Wednesday, 30 September 2009


The Centenary Year Celebrations continue at Caversham Heights Methodist Church with three more visiting preachers this month, including Major Samuel Edgar of the Salvation Army who is currently the Chairman of the West Midlands Free Church Federal Council who will preach at 10.30am on Sunday, 4th October;.

Deacon Vic Downs, now serving in Hednesford, makes an eagerly-awaited return visit to Caversham (where he served for several years) on Back to Church Sunday, 18th October at both 10.30am and 6.30pm services.

Mr. John Bell, who was Vice-President of the Methodist Conference 2005-2006 is the special preacher on Sunday, 25th October at 10.30am. He will assist at the 6.30pm Communion Service and at 4pm will also be chairing a discussion group in the church at 4pm on the way ahead.

As the Centenary Year draws to a close, there are four further visiting preachers to look forward to. The Revd Chris Jones, the Southampton District Ecumenical Enabler for Berks and Wilts, but temporarily the acting Superintendent for the Winchester Methodist Circuit, will preach at 10.30am on 1st November. Prior to entering the Methodist Ministry Chris was a schoolteacher and ended that career as a headmaster in Essex. His father and grandfather were both Baptist ministers.

The Revd Andy Moffoot, from the Tilehurst Methodist Church, who has spent some years as a Mission Partner in Kenya, will preach at the 10.30am service on World Mission Day, 8th November.

Former Caversham Minister, the Revd Rosemary Fletcher, and her husband James Rowley will spend the whole of Sunday 29th November (Advent Sunday) at the church, with Rosemary preaching at both the 10.30am and the 6.30pm services and together at 4pm they will give a picture of Sri Lanka where they are currently serving as Mission Partners.

The final special preacher at the 10.30am service on 6th December will be the Revd Professor Frances Young, well-known author and theologian, who taught theology at the University of Birmingham from 1971 to 2005. Her books include both academic and more popular theological writings, drawing on her work on the New Testament and on Christianity in its formative centuries, but also on her experience as the mother of a son (Arthur) who was born with profound physical and mental disabilities.

A warm welcome is extended to everyone at these centenary services.

Monday, 28 September 2009

Racecourse Community School in Kitwe, Zambia

On Saturday, 14th November, the Reading Male Voice Choir will give a concert in Caversham Heights Methodist Church, the proceeds of which will be devoted to the Racecourse Community School in Kitwe, Zambia, which that church has been supporting for the past six years.

The Racecourse Community School was established in March 1999 in the township of Chimwemwe, Kitwe, Zambia. Its aim is to provide for the children of that community, orphaned by the death of their parents due to the HIV/AIDS pandemic that is having terrible consequences for millions of people in the developing world. As a result of this, many children were left without shelter, clothing, food and the finances needed to pay the fees and buy the school uniform needed to attend a Government school.

Racecourse School started with 410 pupils and 6 volunteer teachers. Today there are 2,000 children attending the school and 20 volunteer teachers. Classes run from Pre-school to Grade 7. The school now has one purpose-built classroom block but the majority of the children are taught in cramped, dark, mud-bricked rooms with earth floors and little light coming in from small openings high in the walls. These are in buildings scattered around the township. The pupils are crammed three to a desk and attend school in three shifts commencing at 7am.. text books are a luxury, mainly used by the teachers to transfer information to a blackboard using a stub of chalk. There is so little food; the children try to study on an empty stomach because they are so keen to learn.

Friday, 25 September 2009

Fiji Update

For information:

Nine Methodist Church leaders returned to court in Fiji yesterday to negotiate their bail conditions and seek greater religious freedom for their Church.

When they arrived they were informed that the Director of Public Prosecutions is away and that they should return to court next month. The leaders, including the Church’s President, Revd Ame Tugaue, and General Secretary, Revd Tuikilakila Waqairatu, remain bound by strict bail conditions, which prohibit them from travelling abroad, teaching, preaching, leading worship or attending Church tings.

The leaders will return to court on 27 October.

Source: Methodist News Service 25/09/2009

Thursday, 24 September 2009


Only one year ago, 50, 000 Christians were forced from their homes in Orissa state, India, because of their faith. In this ruthless persecution over 120 people died and 300 villages were destroyed, leaving many homeless.

We need 50, 000 people, one for each of the Christians who have suffered, to contact Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh of India and to urge him to seek justice for our Christian brothers and sisters. They should not have to worship in fear.

Current Situation
A year on from the decimation of the Christian people and their homes in Orissa, over 4,000 are still displaced and continue to face hardship and persecution.

They cannot return home because of their fear for their lives and the threat of forced conversion. Their situation is desperate, but you can make a difference.

Please go to and fill in the form provided to ask the Indian government to seek justice for the victims of this campaign of hate. We want the government to try the perpetrators, protect the witnesses and compensate the victims. With your help we can do this.

Sourse: Premier Christian Media 24/09/2099

Fijian Church leaders return to court

Church is being intimidated by government

Today, nine Methodist Church leaders have returned to court in order to negotiate their bail conditions and seek greater religious freedom for their Church.

The leaders, including the Church’s President, Revd Ame Tugaue and General Secretary Revd Tuikilakila Waqairatu, appeared in court last month, pleading not guilty to charges of breaching public emergency regulations. They were released on bail, but prohibited from attending Church meetings, preaching or leading worship.

The Church, which includes more than a third of the population, has been outspoken in its criticism of Fiji’s military government, which is lead by Commodore Bainimarama. Bainimarama originally promised to return the country to democratic rule by April 2009, but is now saying this will not happen until 2014.

Steve Pearce, Partnership Coordinator, said; ‘Our communications with the Church in Fiji are being monitored and all Church activities and meetings are being scrutinised by government officials. This is intimidation and we applaud the Church in Fiji for its continuing attempts at dialogue rather than confrontation. The Methodist Church is the only faith group in Fiji to receive this treatment, but it remains committed to playing its necessary role in building a renewed and just society in Fiji.”

Earlier this year the Church was forced to cancel its annual Conference, at which the President and Vice President would have been sworn-in and new ministers ordained. The Church has to seek government permission for any formal meeting, one sign of hope this week was government assent for a meeting to station ministers for the coming year.

But there is hope that Fiji’s expulsion from the Commonwealth will lead to increased dialogue between the Church and government, leading to a quicker return to democracy. Steve said; “We continue to hope and pray for lines of dialogue to open and for God’s wisdom to prevail”.

Despite the adversity, Church life continues and the Church is delighted to have appointed its first ever female Divisional Superintendent, the Revd Kelera Wesele.

Source: Methodist News Service 24/09/2009

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

September meeting of the Methodist Council

The Methodist Council met on 21-22 September at Methodist Church House in London. This is the first Council meeting of the new Church year.

Discipleship was high on the agenda for this Council meeting. General Secretary the Revd Dr Martyn Atkins, introduced the discussion by asking Council members to consider the challenges that Christian discipleship presents to the contemporary church. Presenting a vision for discipleship, John Ellis, Secretary for Team Operations, said; “Christian discipleship isn’t just about self improvement and it’s certainly not about self promotion. We want to encourage people to grow in faith and action as their own lives change and grow. As the life of John Wesley has taught us, Christian discipleship can change the world.”

The Council also discussed a new fundraising strategy for the Church, which will now be developed in consultation with Methodists around Britain. Fundraising Coordinator David Bennett, said, “At the heart of this strategy is better communication with all those who give so generously to the Methodist funds. We want them to see the enormous difference their money makes to the lives of people all over the world. We couldn’t do any of this work without their support.”

The Council spent time in discussions about the progress of the Anglican-Methodist Covenant, which was signed in 2003. Groups discussed how the covenant might be further progressed in practical ways, including different models of episcopacy and how the churches might consult and make decisions together.

The Council also welcomed the Revd Kirsty Thorpe, a minister of the United Reformed Church (URC), as a participant observer. The Revd Alison Tomlin, President Designate of the Methodist Conference, will attend the URC Mission Council in November.

Other topics discussed at the Council included a new communications strategy for the Church and plans to lease Southlands College to Roehampton University, with continued Methodist involvement in the life of the College. The papers of the Methodist Council are available online at:

Source: Methodist News Service 22/09/2009

Monday, 21 September 2009

World Methodist Council

However busy you are, please don't forget to visit
the President and Vice-President's blog to follow the very interesting account by our Vice-President, Dr. Richard Vautrey, of the Methodist work in Chile, as he accompanies his wife to the Methodist World Council meeting - this year in Santiago. You will get an even better idea of the people and their work if you remember to click on each photo, to enlarge them and see them in greater detail. There is sure to be more to come yet before Dr. Vautrey and his wife return home on Saturday, and I shall be eagerly waiting to follow this exciting visit.

Then we can look forward to our President, the Revd David Gamble's, visit next week to the wonderful work funded by MRDF in India and his reports and photos from there.

27 September is Back to Church Sunday: Come as you are

This Sunday, half a million Christians will be inviting someone special to come back to church in one of the largest co-ordinated ecumenical evangelism events staged across Britain.

Churches across the UK and further afield will be offering an especially warm welcome at church services and events for Back to Church Sunday (27 September). Church members have been encouraged to personally invite someone they know to come back to church for special services and events on the theme of ‘Come as you are’.

A number of churches are combining the event with their harvest celebrations. “Harvest is a time when some folk return to church for their annual visit to say ‘thank you’ and on this occasion they will find an even warmer welcome than usual,” said the Revd Gill Newton, minister at Cheadle Hulme Methodist Church in Cheshire.

Derrick Norton, Evangelism Network Development Officer, said; “Back to Church Sunday is taking many people by surprise, because of the growing awareness of its success. Here is an event which accords with some people’s interest in spiritual things, and which is an opportunity for those outside the church to find a way to return.

“We are encouraged to do what we know we should – to be welcoming. It starts with prayerfully and personally inviting someone we know to what is a fairly typical church service, but where we have planned a warm welcome for visitors. We know there will again be lots of good news stories, as people step out and allow God to use their simple acts of hospitality.”

In Appleby and Dufton in Cumbria, people who come to church this Sunday will be invited to attend a ‘Come as you are’ course later in the year. Paul Dunstan, District Evangelism Enabler for the Cumbria Methodist District, said, “The beauty of Back to Church Sunday is its simplicity”.

A 40-second radio advert promoting Back to Church Sunday will be broadcast on local radio stations around the UK, inviting people to take part.

Back to Church Sunday is a joint initiative of the Church of England, the Methodist Church, the United Reformed Church, the Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Salvation Army, the Church in Wales, Churches Together in Scotland and Elim Pentecostal Churches, as well as churches in Australia, Argentina, New Zealand and Canada.

Source: Methodist News Agency 21/09/2009

At Caversham Heights Methodist Church we will be combining this year's Back to Church Sunday with the Cenetenary return visit of our former Deacon, deacon Vic Downs and his wife Anne on 18th October.

Methodists win at the Blog Awards

Two Methodist weblogs received awards at this year’s Christian Web and New Media Awards.

The Revd David Perry won the award for Best Christian Blog and The President and Vice President’s blog came runner up in the Most Inspiring Leadership Blog category at a ceremony in London on Friday.

David Perry’s blog ( combines his stunning photography with spiritual reflections. “Like the colourful flower, my images attract traffic to the blog which I might not otherwise get,” said David, who is Chair of the Lincoln and Grimsby Methodist District. “What I hope is true is that all leave with a little bit of incidental gospel pollen clinging to them. Even one tiny grain of grace, love and hope gathered here by chance in something seen or read might be a God-given gift to someone who needs it.”

The President and Vice President’s blog (, documents the travels and experiences of the President and Vice President of the Methodist Conference, as they spend a year visiting Methodists around the UK and much further afield.

The Original Christian Web and New Media Awards were the first ever exclusively Christian award ceremony for bloggers and web designers in the UK. They were established in 2007 by Premier Christian Media to recognise and reward Christian achievements on the internet. For more information, visit

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Hospital Open Day

Last Saturday I was invited to another Open Day at my local hospital (as a member of the Hospital Trust). This time it was a mystery until we got there. Then we found that we were divided into three groups and sent in seqence on three tours - cardiology, ophthalmology and then a 45 minute tour of the hospital on foot! That's the way my group did it. The other groups had a different sequence. When I first arrived, I was greeted by the man who had sent out the invitation, who turned out to have lived opposite me before he worked in the Hospital Admin! So that was a nice warm welcome, and he was the leader of my group too.

Cardiology was very interesting, as they demonstrated (with a healthy member of staff as a 'patient') what they do when a new heart patient comes in. We saw what the doctors see and were told what they look for when a patient goes through an echocardiogram, an ECG, and is walking on a treadmill and we had angioplasty explained to us - all very interesting. They said that women are not as good as men at recognising heart attacks and if any of us had a pain in the chest we should call an ambulance immediately, in order to get quick treatment. So I asked, 'What if you don't have a pain as such but simply a tightening across your chest?' and I was told, 'You should go to see your GP.' {I have now done so, was told that it was angina and was referred to cardiology!}

In the ophthalmology Dept., they were keen to show us the new unit that they have just acquired to deal (separately from the rest of the Eye Dept.), with the 300 patients (of which I am one) who have AMD (age-related macular degeneration). My referral from the optician was so early that they only told me to come again in February, so it was very interesting to see how someone in need of treatment was treated, including having to go to the Hospital two or three times a week for eye injections over a period of (I think it was) 15 days. So I know what I could be in for sometime in the future! A tailor-made tour for me!

When the staff saw my dressings on my ankles, they insisted that I had a chair at every change of location. I couldn't have had better attention if I had been the queen. When it came to the foot tour of the hospital, I opted out, saying that I knew the hospital quite well anyway, and went with Mike (our leader) for a coffee to wait for them all returning to the dining hall for lunch. (There was another member of staff leading the foot tour.)

At lunch, I happened to sit beside a man who said he was the church organist at Dunsden parish church and he sometimes plays at our Gosbrook Road church. Not only that, but he said he was the father-in-law of one of our Local preachers, Patrick Stonehewer! So it turned out to be a very interesting and happy Open Day!

Thought for the Day controversy to be aired in public debate

The Church and Media Network will host a public debate on BBC Radio 4’s controversial Thought for the Day next month. The motion for debate is that "This House Believes that Humanist speakers should be included in BBC Radio 4's Thought for the Day."

The two minute slot will come into sharp focus this Autumn when the BBC Trust will deliver a ruling on a formal complaint that humanist views are under-represented by the BBC, with Thought for the Day cited in evidence.

Announcing the debate the Director of the Church and Media Network Andrew Graystone said, “Thought for the Day is a totemic issue for the humanist movement. But some fear that it is religious, not secular voices that are in danger of being under-represented. Because their ruling was generated by a complaint, the BBC Trust has not opened this issue for public consultation. We hope that by hosting this debate on a cornerstone of the BBC’s religious output we can give a proper airing to the arguments on all sides.”

The motion will be proposed by Dr Andrew Copson, the Director of Education and Public Affairs at the British Humanist Association. He will be joined by comedienne Ariane Sherine, who masterminded the "atheist bus campaign" and delivered an experimental secular Thought for the Day on Radio 4’s PM programme. Opposing the motion will be Canon Giles Fraser, who is a regular Thought for the Day contributor and was recently appointed Canon Chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral. He will be joined by Rt Rev Nick Baines, the Bishop of Croydon. The debate will be chaired by the distinguished broadcaster Edward Stourton, who as presenter of Today on Radio 4 has introduced many Thoughts for the Day.

The debate will take place on Thursday 8th October at the LICC at St Peter’s, Vere Street (off Oxford Street) London. Refreshments will be served from 6.30pm and the debate will begin at 7pm. Members of the public are welcome, with tickets priced £7.50, available on the door.

The Church and Media Network (formerly known as the Churches’ Media Council) exists to promote mutual understanding between the media and the Christian community.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Last Call for Applications to MA Course in Spirituality at Sarum College

Last call for applications to Sarum College’s unique ecumenical programme offering an interdisciplinary exploration of Christian Spirituality.

The course is delivered through intensive modules in the beautiful setting of Salisbury’s Cathedral Close making it accessible to those who live outside Salisbury and overseas.

Modules are supplemented by tutorial support for home-based study. There are two core modules, four optional modules and a written dissertation.

Optional modules include: Medieval Spirituality, Celtic Spirituality, Pastoral Ministry and Christian Spiritual Direction, Philosophical and Psychological Roots of Christian Spirituality, among others.

These can also be taken individually by non-MA students.

For more information, follow this link

Or contact the academic administrator on 01722 424827 /

Church leaders’ public support for Credit Union

Cornwall’s three senior Church leaders are next month going public with their support for the credit union by signing up to Cornish Community Banking.
The Chair of the Methodist Church in Cornwall, The Anglican Bishop of Truro and the Roman Catholic Bishop of Plymouth will all sign on the dotted line to make a difference to the lives of some of the poorest people in the county.
The public sign-in will be on Tuesday, October 6, on the Piazza at Lemon Quay, Truro, between 12.30pm and 1.30pm.
Members of Speaking in Drums will be beating out the rhythm of justice at the same time.
This is the Church in action in the local community - acting to bring hope right at the heart of the economic concerns that are affecting so many people.
Members of church communities are being invited to join their leaders on the day by bringing a photo ID and utility bill and becoming a member of the Credit Union as well. All the money will be safe and working in Cornwall.

Source: Metodist News Service 17/09/09

Churches’ delegation to attend the three main political party conferences

Christian leaders will engage with politicians at the three main party political conferences over the next few weeks.

Senior representatives from the Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Methodist Church, the United Reformed Church and The Salvation Army will attend the Liberal Democrat, Labour and Conservative party conferences to discuss their shared concerns.

The Churches’ delegation will emphasise the importance of working together to achieve international agreements which address climate change, fairer trade arrangements and the regulation of financial markets in order to benefit the poorest communities. Nuclear weapons, asylum seekers and migration will also feature on the Christian group’s agenda.

Jonathan Edwards, General Secretary of the Baptist Union of Great Britain, said: “At each party conference we will meet with politicians, listening to their concerns and sharing our own. Politicians, whether they work at a national, regional or local level, often feel disconnected from the Churches and this is a wonderful opportunity to make contact with them and assure them of our prayerful concern.”

As well as building relationships, the representatives will offer visible support for the ministry of Christians involved in politics, promote the work of the Churches and strengthen ecumenical links through discussions on social issues.

Richard Vautrey, Vice-President of the Methodist Conference, said: “We want to offer our support for the ministry of Christians involved in politics as well as to highlight the importance of Christian engagement with politics.”

For several years the Churches have been coming together to organise a joint delegation to the party conferences, and it has now become an established date in the Church leaders’ calendar.

The Revd John Marsh, Moderator of the United Reformed Church General Assembly, said: “The party conferences are taking place in an election year at a time of widespread disillusionment in the political process in the UK following the MPs’ expenses scandal. We look forward to engaging with politicians at the party conferences this year to encourage them to continue pursuing constitutional renewal to restore confidence in the political process.”

This year the delegation will be supporting the work of Citizens for Sanctuary; a campaign calling for justice for people seeking sanctuary, following the report of the Independent Asylum Commission last year.

Tim Stone, Public Affairs Officer for The Salvation Army UK and Ireland, said: “Especially now, at this time of economic crisis, The Salvation Army is joining with other Christian Churches to remind politicians of the plight of the most vulnerable in society.
“When budgets are tight, it may be too easy for decision makers to consider slashing public funding for families and individuals without being held fully to account. However, there is growing evidence that failing to look after all members of our society will only store up more problems for tomorrow.”

Source: Methodist News Service 17/09/09

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Premier Christian Radio launches DAB Digital Radio

26th September at Methodist Central Hall Westminster

In just 4 days on Monday 21st Premier Christian Radio will realise the dream to become a National Broadcaster. Not just on people's television sets or through the Internet, but across the nation on DAB Digital Radio.

And to mark the occasion in style you are invited to join us for two great events to celebrate what God is doing to touch the nation through Christian media.

The DAB National Launch Celebration Event - at 7pm
Join Peter Kerridge, Dave Rose, Tony Miles and a host of other Premier presenters for what promises to be a wonderful celebration of Premier's National Launch, on
Saturday, 26th September.

Worship will be led by Dave Bilbrough, Muyiwa & Riversongz and the London Community Gospel Choir, and there will be many surprises during this praise-party event.

Book your FREE tickets by emailing


The DAB National Prayer Event - at 5pm
Join John Pantry, Rick Easter and David Aldous for the Premier DAB National Prayer Event.

Join with us in prayer as we ask God's blessing on Premier's new national service and for the future of our nation. Time will be spent praying for the different regions of the UK and the major issues that this country faces.

Complementing our prayer will be renowned worship leader Dave Bilbrough who will be leading us in reflective worship.

Book your FREE tickets by emailing

Friday, 11 September 2009

Methodists will attend Trade Union Congress

Church to join campaign to protect vulnerable workers

Methodists will attend the Trade Union Congress in Liverpool on Tuesday (September 15) to build further relationships with Trade Unionists.

David Gamble, President of the Methodist Conference, and Dr Richard Vautrey, Vice-President of the Methodist Conference, will meet with Unite trade union to discuss work-place issues brought on by the recession. They will also sign up to a campaign led by the Trade Union movement to extend the rights of vulnerable employees, and meet with the President of the Trade Union Congress.

Paul Morrison, Policy Adviser, Revd Rosa Leto, Chair of Chaplains Council, and Revd David Wrighton from Methodist Chaplaincy, will also attend and listen to the debates.

Revd David Wrighton, Deputy Chaplaincy Coordinator, said: “There is a lot of common ground between the TUC and the Methodist Church. The TUC is dealing with issues like migration, unemployment, bullying at work, which are also areas that the Church is concerned about. The Methodist Church has always been involved in social issues and a great deal of what the TUC does is good, solid social action work.”

The Methodist Church has historical links with the Trade Union movement dating back to the Tolpuddle Martyrs in the 19th Century.

Source: Methodist News Service 11/09/2009

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Join the Dance

Join the Trafalgar Squaredance this Sunday

This Sunday a church organist will be taking to Trafalgar Square’s fourth plinth with the simple aim of making London happy with music.

For one hour only, from 6pm on Sunday 13 September, Peter Harding, from Solihull will play the accordion to tourists, passers-by and other visitors to London’s Trafalgar Square. Listeners will be treated to a varied playlist, including folk music, Handel, ragtime and hymns, culminating with the theme tune of Radio 4’s The Archers.

Peter said; “Busking seems to suit me, as it is what I do every Sunday morning at the organ console, and I hope that I'll also be able to persuade those standing by to do a little barn dancing in the square. I plan to play the accordion for an hour to make London happy, although they may be happier when I stop. I'm a self-taught accordion player, and maybe skipped a few too many classes!”

Peter is one of 2,400 people who will appear on the fourth plinth between 6 July and 14 October 2009, picked from more than 33,400 applicants for sculptor Anthony Gormley’s One and Other project.

Those who can’t make it to Trafalgar Square can join the dance virtually by visiting , to watch the plinth live.

Peter has been the organist and choirmaster for Acocks Green Methodist Church in
Birmingham for 25 years. Since he’ll be having a whale of a time, Peter invites those who appreciate his music to make donations to the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust (HWDT)

Source: Methodist News Service 10/09/2009

European Methodist Council comes to Manchester

Church leaders from all over Europe will meet in Manchester this weekend to discuss mass unemployment, migration, Christian and Muslim dialogue and ecumenical relationships.

Methodists from Ireland in the West across to Russia in the East and from Portugal in the South up to Scandinavia in the North will arrive at the Luther King House in Brighton Grove on September 12 for the annual European Methodist Council.

Representatives from Spain, Portugal, Italy, Germany, Britain, Ireland and northern, central and southern Europe will also discuss the Church’s response to the financial crisis which rocked the globe this year.

A celebratory day of worship at local churches across the city on Sunday will conclude with evensong at Manchester Cathedral followed by a dinner. Council business will begin on September 14 and end on September 16.

Revd Keith Davies, Manchester and Stockport Methodist Chair of District, will address the Council on urban mission using Manchester as a model.

“We are really excited about the European Methodist Council coming to Manchester. I think it is really good to have that link with our European partners,” he said. “We are hoping that there may be a more focused link with some of our partners.”

Revd Dr Martyn Atkins, General Secretary of the Methodist Church, will be giving a talk on vision, identity and Methodist charisma in Europe. There are nine Methodist denominational churches in Europe with around half million members and adherents.

The European Methodist Council is a consultative body that exists to enable member churches to consult together on matters of common concern and develop a stronger Methodist witness in Europe.

Source: Methodist News Service 10/09/2009

Monday, 7 September 2009

Christian Aid projects climate protests onto power station

Last weekend relief and development agency Christian Aid carried out a ‘mass virtual trespass’ at a Shropshire power plant. The event, staged to coincide with 100 days until the UN climate change summit in December, involved shining photos of supporters’ messages onto an E.ON cooling tower in Ironbridge. The protest was directed at the Prime Minister, calling for him to personally attend the Copenhagen summit and persuade developed nations to reduce carbon emissions by at least 40 per cent by 2020. The stunt is the first in a series of visual trespasses planned for other sites across the UK. Members of the public can enter their own pictures for the protests at

Source: (31/8)

Archbishop employs political blogger as spin doctor

The Archbishop of York has chosen political blogger Kerron Cross as his new PR expert. Dr John Sentamu used Twitter, the social networking website, to publicise the post in June. His advert said: ‘As the current postholder moves to parish ministry I am seeking a Director of Communications. Is God calling you?’ Kerron Cross is a Labour Party activist and former councillor who described himself as ‘the voice of the delectable left’ on his popular blog. Mr Cross said: ‘I suppose God moves in mysterious ways! The serious fact is that this underlines the need for… organisations to embrace the usefulness of social media and new media in recruitment but also in communicating generally with a wider audience. The church should be no different.’

Source: Daily Telegraph (2/9)

Saturday, 5 September 2009

NIV to be revised for first time in quarter of a century

International Ministry Biblica (formerly the International Bible Society) has announced that it will launch a new edition of the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible in 2011. It will be the first revision of the popular translation in 25 years. Biblica CEO Keith Danby says the NIV has become increasingly dated as language has changed and so an update is necessary. A previous attempt in 2002, called Today’s NIV (TNIV), failed to gain popularity because of criticism for its gender-inclusive language, and will cease publication when the new version is available. The translators of the latest revision will reconsider the gender question and are offering the public the chance to make their comments at

Sources: (2/9); msnbc (1/9)

Friday, 4 September 2009

Church broadcasts Bible discussions on the web

A Welsh church is using ‘Godcasts’ of its Bible study group to widen its reach and minister to the housebound. St Catherine’s Church in Pontypridd lets a web audience in on its scriptural reflections by downloadable podcasts. Podcasting of sermons is nothing new, but group Bible discussion is perhaps an innovation. Revd Marcus Green says: ‘Some members of our church are housebound, can’t get out, some of them miss sometimes… this helps them know they’re still loved, they’re still part of this, and this blesses them.’ Group member Stuart Franklin believes the group study addresses questions that listeners would like answered themselves. The podcast is available from the church's website and iTunes.

Source: BBC News (2/9)

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Church calls for end to Pakistan blasphemy law

‘Outdated’ law is fuelling interreligious violence

The Methodist Church in Britain is calling on the Pakistani Government to repeal its controversial blasphemy law, and is encouraging Christians to sign an online petition.

The blasphemy law includes clauses that forbid defiling the Quran and defaming the prophet Mohammed. Under the current law, defiling the Quran merits imprisonment for life and defaming Mohammed merits death with or without a fine.

There is concern that the law is enflaming tensions between Christians and Muslims in Pakistan, and is being used to justify violence against Christians. In late July, three churches and 147 homes were burned during violent attacks against Christians that left ten dead and made more than 290 families homeless.

The President of the Methodist Conference, the Revd David Gamble, has signed the petition (available at and is urging others to do likewise.

David said; “The blasphemy law is being used by some to fuel violence between people of faith in Pakistan, rather than creating respect as it was once designed to do.
Atrocities such as those we have seen committed against Christians in recent days must be stopped and the Pakistani Government needs to prove its commitment to protecting religious minorities by repealing this outdated law.”

So far more than 1,600 people have signed the petition, which has been formulated by Christians and Muslims together and will be delivered to the Pakistan Government, urging them to help prevent further attacks.

Source: Methodist News Service 3/9/2009

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Happy New Year!

A Happy New Methodist Year to all my Methodist friends1 I love this time of year, when we begin a new year in Methodism, often with a new Minister or Deacon
about to be welcomed into the church and circuit with solemn vows and joyful greetings. There is always fresh hope that this Ministry will be a key ministry in our area, moving us forward with new energy and commitment so that all around may discover that we have Good News to offer in Christ's name.
Even Methodist preacher has fresh hope and a new vision of modern Methodism!

In the absence of Connexions at Greenbelt, I feel I ought to direct your attention to
The Methodist Blogs Weekly Roundup which highlights some important and interesting blogs this week.

Mickey Rourke thanks God for saving his life

Actor Mickey Rourke has credited God and the Catholic Church for his recovery from addictions and restored career. Speaking at the Sarajevo Film Festival, the star said he almost committed suicide but ‘God gave me a second chance in life and I thank him.’ Rourke made his name with action movies and the erotic ‘Nine and a Half Weeks’ film in the 1980s, but left acting for boxing, during which time he became a drug addict and alcoholic. More recently he has resurrected his movie career, culminating in a Golden Globe for ‘The Wrester’ this year. In 2005 it was reported that he was feeling suicidal and had begun meeting with a pastor in New York, saying: ‘If I weren’t Catholic I would have blown my brains out.’

Source: Catholic News Agency (25/8)