Category : England / UK

(Church Times) The idea of the Parish is not threatened, says Archbishop Justin Welby

The parish is “essential” and is not under threat, the Archbishop of Canterbury has said.

In an interview last Friday for the Church Times, Archbishop Welby responded to the Save the Parish campaign by stating: “There is no ‘threat’ to the parish. . . There is no conspiracy to abolish the parish.”

It was “rubbish”, he said, to suggest that the parish system was outdated. “We are the Church for England. If we are going to be for England, we have to be in every community, or as many as we can possibly manage. We have to be open to every person, not just the congregation, precious as they are.”

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Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

(NYT) Why Australia Bet the House on Lasting American Power in Asia

When Scott Morrison became Australia’s prime minister three years ago, he insisted that the country could maintain close ties with China, its largest trading partner, while working with the United States, its main security ally.

“Australia doesn’t have to choose,” he said in one of his first foreign policy speeches.

On Thursday, Australia effectively chose. Following years of sharply deteriorating relations with Beijing, Australia announced a new defense agreement in which the United States and Britain would help it deploy nuclear-powered submarines, a major advance in Australian military strength.

With its move to acquire heavy weaponry and top-secret technology, Australia has thrown in its lot with the United States for generations to come — a “forever partnership,” in Mr. Morrison’s words. The agreement will open the way to deeper military ties and higher expectations that Australia would join any military conflict with Beijing.

It’s a big strategic bet that America will prevail in its great-power competition with China and continue to be a dominant and stabilizing force in the Pacific even as the costs increase.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Australia / NZ, Defense, National Security, Military, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, France, Politics in General, Science & Technology

Congratulation to Emma Raducanu, Winner of the US Open Women’s Tennis Final

The 18-year-old Raducanu was being hailed Sunday as the new queen of British sport — and perhaps the architect of one of the most unlikely sporting achievements of all time — by winning the U.S. Open as a qualifier.

Her 6-4, 6-3 victory over Leylah Fernandez, broadcast on free-to-air TV in Britain, was in a primetime slot on Saturday evening, allowing the nation to savor a superstar in the making.

Among them, apparently, was the British Prime Minister.

“What a sensational match! Huge congratulations to Emma Raducanu,” read a tweet from Boris Johnson’s official account. “You showed extraordinary skill, poise and guts and we are all hugely proud of you.”

The queen also sent her congratulations.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., England / UK, Sports, Teens / Youth, Women

(Economist) The Church of England needs new members. How to get them?

Now the church is displaying evangelising glints that are, for many, alarming. A briefing paper on “Vision and Strategy”, delivered in July at its general synod, called for a church that is “younger and more diverse”—and much bigger. It aims to develop 3,000 “worshipping hubs” for children and young people, and has linked with a movement called “Myriad” (the word is Greek for 10,000), which aims to create 10,000 new churches and a million new worshippers in Britain within a decade.

Myriad does not mean “churches” in the spinsters-and-stained-glass sense. It is not promising 10,000 more pulpits or transepts or tea urns or vicars. It is not promising buildings at all. Myriad groups might meet in churches and work with priests—or they might meet independently, in houses or offices or parks. Followers talk freely about God. As a promotional video explains, this movement is “not just reserved for Bibles and a building”. These churches will be “predominantly” led by lay people—a Myriad boss referred to buildings and theological training as “key limiting factors” in church expansion.

The response has been bitter. Both the church and Myriad later apologised for the “limiting factors” comment, but the damage was done. The plans have been described as “Stalinist” and a “Great Leap Forward”. This, one vicar wrote, is a Christianity that is “randy for converts”. A Save the Parish group has been formed. Diarmaid MacCulloch, an emeritus professor of ecclesiastical history at Oxford University, sees in the scheme a certain “adolescent self-confidence”. Many are very angry. Mr MacCulloch says he is merely “mildly cross in an Anglican sort of way”. Which in Anglicanese means furious.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

(NYT) A remarkable US Open tournament now features 2 unseeded teenagers in the women’s final

Two teenage women who were barely known to anyone other than the most devout tennis fans before this U.S. Open will vie for the singles championship on Saturday in what has to be the most improbable matchup for a Grand Slam final since the modern era of tennis began more than 50 years ago.

On a Thursday night that would have been shocking had Emma Raducanu of Britain and Leylah Fernandez of Canada not been pulling rabbits out of their hats for the better part of two weeks, the two teenage sensations once again knocked off seasoned pros who exist in a different stratosphere in the world rankings.

First, Fernandez outlasted the second-seeded Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus, in three sets, 7-6(3), 4-6, 6-4, in a nervy, error-filled match that saw both players let go of chances to put the battle away long before Sabalenka finished herself off with one last flurry of double faults. It was Fernandez’s fourth consecutive three-set win over one of the top 20 players in the world.

Then Raducanu took the stage at Arthur Ashe Stadium and did what she has been doing for more than a week — blitzing players far more accomplished and making them play their worst matches of the tournament. Raducanu ambushed the 17th-seeded Maria Sakkari of Greece, 6-1, 6-4.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Canada, England / UK, Sports, Teens / Youth, Women

The Bishop of Croydon, The Rt Revd Jonathan Clark, announces departure from the Diocese of Southwark

The Bishop of Croydon, The Rt Revd Jonathan Clark, announced today that he will be leaving the Diocese of Southwark on March 21, 2022 – exactly 10 years to the day of his consecration as Bishop.

“I’m sad about all I’ll be leaving, as well as excited about what lies ahead,” said Bishop Jonathan, who will be moving to Orkney with his wife Alison, who will be continuing her academic and creative work. “I plan to write more and will be teaching, leading retreats and offering mentoring support to clergy,” he continued.

The Bishop of Southwark, The Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, said, “Bishop Jonathan has served the Diocese of Southwark with energy, integrity and vision for ten years as the Bishop of Croydon. He has been a superb colleague and has also served the wider Diocese as Chair of the Southwark Board of Education as well as the national church in various additional roles, particularly on Ministry Council and as one of the lead bishops for refugee issues. I am grateful to him for all he has accomplished, for his companionship in episcopal ministry, and for his loving service of God’s people. He and Alison go with our prayers and gratitude as they move forward to the next stage of life and ministry.”

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Religion & Culture

(Church Times) Welsh same sex marriage blessing bill passes for 5 year experimental period

Several clergy acknowledged the struggles they had on the issue. The Revd Richard Wood (Bangor) believed that those opposed to the Bill had been misrepresented: “We disagree how we read scripture. I stand here not as a bigot, but as someone who has struggled to a point where I believe this Bill would be crossing a boundary,” he said. “My position has been maligned. A pastoral response is not to offer kindness for kindness’s sake….”

Bishop Cameron, summing up the debate, described it as “the most difficult job I’ve ever been given”. He sought to assure the Evangelical constituency that he had not chosen to misrepresent or condemn their views.

“When I talked about my understanding of scripture, I was speaking autobiographically. It was not intended as rubbishing of conservative Evangelical thinking, theology, or ministry.

“But I don’t agree with you that the Bible can only be read as hostile to gay relationships. I refuse to be told that I am ‘unorthodox’. . . We should not ‘disfellowship’ each other because we do not agree on this issue. . . Christ compels me to stand with the vulnerable and oppressed. I will not betray them at any price in this world or the next.”

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Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, --Wales, Anthropology, Church of Wales, Ethics / Moral Theology, Religion & Culture, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

Friday Food for Thought from Francis Spufford on why He Wrote ‘Light Perpetual’

[F]or the last twelve years, I’ve been walking to work at Goldsmiths College past a plaque commemorating the 1944 V-2 attack on the New Cross Road branch of Woolworths. Of the 168 people who died, fifteen were aged eleven or under. The novel is partly written in memory of those South London children, and their lost chance to experience the rest of the twentieth century.

But what has gone is not just the children’s present existence…It’s all the futures they won’t get, too. All the would-be’s, might-be’s, could-be’s of the decades to come. How can that loss be measured, how can that loss be known, except by laying this absence, now and onwards, against some other version of the reel of time, where might-be and could-be and would-be still may be?

–quoted by yours truly in last week’s sermon

Posted in Anthropology, Books, England / UK

(BBC) ‘Most powerful’ tidal turbine starts generating electricity off Orkney

A tidal-powered turbine, which its makers say is the most powerful in the world, has started to generate electricity via the grid in Orkney.

The Orbital O2 has the capacity to meet the annual electricity demand of 2,000 homes for the next 15 years.

In May, it was sailed out of Dundee, where it was assembled over 18 months.

The 680-tonne turbine is now anchored in the Fall of Warness where a subsea cable connects the 2MW offshore unit to the local onshore electricity network.

Orbital Marine Power said its first commercial turbine, which will be powered by the fast-flowing waters, is a “major milestone”.

It is also providing power to an onshore electrolyser to generate green hydrogen.

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Posted in --Scotland, Ecology, Energy, Natural Resources, Science & Technology

(C of E) Alan Smith announced as next First Church Estates Commissioner

Alan Smith, Senior Advisor – ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) Risk and Inclusion, and former Global Head of Risk Strategy at HSBC, is to be the next First Church Estates Commissioner, Downing Street announced today. Alan has also been a Church Commissioner since 2018.
The First Church Estates Commissioner chairs the Church Commissioners’ Assets Committee, a statutory committee responsible for the strategic management of the Church Commissioners’ £9.2 billion investment portfolio.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, Chair of the Commissioners’ Board of Governors, said: “I am delighted that Alan has chosen to use his skills and experience to serve the Church and greatly look forward to working with him. Climate change is the most urgent challenge we face, and Alan’s knowledge of environmental issues and risk management will be critically important for the Commissioners’ work. I’d also like to thank Loretta Minghella for her hard work and leadership during her time at the Church Commissioners.”

The Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, said: “We are pleased that Alan will succeed Loretta. Alan’s experience as a Commissioner and his role on the Commissioners’ Audit & Risk Committee means he’s extremely well suited for this leadership role.”

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), Corporations/Corporate Life, Ecology, Economy, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Religion & Culture, Stock Market

(CEN) Safeguarding Sunday launched but ‘criticisms’ remain

Safeguarding Sunday, will be introduced to churches nationally, a new initiative aiming to raise the profile of safeguarding.

The Bishop of Huddersfield, Jonathan Gibbs, gave a Safeguarding update to Synod.

Dr Gibbs, the Church of England’s lead safeguarding bishop, told Synod the church is “entering a season of action” in which “there is far more to be done.”

“Our aim is to help people see safeguarding as an integral part of the mission of the church,” he said.

“Safeguarding is partly about stopping bad things happening and about how we respond when they do, but it is also about enabling our churches to become places where people are enabled to flourish and grow into the fullness of life that God intends for us all.”

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture

(Church Times) Priests and bishops a ‘given’ in Myriad’s vision for lay-led churches

The Myriad initiative, which envisages the planting of 10,000 lay-led churches by 2030, is shining a light on what is already happening in the Church of England, the Bishop of Islington, Dr Ric Thorpe, said on Friday.

In a personal statement issued in response to concerns about the initiative (News, 2 July, 9 July), Dr Thorpe — who leads the Gregory Centre for Church Multiplication, home to the Myriad church-planting initiative — apologised for the “hurt and frustration” caused by communication of the work.

He referred to the phrase “key limiting factors”, used by Canon John McGinley, who leads Myriad, in a conversation about lay leadership (“When you don’t need a building and a stipend and long, costly college-based training for every leader of church . . . then actually we can release new people to lead and new churches to form”). The context to this had been lost, Dr Thorpe, said.

“I am so sad that this has happened. It is the opposite message to what we were trying to communicate and it didn’t come across as it was intended to. I am deeply sorry for the hurt and frustration that people have experienced.”

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

(Yorkshire Post) Sheffield’s proud history as the nation’s Steel City highlighted in new exhibition at its Cathedral

At the centre of The Foundry exhibition in Sheffield Cathedral is archive film footage from British Pathé, as the exhibition transports visitors back to an era at the height of the city’s steel-making industry.

It also showcases how artists, craftspeople and sculptors continue to use steel today to create thought-provoking and challenging pieces of work.

Artist Peter Walker, who is the director of the exhibition, said: “At the heart of The Foundry is a remarkable film showing historic Pathé footage of the steel industry in Sheffield.

“Around this there is an opportunity to explore how the city’s connection to the steel industry has inspired artists around the country over the past 50 years – sometimes playfully, sometimes intellectually, but always creatively to adapt and respond to the material and to explore different and diverse subjects.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), Economy, England / UK, History, Parish Ministry

(Observer) God-given talent: Saka, Rashford and Sterling blaze a trail for black British Christians

In the reception area of Bukayo Saka’s old school, brightly-coloured pennants representing the competing nations in Euro 2020 have not yet been taken down. And last week, the 450 pupils at Edward Betham Church of England primary had one final euro-related task to complete. “We’ve been making a card to send to Bukayo,” said school head Caroline Chamberlain.

“A4 size with 15 sheets – one for each class. They’ve written to say how much he has inspired them and what a wonderful example he is setting. So many of our pupils have shared their disgust with us at the abuse England footballers had. They cannot understand the behaviour.”

England’s newest football hero maintains close links with the school on the outskirts of west London. Saka has previously donated a signed Arsenal shirt, which takes pride of place on the school’s “achievement wall”. A letter he sent to thank former teachers has been proudly framed. And for a school which actively promotes a Christian ethos, it would be hard to think of a better role model.

Like Marcus Rashford and Raheem Sterling, his England teammates, Saka wears his faith on his sleeve. Until he moved with his family two years ago, to be closer to Arsenal’s training facilities, he attended the Pentecostal Kingsborough Centre in Uxbridge. On winning the young London player of the year award this year, he tweeted “God’s Work”, making clear where he believed the credit for his starring performances truly lay.

“I love the way Bukayo speaks with such passion about his beliefs”, says Chamberlain, a churchgoing Anglican. “In days gone by you wouldn’t hear so much about people being practising Christians or practising Muslims. It seemed that famous people in particular didn’t really talk about their faith. I remember Alastair Campbell’s ‘we don’t do God’.”

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Posted in England / UK, Men, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Sports

Tim Farron interviewed by the English Churchmen

Farron also believes that honesty and integrity in public office holders are key factors that have been largely missing in much of public life both in government and the church. He said, “we’ve almost got to the point where there’s little accountability”. He went on, “All lead by example—either good or bad”.

He thinks JKA Smith’s book, ‘Awaiting the King’ offers a pretty good explanation of the current situation. Farron said in one portion, “King refers to ‘western liberal democracies bearing the crater marks of the gospel’ and agreeing explained; “even though we may not largely be a Christian country today, our values, norms and institutions are nevertheless based on a Christian world view: justice, grace, personal responsibility, care for the needy, the knowledge that if people are sinners then you don’t want power concentrated in the hands of too few of them! The ‘crater marks’ point is more that as we move away from Christianity, then those marks will become fainter and fainter until such point that integrity may matter less and less”.

When asked about what he sees as the next big moral issues facing the nation he was quick and to the point: 1.) “the effort to decriminalise all abortion up to the point of birth”; and, 2.) “assisted dying”. He does not believe that the former will find the support necessary to be approved by parliament and that assisted dying will be a big battle.

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Posted in Anthropology, Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Life Ethics, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

([London] Times) Marcus Rashford’s mural has been restored — with more than a few additions

Many of the people present were local residents, but others had travelled from across Greater Manchester and even from Merseyside to show solidarity with the footballer and campaigner for free school meals.

Claire Conway, 40, had travelled from Bolton with her two sons, aged three and nine, to leave flags at the mural. Her eldest in particular hugely looks up to Rashford and the footballer has proven a fantastic role model.

“He has fed families, he’s looked after the community, and because he missed the penalty he doesn’t deserve — well, nobody deserves – any sort of racism,” Conway said. “What they did to this I thought was absolutely disgusting.”

Gesturing to the groups of people clustered around her, as children and adults alike pinned notes to the wall, she added: “This is Manchester – this is what Manchester does. We come together like this because there is no place for [racism] anywhere.”

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Posted in England / UK, Men, Sports, Urban/City Life and Issues, Young Adults

Congratulations to Italy for winning the Euro2020 final today

Posted in England / UK, Italy, Men, Sports

([London] Times) One Fifth of adults under 35 say they have only one or no close friends

The UK is in the grip of an “epidemic of loneliness” among the young, according to a think tank that says the pandemic may have worsened the problem.

The proportion of people aged between 18 and 34 who say that they have one or no close friends has tripled in a decade, the report from the Onward think tank said.

Those aged between 18 and 24 are now nearly half as likely to say that they often speak to neighbours compared with 1998, the research found. They are also a third less likely to borrow and exchange favours with neighbours.

Onward’s Age of Alienation report, combining data from official surveys with polling by Stack Data Strategy, says that declines in younger generations’ interpersonal social networks have become far worse in recent years. It says this suggests that the pandemic “may be contributing to an ‘epidemic of loneliness’ among young people”. The report calls on ministers to introduce national civic service for people aged between 18 and 35, with a voluntary expectation that every young person completes ten days of volunteering a year. Volunteers could be encouraged, the think tank proposes, by civic rewards that could be redeemed against student loan or training course costs.

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Posted in England / UK, Health & Medicine, Psychology, Young Adults

‘The words came alive’ – the play that changed Richard’s life forever

Before training for ordination, Richard worked as Music Operations Manager with the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) in Stratford-upon-Avon, where he watched a play in 2011 that completely changed the course of his life.

Richard explained: “In my previous job at the RSC, we did a play called Written on the Heart.

“It was about the writing of the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible. In one scene, two men – Lancelot Andrewes and William Tyndale – debated translations of The Beatitudes.

“As I sat, and watched, and listened, these words came alive for me.

“Gradually, I realised that I had been wrong all my life about God.”

As a direct result, Richard bought a copy of the Bible and began to attend a church in Kidderminster.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theatre/Drama/Plays

Congratulations to England for making the Euro2020 final

Posted in Denmark, England / UK, Men, Sports

(Archbp Cranmer blog) ‘Key limiting factors’: the end of stipendiary parish ministry

Which is absolutely laudable: a church without a mission is just a monument in memory of the Messiah. And a parish-based innovation which is overseen by qualified parish clergy is welcome if it leads people to Christ. But church leaders who have not submitted to a “long, costly college-based training” will have little theology and poor (or no) formation. You end up with a Wesleyan model of church (conveniently forgetting that the Wesleys were steeped in theology and had a profound understanding of Anglican orthodoxy), with all the inherent dangers of error and heresy being lay-preached. Reading Against Heresies: On the Detection and Overthrow of the So-Called Gnosis and writing tedious 5,000-word essays on the definition of ‘Applied Theology’ is what helps to qualify you to teach, preach and minister effectively. Some eager disciples yearn to get out into the community and ‘do stuff’, but that stuff is far better done when it is led by people whose skills have been honed, mettle tested, and vocation discerned.

And who are all these lay leaders waiting to be ‘released’? Are they all wealthy or self-employed with a lot of spare time on their hands and the ability to labour for nothing, like parliamentary candidates for the Conservative Party?

Or perhaps there are no lay leaders waiting and yearning to be ‘released’ – and certainly nothing like the army necessary to birth and nurture 10,000 church plants.

Isn’t it a curious vision for renewing and reinvigorating the Church of England that the strategy is apparently to inculcate a new generation with the theology of the Free Church: you don’t need knowledgeable priests, you don’t need beautiful buildings, and you don’t need rigorous qualifications in theology: these are key limiting factors to mission. All you need is a passion for Christ and the ability to lead a Bible study. The rest is otiose.

Now, when will someone write a paper on the key limiting factors in the House and College of Bishops?

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Seminary / Theological Education, Stewardship, Theology

(Church Times) Archbishop of Canterbury endorses urgent plan for church-planting

THE Church needs to plant churches to “let Jesus out”, the Archbishop of Canterbury told a conference last week.

MultiplyX 2021, hosted online by the Gregory Centre for Church Multiplication, secured an endorsement for an urgent programme of church-planting from both Archbishop Welby and the Archbishop of York, the Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, who emphasised the historical precedent for the work.

“Every church we ever go to has been planted at some point or another,” Archbishop Welby said. “In every generation, if we are going to make a difference, we have to get the church out. And we have to get out of the church as it is normally seen. . . To quote Pope Francis, we have locked Jesus into the church and we need to open the church and let him out.” New churches “go out because there is no choice, because there is no one coming in”.

He diagnosed a need for culture change. “It’s a new discipline for quite a lot of people, Anglicans, that we are meant to witness. That we are not meant to leave Jesus inside the church when we go out, and pick him up again when we come back in the following Sunday but to go with him. . .”

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Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

Congratulations to Denmark, England, Italy and Spain for making the finals of the 2020 Euro tournament

Posted in England / UK, Europe, Men, Sports

(FE Week) Nigel Genders–The Church of England wants to serve a new generation in education as we have always done

An article in FE Week last week by the National Secular Society rather bizarrely tried to argue that this was part of some secret plan.

On the contrary, we are unapologetic about seeking to engage with and serve a new generation, as this is what we have always done.

Suggestions that spiritual guidance and support offered by chaplaincies is either unwanted or a niche provision also miss the mark.

A recent ComRes poll showed that almost half of adults (44 per cent) say they pray. And one in four people pray regularly (at least once a month) ̶ a number that has increased six percentage points since a pre-pandemic survey.

Positive responses are even higher in the 18-to-34 age group, with 30 per cent saying they pray regularly, and 34 per cent having watched a broadcast religious service during the pandemic.

By this measure, the idea that faith has no place in modern society is decidedly pre-pandemic in its worldview, especially among younger age groups.

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Posted in Children, Church of England (CoE), Education, England / UK, Religion & Culture

(PCN) Tributes to ‘hero of the faith’ Joel Edwards who has died from cancer

Former General Secretary of the Evangelical Alliance and senior UK church figure, Rev Dr Joel Edwards, has died from cancer.

On Wednesday morning, the family confirmed the passing of the 70-year-old pastor by posting a letter Rev Edwards had written thanking people for their prayers.

“This is to say a final goodbye. First, my incredible thanks for your prayers, love and holding on with me to that fingernail miracle,” the letter said.

“Words cannot express the depth, breadth and height of my gratitude, but I have gone home.

“My earnest prayer is that your faith and tenacity on my behalf will not be considered a pointless religious exercise, but that it will have strengthened your faith in a God who is marvellous, mysterious and majestic in all that He does: The Faithful One.”

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Posted in Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Evangelicals, Religion & Culture

(Lichfield Live) Lichfield Cathedral to join cycling route across England

Lichfield Cathedral is joining a new route for cyclists across England.

The new Cathedrals Cycle Route has been created by academic Shaun Cutler from Northumbria University.

It links all 42 Church of England cathedrals and will be showcased when Shaun and a group of cyclists take part in a relay ride.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Sports, Travel

(C Of E) The church that grew out of a lockdown WhatsApp group

“Within a couple of days we had received lots of messages from people – mainly young adults,” Venessa said.

“We started engaging via WhatsApp on questions of spirituality and faith and out of that we began meeting on Zoom for social activities and to talk about faith. Gradually that transformed into something more formal and into an inter cultural worshipping community that we call Roots.”

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Posted in --Social Networking, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

(ESPN FC) England knock Germany out of Euro 2020, and in the process begin to heal their inferiority complex

Gareth Southgate’s biggest test as England manager ended with a result that can redefine how the nation views itself at major tournaments, beating Germany 2-0 on Tuesday in the round of 16 at Euro 2020 and ending Joachim Low’s time in charge of Die Nationalmannschaft.

The Three Lions may have reached a World Cup semifinal under Southgate in 2018, but they did so without beating any of the elite nations and arguably succumbed to the first proper test they faced in an extra-time defeat to Croatia. Biennial disappointment is woven into the fabric of England’s sporting consciousness, an inferiority complex built over decades that has previously manifested in a fear of failure, fatigue and frustration.

England had never won a European Championship knockout game in 90 minutes before Tuesday. Southgate was determined that this young squad would not be burdened by history, rather inspired to make their own. And he was right.

This is a Germany side palpably short of a typical vintage, but they are a four-time World Cup-winning nation. No country has won more than the three European Championships they took home in 1972, 1980 and 1996

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Posted in England / UK, Europe, Men, Sports

([London] Times) Pupils face total ban on mobile phone use

Schools will become mobile phone-free zones, Gavin Williamson announced yesterday as he set out plans for a nationwide classroom ban.

Under a new regime backed by the education secretary, heads would be told to stop pupils using their phones at any point during the school day.

Williamson said that the ban would end the “damaging effect” that overuse of mobile phones could have on children’s mental health and wellbeing.

The move pits him against teachers’ leaders who have criticised it as a “distraction” from the pressing problems of helping pupils to catch up on learning lost during the pandemic.

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Posted in Children, Education, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Science & Technology

(CEN) Catherine Fox–A novel view of a dysfunctional future

I now think of 2016 as a gentle warm-up routine for blogging in 2020. I had a couple of sketchy plot strands for Tales from Lindford, and the original full moon names idea. Other than that, all I had was the characters and COVID-19. But isn’t that all that any of us had last year—one another, and COVID-19? I tried to capture it all, and reflect on it; all the tiny isolated lives, like little separate screens on a Zoom call, lonely people waving at one another and longing, longing to be together again. An old hymn runs throughout the book, one I used to sing in the Baptist chapel where I grew up: ‘God be with you till we meet again.’ The novel ends on 31st December 2020 with those words.

The novel ended, but the pandemic wasn’t over…. No. Absolutely not. I stuck my fingers in my ears, and sang la-la-la, but I could hear the dreadful siren call of the blogging rollercoaster. Readers have noticed that the last two times I set out to blog a novel, I picked the worst years in living memory.Now that I’ve begun blogging Volume 5 of the Lindchester Chronicles—The Company of Heaven—what fresh hell is going to overtake us? A giant asteroid six months away, and heading towards the earth? I could end up blogging the end times of the human race. Good Lord, deliver us!

We are very small, and our lives are precarious. The pandemic has taught us that. Whatever happens in 2021, I can only continue doing what I’ve been attempting all along—to explore the glory and the tragedy of the human condition in the context of The End, and to keep my hopes fixed on the Good Lord, and the limitless possibility of deliverance.

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Posted in Books, England / UK, Parish Ministry, Poetry & Literature, Religion & Culture