Category: Missio Dei

Sanctum 2018 – Come and Be Involved. #Pioneer

Come and experience a Church Year all within a few days!

24th-26th July 2018

Summer is nearly here and that means we are approaching Sanctum 2018! This is a fantastic retreat/gathering or sacramental alt:worshippers. If you have never been to The Community of the Resurrection, it takes place in the idyllic monastic setting of The Community of the Resurrection in the heart of the Pennines!This year we are exploring the seasons so you can expect a bit of Christmas, a bit of Easter and a bit of…. All of the seasons.What can you expect? Some new ways of engaging with worship. Every year, I find that someone introduces me to God in a new and exciting way. Some of those ways inform how we do it back in our own context – but that doesn’t mean it’s just for ordained ministers. Whether you lead worship or just want to come along and experience something different, this is for you!

The collaborative nature of Sanctum means that you can bring your own prayer station with you or get involved with acts of worship that other people are creating!  If you’ve always wanted to get involved but don’t know where to start, this is a really encouraging space to do that in.

Sanctum is a great space to explore where God is leading us as creative people who find Him in the sacraments. It is a place to be inspired to experiment with new ideas in the coming years. – Participant from 2017

There are also opportunities to share throughout the week with workshops and the obligatory socialising.

And the shameless plug is that Metanoia are doing the Christmas Service with added Rock!!

Sanctum – A Gathering for Emerging Sacramental Groups

11011091_10155536999425150_1660389118892608512_oA few of us who are involved in Sacramental Alt Worship/Emerging Church/Fresh Expressions in the UK have been talking and we think that there is a need for a space for us to cross pollinate and dream dreams.  Wherever you come from and whatever you are hoping to see develop in the future, Sanctum could be the place for you to explore missional worship from a sacramental tradition.   There will be several practitioners involved including Sue and Malcolm Wallace from Transcendence, Eddie and Sarah Green, Ruth Sutherland and me from Metanoia and the Rock Mass and others.

The accommodation and facilities we’re using are at the Community of the Resurrection in Mirfield. Wworship will be in the newly reordered lower church with it’s great tech spec.  Full board is £104 which is not bad for a noisy retreat.  Spaces are limited so please get in touch ASAP to book.

If you want to dream dreams with us, please get in touch!

Lower Church

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Church of England Clergy support the Labour Party?!

It has been an interesting week for Church of England clergy and the poor in the newspapers.  Revd Simon Cross is undertaking a 40 day hunger strike fast through lent to highlight the plight of the poor in the United Kingdom.  In a national move to mark the beginning of lent, 27 Bishops penned an open letter to the Prime Minister to highlight the plight of the poor in “the world’s seventh largest economy”.  The Independent reported as:

In an open letter condemning David Cameron’s benefit reforms, 27 Anglican bishops said ministers had a moral duty to do more to protect those having to choose between “heating or eating”.

By highlighting the moral failings of the coalition government to safeguard the most vulnerable in society and the increased reliance upon foodbanks, The Church has provoked a substantial reaction.  Within hours the pro Conservative press began to mount a  campaign to get the plight of the poor back off the agenda.

1609834_604792466266458_991142440_nFirstly Lord Carey was wheeled out to condemn the letter and his fellow bishops.  Then the usual commentary of “the church should stay out of politics” began as though the two can be separated.  The popular Church humour site Anglican Memes posted a link to the meme above and the backlash was considerable.  The site’s founder did the honourable thing and stared them down with this post:  “Jesus Doesn’t do Politics”.

Then The Spectator tried to discredit the Church of England by publishing this article from an ordinand saying that “I’m scared to admit to being a Tory in today’s CofE”.  The anonymous author also asserts that “Jesus wasn’t a leftie” with a short exegesis of the feeding of the 5000.  I admit that I am quite ‘scared’ by the article.  The exegesis leaves a lot to be desired.

One commentator on the article doesn’t just make allusions:

It is pretty clear that Christ did not have much time for politics at all. Nor did the early church. It stayed clear of them. I have experienced the Labour “default position” of the Church and it is nasty

In the current political climate, there is an obvious vocation for the Church to point to the plight of the poor.  It stems from the gospel and the radical life of Jesus Christ.  There is a huge disparity between those in the UK who have and those who have-not.  This gulf just continues to grow at a staggering rate.  Foodbank use is increasing due to measures that have been implemented by central government leaving the most vulnerable in desperation.  It is the duty of the Bishops to speak out about it.  It is the duty of the whole body of Christ both lay and ordained to speak out about it.  It is a gospel imperative!

The right wing press are weaving a thread of misdirection through their propaganda to turn the ‘Christian calling to care for the poor’ into ‘party politics’.  For example, when someone suggests that it is the Christian moral stance to care for the poor, tell everyone that they “would call themselves (proudly) socialist”.  If a group within the leadership of the church says that Jesus told us to “feed the hungry”, say that the church contains a “sizable minority of Marxists“. When a corporate body says that society is failing the vulnerable, state that they exhibit the “Labour default position”. It is easier to write off someone’s opinion for being aligned with a political party than it is to write it off for being aligned with Christ.

For a Christian, being politically engaged is not about joining or supporting a particular political party. It is about reading the gospels, deciding how best to follow Christ and then weighing up the least worst option that is available in the UK, whatever that is currently.  Personally, I am not a Marxist.  I doubt I could be described as a socialist.  In my adult life I have only once voted Labour and that was a tactical vote to remove a BNP councilor.  However, that does not mean that I will not vote Labour in the future – who can say what the future may hold.

In my role as priest within a community I will be continuing to tell the world that Jesus cared about the poor.  Not just cared about the poor but called us to do something about it!  I will continue to tell the world that the current government’s policies are not compatible with the Christ I read in the gospels.  I will continue to fight for justice for the most vulnerable in society.  I will continue to be politically engaged and exercise my right as a citizen to vote in every election I am able.  I will continue to pick the least worst option in UK party politics.

Advocacy, to speak out on behalf of those who have no voice is an important part of the Christian calling.  Or as Archbishop Desmond Tutu put it:

Christians shouldn’t just be pulling people out of the river. We should be going upstream to find out who’s pushing them in.

Two points.  As someone who recently went through two different Church of England theological colleges as part of his ordination training, I only met two Labour activists.  One in each college.  One of them was two doors down the corridor from a high profile conservative minister’s son. Also, we currently have a ConDem coalition government and yet in all of this right wing posturing the Liberal Democrats aren’t even a footnote.

Pass The Nativity

All credit to Ellie Wilson our diocesan advisor for the under fives! Awesomeness abounds.

I just happened to be sat in the children and youth department’s office being a disturber of the peace. When talking about what was going on I mentioned our toddler group and Ellie tumbled out a gazillion awesome ideas.

The one I latched on to was pass the nativity. Santa comes and chocolate will be had. Excellent. But Playmobil make a nativity set. By wrapping them up in order we can tell of Jesus’ birth by playing pass the parcel.

So tomorrow morning they will come out when the music stops and I will sit and tell the tale of Jesus birth to some fresh ears who have never heard it before.

The equipment:


At the centre is JC, wrapped in gold at the heart of the package.


There is also Playmobil Saint Nicholas (not Santa). Postie hasn’t delivered him yet so I’ll have to wait until next year to play with him.

This is the order I’ve wrapped them: