Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Enough Waiting

Bishop Stephen Cottrell has called on the Church of England to say yes to women bishops. In a short and unequivocal statement the Bishop of Chelmsford declares that a decision to consecrate women bishops is of the Gospel. He basis this call on the outworking of Galatians 3:28 'There is no such thing as Jew and Greek, slave and free, male and female for all of you are one in Christ Jesus'.

 Bishop Stephen explains:
I believe this is one of those bits of scripture through which we interpret a lot of other bits. And I believe that that full humanity, which is ours in Jesus Christ, will be better revealed - much better for the world, much better for us - when men and women serve equally as bishops, priests and deacons within the Church of Jesus Christ.

The full text of his statement can be found here.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Let My People Go

Today is Anti-Slavery Day. Now you might think that to have a day dedicated to opposing slavery is meaningless in a country where slavery was abolished in 1833, but tragically slavery is alive and well in this country and overseas.Last weekend I heard two talks in very different contexts about slavery in India.

The first was the testimony given by a young woman called Pranitha Timothy at the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit. Pranitha spoke about her ministry with the International Justice Mission working to free slaves in India. Her story about the dangers in freeing a group of families held captive in a rice mill was chilling, as she recalled the collusion of the mill owners, the local community and the local authorities. These vested interests would rather have murdered those being held in captivity and those seeking to free them, than see them released.

The second talk, or series of talks, was from our church CMS link partners working in northern India. The nature of their work means that I cannot be specific about their location or their names, however, the focus of their ministry is on prevention and freeing children caught up in the slave trade. Again, the range of vested interests opposing their ministry means that they are working in very challenging situations.

It is easy to conceive of slavery taking place in other countries, harder to accept it still goes on in our own. Yet, today a report from the Inter-Departmental Ministerial Group on human trafficking makes appalling reading. Last year 712 adults and 234 children were referred to the National Referral Mechanism as potential victims. The Child Exploitation and Online Prevention Centre estimates that there are about 300 children trafficked each year in the United Kingdom. The report claims that the first cases of trafficking for organ harvesting have now taken place. Yes, people trafficked into this country so that parts of their bodies can be taken and sold to someone else.

So what will you do on Anti-Slavery Day? Pretend it doesn’t happen? Dismiss it as something going on in the far flung corners of our globe? Or join in opposing slavery by supporting the work of the agencies I’ve mentioned or other organisations involved in the anti-slavery movement like Stop The Traffick?

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Little Britain comes to Woodham Ferrers

This is one of the most imaginative approaches to advertising for a vicar I've come across. Normally a church will produce a parish profile; a large document full of facts and figures, job description and person specification. To be honest many parish profiles should be filed under the fiction section of the local library. The only way to get a feel for a parish, the church and its people is to go there. Woodham Ferrers and Bickenacre is a parish in the same deanery where I serve. Here the church has taken a different approach and I think it will pay dividends. Initial reaction to the video has been very favourable and I hope and pray they find the right person to come and share with them in ministry and mission. This is a great example of what can be done using the resources of social media and some enthusiastic participants.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Living distinctively

At the beginning of 2012 Bishop Stephen Cottrell launched Transforming Presence (TP), a visionary challenge for the Diocese of Chelmsford. Here +Stephen talks about the challenge to Christians to inhabit the world distinctively.

Over recent months we've been exploring the different themes of TP and reflecting on how we can respond in our three churches and as a team. So watch this space...

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Drug of the Nation

I first came across the song Television, The Drug of the Nation by The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy when it was played at the beginning of U2’s Zoo TV extravaganza at Wembley in 1993. I thought it was brilliant then and nearly twenty years on I haven’t seen anything to change my mind .