Great Britain: Churches give fresh impetus to social justice challenge

The Joint Public Issues Team


The work of Baptists, Methodists and members of the United Reformed Church in the field of social justice has been given fresh impetus, with new work priorities and the appointment of a new leader for the Joint Public Issues Team.

Rachel Lampard, previously responsible for political and parliamentary liaison in the MethodistChurch, is to take over as team leader, when she returns from maternity leave. She said: “Our three church traditions share a passionate concern for issues of poverty and injustice. By working together we have been able to make a much stronger impact. Our challenge is to help the churches to promote justice, equality and peace by influencing those in power. We also want to help resource and energise local congregations in their effort to live out the gospel of Christ”.

The Joint Public Issues Team was set up two years ago as a ground-breaking initiative between the churches which is now being adopted in other spheres of work. Staff retain a denominational identity but pool their expertise and produce resources jointly for the Baptist Union of Great Britain, the MethodistChurch and the United Reformed Church.

Team members are currently working on poverty in the UK, theology and climate change, human rights and corporate responsibility, business ethics, and human embryology and early human life. They have responded to government consultations on alcohol strategy, gambling, and climate change, and have produced a series of studies for home groups called “The Art of the Possible” which explore why Christians should be interested in public issues (www.jointpublicissues.org.uk/artofthepossible/index.htm)

A new Methodist member of the Team, Dr Paul Morrison, brings added expertise in the field of science, technology and bioethics. Other team members bring experience in international affairs, conflict, UK politics, theology, education and business.

The Joint Public Issues Team is managed by a group consisting of Janet Morley, head of the Christian Communication, Evangelism and Advocacy Cluster within the Methodist Church Connexional Team, Simon Loveitt, spokesperson on public issues for the United Reformed Church, and the Revd Graham Sparkes, head of Faith and Unity for the Baptist Union of Great Britain.

More details on the work of the Joint Public Issues Team from Wendy Cooper (enquiries@jointpublicissues.org.uk) or at www.jointpublicissues.org.uk

The Baptist Union of Great Britain (BUGB) is the Baptist family in England and Wales (there is also the Baptist Union of Wales). It is made up of churches, regional associations, the national resource centre and Baptist colleges. The Union works with others in mission locally, regionally and internationally. It is a diverse union with small and large congregations, different nationalities and differing styles of worship yet united by core values and a common purpose of changing lives and transforming communities with the message and love of Jesus Christ. There are some 140,000 members of 2000 Baptist churches associated with the Baptist Union of Great Britain. www.baptist.org.uk

The MethodistChurch has about 295,000 members and 800,000 people are connected with the Church. It has about 5,800 churches in Great Britain, and also maintains links with other Methodist churches totalling a worldwide membership of 70 million. www.methodist.org.uk

The United Reformed Church comprises one hundred thousand people in 1600 congregations. It has brought together English Presbyterians, English, Welsh and Scottish Congregationalists and members of the Churches of Christ. Worldwide, more than 70 million Christians are members of the Reformed family of churches, the largest Protestant tradition. The name ‘Reformed’ is used because the churches began to emerge with reform movements in the sixteenth century. www.urc.org.uk

The Joint Public Issues Team combines the expertise of the Baptist Union of Great Britain, the MethodistChurch and the United Reformed Church in the area of public issues. Through close collaboration, the churches aim to increase the effectiveness of their engagement in public life and parliamentary affairs. For more information about the Joint Public Issues Team, visit www.jointpublicissues.org.uk


03.10.2008 URC/UMC/BUGB / GEKE-Internet-Newsletter, 8. Oktober 2008

Größeres Risiko von Gewalt gegen Frauen in der ökonomischen Krise

Der Reformierte Weltbund zum Internationalen Frauentag am 8. März
Geneva (ENI). Women are at higher risk of violence during the current economic crisis, yet the world is paying less attention to their needs, says the World Alliance of Reformed Churches. In a statement to mark International Women’s Day on 8 March, the Reformed churches alliance expresses concern that violent crimes against women, particularly rape and domestic violence, are on the rise at the same time that support for programmes to protect women is under threat. "The world seems to have become almost immunised to the stench of violence against women," said Patricia Sheerattan-Bisnauth, WARC's spokesperson on gender issues, in the 5 March statement.

Barbara Schenck

Churches told to confront ''moral crisis'' in the world economy

''Where are the prophetic voices of the churches?''
The multiple crises confronting the world are fundamentally a moral crisis says the president of the United Nations General Assembly. In remarks recorded for a public hearing on reconciliation in Geneva, Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann asks, ''But where are the prophetic voices of the churches today?''

Setri Nyomi zum Internationalen Jahr der Versöhnung 2009

Generalsekretär des Reformierten Weltbundes warnt vor dem Ausschluss von Immigranten und Minderheiten
Geneva (ENI). Immigrants and minorities in affluent countries are becoming targets of exclusion at a time when the global economic system is facing strains, a global Protestant leader has warned at a gathering in the Swiss city of Geneva. "There has been a resurgence of hate crimes against minorities in a number of nations," said the Rev. Setri Nyomi, general secretary of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, at a 19 February meeting to mark the International Year of Reconciliation proclaimed by the United Nations for 2009.

Barbara Schenck

WARC welcomes statements made at the World Social Forum in Brazil

Reformierter Weltbund begrüßt die Stellungnahmen des Weltsozialforums
The World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC) has issued a statement of support in response to a declaration by a representative of the World Council of Churches (WCC) that the global economic crisis offers an opportunity to create a more just financial system.

Quelle: Reformierter Weltbund, 2. Februar 2009

RWB Kommunikation: neue Chefin

Kristine Greenaway: moderne Kommunikationstechniken verbinden
Der Reformierte Weltbund (RWB) hat den leitenden Posten in der Abteilung Kommunikation neu besetzt: Frau Kristine Greenaway von der Vereinigten Kirche von Kanada hat am 5. Januar die Arbeit in der Genfer Zentrale aufgenommen. Sie ersetzt somit John Asling, der die Stelle bis Ende Dezember 2008 innehatte.

Quelle: Internetseite Reformierter Weltbund (RWB)

End the Violence in Gaza

''The rockets from Gaza aimed at Israeli communities are destructive and the suicide bombing incidents cannot be condoned ... We strongly condemn the air and ground assaults from the Israeli Defense Forces leading to senseless deaths ...'' (Reformierter Weltbund)

Pressemitteilung des Reformierten Weltbundes (WARC), 7. Januar 2009

Die Schweiz und die Einigung Europas

SEK für Ausdehnung der Personenfreizügigkeit
Der Schweizerische Evangelische Kirchenbund (SEK) spricht sich für die Weiterführung und die Ausdehnung des Freizügigkeitsabkommens zwischen der Schweiz und der Europäischen Gemeinschaft auf Rumänien und Bulgarien aus.

Medienmitteilung der SEK, Simon Weber, 8. Januar 2009

Gemeinsame Grundsätze zur Pfarrerausbildung

Die theologischen Fortbildung von Pfarrerinnen und Pfarrern soll auch intensiviert werden
Mit einer Konsultation vom 20.-23. November 2008 in Berlin hat die Gemeinschaft Evangelischer Kirchen in Europa (GEKE) einen Prozess zur Verständigung über gemeinsame Grundsätze zur Pfarrerausbildung begonnen.

24.11.2008 Thomas Flügge, GEKE

The Legacy of John Calvin

Some action for the Church in the 21st Century
Eine Broschüre des Reformierten Weltbundes und des internationalen reformierten John Knox Zentrums informiert über Theologie und soziale Anliegen Johannes Calvins und regt von seinem Werk ausgehend an zu „life-giving action“ im 21. Jahrhundert. Die Broschüre ist in englischer Sprache erschienen.

Barbara Schenck

Neue Kirchenleitung in Ghana

Francis Amenu und Godwin Osiakwa werden kirchenleitende Theologen der E. P. Church, Ghana
Am 1. Januar 2009 übernehmen Francis Amenu und Godwin Osiakwa ihr neues Amt als kirchenleitende Theologen der Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Ghana (E.P.Church). Beide wurden während der jüngsten Synode zum Moderator bzw. Synodalsekretär gewählt.

Antje Wodtke, Öffentlichkeitsreferentin der Norddeutschen Mission