LATEST NEWS – June 14th 2024

LATEST NEWS

Church wins gold eco award

A church in Wales which turns surplus supermarket fresh food into a nutritious two-course hot meal for people in the community has won a top environment award.

St Sadwrn Church in Henllan, near Denbigh, has become the second church in the Church in Wales to achieve Gold Eco Church Status from the Christian conservation charity A Rocha UK’s Eco Church Award scheme

Among the key reasons for St Sadwrn’s success has been the weekly Henllan Warm Hub, which serves a two-course hot meal, created entirely from food which would otherwise go to landfill.

The warm hub, held in Henllan Church Institute next door to the church, has been running for more than a year and a dedicated team of volunteers collect surplus food from local supermarkets each week.

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Nature and science meet faith in stunning new Baptist-led films 

God Saw That It Was Good is a four-part film series that aims to reconnect people with the wonder of the natural world and a sense of the divine within it – and inspire a renewed vision of creation care.

The four short films focus on environmental issues around themes of coasts, sky, trees, and life, weaving stunning visual imagery with a narrative entwining science and faith.  
 
They are written and presented by the Revd Dr Dave Gregory, a Baptist minister and former meteorologist and climate scientist at the Met Office and European Weather Centre.
 
He says, “In our visual age, people are captivated by stunning images of our world and cosmos seen in nature and science programmes streamed to our TVs and phones. They are entranced by the wonder they see, yet often left with a sense of mystery and asking is there more to know?
 
“The God Saw That It Was Good films take people deeper in the wonder and mystery of the world. They enable viewers to encounter the wonder, playfulness, and connections in creation that science reveals, and through which God may be encountered.”

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After Rwanda: Church leaders speak out over hostility to refugees 

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York and Bishop of Southwark have joined with leaders of other churches in England to renew their commitment to caring for the most vulnerable, as legislation to enable asylum seekers to be deported to Rwanda was approved by Parliament.

In a joint statement with leaders of the Roman Catholic, Methodist, Baptist and United Reformed Churches, they pay tribute to all those who “live out Jesus’s call to feed and clothe the poor, and to welcome the stranger, at times in the face of opposition and prejudice.

The statement voices concern that asylum seekers and refugees have been used as a “political football” and that the kindness of churches and charities towards people fleeing war, persecution and violence has been “unjustly maligned by some for political reasons.”

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National Redress Scheme: Proposed financial award framework and approach to funding 

Details of the proposed financial award framework for the Church of England’s national Redress Scheme have been published.

If approved, the framework would be used to calculate offers of financial redress to survivors and victims of Church-related abuse. Details of the proposed approach to funding the Redress Scheme have also been announced.

 The Redress Project Board has agreed the recommended financial award framework for the national Redress Scheme. If approved through the Church of England’s legislative processes, the framework would result in individual awards of between £5,000 and £660,000 in rare and exceptional circumstances.

The Redress Project Board recommendation follows many months of detailed conversations and consultation with survivors of Church-related abuse.

The Chair of the Redress Project Board, Bishop Philip Mounstephen, said: “The recommended financial awards framework, developed with guidance and input from survivors and external experts, aims to address the range of suffering experienced, offering financial redress in a clear and transparent manner.

“No amount of money can ever undo the past. Our hope, nonetheless, is that this could be a significant step both towards the acknowledgment of wrongdoing, and, however incompletely, towards helping rebuild lives.”

The Redress Project Board has benchmarked the framework calculations against other similar schemes and has also received external specialist input. The Board has aimed to ensure that the levels of financial redress that could be offered are in line with or exceed those found in comparable schemes.

Financial awards would be calculated by taking into account factors such as the nature of the abuse and its impact on the applicant. In addition to individual financial awards, the Redress Scheme will offer eligible applicants other forms of redress, such as emotional and therapeutic support, and apology.

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‘Spreading hope and love amid the darkness’ 

Baptist organisations in Palestine and Israel are continuing to support people amid the ‘heart-wrenching reality’ of the war in Gaza.

One such organisation is Christian Mission to Gaza, whose founder and president is Hanna Massad, the former pastor of Gaza Baptist Church.
 
In regular newsletters to supporters, Hanna details how CMG is actively involved in providing essential aid to those affected by the conflict.
 
This includes winter clothes, groceries, meals for people sheltering in churches and beyond (many Christians are sheltering at St Porphyrios Greek Orthodox Church and the Holy Family Roman Catholic Church), as well as financial support to help families meet basic needs.

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Archbishop calls for halt to “indefensible abuse” of rivers

The Archbishop of Wales has called for a halt to the “indefensible abuse” of our waterways. Rivers, he said, were dying because of pollution.

Archbishop Andrew John’s comments came during his recent Presidential Address to members of the Governing Body of the Church in Wales at the start of its two-day meeting in Newport.

Archbishop Andrew said, “Why should we be concerned about water? Because our rivers are dying. Water companies are illegally pumping raw sewage into them. And even as sections of our farming communities are underpaid and undervalued, intensive farming practices, promoted by unsustainable food production systems, are poisoning rivers with excess fertiliser and animal waste – witness the tragic situation in the Wye Valley.

“We recognise investment is being made to improve our drainage and improvements are being delivered. However, all of us – including the industry, regulators, government and local authorities – must play a part in halting this indefensible abuse of the most essential element of life.”

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Chaplains keep faith in football

By the Revd Peter Crumpler, a Church of England priest in St Albans, Herts, and a former communications director for the CofE.

Chaplains are playing a vital role in the Premier League and other leagues across the UK.

Currently 11 English Premier League clubs and 55 Football League clubs have chaplains, with some clubs having more than one. There are also chaplains throughout the National League and in lower league clubs. The growth in women’s football has led to more chaplains being appointed to serve women’s teams.

Matt Baker is National Director for England overseeing all of English Sport for Sports Chaplaincy UK. He combines the role with being chaplain at London’s Charlton Athletic, a position he has held since March 2000. 

He explains: “The role of the chaplain is to be pastorally proactive and spiritually reactive. This means being regularly present, listening and supporting people whether they have a faith or not.

“From a spiritual perspective an example of this was when a player asked me 15 years ago whether I would pray with him before a game. On the first occasion there were a couple of players and we prayed together before every game for the rest of that season.

“This has continued ever since as there always seem to be Christian players in the squad and so pre-match prayers before a home game have become a part of the regular routine for those wanting it. When we have had players of other faiths a room has also been made available for prayers for them as well.”

Matt loves his role. He tells me: “I’m a people person so I love being around staff and players, getting to know them, listening and helping to support wherever I can. It’s a tremendous privilege to be a chaplain at a football club and I never take that lightly.”

Many churches have local football and other sporting clubs on their doorsteps and may want to see if a chaplaincy might be possible. What would Matt’s advice be to Christians wanting to make the connection?

He tells me, “Get in touch with us at Sports Chaplaincy UK. Depending on an individual’s location and sport we can advise on any vacancies we are aware of, guide them through any openings and offer the relevant sports chaplaincy training and support.”

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Visit the C of E online page

There is now a range of digital resources for to you connect with God at this difficult time.  These include:

Time to Pray app (https://www.chpublishing.co.uk/apps/time-to-pray) which is free and has an accompanying daily audio offering on SoundCloud and iTunes.

Mental health reflections (https://www.churchofengland.org/faith-action/mental-health-resources/supporting-good-mental-health)

Tips to tackle isolation (https://www.churchofengland.org/faith-action/mental-health-resources/dealing-loneliness-and-isolation-five-top-tips)

Finally, there are the Church’s smart speaker apps, which provide a range of Christian resources.  https://www.churchofengland.org/our-faith/our-smart-speaker-apps  In March alone, the number of people using the Alexa app rose by more than 70 per cent.

More details at:  https://www.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/church-online

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