Last week we were privileged to be invited to join Wood End Infant School in celebrating their 80th Birthday. The day saw a celebration of things past and present and had a hope for the future.
It is a great school to work with and we pray that they will be blessed in their work they do in the community
Pictures of the day find here
“God’s presence is always hyper-presence.
This is analogous to the idea of a ship sunken in the depths of the ocean: while the ship contains the water and the water contains the ship, the ship only contains a fraction of the water while the water contains the whole of the ship.
Our saturation by God does not merely fill us but also testifies to an ocean we cannot contain.
Thus desire for God is born in God.” – Peter Rollins
My Placement with West London Citizens
Though Ealing Trinity Circuit joined West London Citizens in 2013, my involvement began at the beginning of 2014 when I met with Jasper, an organiser. I was interested in doing the 2-day training leadership course that Citizens offered. Instead I found myself becoming involved in the Local Election Accountability Assembly. About the same time, I found out that I hadn’t been successful in candidating to be a Methodist minister and wouldn’t be going forward for ministerial training. I wasn’t sure what to do. I didn’t feel that candidating was over for me; it still felt important but I couldn’t reapply for a year at least so I needed something that would give me some practical training, some skills, some way of developing me. It was then that I heard about a two year part-time master’s course in Community Organising run by Queen Mary University. I successfully applied for the course with some help with funding from the circuit.
The main attraction of the course for me was that it offered practical training and experience through a five month placement with Citizens UK. My placement was based in Northolt and Greenford Methodist Churches with the aim of getting a team of people to make a difference around an issue the churches felt strongly about. My first step was to hold about thirty one-to-one conversations with people from both churches mainly at their homes but also at work, church, cafe and even on the tube. I then invited people from the churches to a Sanctuary Vigil at William Perkins School. The purpose vigil was to ask Steve Pound MP to commit to ending indefinite detention for asylum seekers. The evening started with song, a stirring story from someone who had been detained indefinitely, and Steve Pound being asked if he would commit to work with Citizens to end this atrocity. Then the group formed a circle outside holding candles with candles in the centre laid out in the shape of the hands of a clock as we stood in silence waiting with those who were being detained. Nine people from Ealing Trinity Circuit were present at the vigil.
From those who came to the vigil and others from the church, we formed a team to take action – not on immigration but on the issue chosen by the group: homelessness. We met several times as a team to plan and listened to people in the churches and those who had been homeless to get a better idea of what we could do. After speaking to Eric, a Big Issue Seller, we decided that one of the ways we could help would be to buy insulated mugs to give to people who were homeless so that they could keep soup/a hot drink with them during the day. The team went back to the churches to raise money to buy mugs aiming for £25 from each church and raised £61. Since collecting the money, we have also had two extra mugs donated. We hope to give the mugs to Father Gerard at St Anselm’s Church, Southall, who works with the homeless.
My placement officially ended in May when I went with a group of people from Northolt and Greenford to the General Election Accountability Assembly on Bank Holiday Monday 4th May at Westminster Central Hall. 2,200 people packed the hall from a program that included singing, music, a history lesson, poetry, and personal stories. The main part of the program was when the three main political party leaders were asked whether they would work with Citizens UK to make a difference on four issues: improved social care, end to indefinite detention, a fairer credit system and living wage. It wasn’t just about making demands; the work that politicians had already done with Citizens was recognised and they were thanked. Also key leaders that have played a part in Citizens UK were recognised and they literally handed batons to the Citizens UK Young Leaders to acknowledge their role in organising. It wasn’t all about the people at the front particularly when representatives from the alliances (groups set up by Citizens in different areas of the country) asked for people from their alliance ‘to stand up and be counted’. West London Citizens were well represented, as was Ealing Trinity Circuit with seven people.
Even though my placement finished in May, I hope to continue working with the team and with others around the circuit. For London Citizens the next big event will be Thursday 28April 2016 6-8.30pm at The Copper Box Arena, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, where 6,000 people will be packed hold to account the mayoral candidates. West London Citizens have started a listening campaign to find out problems people are having around housing to take to this event.
From just two churches thirty three people have got involved in the organising process with thirteen taking part in actions. How much more could we achieve if all the churches from the circuit got involved? It is time we stood up and were counted.
By Rebecca Catford
Past Cases Review
The Methodist Conference vowed to make significant changes to its policy and procedures in a move to make the Church a safer place for all. This follows the publication in May of an independent review of past safeguarding cases related to the Church from 1950 to 2014.
The Past Cases Review (www.methodist.org.uk/media/1683823/past-cases-review-2013-2015-final.pdf) identified 1,885 past cases, which included physical, emotional, domestic and sexual abuse as well as cases of neglect. In approximately one quarter of these cases, church ministers or lay employees were identified as the perpetrators or alleged perpetrators.
The Conference discussed the findings of the Review and appointed an implementation group to take forward the report’s 23 recommendations. Former Barnardo’s Deputy Chief Executive Jane Stacey, who led the independent review, has been appointed as a member of the implementation group, which will be chaired by the Revd Gwyneth Owen.
“The Past Cases Review has undoubtedly been a wake-up call for the Church, and one we cannot ignore” said Gwyneth. “The recommendations of the report are many and wide-ranging but at the heart of it all lies the need to bring about significant cultural change. Safeguarding is not just something that is done by specialists. It cannot be reduced to criminal records checks and staff training programmes. Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility and each one of us has a duty to do what we can to make the Church a safe place for everyone.”
The recommendations include improvements to record keeping and storage, a review of all current safeguarding training materials and the identification of further resources to support victims and survivors of abuse. One of the most urgent concerns highlighted by the recommendations is the need for greater levels of accountability and supervision, as well as a formal code of conduct, for ministers. Additionally, selection criteria for senior church positions will be developed to include awareness of and ability to deal effectively with safeguarding issues. Until the Methodist Church has more robust accountability processes in place and fully operational, there will be an annual independent audit of progress on the recommendations.
Addressing the Conference, General Secretary the Revd Dr Martyn Atkins reiterated the Church’s apology for the failure of its current and earlier processes fully to protect children, young people and adults from abuse inflicted by some ministers and members of the Methodist Church.
“It is essential that we recognise the failings of the past,” he said. “However, without a commitment to change and the willingness to take the hard steps to achieve that change, we know that an apology alone could never be enough. This is the challenge that lies before the Church today and will be a continuing challenge for us for many years to come.”
However thorough the review has been, there will undoubtedly be cases that have not been reported and the Church would encourage survivors and victims and those with any information to contact the Safeguarding Team (firstname.lastname@example.org). They will be listened to and support will be offered.