It is nearly two years since the highly significant Paris Agreement on climate change, signed by 195 countries*, and so far ratified by 169 governments, making their commitments legally binding. This month, from Nov 6th to 17th, the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will meet in Bonn under the presidency of Fiji for the annual ‘Conference of the Parties’. COP23, as the shorthand has it, will focus on developing guidelines for the implementation of the Paris Agreement, essentially how to keep rising temperatures globally below 1.5 degrees. Continue reading Pray for the Climate and COP23→
In the 1630s a group of intellectuals known as the Great Tew Circle met a short distance away from the Chase Benefice to champion the use of reason in the religious polemics of the time. At Wychwood Circle we could say we are focused on exploring the use of religion as well as reason in the political, moral and technological upheaval of our own time.
Christian Aid estimates that there are today 65 million people across the globe – the population of a country like France – who are in some way ‘displaced’, meaning that they have been driven to flee their homes because of disasters (like drought or flooding) or conflict, such as war or political oppression or persecution. Many of those will stay close to their homes or their home country in the hope of returning when things get better, or to stay in touch with their loved ones. Others, like the many displaced people in Europe in the aftermath of the Second World War, are on the move and seeking security and a home.
Christian Aid Week started 60 years ago to support what the organisation which in 1964 was renamed Christian Aid but was then called Christian Reconstruction in Europe. Then as now, Christian Aid (‘We believe in life before death’) is not out to evangelise but to alleviate suffering, in the case of refugees to bring security and comfort, helping them on the ground and advocating for policies that protect them.
We’ve been there for refugees since 1945. We won’t turn our backs now
Christian Aid has been a rock for those in need and far from home and as their literature says, ‘we’re not going to turn away from refugees who need us now. If you can, listen to and watch the very short video* of Theodor Davidovic, orphaned at eight, helped by organisations like Christian Aid, and now at 91 still a life-long supporter and volunteer in Scotland. This is what he says:
‘The Christians sent the parcels and I never forgot it. I feel I owe my life to the cause. To Christian Aid, I promised I would do my best, as long as I live, and I am still doing it.’
I’m sure we who owe so much to the comfortable life we have inherited could also lend a hand and add vital support to the Christian Aid cause, people like Nejebar and her husband Noor, stuck in a refugee camp in Greece (see below).
Christian Aid Week, a massive movement today which unites 20,000 churches ‘to demonstrate Jesus’ justice’, is a great opportunity for us to support this worthy charity in trying to help solve a problem which we probably all worry about but without knowing quite how to help.
Those who follow the goings on of the Church of England will have will have seen much coverage in the media about the statement by the House of Bishops ‘Marriage and Same Sex Relationships after the Shared Conversations’ published on Friday 27 January 2017 ahead of the February sitting of The General Synod. After three long years of ‘Shared Conversations’ on the nature of marriage and the experiences of Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Christians this report has been been seen by many if not all in the LGBT community as unbelievable, unacceptable and ungodly. Continue reading Stop stepping on my toes!→
Sharing our worship, our space and our contemplation
We may or may not go to church and we may lead examined or unexamined lives, but we all have our own beliefs and priorities, doubts and loves, and probably also our own scepticism and agnosticism. When in church we may put such rational processes to one side and attend to the liturgy and the beauty of the building or the music. Church is largely about sharing that space and participating together – however we conceive it – in worship. Continue reading Socrates or Buddha?→
… some turn-of-the-year thoughts on faith and politics from David Soward.
2016 was a momentous year for those who think about the world and feel the need to engage with it, and 2017 may be even more so. As Willliam Temple, Bishop and (briefly) Archbishop in the first half of the 20th century, is famous for saying:
The Church is the only society that exists for the benefit of those who are not its members.