FPCT Justice & Peace Group: Tregonnigie Woodland Walk, 10 Sep : Reflections and Prayers

On 10 September, Falmouth and Penryn Churches Together’s Justice & Peace Group held a Prayer Walk in Tregoniggie Woodland in Falmouth.

A series of reflections and prayers were compiled by Dr Euan McPhee for the occasion, and can be downloaded below for those who might like to use them as part of the Season of Creation.

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PM underlines UK’s commitment to freedom of religion or belief

Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has proclaimed the UK a champion of religious and other freedoms, and committed the UK to working with partners and friends around the world to ensure that “everyone, everywhere is able to enjoy these freedoms”

The statement was read out by Lord Ahmad, the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy on Freedom of Religion or Belief, during discussion on safeguarding religious minority groups with his international counterparts at the UN in New York today.

The meeting takes place on the first-ever International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief, which was established by a resolution of the General Assembly following a resolution led by the Polish government.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office today also announced that research into measures that will help those persecuted for their religion or beliefs will be boosted by more than £200,000 of new funding. The funding is available to those with an interest in exploring the best ways that the UK Government can tackle the problem of persecution as it affects particular countries or groups.

The UK’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a statement read out at the meeting said:

Freedom of religion or belief is at the heart of what the UK stands for. We will do everything possible to champion these freedoms and protect civilians in armed conflict, including religious, ethnic or other minorities. We are determined to use the tools of British diplomacy in this cause, including our permanent seat on the UN Security Council.

In light of mounting evidence that Christians suffer the most widespread persecution, we asked the Anglican Bishop of Truro to carry out an independent review to ensure that our work in this area matched the scale of the problem. We have accepted, and will implement, all of the Review’s challenging recommendations. We will use the UK’s global reach and programme funding to improve the lives of persecuted people. Today we are opening a call for bids on how to take this forward.

Lord Ahmad, who is also Minister of State for the Commonwealth UN and South Asia at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, said:

Those belonging to religious minorities face a number of challenges, from armed conflicts, mass murders and violent assaults to everyday discrimination.

The heinous attacks this year on places of worship from the Philippines to Burkino Faso, New Zealand to Sri Lanka, have reminded us all that the fundamental human right of freedom of religion or belief is increasingly under threat.

Today, as we commemorate the victims of such acts of violence, we demonstrate our commitment to supporting research to change people’s lives and help build a world free of religious intolerance and hatred.

The funding announcement builds on the recommendations of the Bishop of Truro’s recent review into the persecution of Christians.

The total amount of new funding for the 2019-20 financial year is a little over £200,000. Applicants can find further information on how to submit bids here.

The New York meeting, hosted by Polish foreign minister Jacek Czaputowicz, will also be attended by Sam Brownback, US ambassador for religious freedom, Michelle Bachelet, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and Naveed Walter, President of Human Rights Focus Pakistan.

Press Release

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2020

Material for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, 18-25 Jan 2020 has now been published. Prepared by the Christian churches in Malta and Gozo (Christians Together in Malta), it focusses on Paul’s shipwreck on the islands (Acts 27 & 28) and offers a great opportunity for outreach and evangelisation, especially to parents and to their children.

The Ecumenical Worship Service offered in the booklet for Sunday use is well suited to involve schools/children, both during the service itself and beforehand, in the production of a boat for the place of worship. Page 12 of the booklet (download below) offers several ideas and also makes suggestions about how to use lighting to great effect. To take the best advantage of this mission and evangelisation opportunity, please do start now to contact your local schools or drama group and ask them to help you make the service as vibrant as possible.

The powerful daily reflections will be used in daily services organised by Churches Together in Cornwall at Truro Methodist Church, and we encourage other churches across the county to consider holding similar ecumenical gatherings.

The booklet featured below, together with a wealth of support material will be available at www.ctbi.org.uk/weekofprayer.

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Worshipping Together: a Toolkit for Rural Churches

Worshipping Together is designed to enable those who worship in rural churches to plan and lead worship that is appropriate for their contexts and doesn’t require the presence or practical involvement of a clergy person. With rural clergy – across the denominations – responsible for larger groups of churches, we know that the involvement of lay people in planning and leading worship is becoming increasingly important.

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The impact of churches on social cohesion in England: new research

Theos and the Free Churches Group are conducting an eighteen–month project seeking to understand the impact of churches on social cohesion in England.

Our research will be framed around a series of case studies which together will provide original qualitative research into the challenges faced by churches responding to social cohesion concerns in their local areas. These case studies will be taken from across the country and will be selected on the basis of existing concerns surrounding social tensions. Our research in these areas will primarily consider the successes and limitations of existing Christian responses at the community level.

Over the course of these investigations, we will discover what is already been done by churches in response to social cohesion concerns, and evaluate the impact of these initiatives through consultation and conversation with community leaders and a broad range of local faith communities.

This research will give rise to a major report into the nature, challenges and opportunities for the Church’s response to social cohesion today, as well as a series of ‘how to’ booklets aimed at churches looking to deepen their engagement with social cohesion and policy makers hoping to engage with churches on these issues.

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Churches urged to toll for climate change awareness

August 12, 2019

Two Cornish churches have begun a campaign of bellringing to draw attention to the climate emergency.

For some weeks the campanologists at Warleggan have been tolling the church bells 12 times before services to represent the dozen years it is thought we have left to be able to stabilise levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide.

Further west in Cornwall the ringers at St just in Penwith are chiming the bells for half an hour on significant days and putting up banners and flags, as well as handing out leaflets and talking to passers-by who are curious about the reasons for the ringing.

The campaign has now received the backing of the Bishop of Truro, the Rt Revd Philip Mounstephen, who said: “Church bells have often been sounded down the ages to communicate an imminent threat to the community. Right now we are faced with the clear and present danger of the climate emergency and we must all act fast.

“The parishes of Warleggan and St Just have my enthusiastic support for their campaign, as do all other parishes that may follow suit in sounding this prophetic warning.

‘God-given duty’

“It is my fervent hope that this action might spread the length of Cornwall and further right across the land. The climate emergency is a threat to us all on this planet. We must get the message and act! Indeed it’s our God-given duty to do so.”

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New website for Highway Church

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