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
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
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 https://www.citizensuk.org/ I met this week
with Davinia Jackson the Associate Organiser for Citizens UK in Lancashire. You
can contact Davinia on: email@example.com
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
Partners range from Kings College London to the Diocese of Oxford, and initial
conversations have started with Churches Together groups in other areas across
Do take a look at this
update from JPIT (Joint
Public Issues Team)
Illegal Migration Bill
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.
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
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).
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. https://www.surfstage.co.uk/
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
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 (https://theclewerinitiative.org/) 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! https://www.royallancashireshow.co.uk/
Have a great week.
With prayers and best wishes
The Revd Anton Muller MA
County Ecumenical Officer
Churches Together in Lancashire
07919 438 413