British and Irish Church leaders united in response to Covid 19 pandemic
In an unprecedented move, church leaders came together on Wednesday 1st April. The morning video conference included senior religious leaders from around Britain and Ireland who shared the situation in each of their jurisdictions. The initiative originated with Archbishop Justin Welby who wanted to offer an opportunity for leaders to hear and support one another in these critical days for our nations.
The afternoon video meeting of senior officers of many of the churches included discussions about on-line worship, pastoral care in hospitals, funeral arrangements in various places, along with information on furlough arrangements being considered by some churches.
The statement is supported by churches in membership of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland, along with Churches Together in England, Cytun, ACTS and the Irish Council of Churches.
Further information can be obtained by contacting
Bob Fyffe (CTBI) at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 07940660099
Contacts within the nations include
Aled Edwards (Cytun) email@example.com
Paul Goodliff (CTE) firstname.lastname@example.org
Nicola Brady (ICC) email@example.com
John McPake (Scottish rep) firstname.lastname@example.org
Holy Week Statement from British and Irish Church Leaders
God’s world is in the midst of an unprecedented crisis. In the nations that make up Britain and Ireland the Covid-19 virus continues to affect people at an alarming rate, health services along with many of our institutions and organisations, both local and national, are under extreme pressure and people are getting used to living in a very different way, many in extreme isolation. As with all such crises, there is a danger that the most vulnerable in society will be most badly affected.
Christians the world over are entering an important time in the church year as we look to the events of Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection. At the centre of our common faith are both the depths of despair and the heights of joy. In the Bible and in the songs and liturgies of the Church, we see Jesus entering fully into human suffering. In His rising again, that suffering is redeemed and transformed into hope and joy. After Jesus’ death his disciples were afraid and all seemed lost and hopeless, but the risen Christ met them in their despair and restored hope through his victory over death. We pray that the world today might know this hope in place of despair.
In the Book of Daniel we read about God’s people being taken into exile in Babylon. Daniel could not pray in the Temple in Jerusalem, but he continued to pray in exile – opening his window to face Jerusalem. Though he was on his own he joined with the prayers of the people wherever they were. Now we too are separated from each other physically, but when we pray in our homes we join in with this ancient tradition of our home as a place of prayer. Wherever we are, whenever we pray, when we speak and think of Christ, there he is in the midst of us. We join our prayers with all those who pray in our own churches and communities and around the world.
As church leaders from across the many and varied churches of these Islands we urge all people to join us in prayer this Holy Week and Easter; to pray for those who suffer, those who face untimely death and all those who care for them; to celebrate our common faith at a difficult time; to help and support our neighbours in need; and to observe all the safeguards in place to slow the spread of disease.
Loving God, in Jesus Christ, who died and rose again for our salvation, cast out the darkness of our anxiety, fear and mourning, enfold us in your love and give us joy and hope this Easter. Amen.
News from West Yorkshire Churches Together
WE are happy to include news items here… just e-mail email@example.com
We were pleased to welcome Greg Ryan Assistant Professor (Research) of Ecclesiology and Receptive Ecumenism (CCS) in the Department of Theology and Religion at Durham University.
Gregg told us about Receptive Ecumenism which CTE describes as follows:
“A new concept gaining respect and popularity, Receptive Ecumenism is essentially very simple. Instead of asking what other traditions need to learn from us, we ask what our tradition needs to learn from them, what we can receive which is of God.
The assumption is that if all were asking this question seriously and acting upon it, then all would be moving in ways which would both deepen our authentic respective identities and draw us into more intimate relationships.”
Callan Slipper is the National Ecumenical Officer for the Church of England.
He has written and spoken about this topic on a number of occasions. He is well worth hearing/reading on this topic. In one article he quoted from ARCIC (Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission): “Receptive ecumenism is more about self-examination and inner conversion than convincing the other; Anglicans and Roman Catholics can help each other grow in faith, life and witness to Christ if they are open to being transformed by God’s grace mediated through each other.”
We need to learn from each other by looking first of all at ourselves. More will follow.
We have also adopted a revised constitution for WYCT. This reflects our evolution since WYCT was set up. If anyone would like a copy just e-mail the (renamed) WYCT Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org
Forum members were anxious that the following paragraph remains in essence intact.
“The Forum is the executive body with overall responsibility for the operation of WYCT. The Forum will provide strategic leadership for WYCT and be a sign of the Unity of its member churches.
c. Each member church will nominate one or two representatives to be members of the Forum.”
WYCT was also happy to announce at the meeting that it had facilitated the appointment of Prof Peter Howdle as Chair of the Leeds Universities Chaplaincies Trust.
Thy Kingdom Come 2020
The Yorkshire West Methodist District will again be holding a Pentecost Party at the South Leeds Stadium (part of the John Charles Centre for Sport) on Sunday 31st May 2020 from 1:30 – 5:30pm. This will be a ‘Beacon event’ as part of Thy Kingdom Come in 2020. Churches Togethers across West Yorkshire are welcome to share in this event – please share the date with your communities. SADLY CANCELLED
More News from WYCT
“The second year of the new District has been a period of both consolidation and change, At the end of the year we celebrated the ministry of the retiring Chair, the Revd Dr Roger Walton, an occasion of praise with some humour, but tinged with sadness following the death during the year of Roger’s wife, Marion. We wish Roger a long and rewarding retirement in Glossop, sometimes practising with his farewell gift of a table tennis robot (who can forget singing ‘Ping pong merrily on high!’?). Soon afterwards we marked the arrival of our new Chair, the Revd Kerry Tankard, with whom we look forward to working as we further develop work in the District.”
CTE has announced that John O’Toole, the Catholic National Ecumenical Officer, is leaving the Catholic Bishops’ Conference at the end of January. He is to become an Episcopal Vicar in his “home” Archdiocese of Southwark. It sounds as if he will be covering an interregnum between Auxiliary (Suffragan) Bishops.
CTE wants to be able to tell stories of how well churches are working together and see the fruit of being in pilgrimage. Do you have stories where churches are coming together through shared initiatives or commitments to speaking out, offering services, shelter, education, legal advice or simply sharing meals? If so send them to WYCT!
As can be seen by looking at the top of this page CTE has updated its logo, with various layouts to suit various situations. The emphasis on the word “Together” is a welcome improvement.
Great Yorkshire Show, Harrogate July 2019
Rev John Dracup Vicar of Meltham organised clergy cover for the three days of the show with tent representatives or stewards. The displays were imaginative and engaging and had a steady throughput of visitors.
Our photo gives an idea of how busy it was. For more details of future opportunities contact John on email@example.com
HOW DID WE DO?
WEST YORKSHIRE CHURCHES TOGETHER – WYCT – is the county ecumenical or intermediate body for West Yorkshire- the county and those parts which are covered by West Yorkshire Dioceses and Districts.
Our e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
WYCT will be four years old on 1st January. The WYCT “Forum” is the successor to the Council of West Yorkshire Church Leaders (WYEC) and its Denominational Officers. It meets two or three times a year
Tony Robinson, Bishop of Wakefield, is Convenor or chair
The Deputy Convenor is Bishop Tony Parry of the New Testament Church of God.
The Co-ordinator is Deacon Nick Shields
The Coordinator is happy to preach/speak on on WYCT or Unity in general to your church or group…. Contact him at email@example.com
if you do not at any time wish to receive these mailings, all you need do is e-mail WYCT with as little as “Unsubscribe” in the message or header. If you are representing a body such as a Churches Together, please then nominate someone to take your place. Once again, our list is for WYCT information and contact purposes and is kept safe; it is NEVER passed to any other organisation, company or individual outside WYCT.
Yorkshire West Methodist District Website -click HERE–
& follow the links to the Newsletter
Leeds Anglican Diocese-click HERE
& follow the links to this month
Leeds Catholic Diocese click HERE
United Reformed Church Newsletter- click HERE
Mirfield- events at the Centre and Community- click HERE
Where we are coming from.. the original West Yorkshire Ecumenical Council covenant, signed by our church leaders.
OTHER LINKS OF INTEREST:
The Joint Public Issues Team (JPIT) brings a Christian voice and vision to public issues -environment, social justice, politics
It is sponsored by the regional bodies of the Baptist, Methodist and United Reformed churches. You can find more on
The long established Leeds Catholic Justice and Peace Group has a regular newsletter on these issues; Newsletter can be viewed here
THE ANGLICAN CENTRE IN ROME
“Centro is the newsletter of the Anglican Centre in Rome. It is filled with articles about our activities and plans for the future – as well as reflections on the current ecumenical environment in Rome from our friends and contacts in the city” To arrange for an electronic copy click here