CW83: And who is my neighbour?

A young man from Eastern Europe arrived in the UK full of hope and expectation. He had accepted a job offer which would provide a good income, security and the possibility of further training. It had been a struggle to save up for his contribution towards the costs of transport, but he knew it would be worth it. He had travelled in a very crowded minibus with a lot of other equally hopeful young men. Might they be future neighbours, sharing space and life stories?

CW83: Ethical Evangelism

At its simplest, ethical evangelism involves making sure that what you are saying and doing are consistent with what you believe. What do you and your church believe about being a Christian. Do the details matter? What difference do you think it makes? There is still a prevailing caricature of evangelists that often takes some effort to overcome, so be prepared to explain your motivation for sharing the good news of God’s love. What difference do you think it makes? What difference does it makes to you?

CW83: Farmers’ day at the cricket

Towards the end of last summer’s County Championship season, Somerset County Cricket Club hosted a crowd of over five hundred farmers and their families during their four-day game against Yorkshire. The day was jointly organised by Somerset CCC, the Farming Community Network (FCN) and the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institute (RABI).

CW83: Food ethics

Most of us who live in the countryside are conscious that there is a story behind everything we eat. But that story is becoming confusing as media soundbites repeatedly tell us that meat (particularly red meat) is either destroying the planet through its emissions or making us ill.

CW83: Let the land produce

We are intrinsically linked with the soil, certainly from a biblical perspective. In Genesis, God reminds us that we were made from the soil (Genesis 2:7) and that it will become the source of our food. We are explicitly told to care for it (Genesis 2:15) and in doing so live out God’s original call to us as human beings.

CW83: Memory, Meaning and Mission

Death, grief and bereavement are realities that touch each of us. Churches, whether rural, suburban or urban, have a huge role in offering support and care during these most difficult times, and churchyards can be particularly significant spaces for those who are grieving a loved one.

CW83: Parenting for Faith

Many Christian parents are keen for their children to grow to know and love God for themselves. But it can feel like so many things get in the way, and many don’t feel they have the time or skills to help their children in this way. Parenting for Faith, part of the Bible Reading Fellowship, produces free resources to help parents and carers to raise God-connected children and teenagers, and resource churches to better support parents as they help their children

Praying together in 2020

Pray in 2020 on the 20th of each month at 20:20 for 20 minutes. This is the invitation from HOPE Together to Christians of all denominations. HOPE’s executive director Roy Crowne says, ‘Through Prayer 2020 we are asking God to work through all that is done in 2020 – personal witness; church outreach plans in villages, towns and cities; stadium events – evangelisation in all its many forms. Already this is catching the imagination of Christians around the world. 2020 is such a significant year and Prayer 2020 will be a key part of the year.’

CW83: Rains from Heaven and Fruitful Seasons

Only a livestock farmer will fully understand what it means to have to sell up their herd or flock. In the spring of 2004, the day after the auction of our cattle, I stood in the yard and prayed. The particular smells and sounds of dairy cows were absent for the first day in generations, and added to the financial pressures of the tenancy was the strange guilt that after so many years I was the one who had to leave the dairy industry. But I had trusted in Jesus for long enough to know that God can use our failures and disappointments to bring about what he really wants from us. So began a new adventure in farming the particular way in which the Lord led.

CW83: Rural isolation and loneliness

Just before I headed off to Greenbelt in the summer of 2019, I wrote a tweet asking if any clergy had ever felt lonely and would they be prepared to talk to me about it. If so, they could message me privately. In my head I was hoping I’d get loads of folk replying; in reality, there wasn’t a single response. Now, of course, there might be a hundred good reasons why this was the case – not least, that they might not have seen the tweet – but it did leave me wondering whether loneliness is still something that we struggle to talk about. I believe there is a stigma about it