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 on: February 01, 2013, 02:31:51 AM 
Started by Vic VDB - Last post by Dave C.
There seems to be a shift occurring in US public opinion  regarding gun control, driven in part by media attention to individual acts of gun violence.  Ever since the school shooting in Newtown, more stories seem to be appearing in national and international media providing details of some of the more sensational or seemingly senseless murders, such as the boy who murdered his parents and three of his siblings in Albuquerque and the honor student, who had performed with her school band during President Obama's inauguration, who was gunned down in Chicago.



 on: January 19, 2013, 11:29:31 AM 
Started by Vic VDB - Last post by clockman
They (Quakers) consider themselves to be... and, as far as I know, they believe that Jesus is part of the triune Godhead, which<i> I</i> think means they qualify.
Interdependence and mutuality is good - and part of the Parish Share is for sector ministry, which includes youth work. Provided they pay their Share (which they do) I see no reason why they should not get a chance to bid for some of the benefits! Yes, they have to 'pay their way' as far as they are able, which means those wealthy parishes contributing more (and where reasonable, a sum in addition to the actual Share). This was the point of my last post in this thread

 on: January 19, 2013, 11:17:39 AM 
Started by Vic VDB - Last post by clockman
So long as there was someone 'on duty' at the time who was happy to perform the ceremony, and no-one was inconvenienced, then I agree, there should have been no issue.
However, if it was a small office, and there would not always have been someone else to perform the ceremony, there could have been an issue, and allowing her to make this stand could have been construed as legal precedent. Indeed, with the cut-backs we are experiencing in govt spending there could well be registrar's offices with only one registrar, and if (s)he was allowed to refuse on religious grounds then that office would be effectively closed for such ceremonies...
I think this is where the difficulty arose. I don't think it was personal actually. I do agree though that it would have been better to wait for such a situation to arise!

 on: January 17, 2013, 05:02:57 PM 
Started by Vic VDB - Last post by Vic VDB
Looking at the case of Lillian Ladele, sometime registrar for Islington Council in London who lost her job when she refused to take a civil partnership. Now, as I understand it, this woman did her job well but, because of her beliefs, didn't feel that she could in all good conscience conduct a civil partnership and someone decided to make a complaint about it.

First and foremost we have to ask whether or not anyone who wanted a civil partnership was inconvenienced or refused because of this woman's beliefs. The answer to this is a resounding 'No' for what occurred was that when there was a civil partnership to be conducted the woman merely exchanged that task for another.

The second question is that of asking 'Why'?

Why did someone make a complaint that lead to the eventual dismissal of Ms Ladele? Well I can't imagine it was someone with a relationship with the woman who was aggrieved that she wouldn't take their service. It surely can't have been someone who had their heart set of having their civil partnership service conducted by a black woman (can it?) or wanted a Christian lay person to do the job!

No M'lud, what I have to say is that the complaint was actually little more that a spiteful and rather malicious act. The intention was to hit out at Ms Ladele and act against her and whilst it might look like it worked, actually she emerges from this as a 'hero of the faith' rather than bigot, homophobe or any of the other comments some (who actually own the rights to those very titles for themselves) have used!

The grown up response was that as long as there was no refusal of service then surely the right to believe and act according to them harmed no one and as long as that situation continued, there was no problem.

I cannot for the life of me believe that someone wishing to take part in any event would wish to have it done by someone who didn't want to do it. The ideal is someone who is keen to provide whatever service is required and if not keen, then at least ambivalent or neutral - I wouldn't want someone who did the thing without being fully engaged (mind you - having dealt with registrars in some places they were rarely engaged or even (apparently) interested in what was going on - it just seemed to be (what it might well be for many) - a job!

So did human rights win here? No, I don't think so. What we had was someone using the system to exact some sort of revenge rather than stand for anyone's rights and so I think that commonsense, the right to live and act as one's beliefs demand and the law itself all lost out here.

When one person acts and another disagrees then surely each has a right to live as they might and as long as neither demands nor imposes upon the other on the grounds of primacy of rights we find a coexistence and place where respect, however uneasy, is to be found.

This is what society, rights, life choices and faith are all about - we may not agree but that doesn't mean that we have to engage in conflict.

Well, not unless one of us has a different (and wrong) agenda (and that's exactly what I think we have here)

Some might actually call it Christophobia :-)

 on: January 16, 2013, 12:40:33 PM 
Started by Vic VDB - Last post by Vic VDB
I have to admit that I am struggling a great deal regarding the issue of human rights in that everyone appears to believe that their rights trump those of everyone else around them and to not endorse something is to be 'phobic' (a word meaning 'not agreeing that my rights are supreme and the way I live is the only way').

The Secularists witter on about the wicked, oppressive and awful Christians.

The homosexuals witter on about those oppressive and cruel Christians.

The Humanists witter on about how you don't need to be a person of faith to be kind and show love and bemoan the fact that the naughty Christians think they have the monopoly on being 'Christian' (which I would have to say that, of course, they do - the hint being in the name rather than the corruption that refers to an act).

The Christians  witter on about how Secularists and Humanists are blinkered and irrational and how homosexuals run back to 'homophobia' as a defence for what has been for a goodly few years (want to start counting from Jewish roots or merely from the 'Christian' bit) a firm part of their faith. Of course in doing so they also drone endlessly on about 'persecution' and 'anti-Christian bias' and (like the other three groups) do themselves no real good in the process).

Why can't we see some balance, respect and commonsense?

Over the next few days I will be attempting to bring my views to the fore as I tinker internally with some of the issues that others are challenging me with (and it's funny that so many people are applauding one BA worker for wearing a cross up here in the Midlands) and hopefully might find some commonsense and dialogue from others as we progress.

 on: January 14, 2013, 12:16:33 PM 
Started by Vic VDB - Last post by Vic VDB
I think the biggest problem for me is that diocesan being should expect to pay for the privilege of parenting and the children should be encouraged to stand on their own two feet whilst still being part of the family.

'Independence' is a cursed and wrong word when it comes to being church for what we should have is mutuality and interdependence. The problem is that some want everything paid for whilst others want to pay for nothing and therein lies the rub.

The problem is that everyone hates being a forced to give giver and yet I find that there is often an ability to pay one's own way (or a significant part of it) if grown-up and committed people, means and methods are present.

Love the LR story (and like CURVE too) - interesting you include Quakers for they aren't a Christian group as I understand it :)

Thanks for comments


 on: January 12, 2013, 12:20:54 PM 
Started by Vic VDB - Last post by clockman
While I agree that this should be the norm, there are situations which I think fall outside your proscription of central support at least in the early stages. I am not suggesting that the diocese should fully fund the misssioner, but that there shoul be support at least to start with in some situations.
I will give a case in point: Upper Rissington is a fairly new (civil) parish, now about 10 years old. It used to be an air force base which was leased to the Yanks for a while as a dormitory base for Upper Heyford(?) and then was completely decommisssioned, and bought up by developers who renovated some houses, demolished others (+ barrack blocks) and built new houses on that land. It has never had a church (building) since the Americans pulled out as it is part of Little Rissington ecclesiastically, but is about 3 times the size with at least a mile between them - not a huge distance admittedly.
An interdenominational group (Churches together in Upper Rissington - Valuing Everyone - a ghastly name  but giving the acronym of CURVE!) has sprung up there to try to bring the gospel to the new parish, and to be a noticeable presence in it, meeting in the Parish Hall for bigger occasions, and in homes the rest of the time.
The Anglican benefice is Bourton-on-the-Water with Clapton-on-the-Hill, & The Rissingtons (i e Great, Little & Wyck Rissington, each of which have congregations of under 20 normally, Wyck being the smallest with only about 9). Bourton, which is far & away the biggest parish with congregations of probably ~100!) is itself struggling to pay the Parish share in full as are the other parishes - though they all do manage to I believe. This benefice is served by one stipendiary & a house-for-duty (very infirm now, & the stip has been off sick for a substantial part of last year) + a couple of readers and an NSM I think - and a local ministry team in the Risssingtons - all of whom are over 65 (or were when I last had any dealings with them...)
There is also a Baptist church in Bourton, and a Catholic one which is a 'daughter' church of the Stow-on-the-Wold parish. There are also Methodists involved. (There are also Plymouth Bretheren & Quakers around but I don't think they are involved.) None of these would, even between them, be able to fully fund a post.
CURVE has sought & obtained part funding (I'm not sure which denominations have contributed!) for a Youth worker/Misssioner for two years to get the ball rolling, after which either he will have to find other work or they will have to find the full cost. He has been in post since about October, and already is making a big difference. Whether that difference will will equalte to enough income to fully fund him in another 21months time, obviously I can't predict, but he is certainly being very effective at making the connections with the 'youth', and the events they had in the run-up to Christmas were very well attended, by families who almost certainly would not have gone to one of the 'established' churches in the area. Without the funding help this would not have happened.

 on: January 11, 2013, 11:07:14 PM 
Started by Vic VDB - Last post by clockman
Interestingly the church I go to has recently lost a few wealty donors when they fell off their perches. The result was that, if we had continued to fulfill our pledges WRT outward giving & the dreaded quota we would have had a shortfall of several thousand ponds. It was indeed 'suddenly' and also 'unexpected'... - the powers that be (I'm not on the PCC!) had assumed that we had plenty of money comming in and had taken thier eyes off the ball.
We could have just reduced the <i>extra</i> support we gave to the diocese, but the rector (& PCC) decided that this would not have been acceptable, so we had a sermon & some presentations on stewardship and, lo & behold, the revenue now more than matches the pledged edxpenditure. So yes, there are occasions when you do get the sermon, and it has the required effect, but I agree that it may well not be the normal outcome! It does require 1) a determined priest and B) sufficient wealth there in the first place.
I have to say we damned well should have been able to dig deeply enough, as this is a very wealthy parish, but they did need to be taken by the scruff of their necks & shaken a bit! (As it happens I was able to increase my own giving having recently inherited a fair bit of capital, but that would have happened with or without the presentations as part of a general review I undertake every year or so; it just happened a bit earlier this year...)

 on: January 08, 2013, 05:39:09 PM 
Started by Vic VDB - Last post by revtim
Thanks - we had a church full and a beautiful service.

 on: January 07, 2013, 01:34:53 PM 
Started by Vic VDB - Last post by Vic VDB
Continuing with this topic with regard to church planting and pioneer ministry:

One of the worst situations I happen across is those people who are doing pioneer ministry or church planting because, almost always, what I find is a bunch of people who complain that 'the Church' should be paying for everything and that it is unfair to expect them to raise money from the new body of believers that they are raising up.

And of course they are wrong - regardless of what or how - wrong, wrong (and once more for emphasis), wrong!

My big black book tells me that where my treasure is also where my heart will be!
Experience with church (and many other groups which people join) tells me that where people put their heart, passion and belong is the place where they put their treasure to support it.

A church plant has to have a some well-defined goals which lead them into being:

a sacramental body where bread and bath are an important part of its being,

a Bible believing, orthodox faith regardless of the setting it is in,

a Christ-centred, Trinitarian body which, in company with the Son worships the Father through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit,

a place where sound, grounded and inculturated preaching, teaching and discipleship can be found,

a welcoming, inclusive* and pastorally sensitive (and able) place where all are 'family',

a body that joins with others congregations in partnership and shared mission (so many appear to want to be 'special' and remain apart from the body that planted it - it is a plant not a split!), and

a body that pays its way and supports itself (with the desire to be able to support others at some stage).

So many people tell me that they don't have enough people to pay and that asking them to cover the costs of what goes on is a deterrent when it comes to growth. Now I support this view and think that we need to accept that planting a church is indeed a costly affair. Those who send also have to fund (and some will argue that providing a paid for minister is enough evidence of that)  and this means that there has to be some casting of the sending church's bread upon the water


the goal  and (more importantly) desire has to be that the body becomes self-sustaining and mature. That the new church (that's the people) sees converts come through to maturity and become leaders and in time bring more converts - not to satisfy a desire for numbers but because they want to share the Good News and see people released into the true freedom that being a person of faith (and that faith looking to Christ and the Cross) brings.

We all have to balance our books - we all have to pay for our gas, electric, water, parish share, toilet rolls and other stuff - especially tea )which reminds me that it must be time for a final cuppa before I head out for a wonderfully full day of ministry and madness.

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