Christians love work. According to the Alliance’s latest 21st Century Evangelicals report Working faithfully? we are fulfilled in our jobs, with 93 per cent of our respondents saying they are interested in their work. A further 84 per cent said they feel valued for the work they do.
country, the Church is not addressing the specific needs of the unemployed. Just 13 per cent of respondents said they were in a church that runs a specific project to help those out of work and the same percentage were in churches offering voluntary work placements to the unemployed.
Bravo to us. But, there’s a problem. Our survey revealed that while many evangelicals – many of whom earn significantly above the UK average – say they care about the unemployed, not many churches are doing anything about it.
And worryingly, of the Christians who said they had ever become unemployed, 31 per cent felt they received no support from their church.
And that’s a shame given evangelicals’ strong historical track record of helping people into work. The Salvation Army – an Alliance member – for example, opened the nation’s first ever Labour Exchange in 1890. Some 40 per cent of our respondents said their church offers practical support to unemployed people in the community. This is good news. But in this context of continuing economic difficulties across the IDEA MAGAZINE / 18
Do the statistics reflect a view that evangelical Christians believe the unemployed are ‘shirkers and scroungers’? Are we doing little to help the unemployed because we are against the so-called ‘benefits culture’? In short, no. Some 80 per cent of our respondents reject this idea. One respondent said: “I don’t agree with the general witch hunt of the unemployed as there are a lot of genuine people unable to work or unable to get jobs.” We are also a group that is passionate about justice in employment, with three quarters in favour of the living wage.
Clearly the will is there, but so too is the need for the Church to be reminded of the importance of providing practical help. In March this year, I attended the launch of Christians Against Poverty’s (CAP) Job Clubs initiative in parliament. The job clubs are for anyone who wants to find work, but needs some help in overcoming some barriers. At the weekly clubs, participants work with trained coaches who support them throughout the eight-week programme. CAP now has more than 50 job clubs around the country and there is evidence it is working: one in seven people who attend a club find work. A member in Hereford said of the initiative: “I used to go into interviews and ramble, but the skills you have taught me have changed my life. I would never have got my new job without the help I received at a CAP job club.” Commenting on the Alliance’s research, CAP founder John Kirkby said: “We are really pleased that this report shows that churches
care about the plight of the unemployed and want to get involved… But we would love to see more churches running specific projects to help the unemployed. This year, CAP’s new Job Clubs initiative makes it easier for
City Gateway was set up in 1999 by a group of city workers involved in local churches. Their aim was to bring hope to their local community of Tower Hamlets. They looked at the need in their area and realised that many
The need to bring hope to the unemployed is not unique to London. There are people out of work and out of hope in the areas where you are. In some areas of the country, such as inner city Liverpool, Manchester or
“I don’t agree with the general witch hunt of the unemployed as there are a lot of genuine people unable to work or unable to get jobs.” churches to help people practically by giving them the skills and confidence to find employment.”
of their neighbours had not benefited from the area’s wider economic development. They needed help in order to find hope.
City Gateway is one of the best examples of a Christian-based project passionate about helping people into work and giving them hope.
Now they help hard-to-reach and excluded NEETs (not in education, employment or training) young people and women from across London to overcome barriers including poor language skills and a lack of aspiration.
If you live in the capital and commute into work, you are likely to have heard that the Evening Standard has joined forces with the charity to tackle youth unemployment. In a big way. With backing from leading voices including the Duke of York, Prince Andrew, the Ladder for London scheme is really making a difference. The scheme involves companies taking on one or more City Gateway-trained apprentices. The apprentices are likely to have completed a year of pre-apprenticeship training in vocational areas such as business administration, customer service or sports fitness. Since the scheme was launched last year, 1,000 new jobs have been pledged, 300 young people have become employed and nearly 900 businesses across London have got on board.
Eddie Stride, the organisation’s CEO – who was recently named by the Standard as one of London’s 1,000 most powerful people – says while the organisation welcomes all partners and employees, the Christian message of hope still underlines all that they do. “We’re about building people up and giving them hope by following the example that Jesus set,” he tells idea. “There’s a whole range of things that people need work with that are barriers to getting employment: things like gangs, depression, sexual exploitation and self-harming. “We go about what we do in a holistic way because this is not just about finding people jobs, but about meeting a range of different needs. What we breathe in day in, day out is love. I make it very clear that the heart of City Gateway is the Christian ethos. But we’re not a religious organisation – we don’t just employ Christians. We employ people that can get behind our ethos and help us bring about God’s kingdom here on earth. We want to demonstrate God’s love.”
But while Ladder for London is proving extremely successful, there is still much more to be done – especially when you consider that over a thousand new 16 to 24-year-olds unemployed each week. Ad 64x186 - become IDEA_Layout 1 04/02/2013 17:35 Page 2
Blackpool, the unemployment rates are way above the average and the need is immense. And there are great church initiatives up and down the country responding to the need where they are, including The Work Club run by King’s Church in Preston and the Reading Job Club run by Reading Family Church. Our challenge as the Church is to meet the needs of our neighbours, and as the economic situation across the country worsens, this is one need that churches can try to meet. “The need is right across the country,” Eddie says. “Whatever area you’re in, it’s important that people are inspired to do the same as we have done in their area. Helping someone into work can really transform their life. If you really care about loving your neighbour, then you should do something.” Can you take on an apprentice in your business and based in London? Find out more at citygateway.org.uk or become a City Gateway Friend and help bring hope to young people, find out more at friends.citygateway.org.uk To read the full Working faithfully? report, visit the 21st Century Evangelicals snapshot section of the Alliance’s website. eauk.org/snapshot citygateway.org.uk capuk.org
Speaking hope Trans World Radio exists to reach the world for Jesus Christ. For over 50 years in the UK, TWR has broadcast quality, speech-led Christian radio. We are committed to proclaiming the Gospel through biblical teaching, preaching and current affairs programmes.
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I was heartened by the Archbishop of Canterbury’s clarity in speaking to the Evangelical Alliance recently: “We are not against things. We are in favour of things.” This is both sage and timely, especially in relation to the question of choices that either people have, or are denied, in our multi-values secularist society. As long as people have choice, who can object to the rise of different and often conflicting ideas, ethical positions and cultural concepts? When my homo-emotional feelings re-surfaced in my marriage some years ago and I found myself deeply dependent on another man to the point of infatuation, I had a choice to make. It is the same choice many individuals in marriages make: either to strive for integrity in the existing relationship, or to break the old and start afresh in the new. For some the choice is made unilaterally, with no conversation at all with the marriage partner. For others a mutual decision and adjustment is made. This reminded me of Archbishop Justin’s charge to the Alliance to awaken the Church “out of any comfort of disunity”. I knew I could no longer be a sham to my wife and children. And my wife was certainly clear. It was all or nothing and it became apparent that I needed professional help in resolving the turmoil I was experiencing. Like my wife, my counsellors provided choices for me. They listened to my pain and anxiety and they helped me to believe once again in my own capacity to live life as I knew best: as a repentant Christian husband and father. Some might argue that I had no choice but to knuckle down and, bound to legalism, I simply conformed to what was expected, lacking the fibre to be ‘true’ to my nature. Had I taken the alternative route, there would have been those who would have affirmed both me and my choice to pursue a different relationship. My wife might not lose her dignity and my “pliable” children may have navigated a new pathway. Despite at least one counsellor suggesting we divorce, I knew the pathway I should take, was towards transformation of my feelings, rather than affirming them and I have never regretted the decision I took in staying in my marriage. According to Archbishop Justin “where we make a bad impression in society at the moment is when we’re seen as against things. We come across too easily as negative. We don’t intend to, IDEA MAGAZINE / 20
Holding on to choice but we do... the Church is for.” I think the Church is for choice. I was fortunate in that my personal predicament predated the obligation now on the mental health workers in Britain’s largest professional counselling bodies to accept that reducing, or attempting to reduce homosexual feelings is an “ethical offence.” Professionals belonging to either the UK Council for Pyschotherapy (UKCP) or the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) today would lose their licence if they complied with my therapeutic goal of reducing my samesex attractions. Thus I would have had no choice in my predicament and my family would have disintegrated. But surely if we are ‘for’ family relationships we must be ‘against’ the destruction of the family. This in turn must mean that we are ‘for’ the therapists who help people to reduce unwanted samesex attractions. In my own recent case, despite there being no client complaint against me, my professional membership has been revoked because I support the idea of therapists assisting clients to reduce homosexual feelings, where this is possible. I am hoping that both Archbishop Justin and Alliance members will have understanding for people like me who argue that choice in the matter of sexual identity and lifestyle is ultimately exactly that: a choice. The very worrying thing is that choice is being eroded so that as a society, we are now convinced that there is no choice at all around sexual preference and identity. We have arrived at this place because science, we are told, is conclusive. Yet the Royal College of Psychiatrists, for example, whose documents are heavily invested in a ‘gay’ narrative has failed to supply evidence to support its position that homosexuality is “biological”. It has ignored twin studies which show that if one identical twin is gay, the cotwin is gay only 11% of the time. In so doing it has ignored the environmental contribution to homosexuality. The UKCP similarly refuses to substantiate its claim of the “overwhelming evidence” for harm when therapists seek to reduce homosexual feelings. Good science is being replaced by ‘gay science’, but this is not good news for gay people. Good science is best for all of us. I have some sympathy for Fay Voshell’s view (30 August 2013, American
Thinker) that when New Jersey governor Chris Christie signed a law against conversion therapy directed at counselling minors experiencing homoerotic feelings, he probably missed the fact that his actions put the state on a path similar to countries like Saudi Arabia, which forbids conversion from the prevailing Muslim faith. She continues: But forbidding efforts to convert is essentially what the governor did. He expressly forbade conversion from the prevailing progressive religion, whose chief doctrine is that sexual behaviour, including the homoerotic behaviour of some children, is a sacred, infallible, and therefore unchangeable indicator of what human identity entails. He forbade moral suasion. He forbade attempts to persuade young people that another way of life is available. That other way that is forbidden is, of course, the way of Christian sexual ethics. Counselling a kid to follow the Christian way, to attempt to change his or her homoerotic behaviour, is verboten. In the UK, an Early Day Motion 219 “Gay to Straight Conversion Therapy in the UK” seeks to ban any of the many psychotherapists and counsellors who work according to their client’s conscience to provide person-centred therapeutic support for those seeking to reduce homosexual feelings where possible. Unlike the USA, where many reputable mental health professionals both practise such therapy and retain their positions within the American Psychological Association, the UK is presently culling all such individuals. It is at this point that the choice which I was allowed to exercise some years ago, has now been withdrawn. How has this been achieved so effectively and quickly? Professional bodies continue to define and pronounce therapeutic imperatives that are not grounded in science Those outside the professions have no way of challenging this process. If the Church is for choice - there is an urgent need to stand up for what it is against, as well as what it is for.
Mike Davidson PhD HEA Co-Director, Core Issues Trust
“Leaving Homosexuality: The Right to Try”
The Right to Decide: Seeking justice for choices around unwanted same-sex attractions.
Michael R. Davidson
The Right to Decide:
Ethics, Evidence and Practice (2013)
Seeking justice for choices around unwanted same-sex attractions.
A resource pack of 3 booklets at £7.50 + postage
“’Gay’ identity is often deeply embedded in how homosexuals understand themselves. But must gays insist on security in their own sexual identity by denying others a different path? We have been listening to the experience of gays for a long time now, what about a hearing for ex-gays? Alongside the persistence of sexual identity should we not put the fluidity of sexual identity? There is important fuel for thought in the experiences recounted here”. Professor John Nolland, Trinity College, Bristol.
Price: £4.50 (Amazon); Kindle £4.99
Dermot O’Callaghan Peter May
The Misuse of Science by UK Professional Mental Health Bodies 2nd (expanded) Edition: When Ideology Replaces Science
Available from Amazon £7.50. Also available from www.core-issues.org E: firstname.lastname@example.org T: 02830828320
Speakers from Core Issues Trust Mike Davidson and others from Core Issues Trust are available to speak in churches and fellowship groups. The Trust encourages the development of safe spaces for men and women to work through issues of human sexuality that conflict with Christian identity and teaching.
Price: £4.99 (Amazon); Kindle £4.50
For further information use contact details below. Core Issues Trust is a UK-based organisation affiliated to the Association of Christian Counsellors Out of Harm’s Way: and to the International Federation for Therapeutic Working Ethically with Same-Sex Attracted Persons Choice. It is a member of the Evangelical Alliance and of Live in Christ (LinC), a European network of like-minded ministries. Dermot O’Callaghan & Michael R Davidson
Questions of harm, evidence and practice
Dermot O’Callaghan & Michael R Davidson
Out of Harm’s Way: Working Ethically with Same-Sex Attracted Persons Questions of harm, evidence and practice
“….psychology as a field has employed the assimilation acculturation strategy when it comes to LGB training. The field has foreclosed on an LGB-affirmative stance without a complex discussion of how to deal with competing cultural and religious values. We argue that the assimilation approach often results not only in unexamined, shallow affirmation, but also the marginalization and/or silencing of students and psychologists who are struggling to reconcile their personal religious or cultural values with the expectations of the profession” Bieschke and Dendy (2010)
The organisation works to link individuals wanting to move out of homosexual practice and feelings with professional counsellors, psychotherapists and other professionals supportive of these clients’ legitimate therapeutic goals.
Core Issues Trust is a UK-based organisation affiliated to the Association of Christian Counsellors and to the International Federation for Therapeutic Choice. It is a member of the Evangelical Alliance and of Live in Christ (LinC), the successor of Exodus Europe. The organisation works to link individuals wanting to move out of homosexual practice and feelings with professional counsellors, psychotherapists and other professionals supportive of their legitimate therapeutic goals.
9 780957 373990
www.core-issues.org NOV/DEC 2013
“Legislative bodies, church …and the general public should be aware of how much distortion and how little rigorous science has been fed to them in recent years…” Dr Joseph Berger Consultant Psychiatrist Canada, Distinguished Life Fellow, APA Beyond Critique (2013) challenges the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ ‘gay narrative’ – that same-sex attraction is biologically determined – and the UKCP’s view that reducing these feelings is unethical. The College has not produced evidence of harm, and may have misled both Church and State in its submissions to government on ‘gay’ marriage.
"In clinical practice over thirty years, I saw many patients conflicted over their sexual desires, including those attracted to the same sex or both sexes. This book presents the evidence that they can be helped to control such desires - as all of us, irrespective of our sexual preferences, have to learn to do. To deny people such help is unethical and unnecessary and greatly compounds their suffering…. deserves a wide readership in the UK and internationally." Dr Trevor Stammers MA FRCGP St Mary's University College, London
M R Davidson, PhD Co-Director Accepted by HMRC as a Charity XT29880 email@example.com L: (028)30828320 M: 07833098998
The Right to Decide (2012) argues that informed client autonomy is paramount here as elsewhere
Price: £2.99 (Amazon); Kindle £3.99
Out of Harm’s Way (2013) challenges the “overwhelming” evidence of harm claimed by the UKCP, which the organisation declines to substantiate, and proposes an ethical way of helping people with unwanted same-sex attraction. IDEA MAGAZINE / 21
elebrating 400 years C of Belfast
by Carla Prentice, intern at Evangelical Alliance Northern Ireland
Four hundred eventful years have passed since Belfast was founded in 1613 on a sandbank with a population of 200. Belfast has a distinctive and rich history. The famous Harland and Wolff shipyard was founded in 1862, one of its most renowned productions being the RMS Titanic. During the Second World War, ship-building and engineering boomed. These essential industries made Belfast a target for German bombing and, in 1941, the Belfast blitz struck the city killing 955 people and destroying 3,200 homes. In the late 20th century Belfast again suffered from high unemployment due to a decline in the linen, engineering and shipbuilding industries. This coincided with the most notorious events in the history of Belfast, ‘The Troubles’, a period of sectarian conflict resulting in the death of more than 3,700 people and huge social trauma. Bombings, shootings and street violence formed a backdrop to life for 40 years. Thankfully, this largely came to an end with the signing of the Good Friday Agreement on 10 April 1998.
excitement for Belfast. We hosted the World Police and Fire Games, the G8 summit in the nearby town of Enniskillen and the IF campaign in Belfast’s Botanic Gardens. We have recently had the opening of Titanic Belfast which has brought much tourism to the city and a pledge has been made to remove the peace walls by 2023. We have also seen the exciting launch of the Street Pastors initiative and Belfast City Centre Chaplaincy. These, alongside the Dock Café, other fresh expressions of church and the established churches are bringing new light into the city. According to Belfast City centre manager and Street Pastors volunteer, Andrew Irvine: “Belfast has had its issues around brand and perception in the past. We want to deal with these issues and enable people to understand that Belfast has a lot to offer. We want God to be at the centre of all that. We want to show the love of God to people on a day-to-day basis.” These are the good news stories we celebrate.
Today, in its 400th year, although still battling old demons, Belfast is being re-born. The year 2013 has been one of great
As we have delved into our rich history, we can see some ugliness in our past. Yet, recent tensions have deepened the desire
to see this city changed. We clearly see the legacy that has been left by our forbearers and we ask ourselves, what will our city look like in another 400 years? What will our legacy be to future generations? We want to see God’s kingdom come here, we want the city to grow, prosper and reach its full potential and become a place characterised by strong relationships and unity. While we don’t control the future, it provides us with hope and comfort to know that God does and as Christians our actions can help shape the future if we are to do as we have been instructed by Jeremiah to “seek the peace and prosperity of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare, you will find your welfare” (Jeremiah 29:7).
MY DREAM FOR BELFAST Interview with Andrew McCourt, pastor at Christian Fellowship Church (CFC) What is your dream for Belfast? I dream of a city whose citizens are more loyal to the future than to the past, who unite in bringing down walls and building up relationships; who have the courage to address suffering, accept responsibility, courageously repent and embrace former and current enemies. A city where the Church becomes a sign and a servant of the kingdom of God and is willing to partner at every level with other Christians in pursuing that kingdom above parochial and petty agendas. A city where our politicians embrace the reality that righteousness, prosperity, justice,
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outstanding leadership and spirituality are all inter-connected. I dream of a city that my kids are proud to call home and consider every street a friend. What role does CFC play in that? CFC is committed to creating spiritual transformation, engineering social development and partnering in community reconciliation. Our heart is to use all our resources of time, talent and treasure to make all these objectives a reality. How has the flag controversy and recent marching issues affected Belfast? First, it has sadly redirected quality public money from potential worthy causes towards huge policing costs. Second, we have watched with sadness the good
news story of our city being badly tainted by negative news coverage across the globe. It has highlighted to leaders from all sections of our community the frustration, isolation and anger of many working class Protestant people and proves as a reminder that we must work extremely hard to engage compassionately with the grassroots of all areas of society to secure a lasting, multigenerational peace. And it has awakened many churches to unite in positive prayer initiatives, forums and partnerships in seeking to bring lasting solutions.
Serving Scotland through social action by Kieran Turner, public policy officer, Evangelical Alliance Scotland
Scottish Parliament appearance
September marked another key step in the journey to make Serve Scotland a reality as 40 key leaders from churches and agencies across Scotland gathered together in Perth to discuss a proposal to run two local pilot projects in Scotland and bring together a national database of Christian social action. Taking vision from Gweini in Wales, Serve Scotland is an initiative to unite the Christian voluntary sector. Nine months ago the Evangelical Alliance called together a meeting of interested parties to see whether it may be possible to create a local and national body that gives life to the poor, speaks life in the darkness, lives life in government and engages with local and national politicians. Those who attended the original meeting were excited about the possibilities and a working party was set up to create a strategy for taking the vision forward. The working party involved people from national organisations and local churches and the group has met frequently over the course of 2013. In September the Evangelical Alliance hosted a follow-up meeting where the working party presented their proposals. Those assembled were addressed by Fred Drummond, national director for Evangelical Alliance Scotland, and Iain Gordon, CEO of Alliance member Bethany Christian Trust. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive and the working party’s proposals were endorsed. The next stage to put the funding package together and move the strategy forward is now underway and we are excited to see what God will do with this initiative. Commenting on the latest national meeting of leaders Iain Gordon said: “It was both encouraging and uplifting to NOV/DEC 2013
see so many leaders of Christian churches and organisations passionate about and committed to Christian social action as a means of demonstrating the gospel and bringing about transformation in the lives of people, communities and the nation. Kevan Leckie from Tearfund Scotland also shared his reflection that: “It proved to be a very profitable and positive event with a strong sense of support to move forward to the next stage.”
The Church and the nation are tired of powerless religion. Great strategies and tired clichés have not been enough to renew the Church nor transform the nation. What is required for real, lasting change is a reliance upon God. Christians need to encounter God before engaging with society. If we are not engaging out of our relationship with God then we are powerless to see lasting change. For the last three years the Evangelical Alliance in Scotland has been part of a coalition bringing leaders together to pray for the nation. These have taken place on St Andrew’s Day each year and have been a mix of personal renewal and intercede for the nation. We are coming into a hugely important time for Scotland. Next year will see the vote for independence. Whatever the outcome of the vote, things will
Evangelical Alliance Scotland was recently invited to give evidence to the Equal Opportunities Committee of the Scottish Parliament, on the Scottish government’s plans to redefine marriage. This was the first time the Evangelical Alliance has been invited to a committee for a number of years and it gave us the opportunity to share some of our concerns about both the principle and the practical implications of the Scottish government’s plans. We are continuing to engage with MSPs and officials as the bill progresses and for the latest information please contact the Scotland office. If you are interested in watching our committee evidence you can find it by searching the BBC News Scotland page.
have changed. Scots have had to think about their identity, relationship with other nations and what we regard as important. It is a hugely significant time for Christians in the nation. We have to engage positively in national conversations and we must show that faith has a significant role to play in the Scotland of the future. This year on St Andrew’s Day we will be having 12 hours of prayer for the nation. We will also be launching The Stand – a year of prayer for the nation. We are calling Christians to take a stand before God for the nation. Our desire is that in this hugely important year God will move in the Church and the nation. The call is for Christians to commit time every week to intercede for Scotland. Taking a stand to change the nation. KT eauk.org/northernireland
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From outpouring to revival Gethin Russell-Jones goes behind the scenes at what has been described as the most significant move of the spirit since 1904. I’m sitting in a spacious but simple first floor room in Cwmbran, south Wales. The office is part of Victory Church which has shot to evangelical fame in recent months. Since April 2013 this independent Pentecostal church has experienced a phenomenon which has been labelled the Welsh Outpouring. And by current UK standards the number of people attending their nightly meetings is eye-watering. According to senior pastor Richard Taylor, the church has hosted more than 150,000 visitors from the UK and overseas and 1,157 have professed faith in Christ for the first time. Many hundreds have been baptised and the church has received numerous reports of physical and emotional healing. Digital prominence has also been a feature of events in Cwmbran with Victory Church’s sermon downloads shooting to the top of the iTunes religion and spirituality category. Opposite me sits Andrew Parsons, assistant pastor at Victory Church. He arrived in Cwmbran after pastorates in Doncaster and then New Zealand. But this was no career move. Andrew and Richard met as students at the Birmingham Bible Institute in 1996. During a three-hour prayer meeting in Andrew’s flat, they both believed God had spoken to them about their mutual destinies. “He said to me that one day we would work together in a mighty revival, through which the whole world would look on in amazement,” said Andrew. Three years ago while he was in New Zealand, Richard Taylor visited him with a proposition.
“Richard had come to a crossroads and felt called to lead Victory Outreach UK, a Christian rehabilitation organisation based in Cwmbran. He asked me if I’d join him in Cwmbran, working alongside him in the outreach programme and in Victory Church which he had just planted. Since then they have planted congregations in Merthyr Tydfil, Caerphilly, Chepstow, Forest of Dean, Rhondda Valley with a further plant due to be launched in Blaenavon soon. Everything changed on 10 April when a man confined to a wheelchair came forward for prayer during the church’s weekly prayer and worship gathering. “Pastor Richard and I prayed for him, the power of God came and he started to shake. His legs shot out from the wheelchair; he stood up, picked up his wheelchair and ran around the building. The tangible presence of God filled the meeting; we were awestruck by His presence.” That night Andrew felt compelled to stay in the building and after the doors opened the following morning people kept on coming for prayer. That night 400 people gathered at the church and they keep on coming. The people flocking to Victory Church have often been in trouble with the police and have various dependency issues; not the normal clientele for most churches. Andrew and Richard have clearly been moved by the people coming to them: “God challenged us as leaders about our hearts; to be more loving and less judgmental. We need to start
£1M VISITOR CENTRE OPENS IN BALA Alliance member organisation the Bible Society is to open a £1 million visitor centre in a deconsecrated church in North Wales. St Beuno’s Church (pictured), at Llanycil, Bala, will be transformed into a place that tells the story of the Bible’s impact on Wales and, through Wales, the rest of the world. It was in 1800 that Mary Jones, aged 15, walked 25 miles from Llanfihangel-y-Pennant, across the Welsh mountains, to Bala to get a Bible from Rev Thomas Charles. It is thought that she had saved for six years to afford it. Thomas Charles was so touched by her determination that he helped establish Bible Society four years later. The new visitor centre will be officially opened in 2014 to coincide with the bicentenary of Thomas Charles’s death.
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loving people more, winning the lost and falling in love with Jesus,” says Andrew. Until this point, the church’s leaders have been happy to refer to their experience as an outpouring. But this has now changed. “This is now a revival; there has not been a move of the Spirit like this since 1904. That (the Welsh Revival) came through an itinerant preacher but this is a local church and our heart is that local churches in Wales would be touched by this.” What happens next is unknown. Victory Church intends to establish 50 churches within 10 years and if successful it would become Wales’s most fruitful churchplanting network in centuries. Nothing like it has been seen since the great 18th century revivals when hundreds of new churches were built across the nation. The future of this revival is however less certain. While people continue to visit from across the UK and beyond, the meetings have been scaled back to twice a week. The events of the past months have taken their toll on the small team serving this local church. Andrew’s rationale however remains simple: “It’s about Jesus, it all comes back to him and points to the cross; he’s getting people’s attention.”
C o n fiden C e in a d ou btin g Wo rld Thereâ€™s a lack of confidence among many believers. At Spring Harvest 2014 the Church will gather to discover a fresh confidence in Scripture and inspiration in the Spirit. Join us next Easter for an all-age teaching and worship event.
Spring Harvest is part of Memralife Group, a registered charity.
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LIGHT UP Jesus said he was the light of the world â€“ what does that mean out here in the real world? Explore Christmas from a different angle this year. Download resources for your church. Order free copies of the photo book LIGHT UP to give away. Share your photos online. Join the #lightrevolution sgmlifewords.com/lightup
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Finding forgiveness in grief On Christmas Eve, church organist Alan Greaves’s widow Maureen will mark the anniversary of her husband’s brutal murder. The devastated Church Army evangelist tells Lucy Cooper how she can speak of forgiveness for the killers…. “I am sorry to say your husband has been brutally attacked on his head,” said the consultant. I was shocked to the core. ‘Is he dying?’ I asked. ‘I’m afraid so, yes,’ came the reply,” Maureen tells me. Alan had suffered injuries “consistent with a road traffic accident” after being attacked by two men – who had chosen him at random – while he was on his way to midnight mass. “That moment at the hospital was the first time I realised the severity of Alan’s injuries. The police had arrived at the house earlier but I had misunderstood them, expecting a few stitches and to take him straight home. After all, he was due to play Christmas day, I was preaching and IDEA MAGAZINE / 26
we were celebrating our daughter’s return from Mozambique. “Walking down that corridor took forever,” she recalls. “I prayed: ‘I don’t know what’s happening but just be with me every step of the way, Jesus.’ The room was full with a trauma team but all fell silent as I entered. His head was absolutely horrific. I had to look at his hand to recognise him.”
IN THE BEGINNING It was instant attraction for Maureen when she met Alan in March 1971. He took till October to ask her out but by Christmas, the couple were engaged. “He was a real gentleman, a gifted musician, extremely
kind, with such a deep respect for people. People paid tribute that he never spoke ill of others. I was really proud to be his wife. “It was not a perfect marriage but we were madly in love with each other. I knew he was my soul mate when, on our second date, he took my hand and said ‘let’s pray about our future together’.” Living in High Green in Sheffield, Alan and Maureen have four children in their 30s. Their two sons have learning difficulties so need extra support. Alan, 68, had retired early from social work to help his wife, who has been working for the Church Army since 2008. Both worked tirelessly, serving their community.
Maureen Greaves: There have been moments of shocking loneliness and 10,000 tears.
“I was clear that forgiving wasn’t saying that I didn’t want justice.” In early December, just weeks before the attack, they had proudly opened a new community project which serves as a food bank, an impromptu café, laundry service, and sells clothes and furniture at a very low cost for struggling families. “As a Church Army evangelist, I focus on people outside the Church and I began meeting people with material needs. To begin with, we stored furniture in our garage, but we needed a premises. Approaching a landlord, I said to Alan: ‘You do the praying while I do the talking.’ We rented the building for an amazing price – a lovely miracle.” For 40 years, the Greaves had lived near their churches and Alan, the organist for each, would always walk. Leaving for the 10-minute walk to the St Saviours midnight
service, with Maureen staying at home, was routine. But this time, the year of their Ruby wedding, the cruel actions of two men changed family life forever.
CHOOSING FORGIVENESS “By his bedside on Christmas day I took his hand and prayed: ‘Lord how am I going to deal with all this? I need to know how to handle this grief and be a mother to my four children. What am I going to do with the people who have murdered him?’ I suddenly knew that these men were going to be a big issue.” Knowing both Alan and God would want her to choose forgiveness, Maureen was decisive. “One of Alan’s statements came into my mind strongly: ‘Now Maureen, we must never give ourselves permission to go down that road because it is not glorifying to God.’ “‘Please take from me the burden of carrying the men that have murdered Alan. Help me to truly and fully forgive them and give me the grace to continue, all my life, in that position of forgiveness. Take any hatred that may creep in and may I be able to show this forgiveness and grace to others.’ That was my sincere and deep prayer. I have to go back to this prayer continually.” She explained to her daughters about her decision. “I was clear that forgiving wasn’t saying that I didn’t want justice. I really wanted justice, but that was up to God.” Jonathan Bowling had admitted to murder. Maureen went every day to the four-week trial of Ashley Foster, who was
finally convicted of manslaughter. She explains why she found a murder different to other family deaths: “You have so much more to deal with. You have police, the media and the trial, which is extremely difficult because you meet the attackers and their families and you see their tears. You listen to a lot of details about your husband and his injuries – constantly taking you back to Christmas Eve.” When faced with public outrage, Maureen says: “I have been able to stand and say, through God’s grace, ‘that is not what I want. I want you to leave them in God’s hands too.’ “At the time, I was unsure how to speak to the media. Mark Russell [chief executive of Church Army] visited and said: ‘Maureen, if you can speak about this, then this opportunity could be a gift. You are an evangelist.’ I’ve been able to speak about my faith in a way I could never have dreamed of.” She concludes: “There have been moments of shocking loneliness and 10,000 tears, but God has met my needs and carried me. My life has changed dramatically but I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that God has a future for me.” This year the Christmas Eve service at St Saviours will take place at 11pm at the park railings, the same time and place Alan was attacked. The community will gather, bringing lights. “We will state very clearly that Jesus is the light of the world and no darkness can ever put it out.”
WORSHIP WORKS - a practical handbook, rooted in local church worship, with lots of activities for individuals, groups and congregations - includes chapters on being a worshipper, planning praise, belonging in a local fellowship, healing through worship, running a choir or music group, and much more. Written by Roger Jones, Annie Routley and Helen Pollard Introductory price just £7.99 available from www.cmm.org.uk WORSHIP WORKS Launch Day - St Andrew’s Church, Sandhills Road, Barnt Green, B45 8NR. 1000-1630. £10 for the day - includes a FREE copy of WORSHIP WORKS. For more details visit our website www.cmm.org.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org to book your place. NOV/DEC 2013
www.cmm.org.uk IDEA MAGAZINE / 27
Phil Green: What can we do to support children and young people? Twitter: @pmgreen
CONFIDENCE IN THE GOSPEL
Building confident school CUs Phil Green asks how we can help young Christians wanting to grow in their faith at school… “You’re a Christian!” a fellow sixth-former exclaimed during a maths lesson. “I never knew that!” Since being bullied, partly because of my faith, a few years earlier I had tended to opt for trying to lie low as a God-follower at school. This maths lesson revelation provided evidence that, although my cover was now blown, my covert operation had been a success. But then came my very own ‘rooster crowing’ moment; that sinking feeling of failure. How many gospel-demonstrating, faith-sharing, opportunities had I missed? This moment of conviction, mixed with a sense of failure, spurred on and resourced by a town-wide mission resulted in me, and a few friends, spending my last year of sixth form establishing a Christian small group at my school. That was almost a decade-and-a-half ago. But today, things aren’t so different. School can be a harsh environment for anyone, but for many Christian young people the experience can feel like walking into a lion’s den every day.
GOOD NEWS The good news is that throughout the UK there are Christian groups meeting in schools that aim to support children and young people as they seek to live out their faith among their peers. Ben and Dan Wallace are brothers who have both been part of a Christian Union (CU) in their school that is supported by Scripture Union. They talk about the benefits of being part of this group; Ben says: “From starting school, the CU immediately allowed me to get to know older Christians in the school. These people were not only friendly faces, but they became great role models.” His brother Dan added: “I find it very encouraging when I can study the Bible with other Christians my age. Being part of a CU meant I could connect with God’s Word while I was at school. It gave me the security to tell friends that I wasn’t the only one. With the foundation set, I could start to answer the questions my friends have.” For many young people, being part of a Christian group within the school is extremely significant in boosting their confidence to be open about their faith in IDEA MAGAZINE / 28
this often hostile environment. Geoff Brown, a schools development worker for Scripture Union, which has more than 1,000 schoolbased groups regularly accessing resources from their SchoolsLive site, explains three of the reasons why he is so passionate about Christian groups in school. “Groups of Christians meeting in schools give young people security in knowing that they are not alone.” He continues: “There’s something significant about actually meeting in the place where you spend so much of your time and being able to focus on how can I follow Christ in this place. “It also enables us to connect children and young people to the Christian faith for the first time. So many children have never set foot in a church building; many young people have no knowledge of the
Dani stood up in front of his form and said that he would give a Bible, provided by New Generation, to anyone who wanted one as a Christmas present – about 10 people took one. As a result, two of his classmates started coming to church after reading it. Their families followed. They’re now all following Christ. And then there is Sarah. She made a list of 10 people to pray for. One of the people on this list was someone who was bullying her. As well as praying, she did everything possible to be nice to him. Then one day, the bully approached her in the corridor. But instead of giving her a hard time, he invited her to his baptism. It turns out that he had been intrigued by this girl, who he knew was a Christian, being nice to him, so he had gone to a church to check out these people. He had
THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT THROUGHOUT THE UK THERE ARE CHRISTIAN GROUPS MEETING IN SCHOOLS THAT AIM TO SUPPORT CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE AS THEY SEEK TO LIVE OUT THEIR FAITH AMONG THEIR PEERS. Bible. Connecting them to the Bible, and the Christian faith, where they are at, is a fantastic opportunity.” Throughout the UK there are a wide variety of school-based Christian groups, teacher-led groups in primary schools, activity-based groups in high schools led by local church youth workers, peer-led groups of sixth-formers and recently, there has been a growth in the idea of ‘prayer spaces in schools’ – an idea being pioneered by the 24-7 Prayer movement. There’s certainly no shortage of exciting, faith-lifting stories. New Generation is an organisation based in the Midlands. They currently support 30 peer-led groups in schools throughout the area, while offering resources to other groups throughout the UK. As well as providing support to existing groups, much of their time is spent visiting churches inspiring young people to get involved in God’s mission within their schools. Jenny Carlsson, team co-ordinator at New Generation, says: “So many times we have seen how God multiplies the small initiatives young people take into something big.”
become a Christian, as had three other people on her list, by the time she had left school. What can we do as church leaders, youth leaders and Sunday School teachers, and as parents, grandparents, aunties and uncles, to support children and young people we know as they seek to live out their Christian faith at school?
PRAY We can pray for the children and young people we know. We can pray that God would give them confidence to remain strong in Him, even when the going gets tough. Make sure you tell them that you’re praying for them – this in itself will give them courage.
RECOGNISE In sermons, use examples from, and relate what you are saying to, the school environment as well as work, home and the community. Interview children and young people so that the wider church knows about the challenges and opportunities that exist for them at school. This will also make them feel like a valued part of your church.
CUs: If a group doesn’t already exist, why not consider facilitating one?
GET INVOLVED Find out what’s going on in the schools near your church. If you find that a group already exists, see if they need any support. For example, they might need money to buy some doughnuts or Bibles to use at group meetings. If a group doesn’t already exist, why not consider facilitating one? Don’t just jump right in. First speak to other churches in the area to find out if they already have a relationship with the school in question. When you approach the school, do so with a servant-hearted attitude. Find out how you could help them – for example they might be looking for volunteers to assist with reading groups or to be trained
CONFIDENCE IN THE GOSPEL
as mentors. Then as the relationship develops, explore the possibility of starting a Christian group in the school.
the educational context and respect that. There are three golden rules. Be sensible, be sensitive and be curriculum-based.”
You might think that schools might be sceptical of a church offering to help, particularly if it is to run a group. However, Geoff Brown explains: “In my experience schools are generally keen to have people from faith groups; especially if the initiative comes from the pupils themselves. We need to be aware that starting a Christian group could well open the door to other faith groups as well, but we shouldn’t be afraid of that.”
He concludes: “It’s important that we always recognise that we are working in
The following websites will connect you with ideas, resources and training as you start a schools-based group. • newgeneration.co.uk • prayerspacesinschools.com • schoolswork.co.uk • scriptureunion.org.uk/schoolslive • yfc.co.uk
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Rev Israel Olofinjana: is author of Turning the Tables on Mission, published by Instant Apostle.
as there been a shift H in global mission? That Christianity has shifted from the north to the global south is a reality that we are living through. Christianity is growing every day in Africa, Asia and Latin America while it appears to be declining in the Western world, in places such as North America and Europe. Christians from the global south have taken the mandate to spread the gospel so that there is now reverse mission from the former mission field to Europe and North America. In the British context, Caribbean and African Christians have taken the lead in establishing churches since 1906. Many of these churches, commonly known as black majority churches (BMCs), particularly the African churches, are church plants from their headquarters back in Africa. Examples of these are The Church of the Lord Aladura, the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Church of Pentecost, Victory Bible International Church and many others. All the above churches started in West Africa and have sent missionaries and pastors to the UK to do missions. This type of African churches constitutes the first set of African churches in Britain and other parts of Europe. The second type of African churches are those that were founded here in Britain and are now sending missionaries and pastors to different parts of Europe and other parts of the world. It is to this second group that I want to draw attention. An example of an African church that started in Britain and is sending missionaries to other parts of the world is Kingsway International Christian Centre (KICC), founded by Pastor Matthew Ashimolowo in 1992. KICC is one of the largest churches in Britain with a congregation of around 12,000. They have church plants in major cities in the UK such as Birmingham, Luton, Milton Keynes, Bristol, Bedford and Oxford. KICC is also involved in global missions through their television station KICC TV which is viewed in Africa, Europe, North America, Asia and the Caribbean. Another avenue KICC use in spreading the gospel to other parts of the world is through conferences (Winning Ways Africa), gospel campaign meetings and relief work. In addition, KICC also has church plants in the Republic of Ireland, Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Namibia and Malawi. Another example of an African church that started in Britain and is involved in IDEA MAGAZINE / 30
global missions is Trinity Baptist Church, founded by Rev Kingsley Appaigyei – a member of the Alliance’s One People Commission – in 1989. Trinity Baptist Church is also considered one of the largest black majority churches in Britain with a congregation of around 3,000 people. Trinity Baptist Church since its inception has been involved in many church plants within the UK and other parts of Europe. They have churches in Italy, Denmark, Netherlands and Ghana. In addition, they also have an orphanage home in Ghana. Another example is Jubilee International Church founded by Dr Femi Olowo in April 1992 in south London. Jubilee International Church has planted churches within Britain and other parts of the world, such as in African countries like Uganda, Kenya, Zambia, the Congo, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone and the Gambia, and in Asian countries like Pakistan, India and the Philippines. In addition, the church conducts mission trips to Europe, Africa and Asia. Lastly, the Embassy of God Church, founded by Pastor Sunday Adelaja in 1994 in Kiev Ukraine, is yet another church founded by an African in Europe and is involved in global missions. The Embassy of God Church is one of the largest churches in Europe, having about 20,000 members. This church cannot actually be labelled an African church
because 99 per cent of its membership is white European. The church has a leadership training programme, International Training School for Leaders which trains and equips church leaders, missionaries and church planters in global missions. This school has sent missionaries to different parts of the world so that today the church can boast of having more than 200 church plants in the former countries of the Soviet Union, the United Arab Emirates, Israel, the Netherlands, Spain, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Greece, Georgia, India, Canada, United States of America, Finland, Czech Republic, Sweden, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Japan, Moldova, Estonia and Finland. The Embassy of God Church is also involved in relief work in some of these countries. Having given few examples of African churches’ involvement in global missions, it is important that European mission agencies and organisations recognise and possibly partner with these African churches in working together for God’s kingdom on earth. Gone are those days when European and North American mission organisations can claim the monopoly of world missions. This shift in global mission must be recognised and co-operation is needed on both sides to work together. Let us drop our agenda of doing it alone and work as partners in reaching the unreached.
A story of forgiveness by Alex Nsengimana
I knelt on the cool tile floor of a Rwandan prison on a rainy March afternoon, my thoughts flashing back to that day, nearly 19 years ago, when my world fell apart. Images flew through my mind’s eye in rapid succession: a woman – my grandmother – yelling at me, my younger brother and older sister to find a place to hide. Angry men ordering my grandmother outside, raising a nail-studded club as they began beating her to death. With a sharp breath, I returned my thoughts to the present-day Rwandan prison, laid my hand on the shoulder of the man next to me, and began to pray that God would forgive him. Images from the days and months following my grandmother’s death continued to crash through my consciousness as I searched for more words to pray. My uncle, hiding under the bed, finally discovered by a mob of militia. His pleading eyes looking into the faces of his killers, asking them to shoot him quickly. The stick they used to
beat him until, finally, he died. I forced myself once again to return to the present, continuing my prayer. As I finished praying, a weighty burden seemed to lift from my shoulders. My journey to forgiveness had been long. Over the years I struggled to understand why my life was spared when nearly a million other lives were not. Nights at the orphanage where we ended up were filled with the cries of children like me, hundreds of them, all lost and alone. One day in 1995, all of the kids at the orphanage began lining up outside. Excitement buzzed like electricity in the air, and we were each handed a colourful box. These gift-filled shoeboxes, given through the Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child project, reminded us that someone cared for us.
In 1997, I joined the African Children’s Choir. On tour, I met a family who eventually sponsored me to come to school in the US. In 2003, I left Rwanda and moved to Minnesota, where God gave me another family who cares about me. After high school, I studied to receive a degree in pastoral leadership through Crossroads College. My journey is still in progress, but after I travelled to Rwanda to deliver shoebox gifts through Operation Christmas Child, I came full circle in the healing process. I didn’t expect to be able to meet the man who killed my uncle, but when the Lord orchestrated that during my trip, I began to feel as though I could see the destination at the end of the road. If God is able to forgive me of my sins, I can forgive someone who has wronged me. operationchristmaschild.org.uk/idea
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Sophie Lister: is a writer with Damaris which provides free resources for Damaris Film Clubs as well as the Damaris Film Blog. See damaris.org/filmclubs and damaris.org/filmblog.
When the smoke clears
Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Photo credit: Murray Close
The last time we saw Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), she had just achieved the impossible: surviving a brutal televised fight to the death, and bringing her friend Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) safely out of the arena with her. The Hunger Games (2012) saw the characters pushed to their limits as they battled for their lives, finding their eventual triumph tainted by the awful things they’d had to see and do. But worse is yet to come. In The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (in cinemas from 21 November), Katniss finds that her actions in the arena have had far-reaching consequences in the outside world. Something about her unconventional actions during the Games has resonated with the oppressed people of Panem. In this futuristic nation where the corrupt government is all-powerful, no defiance goes unnoticed or unpunished – but Katniss’s victory in the Games has lit a spark of hope. As dastardly President Snow (Donald Sutherland) mused in the first film, a little hope is necessary, but too much can become a dangerous thing. Revolution is in the air, and the powers that be need a way to control Katniss and her growing legend. Their solution turns out to be a characteristic combination of violent threats and shrewd public relations. Katniss can either become a celebrity they’ll parade in front of the people for their own ends, or she can watch her family and friends suffer.
HEARTS AND MINDS The first part of The Hunger Games series offered a commentary on a media-obsessed culture, and the role that entertainment can play in numbing us to grim realities. In the second instalment, the focus shifts IDEA MAGAZINE / 32
to Katniss’s struggles with her own identity and integrity. Stuck between a rock and a hard place, she must choose between overturning an unjust order, and preserving the safety of the people she loves. Whichever way she turns, compromise and the suffering of others seem inevitable. In a deeply broken world, the story suggests, there’s no simple path to ‘just being yourself’ and ‘just doing the right thing’.
It’s this complexity which perhaps sets The Hunger Games series apart from other tales aimed at young adults. Katniss is an appropriate heroine for a generation growing up in a culture where appearance is everything – where it’s a constant battle to distinguish between the way things look and the way things actually are. As with many dystopias, both real and fictional, control over information and even language matters in Panem. Everything is warped and moulded into propaganda. The government doesn’t just want to exert violent physical power, but to colonise hearts and minds with its ideas.
Peeta’s words from the first film, on the night before entering the Hunger Games arena, offer a guiding light: “I just keep wishing I could think of a way to show them that they don’t own me. If I’m going to die, I want to still be me.” Our own world, like Panem, is a place where the deepest truth about who we are sometimes seems lost amid the performance and the power games. Identities, and all the values tied up in them, can become fluid at best, hopelessly fragmented at worst. Perhaps the only route to authenticity, and to wholeness, is to root our identity in something that the world can’t reach.
Because of this, the journey towards freedom must be about throwing off mental shackles, as much as anything. It’s a fraught process for Katniss, whose emotions are entangled in the government’s lies. Does she really love her childhood friend Gale (Liam Hemsworth), or Peeta, with whom she’s playing out a relationship for the cameras? The truth, when it finally emerges, may just surprise her.
Catching Fire and the final two instalments of the series (due 2014 and 2015) ask whether ultimately we become what we pretend to be. Katniss feels herself to be no more a figurehead for the rebellion than she does a government puppet, but necessity dictates that she plays the part. Will anything be left of the real her when the smoke clears and the propaganda ends?
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is released in cinemas on 21 November
Reviews: What’s new in books and music?
IS GOD ANTI-GAY?
by Sam Alberry (The Good Book Company) Sam Allberry is a church pastor who admits to living with feelings of same-sex attraction. He is also committed to biblical sexual morality. With other church leaders he will shortly launch a new website aimed at helping those with similar experience. Sam has now published an excellent little book entitled Is God Anti-Gay? I can’t recommend this book highly enough. It’s an ideal introduction for the many leaders and Christians who are unclear, unsure or uneasy about this controversial subject. Straightforward, accessible and practical, it deals sensitively, graciously and pastorally with key issues based on evident deep personal experience. Reviewed by Dr Don Horrocks
SOMETIMES I WRITE WORDS by John Hermon (Instant Apostle)
This poetry bundle comprises carefully-crafted poems on themes such as Easter, Christmas, and biblical narratives that give glimpses of divine beauty, love and faithfulness. The poems on the loss of his wife are reminiscent of the lament psalm in scripture, a candid conversation with God on the questions of life and its grief. This beautiful writing lends itself equally to personal reading and communal services and will speak to the heart as it addresses our wounds and reminds us of our eternal hope. Reviewed by Marijke Hoek
HELP, THANKS, WOW by Anne Lamott (Hodder & Stoughton)
For so many Christians, prayer is a difficult thing to grasp. But in this refreshingly honest and at times uplifting book, Anne Lamott narrows our prayer life down to three simple themes: help, thanks and wow. This book – beautifully written – articulates those times when all we need is to speak to God, to voice our frustrations, our hurts, our pleadings and our angers. In a unique and engaging way, Lamott is able to show that God cares about us and wants to be involved in every single area of our lives. This tiny gem of a book is a must-read. Reviewed by Chine Mbubaegbu
ON GOD’S SIDE by Jim Wallis (Lion Books)
Jim Wallis’s latest book sets out a vision for the common good that both politics and the Church need to recapture. The book alternates between sections strong on encouragement, inspiration and practical examples of what has happened in the United States. The coalition brought together from across the Christian spectrum to campaign for immigration reform provides the book’s clearest demonstration of the common good in action. Although that and other examples demonstrate cross-party achievements, the book fails to find the desired line which completely transcends party politics. While an interesting and at times inspiring read the idea of the common good is hard to pin down, and often appears to be little more than an aspirational slogan. Reviewed by Daniel Webster (see page 16 for interview with Jim Wallis)
IDEA MAGAZINE / 33
Soul stirrings: It’s the scariest thing I’ve ever done, but God has opened so many doors.
n audience A of one Described as “a fresh young talent whose soulful integrity underpins a meaningful and moving performance”, Amie Aitken is one to watch. The singer, whose influences include Emeli Sande, is passionate about sharing her faith through her music, which is why she released her first single This I Know – a soulful re-write of old hymn Jesus Loves Me – last year. As someone who was fostered and adopted as a child, Amie is also passionate about the Alliance’s Home for Good campaign – with Care for the Family and CCPAS… idea: How did you get into music? Amie: I’ve always been involved in musical things in my church, like the children’s choir and the worship band but being a recording artist was never part of my career plan. In winter 2011, I got involved in singing and playing piano for a couple of well-known Christian artists who were touring Scotland. After a few months I realised that this was a great way to share my own story, share the good news and have fun at the same time. It is the scariest thing I’ve ever done but God has opened so many doors and brought me further than I could have imagined in just a year. In June I completed a Kickstarter campaign to raise the necessary funds for my new EP which was a huge encouragement. It showed people support what I’m doing and gave me the faith to keep going. Sound Consultancy (the team who look after Philippa Hanna, Daughters of Davis and Jacob Lloyd) are the production team behind the EP. As a professional team, their willingness to invest in me as a new artist has challenged me to set my standards high and be the best that I can be. So, you studied theology at university. How was that for you? I got baptised age 12 and had always been confident in my faith. Four years of pulling apart every aspect of what I believed took me to some difficult places and for a time I really wasn’t sure if I’d still be a Christian when I graduated! Thankfully God pulled me out of those dark times and has continued to help me work it out day by day. Studying theology taught me how much I don’t know but gave me the tools to keep asking the right questions. It makes me think very carefully about what I say on stage and what goes into my songs too. Why are you backing our Home for Good campaign? At every event I share a little of my testimony, which involves being fostered and adopted. When I imagine how different my life would be if I were still in foster care, I’m so grateful for the opportunities and the life I’ve been given. There are so many children in the UK who still need a home for good and I believe the Church needs to be part of the solution. When I heard about Home For Good I was so excited to see a campaign who want the same thing that I do – for no child to be left without a permanent home and a stable family. I want to support their goals in any way that I can. Adoption is not just a last resort for childlessness – it’s a calling and one that we need to start taking seriously. IDEA MAGAZINE / 34
How do you balance your faith with the desire to succeed and become well-known? I’m not really worried about the balance of faith and ambition – my main ambition is to be more faithful. I think for Christian artists the real concern is often the balance between necessary self-promotion and people’s perception of our intentions. Even when music is a faith-driven ministry we have to advertise ourselves and constantly promote what we’re doing otherwise we won’t get anywhere. At times it feels quite contrary to our perceived ideas of humility. However, humility is not thinking less of ourselves or denying our talents, it’s thinking of others more and searching for opportunities to serve with the gifts that we have been given. Being well-known is just a way to reach more people and get the message out there. Any desire I have for my music to be ‘successful’ is simply that it’s doing something good, whether that be helping an individual to walk closer with Jesus, bringing someone through church doors for the first time or inspiring a family to open up their home to a child in need. Why not invite Amie to perform at your church and share her story of being fostered and adopted? Amie’s new EP, Audience of One, is out now: amieaitken.com
Positions shown indicate total sales during the sales period Sunday, 4 August, to Saturday, 5 October
Your Grace Finds Me
We Are Young & Free
Top 100 Praise & Worship Songs 2012
Let It Be Known
Bethel Music (Integrity Music) Hillsong Live (Hillsong Music) Matt Redman (Six Steps)
Matt Redman (Six Steps) Y&F (Hillsong Music)
Hillsong United (Hillsong Music) Maranatha Music (Maranatha Music)
Rend Collective Experiment (Integrity Music) LOUDER THAN THE MUSIC
Worship Central (Integrity Music)
God’s Great Dance Floor Step 01
Homemade Worship By Handmade People
God’s Great Dance Floor Step 02
For the Sake of the World
Chris Tomlin (Six Steps) Hillsong Live (Hillsong Music)
Martin Smith (Integrity Music)
Rend Collective Experiment (Integrity Music) Martin Smith (Integrity Music) Bethel Live (Integrity Music)
Live From New York
Martin Smith/Jesus Culture (Elevation)
One True Vine
Sing Like Never Before
FEATURING CO-WRITES WITH
Mavis Staples (Anti)
CHRIS TOMLIN MATT REDMAN MICHAEL W SMITH AND HILLSONG’S REUBEN MORGAN
Matt Redman (Six Steps)
Phil Wickham (FTS)
Tye Tribbett (Virgin)
©2013 Official Charts Company NOV/DEC 2013
IDEA MAGAZINE / 29 IdeaMagazine.indd 1
IDEA MAGAZINE / 35 30/09/2013 16:27
Letters: Have your say.
IN YOUR WORDS
IN YOUR WORDS
e love hearing from you, so have your say on any W of the issues raised in idea or any comments about the Evangelical Alliance by emailing email@example.com
YOUTH & CHURCH
Some things do not change (What puts young people off church? (Sep/Oct)). When I was a teenager in a Baptist church in 1942, I remember us asking at the monthly church meeting if the services “could be jazzed up a bit”. The minister suggested we could use the piano instead of the organ and have a “Sankey’s evening” as those hymns were quite lively. We didn’t! The deacons were probably over 40 so they kept it as it was. But the young people kept going.
I was very surprised to see that you allowed to be published in your latest idea magazine an article (Domestic violence: In churches too), which is in my view is both biased and sexist. Why is it that the myth is still perpetuated that it is only men who commit domestic violence? As a man who has suffered at the hands of a woman I find this article very hurtful.
Peter Waring, Northamptonshire
Thanks again for idea. I have always valued the magazine, but over the last two years as the format has changed have found it increasingly valuable.
Yesterday I visited my seven-year-old granddaughter. We were both excited as we anticipated meeting with one another. We enjoyed our time together cementing and developing our relationship in the midst of our family. We were sad when our time together came to an end. For me, “church” is rather similar. I eagerly anticipate my meeting with my Lord and saviour, among my church family, knowing I will be developing my relationship with him. Perhaps the reason that 20 to 30-year-olds and others don’t go to church is because they do not have a living relationship with Jesus? Irene Thornley, Bristol In addition to what your learned contributors say, may I add my conviction? Young people do not go to church at 10:30 on Sunday morning because they don’t believe in God. Most of them leave school with the belief that ‘science has proved that God does not exist’. We know that this is wrong, and that not even scientists can prove a negative, but the young people don’t. Until the Church in the West tackles the problem of lopsided evolution teaching in schools, congregations will continue to dwindle. David King, Maidstone IDEA MAGAZINE / 36
Heard in tweets
On @EAUKnews we asked: What does it mean to be Christ-centred? @rhamage: “it’s all about making much of him, helping people gaze at him and adore, ‘to the praise of his glorious grace’.” @Huduma_PC2: “It means acknowledging, trusting, and submitting to Him in everything you do. And discipling others to do the same.” Follow the Alliance on Twitter: @EAUKnews @idea_mag
Editor Chine Mbubaegbu – firstname.lastname@example.org Consulting editors Steve Morris, Krish Kandiah Contributing writers Phil Green, Lucy Cooper, Sophie Lister, Gethin Russell-Jones, Carla Prentice, Kieran Turner, Daniel Webster Advertising manager Candy O’Donovan – email@example.com
David, via email
Design Red & Green Marketing
Printer Halcyon Print & Design
Jim Shaw, Derby I have been subscribing to numerous Christian magazines for many years and I would like to say that your magazine is one of the best Christian magazines out. It is well-balanced and yet interesting enough. It talks about government, theology and people – all in one magazine. I particular like the section which gives an insight into people’s lives both within the Evangelical Alliance and within the Christian Church. Well done. Vivienne Oke, via email Editor’s reply: Why, thank you.
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
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.
Top 5 random saints days by Kim Walker, senior information officer, Evangelical Alliance 1) SAINT KEVIN
Chosen primarily because itâ€™s a great name for a saint. He is one of the patron saints of Dublin and founded a monastery in the beautiful setting of the Vale of Glandalough, County Wicklow. The tiny 12th century church on the site of his monastery is known as St Kevinâ€™s Kitchen because the small tower of the church looked like a kitchen chimney.
2) ST SIMEON STYLITES
St Simeon Stylites was a hermit who lived for 37 years standing on a platform at the top of a pillar. Apparently he died standing up as a result of an ulcerated leg. He preached from the top of his pillar and also wrote letters to the Roman Emperor Leo I and gave advice to male visitors who could climb a ladder to talk to him (women were not allowed to approach him). He is the holder of the record for the longest pole sit.
3) ST QUITERIA
Quiteria was one of the nonuplets that was disowned at birth by their mother. The sisters formed a gang that went around the Roman Empire freeing Christians from jail and entering pagan temples to smash the idols. Quiteria was eventually beheaded for her crimes.
4) ST POLYCARP
St Polycarp was a second century bishop whose Letter to the Philippians is a key text in early Christian theology with frequent references to New Testament writing and especially the role of St Paul. He was a disciple of the Apostle John. When the Romans tried to burn him alive for refusing to abandon Christianity, the flames would not touch him so he had to be stabbed and then his body was burnt after death. Polycarp makes this random list because he is the patron saint against dysentery and earache.
5) ST JOSEPH CUPERTINO
St Joseph is the patron saint of air travellers and astronauts because he used to levitate when he prayed. People would come to watch him praying just in the hope he would start floating. This enabled him to develop his gifts of patience, meekness and modesty.
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IDEA MAGAZINE / 37
Steve Clifford: The general director writes... Twitter: @stevemclifford
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Steve Clifford at our official opening.
Wish you were there
28 August 2013 will be a landmark in the almost 170-year history of the Evangelical Alliance. After three years of planning, this was the official opening of our new resource centre in King’s Cross, London. I really wish you could have all been there! It was a great opportunity to say thank you to those who through their hard work, skills and generosity had made it possible. (I am pleased to report we sold Whitefield House at a really good price, used some reserves and received about £500,000 of donations from our friends, covered all our costs and are loan-free). The opening was therefore an opportunity for thankfulness at God’s faithful provision and to dedicate the space to His work; serving His Church and the advancement of His kingdom. The programme for the opening included a quotation from minutes taken on 31 March 1845 at a preparatory meeting for the great 1846 assembly which established the Evangelical Alliance. The hand-written notes, recently discovered in our archives, embody the calling of the Alliance decades later at the beginning of the 21st century. Rev A Cox proposed the motion to the planning group: “That the great object of the Evangelical Alliance be to aid in manifesting as far as practicable, the unity which exists amongst the true disciples of Christ, to promote their union by fraternal and devotional intercourse, to discourage all envyings, strifes and divisions, to impress on Christians a deeper sense of the great duty of obeying our Lord’s command to ‘love one another’ and to seek the full accomplishment of His prayer – That they may all be one, as thou Father art in me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in us, that the world IDEA MAGAZINE / 38
may believe that thou hast sent me.” The notes concluded ‘the motion was carried’. Since then the Evangelical Alliance has been acting on Rev Cox’s motion. We cannot always live up to such a high calling, however the prayer of Jesus remains a provocative challenge to the evangelical community. Are we an answer or an obstruction? Do we recognise our brothers and sisters in Christ and celebrate our unity in the midst of the diversity of our ethnicity, cultural and ecclesiastical preferences? The prayer contains a great missional focus; the unity of God’s people is a key to the world believing. Hopefully you have uncovered the stories where this kind of unity is emerging. Talk about ‘unity movements’ in villages, towns and cities across the UK is becoming the norm, regardless of denomination or network, to build relationships and commit to seeing the physical, social and spiritual transformation of communities. This is an undeniable God initiative. Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, spoke wonderfully and prayed a powerful blessing at the official opening. I was a little taken aback when he informed me, as we stood ready for the historic picture beside the opening plaque, that we had spelt his name wrong! It took me a few seconds to recognise the joke, during which time various serious contingency plans were being thought up. I am now considering how to get my own back… if that’s allowed as a Christian leader. The Archbishop of Canterbury brought
wonderful words of endorsement for the Alliance, specifically making reference to our work bringing Christians together from all denominations, networks, cultures and traditions, particularly those of diverse ethnic backgrounds, recognising that we are family together. He referred to our important work as a voice in Westminster, the national and local assemblies and councils. He picked up on our Confidence in the Gospel initiative and made specific reference to the amazing fostering and adoption challenge we have set ourselves as part of Home for Good. “Sadly the Church is so often known for what we are ‘against’, we must be known for what we are ‘for’” – he exhorted us – “what is so impressive about what is going on here [at the Evangelical Alliance] is that this is what the Church is for”. Beginning the process of planning our move three years ago I brought a London map to a small staff team meeting having identified possible areas for our relocation. And we prayed. Later I received an email from one of the team who nervously told me she sensed God was guiding us to King’s Cross. I have learnt over the years to take note of these things and although we continued to look widely, when 176 Copenhagen Street in King’s Cross was presented to us we remembered her words. I thank God that we did and I thank God for our new home. But let’s also be clear that it’s only a building and the building isn’t the goal. It is simply a means to an end that God will be glorified, His Church will be served and His kingdom will advance.
A NEW WAY TO SHARE THE CHRISTMAS STORY THE ONLY CHARITY ADVENT CALENDAR WITH A FREE CHRISTMAS STORYBOOK The Real Advent Calendar is a great way to share the real meaning of Christmas. There’s a line of the Christmas story and a chocolate star behind each window. Behind the final window is a 24-page Christmas storybook. A charitable donation is made to The Children’s Society and it’s Fairtrade.
Available from Warm welcome from church leaders Church and charity leaders have welcomed the Real Advent Calendar. The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, said: “This is the first time that a major supermarket has put the Christmas story so openly at the centre of their Christmas range. The copy of the Christmas story, in each Real Advent Calendar, allows people to read and see, for themselves, what Christmas is all about. The Rt Revd Tim Thornton, Bishop of Truro and Chair of The Children's Society's Board of Trustees, said: “The Real Advent Calendar offers a unique way to share the Christmas story while supporting The Children’s Society and Fairtrade. I believe it will be widely welcomed by the faith community and others. The Real Advent Calendar is a chance to educate and do good.”
The charitable element of the product is a reminder of the ordinariness of the family Jesus Christ was born in to. The Fairtrade element is a reminder to the business world and consumers that we need to be responsible in the way we buy goods. Above all The Real Advent Calendar is a reminder that Christmas Starts with Christ.”
Tesco is the only supermarket that will be stocking The Real Advent Calendar this year as it has ordered enough to offer a national in-store collect and home delivery service. It has supplies in most stores so pop in and buy some now or use its home delivery service. If your store does not have them or you want to make a bulk order, see below.
Tesco - church & school bulk orders
You can reserve and place orders with your local Tesco now. Ask your Tesco to place a manager's order for The Real Advent Calendar - product number 74819584. To find your local Tesco’s phone number call 0800 505 555 or visit the Tesco store locator at www.realadvent.co.uk/shop. You can pick up your calendars from the store or use its home delivery service.
Traidcraft & Independents
Churches with a Traidcraft contact can order through them. Selected independent retailers, Christian bookshops and some Cathedral resource centres also have limited supplies. Details can be seen on our Google map hunter at www.realadvent.co.uk/shop
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Published on Oct 29, 2013
idea: the magazine from the Evangelical Alliance. In this edition: 'Bringing hope to the unemployed', 'Archbishop of Canterbury praises the...