I thought it might be quite helpful to set out a few of the things that I have been up to in the last few days... I'd love to hear your thoughts on some of the things that I have been up to and hear about what you've been doing. Are we working on the same agenda? How can I best serve those of you who are part of the Faithworks Movement? What are the key challenges you are facing right now? Get in touch!
Wednesday 11th October: I faced the agonizing choice of being part of the groups choosing winners for the Faithworks Awards this year from almost 300 applicants. I met with those who had assessed the 18 shortlisted projects and reached our conclusions. These projects are doing fantastic work and the choices were so hard. I was really broken-hearted that we did not have an award for every one! The three winners will each receive £5000 plus consultancy support and the awards have been sponsored by Congregational Insurance and Spring Harvest. These groups have been fantastic partners and the awards are only possible because of their investment. We are now trying to work out how to support all of those who were shortlisted.
Sunday 15th October: On Sunday it was MICAH SUNDAY and I am on the Board of Directors of the MICAH CHALLENGE UK (for more information see www.micahchallenge.org.uk). Christians around the world were standing up to challenge the failure of governments to take the Millennium Development Goals seriously enough. We were also praying around the world - and we officially created a new world record - over 23 MILLION people took part on the act of solidarity and prayer world wide!! Things are really picking up in the UK around this initiative too.
Tuesday 17th October: I spent the day in Birmingham as part of the National Steering Group for REDEEMING OUR COMMUNITIES (check out www.citylinks.org.uk for more information) which is a great initiative aimed at supporting the police forces in the UK and reducing crime.
I also responded to an article by Polly Toynbee, which appeared in the Guardian yesterday. Polly is arguing that Britain needs to be a secular state and that faith has no part to play in public life. As you can see from my blog posting earlier this week, I responded by saying that faith and Christian faith has a very important part to play in the life of any community and defended the countless acts of compassion and kindness carried out by Christians across the UK every hour.
Wednesday 18th October: I facilitated a discussion with some colleagues from other organisations as part of the STOP THE TRAFFIK campaign - for more information on this campaign see www.stopthetraffik.org. We were looking at the key changes to policy that we could work toward in the UK to put an end to help put an end to the evil of human trafficking.
Friday 20th October: I spoke at a special event in Reading for the families of Children with special needs and disabilities. It was a fantastic evening where God reminded all of us of the importance of every human being. We also explored some of the deep challenges faced by the families of children with special needs.
Saturday 21st October: All day spent in Birmingham at TRUMPET CALL V which is a massive prayer event. It was also the launch of a great initiative called HOPE 2008, of which I am proud to be a part (check it out at www.hope08.com). This promises to be an exciting venture that challenges every church in the UK to do something to engage in their communities. Trumpet Call is supported by the WORLD PRAYER CENTRE. I had a chance to catch up with its leader, Ian Cole and the National Director, Jane Holloway, to explore how we can strengthen the prayer life and prayer support of the Faithworks Movement.
SOME KEY QUESTIONS I HAVE
As I continue with the blog, I want to put some questions to you, to gain some of your input - YOU are the Faithworks Movement and as I lead I want to be directed by the things that affect you in your unstinting service to your local community. Here are some questions to get you started!
- How do you think we remain distinctly Christian whilst working in such a diverse context?
- What are the three most important questions you have about Christians engaging in the community?
- If Faithworks were to produce just three resources in the next twelve months, what would you like them to be?
- How do you think we should relate to other faith groups in the UK and what is the moat Christlike approach in your view?
- How can I best pray for you and serve you?
- Have you read BUILDING A BETTER WORLD - if so have you joined the debate at www.buildingabetterworld.typepad.com?
Let me know what you think! I look forward to hearing from you......