Christian news & comment
Thy Kingdom Come
Thy Kingdom Come is a global prayer movement which the Archbishop of Canterbury is inviting people around the world to join. The wave of prayer will start in May and run for 10 days between the Christian festivals of Ascension and Pentecost.25th May - 4th June
It’s not complicated – we’re simply asking people to pray in whatever way they want and with whoever they want for others to come to know Jesus Christ.
Lest We Forget
Baptists are being invited to reflect on our Union’s Apology for Slavery and its practical outworking as it nears its 10th anniversary. In November 2007 Baptist Union Council made a resolution that acknowledged our share in and benefit from our nation’s participation in the transatlantic slave trade. Out of the resolution came a commitment to develop ways of promoting racial justice across our Union.
A new series of study reflections have been created for small groups to provide further reflection and interpretation. The new resource is called Lest We Forget, and offers reflections and Bible Study notes. General Secretary Lynn Green invites Baptists to use the resource and “challenge the practical outworking of The Apology across Baptists Together”.
Who Do You Say I Am?
Jesus Christ is described by many as the most important person who ever lived. Born around 2000 years ago, he claimed to be God. At Easter we remember how he died, and we celebrate his resurrection. Events that happened in a real place at a specific point in history.
2,000 years ago Jesus asked his friends: ‘Who do you say I am?’ This four-minute film asks us the same question: ‘Who do you say I am?’ The Talking Jesus research shows that four in ten people in the UK don’t know if Jesus was a real person. Interviews with an astrophysicist, a theologian and an art historian are included alongside footage shot in the Middle East in the places Jesus lived.
Lent is a season that is inspired and informed by the 40 days that Jesus spent in the wilderness at the outset of his earthly ministry. Seeking to determine his purpose and vocation, he was tempted to pursue pathways that did not belong to the way of God’s Kingdom. Yet in those temptations there is more than an echo of the kind of religion that we can all too easily find ourselves pursuing. Lent is a time for us also to free ourselves of such inclinations, and be reminded again of their emphatic rejection.
First Sunday in Lent 2017 – Tempted in the Desert
Second Sunday in Lent 2017 – I am God, your God
Third Sunday in Lent – His hands have moulded the dry land
Fourth Sunday in Lent – If anyone would be my disciple . . . .
Fifth Sunday in Lent – Grace, mercy and peace from God . . . .
There are many people across the world today who are actively trying to talk with their friends, colleagues, neighbours and family about Jesus.
Evangelism Ideas is a website that aims to capture what people are doing to share their faith and offer these ideas as web pages.
Know Your Neighbourhood
We are following a course designed by the Church Urban Fund to help churches in Birmingham to think about themselves in relation to the wider community they seek to serve, and make prayerful and informed decisions about their mission in their local community. The process has given a small group of church members the tools to reflect on how our church is seen by others, to listen to the wider community, celebrate it’s strengths and have a deeper understanding of its needs. Sharing back our findings to the wider congregation, we will hopefully be able to make prayerful and intentional decisions about how our church wants to respond. If you have any comments on this, why not send us some feedback?
Hope projects work to support and empower destitute asylum-seekers and others barred from public funds in the West Midlands.
Be inspired by Matt and Steph, who have given Hope Projects use of their house for destitute asylum seekers.
A Very British Nativity
Our Churches are very concerned about the degrading treatment and challenges faced by asylum seekers in the UK. Our hope is that in seeing this film people will be more aware of how hard this Christmas will be for some of the poorest members of our society. A Very British Nativity launches the day after the release of the Government’s quarterly migration statistics, which show that in September 37,958 asylum seekers received support from the Government’s National Asylum Support Service, which means they qualify for accommodation and/or financial support of less than £6 per day. The report also reveals that so far in 2016, 45% of appeals made by asylum seekers were allowed, indicating that the system currently in place is struggling to adequately assess the needs of asylum seekers. The film was produced by a coalition of four Church denominations in the UK: the Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Church of Scotland, the Methodist Church and the United Reformed Church.
The desire to reach out to God is basic to many, many people. Trypraying is a resource for people like that: no church connection or interest, but open to find out about God. The trypraying booklet is a 7-day prayer guide and is now being used by many to pass on to friends and family with a few words of encouragement – ‘Why don’t you try praying for a week and see what happens in your life?’
The Baptist Union of Great Britain has joined the Church in Wales, the Church of Scotland, Quakers in Britain, the Methodist Church and the United Reformed Church to release a statement calling upon the Syrian and Russian Governments and other forces to stop their bombardment of Aleppo.
'The destruction of Aleppo must stop.
We are appalled by the attacks on civilians by the Syrian Government, Russian and other forces. Life is a gift of God. The targeting and killing of civilians can never be passed off merely as a consequence of war. Aerial strikes on homes, hospitals and aid convoys are never acceptable, under any circumstances.
The responsibility for such attacks lies first and foremost with those who have carried them out. But the frequency of such attacks in Syria also underlines a failure on the part of the international community to uphold long-established principles concerning the immunity of civilians in conflict. Member states of the United Nations should seek to hold to account the parties responsible for indiscriminate attacks on men, women, children, hospitals, humanitarian and rescue workers, which could be construed as war crimes.
The world cries out for an end to the death and destruction in Syria that daily adds to the largest flight of refugees since the Second World War. We join with our brothers and sisters of other churches and other faiths in praying for the people of Syria. We claim no simple solution to a complex political reality but offer the simple message of our faith: that every life is valued by God and that the slaughter must end now.'
Know Your Church, Know Your Neighbourhood is a course we at BBC are starting on, designed to help churches in Birmingham to think about themselves in relation to the wider community they seek to serve, and make prayerful and informed decisions about their mission in their local community. The process gives a small group of church members the tools to reflect on how their church is seen by others, to listen to the wider community, celebrate it’s strengths and have a deeper understanding of its needs. The course usually consists of seven sessions of two hours over a six-month period.
Bringing the Bible to Life in Africa
Did you know that Christianity is growing faster in Africa than anywhere in the world? And we've got huge plans to bring the Bible to life for every man, woman and child in the toughest and hardest parts of the continent.
Millions of people with an Asian background live in the West. Some have only recently arrived, others have lived in the West for many generations. 'Discovering Jesus through Asian eyes' from Evangelical Alliance is aimed at presenting the Gospel in a way that addresses many of the issues and questions that Asian people may have about Christianity. It asks and answers 16 of the most frequently asked questions that people have about Jesus, Christianity and faith in God.
What does the Bible say about refugees? Bible Society's theologian-in-residence, Paula Gooder, explains in these excellent short video series.
Leaders of the Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Methodist Church, the Church of Scotland and the United Reformed Church have written a letter to the Home Secretary asking her to offer sanctuary to more people in need. “We urge national governments, and especially our own UK Government, to support an innovative and compassionate response. We cannot let 2016 be a repeat of 2015 in terms of the chaos, misery and death on Europe’s borders. Our plea is to respect the equal dignity of every human being, reflect on the past generosity of the Syrian people who have welcomed refugees from Armenia, Palestine, Kuwait, Lebanon and Iraq over the past century. Syria never closed its borders to those who fled their homes seeking safety and refuge.”
40 Days of Good News
In the period between Easter and Pentecost Baptists have been encouraged to proactively share the Good News of Jesus. Called 40 Days of Good News, it emerged from the vision for each association to participate in one way or other in ‘on the ground evangelism’ with the churches they serve. Associations are using the period from 10 April - 15 May (Pentecost) to bring this vision into particular focus, and are responding in different ways.
BMS believe that Christians shouldn’t be afraid of ideas. Catalyst Live is about inspiring discussion, informing theology and strengthening apologetics among Christian thought-leaders.
St Martin in the Bull Ring, Birmingham: Wednesday 16 November 2016.
Reimagining Europe’s central aim is to create a space for Christian reflection and debate on Britain’s future relationship with Europe ahead of the forthcoming referendum on whether Britain should remain a member of the EU. Reimagining Europe is a multidisciplinary blog hosted by the Church of England and the Church of Scotland with the editorial support of Crucible, the Christian Journal of Social Ethics.
- What do people outside our churches know about Jesus?
- Do they know one of us who actively follows Jesus?
- Have they ever had a conversation with a practising Christian about Jesus?
Knowing the answers to questions like these could really help us share the most amazing news: the love of God for all of us through Jesus. Click here for more.
Safe Families for Children
In the West Midlands, there are over 9,000 children in Care. Birmingham is ranked the most deprived city on both income and employment deprivation. The Department for Education estimates that around 40% of the children in care are there due to issues such as acute family stress or dysfunction or disability rather than abuse or neglect.
Safe Families for Children provide support to families via their volunteers. These volunteers befriend and mentor, host children overnight, and provide resources to families to help them in times of crisis and prevent their children needing to go into the Care system. Join us!
This planet is worth saving.
We need to keep thinking and talking about creation care. And, let’s be honest, that can be a teensy bit stressful. Well, stress no more! Worth Saving is an initiative from BMS World Mission that will help you to think about your role in caring for creation ‒ without making it a chore. It’s simple and sustainable, free of charge and free of guilt.
Thousands of Christians across the world will be praying as the United Nations climate talks take place in Paris this November and December. Please join this prayer movement wherever you are, recognising the impact that climate change is having, especially on our poorest neighbours, and asking for God’s hand to be upon the talks.
Here are some ideas to get you started,
and here are some prayers and readings for a Prayer Vigil for the Paris climate summit.
Imagine: On the Road
How can churches become communities that envision, equip and support their people to be fruitful on their daily frontlines - wherever those are? How have people grown in confidence to make a difference on their frontlines? What's helped? What's hindered? What keeps it going? What resources can help? And how can you discern the right first steps to take in your own particular context?
Join members of the LICC team as we share what we've learnt about how to create a whole-life disciple making church.
Look at a full programme for the day workshop here.
What do people in this nation know and believe about Jesus?
What do they really think of us, his followers?
Are we talking about Jesus enough?
And when we are, are we drawing people closer towards him, or further away?
These are just some of the questions the Church of England, Evangelical Alliance and HOPE commissioned Barna Group to ask on our behalf. But this was not just for curiosity's sake. We are believing, hoping and praying that this study - the first of its kind - will be a major catalyst for effective and focused evangelism in the years to come. Click here for Talking Jesus: the report.
The Rugby World Cup is the world’s third largest international sports event - and comes to the UK during September/October 2015. Involved are 20 national squads - including all the home nations, 48 games and 50 training centres, 400,000 visitors from over 100 nations, and massive media coverage. Engage 2015 is a cross denominational campaign set up to help UK churches serve the rugby community during the event. The website includes video testimonies by Christian players including England powerhouse Billy Vunipola and South African legend Ruan Pienaar, a rugby-focused sports quiz, school programmes designed for key stages 2 and 3 or a holiday club.
Local churches and Christian organisations who are supporting the vulnerable are seeking greater connection and collaboration with others to be more effective in their work. Standing in the Gaps offers you the opportunity to find details of other churches and organisations and ask questions which you think other organisations could help with.
God wants to do a new thing and he is calling us to prayer to 'make space' for him to speak and move. Lynn Green (General Secretary, Baptist Union of Great Britain) says: 'I saw fires being lit and spreading out all over this country and I felt that God was saying he wanted to light beacons of prayer right across the UK. Beacons of prayer that were people who were inspired to pray and seek the Lord, not with our own agenda but simply that we might draw close to Him and open ourselves and our churches to him so that he would have the freedom to move amongst us and through us by his Spirit.'
Faith plays a pivotal role in our society. Many churches exist not as closed gatherings; but as communities with a deep concern for everyone living in their neighbourhood.These communities were encouraged to tell their story, and asked, ‘What does a Good Society mean to you?’
Ever been late for a meeting? Did you lose a month’s income?
With a new Government in place, it’s urgent that we keep up the pressure for a rethink of the unjust benefit sanctions regime which is harming thousands of people.
- remove the two-week waiting period before 'non-vulnerable' people can receive a hardship payment
- suspend sanctions for families with children and for people suffering from mental ill health.
It is undoubtedly Time to Rethink Benefit Sanctions.
Speak Up For The Love Of...
17 June 2015
'It's time to regain a sense that our relationship with the Earth is about communion, not consumption' (Dr Rowan Williams, Chair of Christian Aid). Join thousands of people as they descend on Westminster for a day of action on climate change. Celebrate all the things you love that could be affected by climate change, hear from some fantastic speakers - and be part of the UK’s biggest ever climate change lobby.
BiblicalTraining.org contains over 1,000 hours of classroom instruction for new believers, leadership training and seminary-level instruction. They have seminars for ongoing training, certificates on specific areas of study, and a library of over 14,000 encyclopedia articles on biblical topics. All Bible classes are taught by world-class professors from major seminaries. Whether it’s a single Bible class or a program of study that interest you, our online Bible classes are free of charge and at your fingertips.
Across the world every one of us will have met someone who has been a victim of gender based violence. We just may not know it. The Dignity programme brings this reality out of the shadows and supports churches in grappling with the issues involved. Find out here how you can:
- help to tackle the problem through established BMS projects in India and Thailand
- support a co-ordinated education and advocacy outreach in Uganda, Mozambique and Zimbabwe
- pray for the launch of a safe house and rehabilitation project in the UK
- join the BMS 24:7 Justice Partners scheme
- sign up for a weekly email to receive Dignity updates, related stories and news of BMS work around the world.
This Lent we join Desmond and Mpho Tutu in the Forgiveness Challenge. When each of us makes this decision to choose forgiveness instead of choosing to retaliate or to simply hold onto our anger we can change our lives. But when more people make this choice we can have a much greater impact on our communities, our countries and our world. So use the resources here to encourage your friends and acquaintances—perhaps even your enemies—to join the Challenge. Together we can change the world!
Supported by a wide range of Christian organisations and church networks, the Show Up campaign calls Christians to a more positive engagement in politics. As Christians, we have spent too long shouting from the side-lines rather than getting on the pitch of political life. Show Up will encourage Christians to move from commentary to participation.
Week of prayer for Christian unity (18-25 January)
This year's theme comes to us from the churches of Brazil. Brazilians, who have traditionally been tolerant of their various social classes and ethnic groups, are now living through a time of growing intolerance made manifest in high levels of violence, especially against minorities and the vulnerable. The Brazilian churches have begun to recognize that intolerance should be dealt with in a positive way - respecting diversity and promoting dialogue as a permanent path of reconciliation and peace in fidelity to the gospel. More here.
Peace may not be the first word that springs to mind when you think of Israel-Palestine. But today, in the midst of great conflict, our partner in Nazareth is exploring what it looks like to be followers of the prince of peace – to be peacemakers – in times of unrest.This coming April, the Nazareth Evangelical College is hosting a conference in the hometown of Jesus that will ask important questions about the role of faith and theology in conflicts such as that in Israel-Palestine.
Andrew Swan says 'I'm the Community Outreach Director at Christian Top News (CTN). Our mission is to provide Christian news stories that are relevant to the body of Christ in America and abroad. I came across Bearwood Baptist Church while searching for organizations to reach out to about Christian news sources. The educational sources, resources, and news inform
ation that you are providing is excellent.'
Since the late 1920s, the BMS Stamp Bureau has been raising money for BMS World Mission by gathering and selling used postage stamps and other collectibles, raising over ten thousand pounds each year. As you send stamps, we collate and sell them on to collectors and dealers. The income raised goes directly to BMS to support the work of transforming lives around the world. For more information, click here. Keep the stamps from your Christmas cards and other letters, and leave them in the box in the back of church for forwarding, thank you.
'Islamic State cannot be defeated by military action alone': Leaders of two of Britain’s major Churches say that the UK Government must not give into the rhetoric that Islamic State can simply be bombed out of existence. In a statement released today, leaders of the Baptist Union of Great Britain and the Methodist Church in Britain say that the case for military intervention can only be supported as one part of a broader political and economic strategy to tackle the ideology of IS.
The Churches have issued a briefing on the issues and are urging their members to pray and to write to their MPs asking the Government to offer greater support to refugees from Syria and Iraq as part of such a strategy.
Less than six months after their Opening Celebration for a new church
halls and community facilities, Shirley Baptist Church has now opened its new coffee shop – Kairos Coffee. The Reverend Paul Campion said, “This is a very exciting stage of our church’s redevelopment, and we look forward towelcoming many customers to Kairos Coffee to enjoy the excellent food and drinks, and to be of service to the localcommunity through the friendship and welcome offered in the coffee shop and through the other activities at Shirley Baptist Church.”
In 'The Highest Goal' BMS reports on what they have been able to achieve in recent years and indicate where we believe God would have us go next. What will not change are our core convictions concerning the mission of God.In so many places in the world, the impact of the gospel is visibly changing lives. That gives us confidence to see no person as beyond hope, no community beyond transformation and no nation beyond redemption. There are no exceptions and we need to believe that. So, how far have we been able to realise the vision?
Meanwhile be entertained by this upbeat financial report from this last year.
Sharing the gift of life?
Following the passing of the Human Transplantation (Wales) Act 2013 – which will introduced and opt-out, or presumed consent, system of organ donation in Wales from December 2015 – the Joint Public Issues Team has produced a guide to discussion and reflection on the issue.
Meanwhile fleshandblood is a campaign to encourage the church to see blood and organ donation as part of its giving.
Standing in the gap between Israel and Gaza
How can Christians respond amid this violence and hatred?
asks Azar Ajaj, Arab Baptist minister here.
2020 Birmingham is a coalition of churches and organizations working together in the Birmingham area in church-planting initiatives. The goal of the partnership is to assist in the planting of 20 new congregations by the year 2020.
Foodbank use continues to soar across the West Midlands Region: The number of desperate families turning to foodbanks in the region has rocketed by more than 120 per cent in the last year. The Trussell Trust charity blames rising living costs, low pay, underemployment and problems with welfare for the “record” numbers living on the breadline, including those featured in the Birmingham documentary Benefits Street. Get involved with Smethwick Foodbank: Your support helps stop local people going hungry. In 10 months we have fed 1600 people. From skydiving to supermarket collections, there are hundreds of ways you can get involved...
Faith in Foodbanks resources have been put together to help churches explore issues raised by foodbanks, and to make connections between the work of these foodbanks and the life, worship and witness of local churches and fellowships. The resource includes a report, Bible studies to explore the ministry of Foodbanks and worship ideas.
Christian Aid Week 2014: give people a future without fear. War tears lives apart. You can help put them back together. For a growing number of people across the world, the horror of war is part of daily life. The good news is that individuals, communities and churches can make a real difference this Christian Aid Week. Last year, a magnificent 20,000 churches across the country helped raise £12m (€14.3m) for Christian Aid Week. Thanks to your efforts, many more people can look forward to a future free from poverty.
An initiative which seeks to identify and support 400 new Baptist pioneers over the next five years, the Pioneer Collective aims to encourage, equip and release pioneers, those who are called to beyond the fringe of church and share the Good News of Jesus in fresh and creative ways. The initiative seeks to reclaim 'our pioneering Baptist heritage', and comes in the wake of new General Secretary the Revd Lynn Green calling for 'an explosion of pioneers' earlier this year.
The Christian tradition of Lent has long been at this time to fast, and by doing so draw closer to our neighbour and closer to God. This year, we will begin a time of fasting while half a million regularly go hungry in Britain. The End Hunger Fast is an invitation to join with others in fasting in solidarity with the increasing numbers in communities across the UK who cannot afford to eat.
Count your blessings this Lent: Celebrate the good things in your life this Lent with our thought-provoking Count Your Blessings calendar. Christian Aid's 40 daily bite-size reflections will inspire you to give, act and pray to bring justice to our world and change the lives of people living in poverty across the globe.
Do Lent differently. Instead of giving something up, 40acts from Christian charity Stewardship challenges participants to give something ‘out’. During the forty days of Lent, participants will be invited to take part in forty simple acts of generosity which will challenge them to ‘do Lent generously’ in 2014.
Fossil fuel companies cannot continue with ‘business as usual’ if the world is to avoid catastrophic climate change.
‘Bright Now’s vision is for an alternative future that is not dependent on fossil fuels, a future based on solutions not problems. We believe that a fossil free future is a brighter future.
This year’s Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (18-25 January 2014)theme comes to us from the Churches of French Canada. Canadians live in a country that is marked by diversity in language, culture, and even climate, and it also embodies diversity in expressions of Christian faith. Living with this diversity, but being faithful to Christ’s desire for the unity of his disciples, has led them to a reflection on Paul’s provocative question in 1 Corinthians, “Has Christ been divided?” In faith we respond, “No!” yet our church communities continue to endure scandalous divisions.
1 Corinthians also points us to a way in which we can value and receive the gifts of others even now in the midst of our divisions, and that is an encouragement to us in our work for unity.
The biggest selling and most widely read book of all time is being brought to life in a TV mini series to be broadcast on Channel 5 in December 2013. The series features some of the most famous stories ever written: Noah's Ark, Daniel in the lion's den, the walls of Jericho, and the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. The Damaris Trust and Scripture Union have produced resources that give Biblical background information to the themes raised.
Persecution of Christians worldwide has become such a significant issue that Release International, Open Doors, Christian Solidarity Worldwide and the Evangelical Alliance have joined together to form the Religious Liberty Commission. This exists to raise awareness of persecution, but also to encourage individual Christians and churches in the UK and Ireland to take action on behalf of the persecuted Church worldwide - whether through prayer, advocacy or financial aid. The Commission has produced a video encouraging churches and Christians to pray.
The future does not depend on technology, weapons or human ideas, but on a baby - Jesus, the light of the world. Today the light of the God's love shines out through acts of kindness, words of peace, and communities of hope. Where have you seen the light today? Find out more about the #lightrevolution.
Christians around the world will raise their voices together in a united response against corruption in 2013. EXPOSED aims to challenge the global Church, business and governments. Every year well over US $1 TRILLION goes missing through mismanagement, illicit business practices and poor governance. It doesn't have to be this way. From 14-20 October there will be a series of events including thousands of vigils to highlight the issue of corruption and its effects on the poorest of the poor. To add your voice to the Global Call to End Corruption, and to become 'One in a Million', sign the petition.
HOPE is a church-based movement: Christians joining with others to reach out in their communities in mission through words and actions. HOPE, endorsed by the leaders of all the Christian denominations, is working towards a year of mission in 2014. Receive daily prayers as emails.
Little Princess Trust: a charity that provides real hair wigs to children who have lost their own through illness.
If you cannot join us but would like to support us please give
Earlier this month, the new Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act was introduced. As this legislation has now been passed by parliament, the state's definition of marriage will now be different from the historical definition. The Evangelical Alliance has published the following guidance for Christians and churches, answering some of the most frequently-asked questions about the implications of the Act.
Most Christians in the UK would defend people of different faiths, a survey by Christian Research has found. More than eight out of 10 (84%) of the 2,100 committed Christians surveyed said they would defend believers of other faiths from anti-religious sentiment even though they disagreed with their basis of faith. Over two thirds (67%) agreed that press self-regulation was necessary in Britain to safeguard the right to express opinion free from censorship or repression.
What is a typical evangelical Christian?
What contributions do they make to society?
What do they believe?
What is distinctive about their lifestyle?
What opinions do they hold about the most pressing issues of the day?
See the latest report from the Evangelical Alliance on Life in the Church.
The Greatest Story Ever Told is more than just a cliché. God has gone to great lengths to rescue lost and hurting people. That is what The Story is all about - the story of the Bible, God's great love affair with humanity. It allows the stories, poems, and teachings of the Bible to read like a novel. And like any good story, it is filled with intrigue, drama, conflict, romance, and redemption.
Network Nightstop Birmingham provides a safety net for young people at a moment of great vulnerability.
Networkfour working in partnership with Depaul UK to prevent youth homelessness, born out of the desire to ensure that all young people have access to safe and secure accommodation appropriate to their needs.
The Nightstop concept is simple: it provides safe emergency overnight accommodation in the homes of trained volunteer host families, to young people aged 16-25 who are at the point of becoming homeless, on a night at a time basis until more permanent and appropriate accommodation can be found. Young people access the scheme after being referred by a youth or homelessness agency across the county.
This infographic shows the overwhelming reliability of the documents of the New Testament compared to other ancient texts both before and after it. Whatever else people may say about it, there's no doubt it is genuine.
Four major Churches, representing more than one million people across Britain, have stated that Government cuts are unjust and that the most vulnerable will pay a disproportionate price in the Government’s austerity measures. The lies we tell ourselves: ending comfortable myths about poverty: from the Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Methodist Church, the Church of Scotland and the United Reformed Church lays bare six myths about the poor which enable the majority to live with the comfortable assumption that both poverty and wealth are deserved.In 1753 John Wesley said, “So wickedly, devilishly false is that common objection, ‘They are poor, only because they are idle’.”
Thrive Together Birmingham is a Joint Venture partnership between Church Urban Fund and the Anglican Diocese of Birmingham, based in Sparkhill. Its main aim is to grow and support the movement of individuals, churches and projects who, motivated by their faith, are committed to serving and supporting the poor and marginalised in their local communities, towns and across Birmingham.
Fair and Square campaign from the Childrens Society aims to ensure that all children in need of a free school meal receive one. More than half of all school-age children living in poverty aren't getting free school meals. These 1.2 million children may not be eating a single nutritious meal all day.
Lent is usually about 'giving stuff up', isn't it? But what if your Lent, this year, was a preparation for a lifetime of big-heartedness? Sign up to 40 acts to receive a daily dose of generosity during Lent.
For years we have all been urged to eat ‘Five-a-Day’ fruit and vegetables for the good of our physical health! Nothing could be better for our spiritual health and growth than to digest the meaning of the fruit of the Spirit, ‘Nine-a-Day’: becoming like Jesus, an initiative of the Langham Partnership.
If you oppress the poor, you offend the one who made them. (Proverbs 14:31)
Christians believe that every person is made in the image of God, and has value. We are called to speak out when people are marginalised, excluded and stigmatised. The blame game must stop: every day, people who are struggling to make ends meet are demonised and blamed for their poverty. It is used to justify cuts to our safety net, which will drive hundreds of thousands of people further into poverty.
Welfare reform and benefit changes - If you are getting benefits of any kind, you may be affected by Government changes.In the future, you will need to apply for most new benefits online. There are many changes to benefits happening now and in the future. Keep up to date with these changes by signing up for a bulletin.
Why bother to go to Church?
The Baptist Times is Britain's dedicated Baptist news and comment website. It launched in spring 2012, and is the successor to the denominational newspaper of the same name, which had been produced weekly since 1855 until its closure in 2011.
New College Evening Lectures Start Monday 1st October 2012 from 7pm. Subjects include: Preaching, Church History, Old & New Testament Introduction, Christian Ideas, Theology and Art, Computers and the Church, Youth Work. Cost £20 All welcome.
September is Sustainable energy in creation - Time for prayer and action. 2012 is the UN Year of Sustainable Energy for All, with a target of giving the whole world reliable, clean energy by 2030. This is not just a subject for the developing world. Here we need to make radical changes to move away from electricity generated by climate-change causing and increasingly expensive fossil fuels to renewable options, together with greater efficiency and lower consumption.
The Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Methodist Church and United Reformed Church have been outspoken in their opposition to a replacement of the Trident nuclear submarines. Renewal of Trident is incompatible with the UK’s desire to encourage global nuclear non-proliferation. Trident is likely to cost the UK a staggering 3.7 billion per year over the next 15 years. We would all be better off without Trident.
The conclusion from the Clearing the Ground inquiry is that there is a problem with how Christianity is understood and handled in Britain today. This problem is legal and cultural. It plays out on a national, local and personal level through laws, policies and regulations that restrict the freedom of Christians to articulate and live out
BibleMesh's mission is to help people learn the comprehensive story of Scripture and apply it to all aspects of life.
Pop stars, politicians, writers, scientists, academics, church leaders and business people make up a new list of the 60 ‘Most Influential Christians’ that we have released as a celebration of The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee year. The list celebrates Christians who have excelled in their chosen sphere of endeavour and have, accordingly, been a major influence in the shaping of our world since our Queen came to the throne.
Don't play politics with marriage: civil partnerships already provide all the legal benefits of marriage so there's no need to redefine marriage. It's not discriminatory to support traditional marriage. Same-sex couples may choose to have a civil partnership but no one has the right to redefine marriage for the rest of us. The Coalition for Marriage petition has now gathered almost 350,000 signatures. Meanwhile, the Marriage Foundation's Paul Coleridge says "Don't give up on your marriage. My message is mend it – don’t end it. Over 40 years of working in the family justice system, I have seen the fall-out of these broken relationships. There are an estimated 3.8 million children currently caught up in the family justice system, I personally believe that’s a complete scandal. My focus is on the children. I get intensely frustrated: I see hundreds and thousands of people traipsing through the courts and nothing is being done about the problems that sent them here.”
David Cameron and this Government want to redefine marriage. They are seeking to change an institution which has been at the heart of our society for centuries and are doing it without a mandate to do so – a commitment to redefine marriage is not found in the manifestos of the Liberal Democrat Party or the Conservative Party and is not in the Coalition Agreement. A petition against this has almost half a million signatures.
Smethwick FoodBank opened its doors this month, supported by volunteers and food donations from six local churches. The distribution centre is at Holy Trinity Church, Church Hill Street, Smethwick, and will be open each Tuesday and Friday from 1.30-4.00pm.
The story of Christmas is political and not sentimental, according to Dr Stephen Holmes from St Andrews University. In a new Theos report, The Politics of Christmas, the theology lecturer claims that the gospel writers actually focused on imperial oppression, economic exploitation and social stigma. He argues that our modern sentimental view of Christ's birth was largely invented by the Victorians.
We believe that faithfulness between people in committed relationships matters. It matters for individuals, for families, for children and for our communities. We believe that commitment, trust and honesty are key cornerstones of a healthy society. Because of this, FaithfulnessMatters calls upon the companies engaged in running websites which encourage people to have affairs to withdraw from the partnerships involved and close these websites.
Hope for Creation is being organised in response to the desperate need for urgent action to tackle climate change. Christians from across the world will be getting down on their knees to pray and speak out for action to protect creation and our global neighbours who are dried up and drowned out.
The Bible Gateway is a tool for reading and researching scripture online -- all in the language or translation of your choice! Other features include Verse of the Day, Bible commentaries, audio Bibles, and more.
1 million acts of kindness Birmingham: to share, map and inspire people and community groups with the great stories and acts of kindness that are happening right across our city. You can get involved by visiting the website, logging your act of kindness, reading what others are doing
Climate change is happening now and it's hitting the world's poorest people hardest as droughts, floods and sea-level rise destroying homes, livelihoods and harvests. Discover more about the issue and its impacts on poor communities across the world and find out how you and your church can help tackle the problem by reducing your emissions, campaigning and praying .
Recent BMS financial statement here.
In the Valuable Resources Hub, from Our Stewardship Community, there are many treasures online.
Praxis is the blog of members of the Joint Public Issues Team: Baptist, Methodist and United Reformed Churches working together to live out the gospel of Christ in Church and Society.
RadioTimes's faith award: don't
miss your chance to choose the best
programme of the year tackling spiritual issues in the annual
Sandford St Martin Trust awards.
2 May is the 400th anniversary of when the King James Bible was first published. Word clouds assign size to demonstrate the frequency of word use in text. 66Clouds.com have done this for the entire Bible. 'Kitab' is the word used in Islam to denote the four books they regard as divinely inspired: the Qur'an; the Torah (Genesis to Deuteronomy); Zabur (Psalms); and Injil (Gospel/New Testament). It is also a ministry of Interserve England and Wales, providing literature in more than 35 languages to help serve Christians locally in their outreach to peoples of other faiths.
Transforming Lives: join BMS World Mission's day of prayer with these slides.
For the first time, Christians have a
one-stop source of approved conversation-starting video clips to easily share
on Facebook (or other social media), embed in a blog, or download to a
smartphone to share one-to-one: yes He is.
Joppa is the Baptist interfaith network for christian witness in a multi-faith society. It has written a study guide Good Neighbours for small groups which gives biblical examples and practical suggestions on how we as Christians can build relationships with people from other faiths, and be able to discuss what we both believe in a non-threatening way.
Discover the Bible in a new and exciting way through the Bible Society's new FREE listening programme You’ve Got the Time. You will be enriched and inspired as you listen to the whole of the New Testament for just 28 minutes a day over 40 days.
If you think our new entrance is impressive, have a look at plans for a new plaza fountain for a church in Dallas, Texas.
YouVersion has 20+ bible reading plans, with options for customization and support to help you stay on track. See what God reveals to you when you spend time in Scripture each day.
Across the world millions of Christians are denied their basic right to religious liberty. The Open Doors Right to Believe campaign is designed to support and strengthen these believers: to walk with them through informed and committed prayer, campaigning action to petition the powerful on their behalf, and gifts that will bring new hope through practical help that meets their needs.
There are around 75,000 South Asian Christians in the UK, representing a range of languages and ethnic backgrounds. The South Asian Forum of the Evangelical Alliance provides a forum to encourage, support and equip each other for mission, and to represent their concerns to Government, media and the wider Church.
The purpose of a newly reconstructed Tabernacle is to enable people to encounter God in a deeper way by using it as a visual aid. We are told in scripture to come boldly before His Throne and to meet with God - He has always desired relationship with us.
To mark the launch of equip, the new website from IVP that puts thousands of gospel-centred resources at your fingertips, they'll give you a book completely free with any order over £10.
British Religion in Numbers is an online religious data resource where they draw religious data sources together, explaining how data can be used, and presenting some examples intuitively to a wide audience.
FOCUS presents the scientific evidence for God
through video and webpages- with no religious
Listen to the Bible like you’ve never heard it before. Download – for free – the Gospel of Luke in Jamaican Patois, the street language of millions across the world.
Praxis is the blog of members of the Joint Public Issues Team: Baptist, Methodist and United Reformed Churches working together to live out the gospel of Christ in Church and Society.
CARE's Make the Cross Count website is specially devoted to the forthcoming UK General Election. The resources and information here will be of use to you as you think about the issues and questions raised in the months ahead.
SUSA from Bible Society aims to encourage and equip Christians in the UK to become more extensively and effectively engaged in politics
and government. Click for their excellent introduction, individual guide and church guide.
Election special: Pray for this election, and choose wisely between the parties' manifestos when you vote on May 6.
Faith in Politics aims to help Christians engage with a range of important issues facing our country however they may decide to vote. [It does not represent a ‘Church’ view or support a party line.] Since 2001 the recognised Christian groups in the three main political parties came together to set up Christians in Politics.
BMS World Mission have been asking the hard questions. Where have we come from? How far? What resources do we have? And where is God guiding us in the future? For God: the booklet and the presentation.
Global Connections regularly collects prayer information from member agencies working around the world. These prayer points are now available through our new interactive map - click on individual countries to view prayer points for that region.
Coact is a project of the Christian Police Association aimed at reaching out and building bridges between Christian communities and the Police across the United Kingdom. They invite you to Talk to Your Police, Pray 4 Your Police, Set up a prayer group in your area, and read Case Studies of the Christian Community impacting Crime Reduction.
A wave of prayer: the 2010 BMS Day of Prayer will be on Monday 1 March when BMS staff in the UK and mission personnel and partners around the world will be joining together to pray for the work of world mission.
Debt knows no social or economic boundaries.
Poverty and Homelessness Action week (January 30- February 7) will demonstrate what can
happen when people share what we have.
Red2Black is a good place to get an outline of the issue. There is Enough for all. Let’s use what we have.
Experiencing sea-level rise faster than any other place on Earth, the Sundarbans are disappearing quickly. In last 20 years four islands have been submerged leaving 6,000 families displaced. Increased frequency and strength of tropical storms and higher tides are making the people of the Sundarbans victims of climate change. This is their story.
Our nation has a proud history of providing sanctuary. Help us to preserve this tradition. Supported by the Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Sanctuary Pledge asks us to use ‘sanctuary’ instead of ‘asylum’, end the detention of children & families (click here to see how this was abused this Christmas), promote tolerance & neighbourliness, and safeguard the long-term future of sanctuary.
The Public Issues Calendar gives details of dates, Sundays and weeks on which churches might focus on social justice issues, with worship and other resources via web-links, from the Joint Public Issues Team (Baptist Union of Great Britain, Methodist Church and United Reformed Church).
Find out how much CO2 you create and get a simple personalised action plan to reduce your carbon footprint using this calculator.
Responsible stewardship of God's creation requires us to tackle the causes of change in the climate, minimise the harm associated with these changes and call for climate justice for the poor. Micah Network joined with church and NGO leaders from around the world to enhance and further develop advocacy efforts of the Christian community on climate change.
The Baptist Church is celebrating its 400th birthday this year.
Climate change, over-consumption and threats to biodiversity are all emerging as serious issues for governments and activists. But do these issues have any serious connection with the Christian faith? check out FutureShape?
Square MILE is an Evangelical Alliance initiative which aims to catalyse and equip Christians to take a truly integrated approach to mission, expressed in four dimensions:
Mercy: demonstrating God's compassion to the poor.
Influence: being salt and light in the public life of the community.
Life Discipleship: equipping Christians for missional living as workers & neighbours.
Evangelism: faithful and relevant communication of the gospel.
In the 2009 Prayer Guide each month there will be updates online on many of the stories featured to help your prayers be as relevant as possible.
The blog of the Birmingham Jubilee Debt Campaign group is demanding an end to the scandal of poor countries paying money to the rich world, calling for 100% cancellation of unpayable and unfair poor country debts.
"Don't be a stranger." But Jesus doesn't ask us just to love those we know well or naturally spend most of our time with – instead, he challenges us to re-evaluate who our neighbours are and to welcome those we consider to be strangers.
Click here for bible readings suitable for Lent and Easter.
In these hard financial times, do you know where to go for help with budgeting? What about neighbours in your community? Red2Black is a national campaign led by Stewardship, the national Christian financial services charity. More information here.
Need a financial advisor? ACFA, whose members are all committed Christians, provides you with some basic information about biblical principles of financial planning.
Engage Today: To make a contribution to seeing each local church in the UK engage with its community in credible and relevant ways, and increase the amount of effective family ministry in the British Isles.
Use your freedom to speak up on behalf of Christians in India, China and Korea who are persecuted, imprisoned, tortured and even killed for their faith in Jesus, with Open Doors.
Seeing the bigger picture: video from BMS about fighting HIV AIDS in Congo.
The aim of Linda Faber's Wellspring of Life is to share with women practical ways to grow in their Christian faith that will increasingly affect them everyday.
Bringing Hope is a Christian charitable organisation working to transform and reform lives and communities influenced and impacted by the evils of anti-social behaviour resulting in negative lifestyles and outcomes.
Safer places of worship is a general guide on safety and protection issues relating to places of worship.
Follow the life of a missionary family in France over the next two years in a ‘reality TV’ series for churches. L’Eglise features BMS World Mission workers Katie and Reuben Martin and their three young children, currently working in a second-generation church plant in Rouen.
Catch up with talks from this year's Baptist Mens Mission conference in Coventry here.
Foundations, based in Sutton Coldfield, offers education and support to couples or individuals who want to enrich, repair or restore their relationships. It also provides the opportunity for people who have suffered the breakdown of a marriage or long-term relationship to commence or continue their recovery.
Bringing Hope is working to transform and reform lives and communities influenced and impacted by the evils of anti-social behaviour resulting in negative lifestyles and outcomes.
A Time for Creation: a period to be dedicated to prayer for the protection of Creation and the promotion of sustainable lifestyles that reverse our contribution to climate change.
A treasure trove of materials to help us rediscover the Bible’s rich treasures for this year’s Bible Sunday theme Buried Treasure.
Bite the Bullet has been organised jointly by the Baptist Union of Great Britain and the Street Pastors initiative which sends out teams of volunteer Christians to be a pacifying presence on city streets across the UK.
After the Beijing Olympics, don't forget China: One Dream: Freedom calls for a nationwide network of prayer, and for China to recognise that Christian believers simply want freedom to practise their faith, in accordance with international guarantees.
FaithAction: the voice of faith and community organisations delivering public services.
Produced to resource the mission community, Encounters Mission Ezine is a topical mission magazine / mission journal published online every two months.
The Government's Climate Change Bill will create a new framework for tackling climate change, which is to be welcomed. However the proposals have several weaknesses. If you agree that climate change is too urgent to take this risk, please consider writing to your MP urgently. See this briefing from the Baptist Union's Joint Public Issues Team.
How can your church get engaged with its community? Change the outlook of your church forever...
Tell Gordon Brown it's time to Get Fair! Call on the Government to provide the investment and commitment that's needed to really tackle poverty and inequality.
BUGB's Wale Hudson-Roberts sheds some light on the scale of the challenge facing the church in helping young people find a redemptive alternative to a life of violence.
The Baptist Union of Great Britain, the
Methodist Church and the United Reformed
Church have welcomed the Government's
support for a complete ban on cluster bombs.
www.alternativeworship.org aims to provide you with a point of contact for alternative worship and emerging church sites worldwide.
Labyrinth is an interactive installation for spiritual journeys. It's for anyone who wants a break from surfing the surface of culture to contemplate the deeper things of life.
WordLive allows you to step into a multi-media Bible reading experience and deepen your relationship with God.
Inspire is one of the UK's biggest reach monthly magazines going FREE to churches.
Reel Issues gives you stimulating group materials to discuss the latest talked-about films in the light of the Bible.
SecretBelievers.org is an open doorway into the lives of actual Christians living in hiding because they have been disowned, attacked, and threatened by family and friends. These Secret Believers live in the Muslim world. They are real people with hurts, desires, and hopes just like you.
Integral mission, Jesus style: theological reflection from Justin Thacker of Evangelical Alliance.
i-church is an online Christian community under the pastoral care of the Bishop of Oxford. It is part of the Church of England.
Click here for recent edition of Ecocongregation newsletter.
The Christian Council on Ageing is a Christian voice calling for action on issues that matter to older people in church and society.
Breathe is a Christian Network for Simpler Living.
Just Church is a free programme for use by churches, Christian groups and ecumenical bodies. It's designed to help you embed a concern for poverty and social justice issues in the life of your community.
A Word in Time:daily Bible study linked to the Methodist Prayer Handbook.
Churches urge leadership against 'unequal' trade
Planned European Union economic agreements with developing nations could ‘undermine recent progress towards making poverty history’, senior denominational and development agency leaders believe. Saying they were ‘compelled’ to act by ‘a biblical understanding of justice’, the group used The Times letters page to urge the Government to lead a change in EU thinking on economic partnership agreements (EPAs). Launched five years ago, the EPAs have failed to be ‘development-friendly’, the group says. Instead, they are forcing ‘free-trade agreements between very unequal partners’, the letter says. The group, which includes the UK leaders of the Methodist, United Reformed and Baptist Union churches, urges the Government to find alternatives to forcing developing countries to open their markets prematurely.
The Money Revolution helps you apply Christian principles to handling your money. Whether we are comfortable, broke, or somewhere in between, we all have questions about money.
As the church continues to work towards Ecocongregation status, check out our green page. Then please send an email or letter telling the Secretary of State for the Environment what you want the new Climate Change law to include.
RESTORE is a project of Birmingham Churches Together seeking to welcome and support refugees and asylum seekers.
Don't go grim this Halloween: welcome to the campaign that is reclaiming Halloween from the supermarkets. There is a choice for parents, teachers and children.
Support Net gently approaches various issues through real-life stories and insights from people who’ve experienced these situations themselves.
DIY, Chocolate and the Resurrection - Statistics on the Knowledge and Celebration of Easter from EA.
The message of Blow the Whistle focuses on the fact that 2007 is midway towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger by 2015. In the year 2000 the UK and other world leaders made a commitment to achieving these goals and through blowing the whistle at half-time, we are urging government to play its part, holding it to account and saying we care about the poor and want to see justice done for them.
Celebrating Marriage is a project of CARE for Education to equip schools to deliver marriage education for pupils and teachers, parents and their children.
Meaning and value for believer and unbeliever alike - quotes on Easter from inside and outside the faith.
Don't be Derek: come on down......to Tearfund’s Church climate change challenge.
The Commission on the Future of Volunteering is developing a long-term vision for volunteering in England as a legacy of the Year of the Volunteer 2005.
Did you make a new year's resolution to read your Bible more? Use this guide from oneyearbibleonline.com to enjoy it right through in a year.
A 'tiny drop in the ocean' (BBC News) About 4,000 trafficked women are working as prostitutes. A safe house for trafficked sex workers has opened its doors to victims set up by a Catholic nun.
Crucial questions for evangelicals: an interview with John Stott.
West Midlands School of Christian Ministry
10 month - part time bible course
Rediscovering Palestine is a group of charities and organisations working in a variety of ways towards peace with justice in Palestine and Israel.
Faithful Cities commission on urban life and faith.
New Life online news
Play the Climate Change Pentathlon to find out how to clean up your lifestyle.
The Climate of Poverty: facts, fears and hope, new Christian Aid report
Crucible will run three intensive training weekends each year to equip Christians to create church on the margins, at the Baptist International Mission Centre in Selly Oak.
Workshop is an exciting Christian learning experience designed to encourage and strengthen you on your spiritual journey in today’s fast-paced, constantly changing, ever demanding world, based at
Baptist Times weekly news
Ethics Daily American Baptist news and views
Surefish (Christian Aid)
Premier Radio music and talk
London Institute for Contemporary Christianity equipping the church to engage with the issues that matter
Christianity monthly magazine
Greenbelt Festival held every August Bank Holiday that some of us have been going to longer than we care to remember! Still cutting edge
Faithworks empowering every local church to develop their role at the hub of their community
Bearwood Baptist Church is affiliated to the Evangelical Alliance
The Christian Century monthly magazine