Lancashire Methodist District

Churches Together

churches together in lancashire

5th June 2023

I enjoyed meeting last week with the Fleetwood Churches Together Group. I was so very encouraged to see Christians across the denominations come together and learn of the brilliant work being done together to witness to Jesus and to bring the light of hope to the people of Fleetwood. I welcome invitations to visit local groups in the week and to joining services on Sundays – especially where these are celebrations of our life and witness together. I’ve just read about the St Anne’s CT group Open Air Pentecost Service which was hosted by St Anne’s URC. Here’s a little spotlight news:

St Anne’s-on-Sea URC hosted an open-air Pentecost service, which saw representatives from churches in the town process by way of a Walk of Witness through Ashton Gardens, before gathering in the church garden. The event was blessed with wonderful weather, and drew interest from passing holidaymakers. The service was a joyous & uplifting celebration of Pentecost, and was clearly enjoyed by all who were there. Churches Together in St Anne’s, who co-ordinated the afternoon, have a number of events which they organise throughout the year, at which links between the town’s different churches are strengthened, and lasting friendships are formed.

Support for Asylum Seekers and Refugees

Please see below the report from the Joint Public Issues Team on the Illegal Migration Bill. You are invited to take part in raising awareness of the plight of all refugees with a particular opportunity during Refugee Week 19-25 June. There will be an event in Blackburn Cathedral

I would also like to bring your attention to the work of Citizens UK. Do take a look at I met this week with Davinia Jackson the Associate Organiser for Citizens UK in Lancashire. You can contact Davinia on:

Can your group become a “resettlement partner” for ‘Communities for Ukraine’? (A recognised provider programme by the UK Government that enables safer, sustainable and supported matching).

A Resettlement Partner is an organisation with reach, network, and roots in a community - whether an employer, a membership organisation, a professional body, a faith group, or an institution. There are 36 so far, and to meet the need, Citizens UK needs to recruit 250 Resettlement Partners this year. To find out how the process works, what safeguards are in place, and what support Churches together would receive from our Communities for Ukraine programme click Here

Current Resettlement Partners range from Kings College London to the Diocese of Oxford, and initial conversations have started with Churches Together groups in other areas across the country.

refugees welcome

Do take a look at this update from JPIT (Joint Public Issues Team)

Illegal Migration Bill

Dear friends

Back in March, over 1500 of you supported our joint statement opposing the Illegal Migration Bill. We handed the statement in to 10 Downing Street in April, and we have now received a formal response.

Click here to read the reply from Robert Jenerick, Immigration Minister.

The reply focusses on the justification for the Bill, naming the increase in small boat arrivals and the Prime Minister’s promise small boat channel crossings. It also lays out the increased funding for border force and detention, as well as justifying the Rwanda plan and the UK’s contribution to taking refugees to date.

The reply reinstates the argument that the UK cannot ‘make routes available for every eventuality’, but dodges the statements call for new safe routes to be established. As the Illegal Migration Bill makes its way through the House of Lords, we need to continue to raise the call for a more compassionate approach towards people seeking sanctuary in the UK.

Refugee Week – 19-25 June

We have another opportunity to raise this call in the upcoming refugee week, from 19-25 June. This is a chance to stand together again to show solidarity for people seeking asylum and call for a better approach. We’re inviting you to:

Show Hospitality not Hostility to people seeking asylum by hosting a tea or meal during refugee week. Click here to download our toolkit.

Pray with us on Sunday 25th June, which is Sanctuary Sunday. You’re invited to pray with us for a more compassionate approach to people seeking sanctuary – Click here to download our joint prayer.

The Illegal Migration Bill will continue in the House of Lords for the next few weeks, where it will face a number of amendments. Now is a good time to write to your MP or to ask to meet with them, to ask them to support changes when the Bill returns to the Commons. Click here to find details of amendments.

Thank you for continuing to support refugees and people seeking asylum by advocating for a fairer and more compassionate approach.


Campaigns and Church Engagement Officer, JPIT

The Joint Public Issues Team is the Methodist Church, Baptist Union and United Reformed Church working together for peace and justice. 
Click here to find out more about our work.

Faith in Our NHS

Representatives across the churches in Lancashire met with health care leaders at Whalley Abbey this week. This was to raise awareness of how churches and faith groups already contribute to community health in Lancashire and to explore further collaboration and recognition. Amongst the health leads were Dr Sakthi Karunanithi, the Director of Public Health for Lancashire, Jane Cass, Director of Partnerships and Collaboration for the Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board and Cllr Michael Green, LCC cabinet member for health and wellbeing, chair of Health and Wellbeing Board. One of the outcomes will be the creation of digital catalogue to map the various community services provided by churches across Lancashire. Your help in compiling this catalogue is needed. It will enable statutory services to signpost residents to the local help they need across the range of needs and provisions. (The full report will be on the CTL website soon).

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Surfstage Christian Festival Parbold 30th June – 2nd July

Please find attached a flyer for this exciting event. Recently featured by Joe Wilson on Radio Lancashire and Premier Christian Radio, this is an event for All Ages that brings to Lancashire and the North everything to expect and enjoy from a Christian Festival right on your doorstep! Youth for Christ will be supporting this Festival. Please pray for everyone working on the preparations, those taking part and especially all those attending… make it a date for your church or group.

The year seems to be moving on at a quite a pace! It has been good to meet with local ecumenical groups in the last few months and to take part in looking prayerfully and imaginatively at how to grow together in unity and wholeness. There are huge challenges facing the churches but also great opportunities. I am constantly reminded of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s words at the last CTE Forum, “We follow a who, not a what, and that who is Jesus”. (Swanwick March 2022). It is the “who” that unites us and calls us to be one!

I have also enjoyed visiting church groups on Sundays to lead and preach in services and welcome opportunities to do this, especially in an ecumenical setting.
Royal Lancashire Show 21-23 July

Plans are progressing well. Alongside resources for how churches can support farmers and farming communities there will be resources on tackling Farming and Modern Slavery. The Director of the Clewer Initiative ( Caroline Virgo will be attending the whole event and working with us to provide activities and resources. The Diocesan of Blackburn Children’s Advisor, Sarah Earnshaw, is bringing a team to lead the children’s activity area which this year will be supported by the Methodist District Godly Play Bus. Come to the Church Tent for a free cuppa and a chat. Join us on Sunday for a special service at 3pm that will bring together all our Christian traditions and focus prayerfully and powerfully on tackling Modern Day Slavery – a service, with music led by the Blackpool Salvation Army (from 2pm), to proclaim freedom for captives and Good News for All!

Have a great week.

With prayers and best wishes

The Revd Anton Muller MA
County Ecumenical Officer
Churches Together in Lancashire
07919 438 413