Welcome and thanks for visiting! updated April '14
I'm retired after forty years of Church ministry - serving inner city and housing estate parishes, teaching theology, publishing and lecturing, and most recently 18 years as a Bishop in the Church of England. What's happening now? Among other things:
* Championing Social Housing Estate ministry
* Visiting India - supporting empowerment projects
* Bishop Visitor to a Anglican Benedictine Convent
* Challenging the Church to be Liberational!
This website and Facebook page is my small way of sharing some of the excitement so please enjoy! Click subjects on the left or click on the photo above for my email.
MY FACEBOOK PAGE CARRIES UP TO DATE NEWS AND INFORMATION - DO LOOK ME UP: FACEBOOK
Go well, and God Bless.
AN AUDIENCE WITH THE BISHOP
Come along and be entertained! A relaxing evening of my Songs and Stories.
Tickets are £4 Wine and Posh nibbles included, and there is a retiring collection for my charity The Friends of the Poor in South India
At St Leonards on Sea. Saturday 26th April. 8 - 10 pm. Contact me for tickets.
TRAVELLING NEWS 2014:
THIS YEAR I've been travelling in India to visit the many projects that my charity Friends of the Poor in South India sponsors. In March I offered seminars on Housing Estate Ministry in Newcastle and Preston
I'm currently writing a new book on Housing Estate Ministry and look forward to any correspondence or insight that you wish to share with me - especially on my theological and missional question, "Why does Jesus call the poor blessed when today's poor seem far from blessed?" Thanks for your interest. +Laurie
A REPORT FROM THE NATIONAL CONFERENCE OF THE
NATIONAL ESTATE CHURCHES NETWORK
E-networking is all very well but nothing can beat face-to-face, and that’s what happened for nearly two hundred participants at the two NECN national conferences this October. Two similar days were offered – first in London and then in Manchester – to make it easier for networkers to travel from across the UK. It was a fantastic mix of lay and ordained, all denominations and none.
Meeting in tough housing estate churches, each day opened with worship led by local folk and then we were down to business with David Heywood, the author of Reimagining Ministry, who introduced our theme – “what styles of ministry are appropriate to this very distinctive arena of mission – the Social Housing Estate?” David helped us to see that God’s Mission continues despite the brokenness we experience – indeed, that brokenness helps us see how the Christian faith can be very credible in an environment where people soon see through glib words and phrases – “Don’t just talk about love, show me!”
There was no doubting the expertise of the participants in the discussion which followed and example after example was shared of the ways that churches around the country are laying claim to the hope and promise of the Gospel in a context where no pretence is countenanced.
We were then caught up into the bible study offered by Bishop Laurie Green, the chair of NECN, on the Temptations of Jesus in the Wilderness – which prompted all to question whether or not their own ministry style was Kingdom of God orientated. Were our ministries and projects the un-nourishing ‘fast food’ answer to the deeper ills of society? Or should we stay true to a more challenging Gospel and work for “every word that issues from the mouth of God?” – to see God’s words of ‘justice’, and ‘mercy’ and ‘freedom from oppression’ come true in our estates? And how easy it is to make church comfortable rather than to “worship God alone” and get out there into the fray.
The afternoon offered two radical takes, from Bradford (Jesus Shaped People) and Bristol’s ‘Northern Ark’, on how to develop Jesus-shaped every-member ministry. Lay teams were interviewed who spoke of a new awakening of their talents and an empowering of those who were usually ignored by the Church when it looks for leadership.
Social Housing Estate ministry is certainly different! Estates are unlike the old inner-city in so many ways and have very distinctive needs and profiles, but they offer a way in to the realities of the Jesus Gospel in a startling and transparent manner for those who have the call – and the guts – to accept the privilege of ministry there.
To find out more about the network go to www.nationalestatechurches.org or follow the Face Book page. You can leave a message at 07933 438304 or contact the chair on firstname.lastname@example.org It’s for anyone who is interested in Christian presence on Social Housing Estates in the UK. Come join us!
REAL MONEY OR ECONOMICS?
An interesting debate today on how mathematicians have made great contribution to the financial sector of western society. But will smart mathematical models lead to 'good' economics. In my book economics is about money (call me naive?) And money is essentially a symbol of human relationship - I give you this coin and you give me your commodity. But the way we use these coins/notes/cheques indicates the quality or otherwise of our relationships. I can rip you off or I can give generously. I can use my coinage to oppress or to release. So economics for me is fundamentally a spiritual exercise - Mathematicians yes, but let's have a spiritual mathematics.
CLONES FOR CHRIST?
Yesterday I had privilege of speaking at the Rochester Diocesan Training gathering. Exciting breadth of experience amongst those preparing for ordained and lay ministries. I pray they will stay fresh and not let the institution conform them to its classist and 'superior' ways - but yesterday they were really being treasured and nurtured in the right way by those who have the training responsibility. The temptations of ministry and mission are so very great (signalled for us in the three desert Temptations of Christ) but many a mission and ministry guru seem to want us to convert to their own particular style of faith - 'Clones for Christ - rather than look for what the Holy Spirit is already up to in a life and go with that. It was a joy to be with these inspired and inspiring people!
Click Spirituality for new thoughts on Praying.
Click Big Issues for Women Bishops and Gay Marriage
“The Church Established”??
I recently heard a bishop friend of mine on Radio say that if gay couples are allowed to ‘marry’, this would cause difficulties for the Church regarding its place as the ‘established’ church. It made me wonder what he meant by ‘established’.
He seemed to be talking about the CofE’s relationship to the Queen, Parliament, and the complexities of British government! But surely to be truly the established Church of England should mean that any ordinary person living in England can feel that this is their Church – so they know they can walk into any parish church and feel in their heart that this is the place for them. It represents the People of this Land before their God. That’s why the CofE is so broad in its understandings, varied in its worshipping practice and open to new cultural ways. Whereas to know that the relationship between the CofE and the creaking structures of the establishment go hand in hand separates the Church from its people, for it does not include the likes of you and me!
Bishop Laurie's book Let's Do Theology is now also published in Chinese! For more book news click here --> My Books