In a little over four weeks time, when the World Cup Competition has finished, I’ll be shutting down this website and pretty much withdrawing from any ministry outside of my parish in Canterbury.
I really don’t want to give a long essay on the reasons for this decision. Needless to say, I don’t have the time between a busy job and growing family to also spend time trying to input into the area of human sexuality and also into the life of the Church of England (for example the Twurch of England Twitter project which I have tried to nurture for half a decade and which I shut down on Thursday), things which should be a job in themselves. Furthermore, and perhaps more importantly, it’s become too emotionally exhausting to try to give myself to an institution and a constituency leadership that doesn’t want to resource the ministry that it claims it so much admires. It’s not that I don’t want to do the things that I’ve been doing, it’s just that I am no longer capable of resourcing them to the degree that they deserve (and that, frankly, I deserve).
This is it then folks. We’ll do some death and see what God resurrects (if anything). But for now, without any of the above changing, in a month’s time I’ll be out of here.
Lord of all the nations, who played the cosmos into being, guide, guard and protect all who work or play in the World Cup.
May all find in this competition a source of celebration, an experience of common humanity and a growing attitude of generous sportsmanship to others.
“Who played the cosmos into being”? Seriously? I’d only just cleaned out the bucket after the “FIFA doves for world peace” last night.
Prayer 2 A Prayer for Brazil
God of the nations, who has always called his people to be a blessing for the world, bless all who take part in the World Cup.
Smile on Brazil in her hosting,
on the nations represented in competition and on those who travel to join in the party.
Spot on. Tick.
Prayer 3 A prayer for those simply not interested
Lord, as all around are gripped with World Cup fever, bless us with understanding, strengthen us with patience and grant us the gift of sympathy if needed.
Seriously? Oh dear….
Prayer 4 Prayers for the England Football team
And in two little words with added punctuation Bishop Nick Baines utterly redeems himself.
And then goes and throws it all away again (a bit like an England penalty shoot out actually).
“God, who played the cosmos into being, please help England rediscover their legs, their eyes and their hunger: that they might run more clearly, pass more nearly and enjoy the game more dearly. Amen.”
(Based on The Prayer commemorating Richard, Bishop of Chichester in 1253 and used by the Church of England on 16 June each year)
It’s that bloody “played the cosmos into being” again. Where’s my second bucket?
Three things we’re doing at the moment. The first is the Credit Champions Network, which Hector Sants launched a fortnight ago at St Martin in the Fields, that will seek to identify and develop grass-roots leaders within church communities; which is a lot of people. Everyone knows the church has a slightly mature demographic, and it’s something that in most cases we’re trying to balance out, but it’s very useful when it comes to this: we’ve got lots of people who are very skilled, very experienced and for whom doing this will be something that they will do out of love.
Someone said to me the other day, whenever love is offered at sufficient cost, because it’s always a sacrifice, it has an explosive power to change lives. And that’s what this movement is trying to do. So that network of credit champions is initially going to work in London and Liverpool to increase the number of churches engaged, train credit champions, and support them in leading church actions. The target is to train 300 people and to see 3000 members of credit unions as a result of the network, and to do that in the first three years. I think there’s going to be a lot of take up on that.
Secondly, we educate nearly a million children.One in four primary schools is run by the Church of England. We will be working on financial education for primary school children, to have a positive impact on the attitude of young people towards money and the culture of saving.
And lastly, we want to continue our response to the payday lending industry. I welcome what the government did at the latter stages of the Banking Reform Act last year, but we need to make sure that’s followed through and delivered on. Credit unions are not a direct substitute for payday lenders; ultimately they are giving different products. But as the name of the Task Group suggests, responsible credit and saving are real alternatives to the services currently provided by payday lenders.
This is a really exciting time for the credit unions. But we have to recognize that this is the long haul. It’s a marathon not a sprint, and therefore we need to keep going at a measured pace, developing so everyone knows about credit unions, and people pick it up. In 10 to 15 years it should be the norm, not the exception.
Brilliant idea. Let’s utilise the banking and retail finance skills and talents we’ve already got in the Church to help make Credit Unions a normal choice for people when considering their credit needs.
Looks at phone. Waits for phone to ring. Still waits for phone to ring.
20th Week after Trinity
O God, forasmuch as without you
we are not able to please you;
mercifully grant that your Holy Spirit
may in all things direct and rule our hearts;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Aber mit der Heimat
geht man immer herum,
durch die Welt,
dort und dort
No one could describe
the Word of the Father;
but when He took flesh from you, O Theotokos,
He consented to be described, and restored the fallen image to its former beauty.
We confess and proclaim our salvation in word and image.
Kontakion of the Triumph of Orthodoxy