Thursday, 31 January 2008


Release International is looking for a team of 20-30 people to make an inspiring trek through the mountainous Sinai wilderness, Egypt - and to raise funds through individual sponsorship to help persecuted Christians around the world.

This unique Challenge consists of five days' trekking, and includes six nights in hotels, four nights camping, with two days spent in Cairo -- and the chance to visit the world-famous pyramids. The cost per person is around £1025.

Places are limited -- so please book while places are still available. Contact Paul on 01689 823491 ( to receive more information.

Monday, 28 January 2008

Healing the Wounds of Trauma

Daytime Conference April 7th – 11th 2008 10am to 6pm at Cornerstone Christian Centre, 21A The Mall, Bromley BR1 1TR LONDON

Led by Wycliffe members: Scripture Use specialist Margaret Hill, and Richard Bagge, Head of Africa Area Counselling.

In many parts of the world today, ethnic conflict and civil disturbances, crime and natural disasters have left people traumatised. Many of those affected are Christians, and the Church has a clear responsibility and role to care for them.

Beyond the Church doors, Christians are to be light and salt in the world, particularly important in times of conflict and suffering.

"Healing the wounds of Trauma" is a practical and Biblical training course for Church leaders and those with pastoral responsibility. The course was first used in North West DR Congo in May 2001 and has since been held in many war torn or post conflict regions of Africa.

It is essential for those who are called upon to help members in their congregations who have experienced major trauma such as through war, criminal activity or natural disaster.

For the first time this training, with seminars and interactive workshops, has been available in the UK and, on this occasion, priority free places will be given to those Church leaders with a significant congregation who have fled conflict.

If God loves us, why do we suffer?

Can the wounds of our hearts be healed?

What happens when someone is grieving?

How can we support children who have experienced conflict?

How can we help those who have been raped?

How can a Church minister in the midst of AIDS?

How can we forgive others?

What about caring for the caregiver!

Contact Sue on 0798 3532933 or email for further details.


Saturday, 26 January 2008


Dozens of ‘poverty hearings’ in which people experiencing homelessness, bad housing or overcrowding share their experiences with churches will be held over next week’s Poverty and Homelessness Action Week (26/1–3/2). The aim of the events is to show Christians the human face of the poverty which, according to Government figures, affects one in five people in the UK. ‘Churches rightly pay lots of attention to poverty and hunger in the third world but often fail to appreciate the extent of the problem at home,’ said Alison Gelder, chief executive of Housing Justice, one of many Christian agencies behind the week.

Source: Baptist Times (24/1)

Here in Reading the churches do pay quite a lot of attention to the homeless by supporting CIRDIC (Churches in Reading Drop-In Centre), the soup-runs organised by the Christian charity FAITH, and the charity Christian Community Action, which provides furniture, etc., and advice to anyone in poverty or other difficulties.

During Poverty and Action Week (next week) there will be a lunch and meeting with local people, leaders and attenders of the Churches in Reading Drop-In Centre, Berkeley Avenue, on Thursday 31 January, 11.00am onwards, so that local church people can listen to the first-hand stories of the homeless who regularly use the drop-in centre for showers and for food.

Not quite so happy is this week's report which dominated the front page of the local Evening Post on Thursday with the headline 'Homeless need a Place to Eat'. The report says, "A charity helping Reading's homeless is no longer operating in Broad Street (the main street) because the council and police do not want rough sleepers gathering there. The FAITH Christian group has been providing hot drinks, sandwiches and blankets for homeless people in Reading for 15 years.

"FAITH came to an agreement with the authorities to avoid working in Broad Street because of concerns raised by the council about six months ago, but it still insists that there is a need to service this area of the town centre. A FAITH volunteer explained, 'We used to gather in Broad Street. We had a rough idea where the people would be and we would go round with our trolleys and bags providing them with food, blankets and social interaction. We would see 20 or 30 people a night in Broad Street but my understanding is that the council was unhappy about the congregation in Broad Street, so we ended up in the car park of Greyfriars Church with only 8 or 10 people.' FAITH, a registered charity run by volunteers from church congregations from across Reading, now operates from Greyfriars Church on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights, handing out food provided by Pret A Manger and blankets from Christian Community Action. It also runs a tea bar for the homeless in Hosier Street on Sundays, when the church car park is needed for worshippers.

"The Executive diector of FAITH said he understood the council's reasoning but hoped that they could come to an understanding. 'With the sandwich handouts we are trying to co-operate with the authorities' requests but my personal feeling is that the homeless are people and should be allowed to go where they want to be.' To the council, he said, 'If you are refusing to fund them on the street and you are taking their bedding away, then it is all stick and no carrot. There is no open night shelter in the town, so these guys have nowhere to go. We are a big, wealthy town and we must be able to do something.'

"The Councillor speaking on behalf of Reading Borough Council said: 'Large numbers gathering in places like Broad Street could produce an intimidating perception which is not something we want to have in Reading's main street. A night shelter has been discussed many times but we don't have and wouldn't support an open drop-in facility. The issue is that many individuals require treatment for drug and alcohol addicton and related problems. We aren't in the business of allowing alcohol and drugs to be brought into institutions. It would be a misuse of public funds."

The Evening Post interviewed (and pictured) a 26 year old young woman originally from Portsmouth, who said, 'Throughout my life I've been pushed from pillar to post. I've been in care and in hostels since the age of six and in a childen's home before that. I am in temporary accommodation so I am not homeless, but often cannot find the money for a meal. FAITH is not just about food. It's the friendship and the warm welcome. Also people can give me advice about housing and other problems. I like to go to church and I believe in God, but this is not just for Christians. It'a for anybody who needs help and somebody to talk to who will listen to you and what you are going through.'

Please join us in praying for those in poverty and homlessness and also for those who seek to give help in dificult circumstances.



Bishops who backed a series of amendments to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill were defeated in each case on Monday. Despite opposition from bishops and others, the House of Lords voted to delete the rule on the ‘need for a father’ for children conceived through IVF. This paves the way for the creation of IVF children for lesbian couples. Seven bishops and Archbishop John Sentamu also gave their support to an amendment that would restrict embryo selection for ‘saviour siblings’ only where a child’s condition was ‘serious and potentially life-threatening’ rather than simply ‘serious’. They then supported an amendment defining ‘serious’ as ‘life-threatening or impairing severely’ the child’s ‘quality of life’. In a related protest, the Bishop of Liverpool joined Roman Catholic and Free Church leaders in signing a letter condemning the Bill’s provisions for hybrid human and animal embryos for research.

Source: Church Times (25/1)


The launch of an espresso-priced Bible in France has triggered a boom in Bible sales in this secularised country. Some 200,000 copies – the equivalent of a normal year’s sales – crossed the tills in the last four months of 2007 when the Geneva Bible Society introduced its new translation. ‘The treasure of humanity … for the price of a coffee’ was the strapline for the €1.50 Bible. Another 300,000 were swiftly bought in French-speaking Africa, Belgium, Canada and Switzerland. Le Monde des Religions editor Frederic Lenoir put the Bible’s success down to the prevalence of biblical references in modern films and books which France’s largely secular citizens are keen to understand.

Source: Reuters (14/1)

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Summer Sunday Evening Services

With Circuit Ministers on the move to new stations this summer and with other preachers on holiday, it is going to be difficult to fill all the pulpits in our large Circuit during the period from mid-July to the end of August. When this was put to our Church Council, everyone except me voted that we should have no evening services at our church during that period.

This was decided without any reference to the handful of regular evening worshippers who can't (or won't) come to the morning services and who will never go elsewhere when we close our evening service in favour of a united Circuit service. I know the numbers affected will be few but that doesn't mean that they are not important! In fact, if you go by Jesus' teaching, the few are very important.

I suppose I should be rejoicing because it gives me a good excuse to go to worship at a hugely successful Anglican church in the town, which gathers in so many young people and has good Biblical teaching. I love to worship there and there is a lift just waiting for me to accept the offer. But God has set me in this church and asks me to care for his people here in Caversham ........

I doubt if it will have any effect, but I have sent an email to the Church Council members pleading that instead of going to sleep for the summer we might try something new and different, like starting later so that young couples with babies can come when the children have gone to sleep and perhaps meeting away from church premises (in a restaurant or in the open air by the river perhaps). We are supposed to be trying to introduce Fresh Expressions of worship, after all.

May I ask if anyone has come up against this problem and found a really good solution, please? I could do with some encouragement!

2000+ groups still needing Scriptures in own language!

Kirk Franklin was selected by the Board of Wycliffe International late in 2006 to take over from Dr John Watters upon his completion of term in office. Kirk has spent the past year preparing for the transition and officially began on January 1, 2008.

Kirk, a citizen of both Australia and the USA and has spent most of his life in the Pacific region. He has served with Wycliffe since 1980, most recently as Executive Director of Wycliffe Australia. He previously served in various media, communications and leadership roles.

Kirk spent 25 years of his youth and adult life in Papua New Guinea (PNG), is fluent in the Tok Pisin language of PNG, and has traveled extensively in 25 countries, meeting with mission organizations and speaking in churches and mission events. He and his wife Christine have three adult children.

Kirk comments, “Our entire leadership team is eager to serve as catalysts. We want to increase awareness of the need and impact of Bible translation. Many more people of all nations need to be involved; Bible translation is a key facet of the overarching mission of God. We face tremendous challenges. More than 2000 of the world’s minority language groups still need access to Scripture in a language and format they can readily understand. The raising of resources for Bible translation takes place in a rapidly changing social, cultural, economic, political and religious environment in each nation and globally.”

Franklin is a graduate of Intercultural Studies from Tabor College, Victoria, Australia. He currently serves on Tabor’s board of directors and has been a guest lecturer in mission studies. He was a board member for Wycliffe International from 2002-07. In 2001 he was a founding member of Bible Agencies Australia. Franklin was on the board of the Australian Evangelical Alliance Missions Commission (Missions Interlink) from 2001-05.

Wycliffe International is an association of 48 member organizations worldwide that have agreed to work with each other and with partners around the world, promoting and participating in local and international Bible translation movements.


Saturday, 19 January 2008

Ama Sumani

I have received a reply to my protest to my MP about the distressing case of ama Sunami who was taken from her hospital bed when on dialysis to be deported to Ghana.

He says "I agree with you that this is a distressing case, however, I am also conscious that the NHS is under considerable strain and unable to providemany of my constituents with the services they require. I understand that the UK offered to pay the cost of three months of Ms Sumani's treatment in Ghana.

I have written to the Home Secretary to pass on your comments and will let you have a copy of the response I receive."

Ihad not heard of this UK offer to pay for her treatment in Ghana before now and, if this is so, it certainly puts a more humane interpretation on her deportation, doesn't it?

Church Weddings on the increase? or decline?

We are led to believe by the Media that most weddings these days take place in special secular locations like historic houses and that fewer couples opt for a church wedding.

To a lesser extent, I had gained this impression from the clergy, so am I wrong, for I have just had a long email from a great-niece in the North-East of England which seems to belie all that?

She tells me that their wedding will have to be on a Friday in early September because their local church cannot give them a Saturday date until mid 2009!

This would seem to indicate an awful lot of weddings - does it? Or has the church got so many other events planned for Saturdays that preclude holding weddings on the same day? Could that be one reason why couples are not marrying in church so much, if that is the case? Can anyone throw any light on this trend, if it is a trend, please?

Friday, 18 January 2008

New smartcard bus pass for OAPs!

Yippee! All OAPs reading this, Rejoice! I've just had a letter from my Borough Council to tell me that from 1st April 2008, new legislation comes into place that provides for a National Travel Scheme. Yippee again! It means that my bus pass allowing me free travel on my local buses will enable me to travel on any off-peak local bus journey in England (between 9.30am and 11 00pm on weekdays and anytime at weekends or on Bank Holidays) for free. A new smartcard bus pass will be issued in March. At a time when there seems to be a policy of cutbacks or blockages of pay increases, this is most welcome news for those OAPs able to travel to other parts of England,

Psychologically, it comes at the right time to lift my spirits, because yesterday I was grounded by my podiatrist, largely because of the bulky dressing she insisted on applying to my toe - thus making the wearing of a shoe unbearable, and of course any break dancing is out of the question for a bit, Richard! The news of a new smartcard bus pass provides me with the incentive to get this tiny ulcer on my toe healed up, so that I can resume my travels. After all, I've got many more travels lined up for this year than I usually do - and that's saying something!

Words of Wisdom

There are times we need to cast an anchor
Pause and meditate on things we cannot see
Feeling peace because we believe God lives
A loving Father that cares for you and me.

His gentle voice we hear but Him we cannot see
We know God's love and grace is a mystery
Whispering words of wisdom from everywhere
Saying, I am listening and I care.

God's words of wisdom are precious gifts
That He has given to you and me
Blessings that we would not have
But for His mercy, you see.

Living by faith we will find peace of mind
Trust in God and answers we will find
Listen to Him call, Come take my hand
And I will guide you to the promised land.

Glenna M. Baugh © 01-10-08
Living by Faith

"Cast all your care upon
Him; for He careth for you"
~1 Peter 5:7 KJV~

Reproduced by permission

Thursday, 17 January 2008

Hope '08 - a United Nationwide Christian Mission

As we assembled for the next session of our course on 'The Heart of the Divine' at Sarum College, Salisbury, on Tuesday, there was the usual informal discussion on our individual spiritual journeys in the weeks since the last course session, and I was struck by the way in which, again and again, people were excited that at their church they had begun the year with the Hope '08 prayer. This applied to Methodist and Anglican churches represented in our group, and it struck me that I had not seen anything in the Methoblogosphere about Hope '08.

So What is Hope 08?
Hope 2008 is a nationwide Christian mission initiative aiming to “unite the whole church for the whole nation, for a whole year; to do more, do it together and do it in word and deed”.

This will involve churches working together, and in partnership with Hope, in projects and events involving prayer, social justice, community action and evangelism.

"Hope 08 is a great opportunity for local Christians to work together to proclaim the love of Jesus in word and deed. I heartily endorse it."

Martyn Atkins - President of the Methodist Conference

The initiative is for the whole of 2008, but the national organising group have suggested a rhythm to the year with a number of highlights. A promotional DVD is available if you would like to find out more details.

Unlike some one-size-fits-all approaches to mission, Hope relies on locally organised initiatives that will benefit from nationally coordinated resources.

If your church/circuit would like to be involved, please check the Hope 08 website for ideas, and watch the video which launched Hope '08 by our Methodist President and the Archbishop of Canterbury. You can also find Hope '08 on our connexional website We are told that it is not too late to join. The Prince of Wales has been contacted and there is to be a reception at Clarence House and it is well worth-while looking at the Hope '08 website for other interesting initiatives.

You can also purchase Great Ideas, the Hope 08 resource manual from your local Wesley Owen bookshop or direct from the publisher Authentic Media.


The new ECG event - 'A Heart for the Nations' - to be held in Llandudno immediately after Easter weekend, where i am booked as a steward, has Hope '08 as one of its sponsors, others being Methodist Evangelicals Together, NXT Ministries and Youth for Christ.

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Highlighting NXT Ministries

This has just to me by email, so i am using my blog to alert my readers to the request for more people to sign up to become involved in NXT ministries.

NXT Ministries

c/o Swanbank Mission Centre

Swan Square


Stoke on Trent


0870 066 0766


"Resolution" was a great evening at the Victoria Hall, Stoke on Trent, on 5th Jan and a wonderful way to start the New Year, we have the 3rd Jan 09 pencilled in for Resolution 09, so please pencil the date in your diary and don’t miss it.

2008 promises to be a great year with exciting new events and projects ahead. We have ECG – The Conference in Llandudno at Easter, and "Adoration" a 2 day music festival, along with other events to be decided. As we get more details of these events we will let you know.

We really want to expand our mailing list this year so that we can let as many people as possible know about our events. With this in mind please tell anyone you know to send us their details in an email to and we will add them to the database."


I have booked myself in for the ECG event as both an intercessor and a steward, so perhaps I will see you there? I haven't yet seen the programme but I know that there will be the same kind of in-depth Bible teaching that many people valued at Easter People. Also I know that there will be events for all age groups but a particular emphasis this year will be on events for the 'missing generation' - the 20s to 40s.
Go to the NXT site and look for yourselves.

Zimbabwe – your help needed.

You may have read as I did with some horror that the British Government is planning to resume sending failed asylum seekers back to Zimbabwe.

The policy was suspended some time ago and all the evidence seems to suggest that the situation in Zimbabwe is continuing to deteriorate, and that Mugabwe views all returnees as tainted by Western culture – and are therefore suspect. Those returned seem to ‘disappear’ and are never heard of again.

This particularly touches areas of the Uk where there are many asylum seekers, some of whom are members of our churches; those who come from Zimbabwe are currently in fear of their lives.

This is the story of one of them.

The youth work manager at the Vine, a Christian project in Walsall lost contact with his parents in December last year and found out a few days later that his father (both parents were then still in Zimbabwe) had been beaten up and seriously burned at the same time as thugs burned down the family business and home. He found out a few days later again that his mother had been seriously sexually abused at the same time.

Both parents are now out of Zimbabwe as a result of assistance from both Christians and secular movements but the youth worker is reporting that he now knows of many, even worse examples of atrocities being committed by people supporting the current evil regime.

What can we do?

The Britain Zimbabwe Society has launched a petition on the No. 10 website asking the Government to change its stance. The full petition – and link - is printed below. Please click on the link below and add your name to the petition asking Gordon Brown to reconsider this policy change in order to both save lives and give Zimbabwe a better model for human rights.

Britain Zimbabwe Society Petition to the UK Prime Minister

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to continue to allow
unsuccessful asylum seekers from Zimbabwe to remain in the UK, and to continue the suspension of forced removals to Zimbabwe.

Mr Brown, we have noted your concern for the population of Zimbabwe,
and your wish to send unmistakable signals of this concern to the
Zimbabwean government.

So we are disturbed by the recent determination of the UK Asylum and
Immigration Tribunal, in the case of HS, that unsuccessful Zimbabwean
asylum seekers may safely be deported back home. It would be ironic
if the first unmistakable signal from your Government were to be the
resumption of forced deportations. These were suspended in January
2002, and human rights in Zimbabwe have not improved since then.

The AIT's determination is permissive but not mandatory. There is no
legal or other compulsion on your Government. We ask that the current
suspension on forced removal to Zimbabwe remains in place. This would
be more consistent with your public position on Zimbabwe.

We also ask that the Zimbabweans involved be freed from detention and
harassment and that they be enabled both to support themselves and to
take part in the debate about the future of their country. They
should be allowed to seek employment and so relieved from
destitution. In this way Britain would give Zimbabwe a real example
of how to implement human rights.

Monday, 14 January 2008

Education Sunday theme is Come and See

The Methodist Church’s interest in education is not just a matter of faith schools and colleges. For many Christians, their engagement with the world of education can best be explained in terms of a sense of vocation in which teachers, administrators and others seek to be followers of Jesus. Hardly surprising when we encounter the inspirational model of Jesus the teacher. The focus of Education Sunday this year is “Come and See”, the challenging invitation that Jesus issued to his earliest disciples to learn more about Him.

Graham Russell, Chair of the Ecumenical Steering Group responsible for preparing this year’s material says: “Today we are still asked to recognise and respond to Jesus. To come and see, but also to go and tell. As we celebrate education, we look to be attentive to Jesus’ teaching and the impact of living out his example in our lives. We remember the gift of teaching and learning that sustains communities around the world as they grow from generation to generation”.

For well over a hundred years there has been an annual recognition in England and Wales of Education Sunday as a “special” Sunday, a national day of prayer and celebration for everyone in the world of education. The resources that have been prepared for those planning worship for this occasion have been sent to many congregations and schools. They are also available through many church and ecumenical websites. The aim of Education Sunday is to encourage congregations to think prayerfully about the world of education in all its aspects, and the countless people who are involved with it.

The resources are available from our website:

Source; 11/1/2008

It is possible to celebrate Education Sunday and the start of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity both on the same Sunday but I think it's a pity that they coincide because there is a tendency for one or the other of these important 'specials' to be neglected. Here in Reading we have cause to rejoice that, after three years of all Christians in Greater Reading working to Regenerate Reading our prayers of previous years are being answered in a way that we never dared to hope! See

Methodist Church launches alternative credit card for Lent

The Methodist Church is encouraging people to buy less and live more this Lent, with their new alternative Buy Less: Live More credit card.

The card cannot be used to make purchases, but is designed to be placed in a wallet in front of other credit and debit cards to remind people to think twice before they spend. Buy Less: Live More aims to challenge people to curb their spending and shrink their carbon footprint.

The Revd Michaela Youngson, Methodist Secretary for Pastoral Care and Spirituality, says, ‘When we take time to think about the things we buy and why we buy them, it can help us to reconsider our priorities. I may well want to buy something, but does that mean that I need it? But Buy Less: Live More isn’t about depriving yourself of those things you want; it’s about looking at life in a new way, trying different things and taking a few risks. So as well as reducing your carbon footprint by getting off the consumer treadmill, you can live life in all its fullness.’

The initiative is supported by a website ( and a dedicated group on popular networking site Facebook. During Lent people who sign up will receive a daily email with 2 challenges or ideas for buying less and living more. These updates will also be available on the website and Facebook group. People will be able to share their experiences online, swapping stories, questions and advice.

Note. Buy less: Live More credit cards can be ordered in packs of 10 from mph (, 01733 325002) for free, with a small charge for postage. Product Code: PA 512.

Sourse: 11/1/2008

This is a very good initiative which not only extends the traditional discipline of fasting during Lent (limiting our food intake) but at the present time could be a help to all those who find themselves in debt.

Saturday, 12 January 2008

Urgent Appeal for Clemency and Pardon

Sri Lankan national and domestic worker Rizana Nafeek was sentenced to death on 16 June after being accused of murdering a baby of four months while, aged 17 years, she was employed as a cleaner and for other household duties. She had only been working in the household for a few days when given the duty of feeding the infant. When attempting to bottle feed the child it choked, resulting in its death. Her working day began at 3am and continued until very late each night. Herself a child, she was tasked with looking after 10 children.

Saudi Arabia is a state party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), which expressly prohibits the execution of offenders for crimes committed when they were under 18 years old. Rizana Nafeek has appealed against her sentence, but if her appeal is unsuccessful she could be executed within days.

She was arrested in May 2005 in Jeddah on charges of murdering an infant in her care. She had no access to lawyers either during interrogation or at her trial and was believed to have confessed to the murder during police questioning. She has since retracted her confession.

She apparently told the authorities that she was born in February 1988, but they seem to have ignored this on the basis that her passport indicated that she was born in February 1982. According to information available to Amnesty International no medical examination is believed to have been carried out to ascertain her age, nor was she given the opportunity to present her birth certificate, which reportedly shows that she was born in 1988.

Saudi Arabia applies the death penalty for a wide range of offences. Court proceedings fall far short of international standards for fair trial, and take place behind closed doors. Defendants normally do not have formal representation by a lawyer, and in many cases are not informed of the progress of legal proceedings against them. They may be convicted solely on the basis of confessions obtained
under duress, torture or deception. The rate of executions in Saudi Arabia has recently increased sharply, and the authorities have executed at least 100 people so far this year, although the true figure may be much higher. Death sentences are usually carried out by beheading.

Saudi Arabia assured the Committee on the Rights of the Child (who monitor states' implementation of the CRC) in January 2006 that no children had been executed in the country since the CRC came into force in Saudi Arabia in 1997. This is a weaker commitment than is required by the CRC, which demands that no one is executed for crimes committed when they were under 18, no matter how old they are now.

RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals for clemency and pardon on behalf of Rizana Nafeek to -
King Abdullah Bin' Abdul Aziz Al-Saud,
The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques,
Office of His Majesty the King,
Royal Court,
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

to arrive as quickly as possible:
- urging the King to intervene and commute Rizana Nafeek’s death sentence;
- pointing out that the execution of juvenile offenders is expressly prohibited by the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Saudi Arabia ratified in 1997.

Friday, 11 January 2008


Trustees of Wycliffe Hall, the Oxford Evangelical Anglican theological college, have admitted acting unfairly in dismissing broadcaster and writer Dr Elaine Storkey from her senior lecturing post. Mr Bruce Carr, counsel for the Trustees, conceded there were no contributing factors for Dr Storkey’s dismissal and that they had not followed ‘statutory procedures’. Dr Storkey said she was dismissed ‘midway through grievance procedures’ she had brought. After the tribunal she said it had pained her to argue publicly with fellow Christians ‘but justice is important’. Much of her expected £20,000 compensation could be used in costs, she added. A separate claim that the college religiously discriminated against her because of her open Evangelical rather than conservative Evangelical position is to be heard on 11–12 June.

Sources: Church Times (11/1); Daily Telegraph (8/1); The Times (8/1)

How sad to hear of this dispute among christians leading to the dismissal of such an eminent lecturer. Her students will be the poorer for this action but many more will be hoping to hear Dr Storkey continue broadcasting from time to time.


Kenya’s Christian leaders have spoken of continuing intimidation and the trauma of the country’s post-election violence that has caused many to be living in fear. Shem Okello, general secretary of the Baptist Convention of Kenya, said hundreds of people are still sheltering in police stations. Spurgeons Child Care Kenya reported that 14 of its mostly AIDS orphans had seen their homes torched. ‘Gangs of angry young people are threatening to burn the school’ where Spurgeons is caring for them, it said. While the Opposition Democratic Movement leader Raila Odinga is calling for the President to step down, both the Archbishop of Kenya and the Kenyan-born general secretary of the World Council of Churches, Revd Samuel Kobia, have called for an urgent recount and investigation of the voting dispute. Archbishop Desmond Tutu has also been meeting with both political parties in church-backed moves to resolve the crisis.

Sources: Baptist Times (10/1); Church Times (11/1); The Times (7/1)

Thursday, 10 January 2008

Urgent call for Prayer for Kenya

This morning I received this urgent call for prayer, and once again I urge you to join me in prayer for these desperate children of God.

"We are all in-doors, roads are blocked between Eldoret and Marakwet and between Elodret and Nairobi. Whoever is travelling travels at his/her own risk. People are staying all over and at either side.

Killings are going on in Eldoret, mainly the Kikuyus because they say they stole the votes for Raila and gave to Kibaki. People are desperate. Lives and properties are lost. Towns are in disarray. Goods are double or thrice in prices if you can find them in the village.

It is harvesting time for Mangos but there is nowhere to sell them, therefore it is rotting and perishing in the farms. The people of the valley will really suffer because that was the only source of income per year. It is a shame to see thousands of money being lost and the economy of the land going down hill in a high speed just because of voting to the wrong candidate. Please pray because food is going to be the main problem.

Pray for safety on our roads so that people will return back to work .
Pray for people owning Matatus to release them to the road."

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Methodist response to the crisis in Kenya

Anthea Cox, Coordinating Secretary for Public Life and Social Justice says “The violent turmoil in Kenya following the disputed election results has come as a shock. As one of Africa’s most stable democracies and most developed nations, Kenya’s crisis was difficult to foresee. The Methodist Church of Great Britain is closely watching the situation so that it can respond as appropriate.”

Kevin Fray, World Church Area Secretary for Africa, says: “The situation over the next few days will be very precarious. Our partners in the Methodist Church of Kenya (MCK) will be playing a vital role in helping to restore peace and stability. Their endeavour must be matched by our practical and spiritual assistance.”

During 2007, the World Church Office sent more than £150,000 of Methodist Church funds to support the mission of the MCK.

Kevin Fray continued, “When deciding how best to respond, we will be guided by the MCK. Once we can establish communication, we will be better placed to understand and share the need. In the meantime, we stand alongside all who strive peacefully for a just and fair solution to this tragedy.

“We also call upon others to join with us as we remember Kenya in our daily prayers and church services.”

Teach me your word, O my Lord,
That I may walk in your righteous path,
Narrow and trying as it may be.
Give me grace to claim and love it as my own.
Hold my hand and never let me go.
Till in Zion I finally lay it all down.

Taken from a prayer by Margaret Wanjiru Kithinji, Women’s Fellowship Secretary, Methodist Church of Kenya
Day 8 (page 22) of the 2007-8 Methodist Prayer Handbook.

Source: 4/1/2008

I am sure that I do not need to ask, because you will all want to join me in onstant prayer for the people of Kenya and for their relatives and friends in other parts of the world who anxiously watch the TV pictures and long not only for news of their loved ones but for the restoration of peace in this beautiful country.

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

More incredible news from China!

I continue to get incredible, wonderful news about the Christians in China - this time from my friend, the Revd Martin Lloyd, the co-ordinator of (and whom I hope to meet at Easter).

Martin reflected on a Chinese pastor he had visited just a few months ago. Apparently the Chinese government itself has given him money to build what will become "China's largest church (holding 8000 inc 2500 Bible College students)." Martin has seen with his own eyes the foundations of the perimeter wall. It happens that this pastor and his team have produced all the Bible documents on . Martin mused, "I don't yet fully understand the intentions of Beijing or the leaders of this work. I await guidance and pray a lot."

Let's join him in prayer. A church of 8000 takes my breath away, even while I ponder if such a large church is viable - but then everything that God does is awesome!

Vice-President's New Year Greeting

This is such a wonderful New Year message, posted by the Vice-President of the Methodist Conference on that I wanted to pass it on as widely as possible:-

Tuesday, 1 January 2008
A blessing as you journey into the New Year
May your eyes be opened to the wonder of the daily miracles around you and your sense of mystery be deepened.

May you be aware of the light that shines in the darkness, and that the darkness can never put out.

May you be blessed with companions on the journey, friends who will listen to you and encourage you with their presence.

May you learn to live with what is unsolved in your heart, daring to face the questions and holding them until, one day, they find their answers.

May you find the still, quiet place inside yourself where you can know and experience the peace that passes understanding.

May love flow in you and through you to those who need your care.

May you continue to dream dreams and to reach out into the future with a deeper understanding of God's way for you. Amen

(Lynda Wright in Hay and Stardust)

Posted by RubyB at 20:43

Wishing you all every blessing in 2008.