Friday, 22 May 2015

CTE Statement on Contemporary Christian Martyrs

Statement on 'Contemporary Christian Martyrs'

From the presidents of Churches Together in England 20/5/15

The Presidents of Churches Together in England have expressed their deep sorrow at the alarming increase in violence and murder against Christians in many parts of the world.  Receiving reports, in some cases eye-witness reports, of martyrdom in Iraq, Iran, Egypt, India, Pakistan and Indonesia, among other places, the Presidents call upon all people of goodwill to uphold respect for the sanctity of life and the flourishing of every human being.  Stressing the fundamental God-given right and freedom to practice one’s faith and belief, the Presidents call for peaceful co-existence of diverse communities everywhere.
Romero from CAFOD
Used with permission:
The Presidents remember Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador who was assassinated while celebrating Mass on 24 March 1980 because of his Christ-centered stand against the perpetrators of injustice and oppression.  They join in prayer with the people of El Salvador where on Saturday 23 May 2015 Archbishop Romero will be declared 'Blessed', the penultimate stage before sainthood in the Roman Catholic Church. 
Archbishop Romero stands in a historic line of those who have been martyred for their faith.  The Presidents encourage all to work and pray that his death thirty five years ago and the deaths of other Christian martyrs are not in vain; and that the day comes when the peace of God reigns in all our hearts and lives.

A Prayer:

Almighty God,
you called your servant Oscar Romero
to be a voice for the voiceless poor,
and to give his life
as a seed of freedom and a sign of hope:
grant that, inspired by his sacrifice
and the example of the martyrs of El Salvador,
we may without fear or favour
witness to your Word who abides,
your Word who is Life,
even Jesus Christ our Lord,
to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit,
be praise and glory now and for ever.


Links: 'Oscar Romero comes closer to being a saint', the 'Romero prayer' and resources.

There are six Presidents of Churches Together in England:
  • Archbishop Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England:
  • Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, Catholic Church
  • Revd Dr Hugh Osgood, Free Churches
  • Billy Kennedy, New Churches, Religious Society of Friends, Lutheran and German-speaking Churches
  • HE Archbishop Gregorios of Thyateira and Great Britain, Orthodox Churches
  • Bishop Eric Brown, Pentecostal Churches.

The Presidents meet regularly to discuss matters of concern to the Churches in England.

Churches Together in England is the national ecumenical instrument for England. 

Enquiries - Dr Joe Aldred, Acting General Secretary. See Contacts.
I was delighted to read this ....
Together with additional information can be found via the CTE website:

Thursday, 14 May 2015

A legacy?

This week I've had the privilege of attending what can only be described as a great funeral. Although it is said, even among Christians, I don't hear this enough so I thought I'd promote the idea a little more.
Why 'great'? At the end of the day, quite literally, a great funeral has little to do with the eloquence of those speaking, or the quality of the music (where did you get that tape at the crematorium from!?), but the quality of the person's life for whom we shared genuine thanksgiving and not  a few tears.
I thank God for knowing Gordon Netcott. The fruitfulness of his life will continue to be seen in the lives of the many people who gathered this week. I noticed, in particular, the number of men who travelled back to Bristol to be present. Gordon was a huge encouragement to many young men. After he went self-employed he often gave work to people during holidays, or in need of some help. His care and responsibility for providing a good job ensured their lack of experience was never evident.
It was said there were few who had had work done in their homes who hadn't called upon Gordon at some stage. That represents a few hundred people. Gordon never advertised, he never needed to. He often charged 'God's rates', which meant nothing, or very little.
Two guys spoke, both as it happens very eloquently, but from their hearts. One now in his forties, another in his seventies, talked about Gordon as being a father to them. That was it. He was a spiritual father to I don't know how many, but he gave something out for which there is a desperate need. 
Gordon was ever ready to speak about Jesus. An instinctively shy man, he lived out and shared his gratitude for the way Jesus welcomed him 'back into the fold' after straying away from God for a season in his earlier life. His words from his own message, written shortly before he died and read out on Tuesday. Because Gordon wrote them people knew he was serious when he urged everyone to make sure they knew the direction of their life was following Jesus before they separated that day. I hope and pray everyone will reflect on his life and then act on his deepest desire for them.
A great funeral. A life well lived. A friend we are less for not having with us.