Recent Articles

Church must reconcile with LGBT+ Catholics

Church must reconcile with LGBT+ Catholics

Among younger Catholics the Church’s traditional language is frankly incomprehensible....

The Tablet editorial claims that among younger Catholics the Church’s traditional language about gay men and women, especially the phrase “intrinsically disordered”, is frankly incomprehensible. It implies they are deficient and in some way inferior to heterosexuals because their sexual inclinations are inherently unnatural and sinful. This teaching itself can be harmful.

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The web of the hostile environment

The web of the hostile environment

as the Home Secretary seeks to make the environment even more hostile the Churches JPIT report is worth reading to guide local church action...

As Church leaders, the injustices of the hostile environment alarm us. The hostile environment is described as a web. Churches around the country are supporting people who have suffered hardship as a result of being caught up in it; indeed our church members are some of the very people who are at risk of destitution and discrimination.

The hostile environment spins a web of distrust and encourages suspicion. As Christians we believe that God calls us to offer welcome to the stranger and care for the vulnerable, whoever they are.
We therefore encourage you to read this new report produced by the Joint Public Issues Team. It draws together some of the latest evidence, stories and offers a Christian response. Our Christian faith calls us to pray and work for a society founded on trust, respect and love for one another. Let’s work together for a truly hospitable environment.

Revd Lynn Green General Secretary of the Baptist Union
Revd Richard Frazer Convenor of the Church and Society Committee of the Church of Scotland
Revd Loraine Mellor and Jill Baker President and Vice-President of the Methodist Conference
Revd Kevin Watson and Alan Yates Moderators of the United Reformed Church

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Church leaders question a no-deal Brexit

Church leaders question a no-deal Brexit

Quakers in Britain - News Release -24 July 2019...

Representatives of seven Christian denominations – including Quakers in Britain ─ have written an open letter to the new Prime Minister expressing concern that failing to agree a deal on Brexit will “hit those held back by poverty very hard indeed”.

The Church leaders say they have been “compelled” to write to the new Prime Minister because of his position that leaving the European Union without a deal is acceptable.

The letter states that “At a time when increasing numbers of families have difficulties putting enough food on the table, we believe it is irresponsible to consider a course of action that is expected to make that situation worse”.

The Church leaders say that “It is notable that assurances about our ability to cope with a no-deal Brexit, while frequent, are yet to be supported by substantial evidence” and ask the Government to publish evidence of the impact a no-deal Brexit on disadvantaged communities.

The letter also invites the Prime Minister to visit one of the many social action projects run by churches to support millions of citizens who live in poverty.
The letter is signed by leaders from the Methodist Church of Great Britain, the United Reformed Church, the Baptist Unions of Great Britain, Scotland and Wales, the Church of Scotland, the Salvation Army, Quakers in Britain and the Scottish Episcopal Church, which together have approximately 700,000 members.

Specific concerns over food supply, pricing as well as availability of medical supplies and energy are raised in the letter.
The letter warns that, in the event that a deal is not reached, “In essence, the Government will be relying on the hope that our former EU partners are willing to co-operate even without an agreement – a huge gamble to take with the basic needs of our poorest citizens and communities.”
The full text of the letter is here:

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“Sacred Earth: Original Blessing, Common Home.” Conference, Sydney.

“Sacred Earth: Original Blessing, Common Home.” Conference, Sydney.

Europeans who somehow believed that God was absent in Australia for 65,000 years until the colonizers arrived from Europe....

Aboriginal leader Anne Pattel-Gray spoke on “Restorative Justice” and recounted some of the sad and notorious history of white Australia to her people. Yet hers is the oldest continuous tribe on the earth. Anne Pattel-Gray’s examined the impact of white racism on the aboriginal peoples of Australia. Anne was blunt in her assessment of the price paid by her people and especially their children over the centuries at the hands of Europeans who somehow believed that God was absent in Australia for 65,000 years until the colonizers arrived from Europe. She was equally direct in posing solutions including a much talked-about but never enacted treaty that acknowledges her people as a sovereign nation. The conference responded by drawing up and enacting a supportive statement that will be delivered to government authorities. She called for action and not just more words.

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Being good without God: Iris Murdoch’s ideas are growing in influence - by Fiona Ellis writing in The Tablet

Being good without God: Iris Murdoch’s ideas are growing in influence - by Fiona Ellis writing in The Tablet

Iris Murdoch, who was born in Dublin 100 years ago this week, believed there was no room for God in a properly adult religion – yet her ideas…...

Iris Murdoch, who was born in Dublin 100 years ago this week, believed there was no room for God in a properly adult religion – yet her ideas are becoming increasingly influential among philosophers and theologians

The late Oxford philosopher P.F. Strawson once suggested that Iris Murdoch is a much better philosopher than novelist. This was passed down to me at the time as a rather clever joke. After all, Murdoch was a Platonist (horror of horrors), her work is insufficiently analytic, and she makes the whole thing far too personal and emotional (“For me,” she once said, “philosophical problems are the problems of my own life”). No wonder she was more successful as a novelist than as a philosopher.

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JESUS TODAY - A Quaker Perspective by Michael Wright

JESUS TODAY - A Quaker Perspective by Michael Wright

I have had a life-long respect and admiration for Jesus. These days I think so many people who might well share my respect for him, know hardly…...

The fresh knowledge provided by biblical scholars in the last fifty or more years passes most people by.

I have been encouraged by friends to share a little of my journey and experiences as an introduction to this book. It is written with Quakers in mind, many of whom these days know little about Jesus, even though the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in Britain is rooted in the Christian tradition and has always found inspiration in his life and teachings. I hope it may also be helpful to others, whether active church members or not, who are interested in a modern perspective on Jesus. I have been very much helped in writing this by consulting various friends who share some of my interests. As well as Quakers, they include Methodists, Anglicans and Roman Catholics. They have told me that what I have written will be of interest to some fellow members of the churches to which they belong.

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Shaping the future of the Church of England

Shaping the future of the Church of England

Looking ahead to the 2020 General Synod elections...

Should same sex couples be able to marry in church? How can the church respond to the climate emergency? What safeguarding rules should the church have to protect children and vulnerable adults? How do we equip the church for the challenges of mission and ministry in the 21st Century? Do you ever find yourself asking these questions? And do you wonder who in the church is responsible for answering them?

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Sources of progressive thought across denominations – pointers in the right direction:

Sources of progressive thought across denominations – pointers in the right direction:

Widening horizons - developing thoughts from home and across the water and not just the usual suspects...

Sources of progressive thought across denominations – pointers in the right direction: examples are given below of the changing and challenging thought at home and abroad. The websites from which the extracts were taken are as follows:

The_Tablet_Catholic_Weekly

National_Catholic_Reporter_USA

Progressive_Christianity_USA

Patheos_USA

Centre_for_Action_and_Contemplation

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AN INVITATION TO THE FEAST: A POSITIVE BIBLICAL APPROACH TO EQUAL MARRIAGE By Simon Taylor, Canon Chancellor of Derby Cathedral

AN INVITATION TO THE FEAST: A POSITIVE BIBLICAL APPROACH TO EQUAL MARRIAGE By Simon Taylor, Canon Chancellor of Derby Cathedral

This excellent article is taken from Modern Believing, the magazine of the Modern Church‘s journal....

Why the interest in marriage?

Let me start by noticing how unlikely it is that Christianity and the Christian Church should be saying anything at all about marriage. Jesus, the one whom we all seek to follow, was not married. Paul, the writer of more than half the New Testament and, if N. T. Wright is to believed, the inventor of theology,4 suggested that ‘I wish that all were as I myself am’ (1 Cor. 7.7), that is to say unmarried. Marriage, for Paul, is only for those who lack self-control. The Church of England’s marriage liturgies accordingly struggle for biblical references. Common Worship merely states that marriage is ‘blessed by the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ with those celebrating a wedding at Cana of Galilee’.5 The Book of Common Prayer is more creative, praying that ‘as Isaac and Rebecca lived faithfully together, so these persons may surely perform and keep the vow and covenant betwixt them made, (whereof this ring given and received is a token and pledge)’. However, given the parenting practices of Isaac and Rebecca, this prayer may be a mixed blessing. Jesus was unmarried. Paul recommended that Christians remain unmarried. The Church’s liturgies can identify only one married couple in the Old Testament suitable to recommend to those marrying in church, together with the fact that Jesus attended a marriage. Given all of this, we ought to ask more often why the Church is so interested in marriage at all.

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Oxford dean faces £500,000 secret tribunal in pay dispute (The Guardian)

Oxford dean faces £500,000 secret tribunal in pay dispute (The Guardian)

“Christ Church has allowed this whole dispute to be blown wildly out of proportion,” said the head of another college....

A retired high court judge will preside over a hearing into allegations of “immoral, scandalous or disgraceful” conduct by the dean of Christ Church, Oxford, which are believed to relate to a dispute over pay and governance at the ancient college.

Sir Andrew Smith will assess claims made against the Very Rev Martyn Percy, suspended from his job since last September. The hearing, to be held in private, is expected to last eight days and is estimated to cost at least £500,000.

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Francis criticizes traditionalist Catholics who ‘safeguard the ashes’ of the past

Francis criticizes traditionalist Catholics who ‘safeguard the ashes’ of the past

Francis singled out Catholic “fundamentalists,” who he said have a nostalgia for “returning to the ashes.”...

Joshua J. McElwee writing in the National Catholic Reporter (USA) reports that Pope Francis answering questions from journalists aboard his flight from Sibiu, Romania, to Rome June 2. criticized traditionalist Catholics who seek to “safeguard the ashes” of the past, saying the global church’s centuries of tradition are not akin to a container for preserved objects but instead like roots to be drawn on for future growth.

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AKT - working with LGBT care leavers - seeks help

AKT - working with LGBT care leavers - seeks help

akt formed in Manchester in 1989 by Cath Hall, an experienced foster carer,  who had become acutely aware of the rejection and ejection…...

akt formed in Manchester in 1989 by Cath Hall, an experienced foster carer, and founder member of Manchester Parents Group (MPG), who had become acutely aware of the rejection and ejection of young LGBT people from their family home and the homophobia they faced within school and society.

Cath was an activist during the days of the Campaign for Homosexual Equality and is the original straight ally.

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The Pope and the paradigm shift

The Pope and the paradigm shift

Just how deeply Pope Francis is feared and loathed is exemplified by the rise of ultra-conservative Catholic movements on the internet, says…...

The current transformation of the Catholic Church has been likened, prosaically, to a change of gear, or more delicately, as a “revolution in tenderness” – the words of the great and sadly lamented Jean Vanier, whose death was announced this week. Vanier’s own life epitomised that revolution: he was a man who “prepared the way of the Lord”. The more contentious and perhaps more ambivalent phrase for the process initiated and being led by Pope Francis is “paradigm shift”, and opponents of this papacy have latched on to it as summarising all they despise.

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Quaker Council for European Affairs (QCEA) campaign against anti-migrant hate speech

Quaker Council for European Affairs (QCEA) campaign against anti-migrant hate speech

QCEA campaign against anti-migrant hate speech on social media in the context of the upcoming European Parliament elections. It’s called…...

QCEA campaign against anti-migrant hate speech on social media in the context of the upcoming European Parliament elections. It’s called #ChooseRespect.

We’re trying to build a more civil and positive narrative around people on the move, based on the idea that hate speech has real-world consequences - including at the ballot box.

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United Methodists (USA) strengthen the bans against LGBTQ ordination and marriage

United Methodists (USA) strengthen the bans against LGBTQ ordination and marriage

What to do about ordination? A gay divinity school student ponders her future...

After finally accepting her call to preach, Spencer Cullom took a step of faith and began the yearslong process to become ordained in the United Methodist Church.

She believed God called her to become a United Methodist minister. And she hoped that her denomination would drop its restrictions against LGBTQ clergy and allow her to follow that call.

But Cullom knew that might not happen.

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Sri Lanka massacres - PCN Britain adds its own sorrowing voice to others - says PCN Chair

Sri Lanka massacres - PCN Britain adds its own sorrowing voice to others - says PCN Chair

PCN Britain adds its own sorrowing voice to others who strive to convince a sceptical and weary world that religious faith does have the power…...

For decades theologians such as the late John Hick have written about the need for a pluralistic approach to religion in an ambiguous world. They have seen a search, in different religions, for ultimate reality and truth and consequentially have encouraged a path of dialogue between faiths which has been a constant feature of religious conversations both at the international and local level.

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Alan Jack Dean -In Memorium

Alan Jack Dean -In Memorium

Jack was a Lay Preacher of some renown, but his progressive views didn’t please everyone...

My memories of Jack Dean … George Drake

I first became aware of Jack Dean through articles he had written for Progressive Voices and letters to Reform – the magazine of the United Reformed Church.

My first correspondence with Jack was a request for the first of two booklets of essays he had produced, (the two booklets were ‘Didn’t see you in church, Jesus’ and ’ A View from the Pew’ – They can be downloaded from the website). This was the start of a blossoming friendship, that was further enhanced when I wrote a letter to Reform in support of Jack, when some readers took offence at a letter he had written.

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