Newsletter #5 – September 2022

Alastair McKay

29 September 2022

A Life of Service

‘A life of service’ has kept recurring in the commentaries about Queen Elizabeth II. As the nation has mourned her death, we have been reminded that a life well-lived is one which is given in service of others. Like Elizabeth, if we choose such a path, we are also following Jesus, who, although one with God, came to serve, rather than be served.

This can be a path not just for us individually, but also corporately, through the life of our local churches: being of service to our neighbours and local communities. That’s part of what we seek to promote through our flagship Reconciling Mission programme.

Here, we’re glad to offer the latest news from Reconciliation Initiatives (RI), including opportunities for you to connect with our offerings.

Addressing Poverty Today: Latest Webinar

RI recently hosted a stimulating conversation between Andrew Grinnell (facilitator, Leeds Poverty Truth Commission), Delene Mark (CEO, HOPE Africa), Lynne Cullens (Bishop of Barking) and Philip North (Bishop of Burnley).

Together, they explored three questions related to addressing poverty today:

  1. What’s the legacy from the past affecting how the church engages with people in poverty?
  2. How does the church need to change in order seriously to address poverty?
  3. How do issues around poverty link to issues around class?

Some of the themes to emerge included:

  • the importance of being a listening presence;
  • the need to move beyond meeting basic needs, and into addressing the causes of inequality and injustice; and
  • the challenge of reshaping churches to integrate people from across the social spectrum, and move beyond a white middle-class culture.

The recording of the webinar is now available on our YouTube channel. Please do take time to watch, listen and move your thinking on a step in reflecting on how to address poverty today.

Date for your diary: our next free webinar…

Join us for Reconciling Arts (sponsored jointly by Coventry Cathedral) at 2pm Tuesday 1st November (on Zoom) – find out more here.

Our speakers are:

  • Jacquiline Creswell (Visual Arts Advisor, including to Salisbury Cathedral)
  • Mary Gregory (Canon for Arts & Reconciliation at Coventry Cathedral)
  • Sarah Bourne (Chaplain for the Arts at St Mary’s Banbury, Oxford Diocese)
  • Winifred Omoaka (Multi-Disciplinary Artist).

How can the visual arts be an expression of and vehicle for God’s reconciling work? This conversation will explore how the visual arts can both express something of the reconciliation that God brings to the world, and be a vehicle for contributing to that reconciling mission. It will include some examples of visual art which illustrate what the speakers have to share. We hope you can join us!

Reconciling Mission: A Taster

Would you like to strengthen the outreach of the church? Do you want to see your church move beyond meeting basic needs, and find ways to address what causes inequality and injustice?

If so, you’ll be glad to know that we’ve now developed a short course to give people a taster of our in-depth Reconciling Mission programme. The aim is to support a larger group from an area or diocese to explore more about missional engagement and social reconciliation in their local communities.

Ideally for groups of ordained and lay leaders attending together, the Taster programme consists of an initial in-person workshop, with two online follow-up conversations over the following three months, to plan next steps. Watch RI’s Network & Development Lead, Barbara Macnish, introduce the programme in this short video.

Kenya: Initial Conversations

On 25 July our director, Alastair McKay, held meetings in Nairobi, Kenya, as part of exploring whether RI might develop an offering for dioceses in the Anglican Church of Kenya. This would be run in partnership with Kenyan facilitators.

Newsletter #5 - September 2022 Reconciliation Initiatives

The first meeting was with five diocesan Bishops, from the dioceses of Embu, Machakos, Makueni, Malindi and Mbeere. They were drawn together with the help of Canon Martin Olando, principal of the Bishop Hannington Institute of Theology in Mombasa, who has been our key Kenyan link person.

The Bishops were enthusiastic about a leaders’ training and development programme which would help their churches both to address internal tensions and to engage more deeply with local communities. Later in the day, there was a useful and positive meeting with a couple of experienced facilitators who might be involved in delivering such a programme.

Alastair was heartened by the interest and welcome that he received. Next steps include discussion with the RI Trustees, and further exploration of what else is currently on offer to ACK Dioceses and leaders.

Prayer requests

Finally, we welcome your prayers for Reconciliation Initiatives. In particular for:

Newsletter #5 - September 2022 Reconciliation Initiatives
  • Insight and wisdom for the 25 participants in the third cohort of the Reconciling Mission programme, as they take forward their learning from the initial residential this summer and subsequent online gatherings;
  • Connections to be made with Dioceses which might take up the new Reconciling Mission: A Taster programme;
  • Discernment on how to proceed with possible collaborative work in Kenya; and
  • Our Trustees as they meet on 25 October: Moira Astin (Chair), Karen West, Mark Simmons, Peter Wolstenholme and Tricia Hillas.

Thank you for remembering us in your prayers. May you be blessed as you join us in God’s reconciling work.

Join our newsletter