JMCC digest week ending 21 February 2015

1.            Journey’s Future Events for Lent

2.            Journey MC Church Congregational Meetings

3.            Weekly Worship

4.            Asylum and Refugee group

5.            Journey Film Club

6.            Other Events

7.            Green Suggestions

8.            Cyber Sermon


We are looking at what the Religions especially Christianity says about homosexuality. Are there ‘texts of terror’ where being gay is wrong?

Come along and invite friends


WEDNESDAYS 25/02/2015

LENT GROUP @ B LGBT training

Intro to the ‘Texts of Terror’


LENT GROUP @ B LGBT training

Are We an Abomination?


LENT GROUP @ B LGBT training

Sodom & Gomorrah


LENT GROUP @ B LGBT training

What Did Jesus Say?



Homosexuality & Paul


International Meal

Maundy Thursday


St Pauls

Good Friday




We look at Journey’s resources last Sunday: money time, talents etc. These all boiled down to the fact we are Journey and it is only us to give resources to Journey. There is no funding from outside.

We broke into pairs and discussed our names which are part of identities of who we are. We also marked on maps where we born and talked about our favourite reading and song. I attach the hand out .You might like to complete and return it to me?


C. Roles: what are our responsibilities? Those of the pastor with his reduced hours and UFMCC etc.? 15 March. At Journey we are a community where the people own and have responsibility for the Church. At the AGM we determined that the congregational meetings are to have more say in the running of our group and the Board will meet less often to deal with more administrative matters. We have an increasing membership but a less money, there we have to cut back on the pastor’s time and other financial matters. Therefore I have organised three meeting to start this year and it is imperative that these meetings are well supported and we make the best decisions re our future


These will be after the morning worship with a shared lunch and we will start the meetings at 1pm and finish by 3pm at the latest. All are welcome.




3.           WEEKLY WORSHIP


11 -12:15 am Emmaus Road with an interactive sermon, prayer space, Communion and songs @ St Paul’s Church, Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham B3 1QZ.

This is a Christian service with hymns and readings from the Bible. It has an interesting interactive sermon where we discuss the theme introduced and allowing us all to have our say from whatever theological position we come from and wherever we are on our spiritual journeys. This is postmodern and stimulates an inclusive community and helps us more from faith to action in the world around us.


5 -7 pm Illuminate @ BLGBT Centre 38/40 Holloway Circus B1 1EQ

Spirituality without religion includes live acoustic music, meditation and friendship.  Following on in the second hour is tea and coffee and a discussion devised by one of the group. All are welcome at Birmingham LGBT centre (next door to bar Jester).










Stephe & Davy

LENT GROUP @ B LGBT training room

Introduction to the ‘Texts of Terror’






LENT GROUP @ B LGBT training room

Are We an Abomination?


11 St Pauls then 12:30 Stephe

Julia then Baptisms at the Church of the Redeemer




LENT GROUP @ B LGBT training room

Sodom & Gomorrah




What are our role? Shared meal Mothering Sunday



LENT GROUP @ B LGBT training room

What Did Jesus Say?




Stephe away




Stephe away




Homosexuality & Paul




Palm Sunday


International Bring & Share Meal

St Pauls

Maundy Thursday


Mary Gilbert

St Pauls

Good Friday








The Emmaus Road




Friday 20th March 1- 3 pm @ BLGBT Centre 38/40 Holloway Circus B1 1EQ

There is a great need to support LGBT people attempting to find a safe place to live. They come with the facts of their abuse and torture, rejection by families and friends from all over the world especially Africa and the Middle East. They are not well support by the Home Office often taken to detention centres and isolated from the support the need here in the UK. We provide a lunch, drinks, bus fares curtesy of Birmingham Pride and we give gifts from the church. So please bring winter clothes, toiletries etc. Come and just listen and be caring.

This meets every third Friday of the month.

Asylum training by Restore starts Thursday 26 February at Carrs Lane. You need to book for this and it’s virtually full


5.            FILM CLUB

Doors open 6.45pm for a prompt 7.15pm start normally at BLGBT Centre.;


6.            OTHER EVENTS

LINE DANCING is every Thursday @BLGBT Centre 7-9pm its fun and for all levels


RAINBOW SPIRIT – gay men’s group first Friday of each Month @BLGBT Centre 7-9pm.


Singing and Dancing weekend Friday to Monday (bank holiday) May 1 to 4, 2015 From Dinner on Friday to Lunch on Monday £160-£190 all-inclusive BUT for those on low incomes there are great reductions or even a  few free places Whaley Hall, Whaley Bridge, High Peak, nr Manchester SK 23 7BL

Further Information Jon on 07974 47720607974 477206


7.            GREEN SUGGESTIONS : Lent course: Climate change and the purposes of God


Climate change and the purposes of God: A study course based on the Ash Wednesday Declaration Operation Noah has published a course which is designed for use as a Lent course – though it is also appropriate for use at any time of the year. It is targeted for use with Church and house groups.

There are five sessions, each with hand-out for participants and notes for group leaders. You can download pdfs of the five sessions and the notes from the links below.

Session 1: Does climate change matter? If so, why does it matter?

Session 2: How can I better celebrate creation as God’s gift?

Session 3: What is God asking of me?

Session 4: What do I need to change?

Session 5: What can I do now to cherish God’s earth?


8.           CYBER SERMON: Archbishop homily at Trinity Wall Street, New York 23rd January 2015


I was invited to speak on Radio WM with the Bishop of Leeds on sermons. They loved the fact we have a discussion, that things are relevant and everyone’s opinion matters

The Archbishop of Canterbury has warned vicars against filling their sermons with “moral claptrap” about being “a bit nicer” to everyone.

The Most Rev Justin Welby said religion should never be reduced simply to a code of morality instead of an active faith in which people are willing to “get [their] hands dirty”.

He added that the message of Christianity was so radical that it could be mistaken for a call to “violent revolution”, were it not for its emphasis on peaceful means.

His comments came in a homily at an evensong at Trinity Church on Wall Street New York which has been published online by Lambeth Palace. Speaking about deprivation and inequality he detailed his experiences in Liverpool, where he served as Dean of the Anglican cathedral for four years, insisting it was imperative for churches to be involved in their communities.


The Archbishop of Canterbury’s admission over Wonga comes in the second part of a wide-ranging interview on his life in the role and the challenges faced by the Church of England

Archbishop of Canterbury: do not tweet in anger 28 Jan 2015

‘Not in the Bible’: Vicar tries to derail consecration of first female bishop 26 Jan 2015

Archbishops’ pre-election assault on ‘evil’ of inequality in Coalition Britain 14 Jan 2015

Welby: Gene therapy could hand super-rich more power 23 Jan 2015

He said the life of Jesus “challenges every assumption” about society, adding: “He does not permit us to accept a society in which the weak are excluded – whether because of race, wealth, gender, ability, or sexuality. “Nor did he permit us and does he permit us to turn religion into morality. “The old sermons that we have heard so often in England, which I grew up with, which if you boiled them down all they effectively said was: ‘Wouldn’t the world be a nicer place if we were all a bit nicer?’

“That is the kind of moral claptrap that Jesus does not permit us to accept.”

He told the congregation “we are to get involved, we are to get our hands dirty”, adding that too often churches had just “circled the wagons in order to keep the enemy out”.

“Were it not for the fact that he is in title Prince of Peace, and lived out his mission in service and foot-washing, ending it in crucifixion and resurrection, this would be a call to violent revolution,” he said. “But even that option is removed from our hands by the way in which he lived his life and calling.”


The Archbishop was visiting New York to speak at the ‘Creating the Common Good’ conference organised by the Trinity Institute. His speech – on the question ‘Is inequality sinful?’ – can be read here.  Jeremiah 29:4-7, Luke 4:17-21


First of all I would like to say thank you to the Rector, the Rector-elect, to those who are involved in the conference, for the huge privilege of being invited to preach in this legendary, wonderful church.  Between 2007 and 2011 I was Dean of Liverpool. In Church of England terms that means I was responsible for the Anglican Cathedral in Liverpool, with the cathedral one of the biggest in the world, and was a senior member of the Diocese of Liverpool.


Those four years, far too short in any job, were some of the happiest of my ministry. I relished the extraordinary privilege of living in one of the world’s greatest cities. Liverpool is a place of sharp wit and quick humour, built on the proceeds of the slave trade in the 17th and 18th centuries, and for many years, the second or third largest port on earth. In the post-Second World War period it fell into decline, and by the 1980s had become a sad place in many ways. But with the innate life and optimism of the scousers (as they are called, the people of Liverpool) is bouncing back.


It is still, however, one of the poorer cities in north-west Europe and the poorest in the UK. The Cathedral sits on a hill on the edge of one of the poorest parts of the city. Around it are many beautiful 18th and 19th century buildings, but also street after street where the windows are covered in corrugated iron and the roads are bereft of people. One of its great bishops in the 1970s, 80s and 90s was Bishop David Sheppard. He was bishop for over 20 years, and died a couple of years after his retirement. While I was there we commissioned and installed a memorial to him, a beautiful piece of carving inscribing the words of Jeremiah 29:7 “Seek the welfare of the city …”. Those words that we’ve just heard, and words that are part of the theme of these days together.


David Sheppard, in his years in Liverpool, worked hand-in-glove with the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Liverpool, Derek Worlock (a third of all Catholics in England are in the province of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Liverpool) , and between them they transformed the attitude of the city. When they both arrived, within a few months of each other, they found a city that was still sectarian: it had both the largest Orange Lodge, the Protestant community, outside Ireland, and also the largest branch of Sinn Fein, the nationalist political wing of the then IRA outside of Ireland. It was a place of riots. John Lennon sung Imagine – “Imagine there is no heaven” – was written after watching the inter-sectarian fighting in Liverpool. Yet Sheppard and Worlock lived together in harmony, met and prayed together, and set an example which transformed the life of that city and transformed the attitudes of Britain to sectarian difference. In the 1980s there were great riots, the worst riots that Britain has seen until 2011. They tackled with prophetic and powerful words the appalling poverty into which the city had sunk, and they never let up in their work for the common good.


That, as we know, is the theme of this conference, and I want to explore very briefly some of its more awkward theological angles, to set some context for the next few days.


First of all, to use the old phrase of liberation theology, is God’s bias to the poor.   It is very clear in the New Testament reading that we’ve just heard read. We often hear it in our culture as a rather agreeable and heart-warming little ditty about good news for the poor. In the exceptionally hierarchical and deeply unequal society of the time of Jesus it was provocative in the extreme. He had taken the passage, and claimed that in him alone was it fulfilled. It is no wonder that there was outrage. Jesus comes into the exile of the city of man (as Augustine described it) in which human beings find themselves and he challenges every assumption we make as to what is a good outcome for our society. He does not permit us to accept a society in which the weak are excluded (whether because of race, wealth, gender, ability, or sexuality). Nor did He permit us and does He permit us to turn religion into morality. The old sermons that we have heard so often in England, which I grew up with, which if you boiled them down all they effectively said was: “Wouldn’t the world be a nicer place if we were all a bit nicer?” That is the kind of moral claptrap that Jesus does not permit us to accept.


We are, by contrast, as Christians to be caught up in a revolution of expectation and of implementation. Were it not for the fact that He is in title Prince of Peace, and lived out his mission in service and foot-washing, ending it in crucifixion and resurrection, this would be a call to violent revolution; but even that option is removed from our hands by the way in which He lived his life and calling. And that itself tells us that in interpreting what the church is saying today, the context of its life as a community is the means of interpretation. Truth is interpreted in the action of God’s people.


We therefore come to this conference with our eyes and ears and spiritual hearts open to being deeply discomforted and left looking with wonder on a scene that we could not have imagined. If this does what it should, if we are as open as we should be to the word of God, we will be, like those that Keats refers to in his poem “On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer”:


“Then felt I like some watcher of the skies

When a new planet swims into his ken;

Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes

He star’d at the Pacific—and all his men

Look’d at each other with a wild surmise—

Silent, upon a peak in Darien.”

A genuine openness to the common good, and to God’s interpretation of that in our hearts, will cause us to look at each other with wild surmise, and I would add bursting and boundless hope for our future as a society.


Secondly, we are called to action. “Seek the welfare of the city…” The Jews of the time of Jeremiah in exile in Babylon, had written asking what they should do? Clearly, they thought, God was going to rescue them for the sake of God’s name! Therefore, as in the earliest days of the people of Israel, when still caught up in Egypt, they should be ready to go at a moment’s notice. They were in a place that was temporary; they should not allow themselves to get embedded in it.


But no, says Jeremiah, unpredictable as always, do not turn away from the world, but turn towards it; do not moralise, but bless; do not hate, but include.  Marry and be given in marriage; plant gardens and fields; pray and prosper.


As Christians we often, in our history as the church, have fallen either into the mistake of identification with the world as all there is, a mistake we often make today in the way we speak and live; or of hatred of the world and turning away into its own exclusive little tribe. To put it another way, too often we have circled the wagons in order to keep the enemy out.


David Sheppard, with whom I began, did neither and nor did Archbishop Derek Worlock. They engaged deeply with the society. The Dean of Liverpool at the time, a distinguished predecessor of mine, possibly in some ways as expert in property development as in leading cathedrals, became trusted by the Government at a time when their relations with the city of Liverpool had broken down. The church built the bridges. Through the Dean’s hands, in the 1980s, with the full knowledge and understanding of Worlock and Sheppard, with very nearly 250 million pounds, and that 250 million pounds was used to build houses across the city, to build new developments, to turn round the decline and the sense of despair. A friend of mine became the Chief Executive of the City Council shortly afterwards, and as he was showing round the city every time he turned around the corner, someone said: “The Catholics built that, that’s an Anglican estate, and this and that and the other.” First of all he thought it was sectarian, and then he felt he’d fallen back into medieval times when the church basically ran the city.


And yet for all that practical, applied implementation of bringing hope to a place of despair, Sheppard and Worlock kept faith with the eternal call to serve and love Christ, to make Christ known, and to do so in proclamation and in loving one another and demonstrating Christ’s love as a light to the world in which they lived. They were neither apart nor were they captured by their culture.


We are to get involved. We are to get our hands dirty, to speak of policy and of implementation; not merely to deal with the macro but also with the micro, not merely to deal with the micro but also with the macro. The common good, truly interpreted in the light of the scripture, its horizons opened up by the radicality of the gospel, demands from us our own radicality that can only come from the overflowing of the Spirit of God within us. Within Jeremiah there is that prophecy of hope of a future. Jesus, speaking in Luke, takes the words we’ve heard, but also especially in Luke, has, in his words, the promise of the gift of the Spirit of God who will make possible the impossible revolution, the impossible revolution to be achieved without violence, to be achieved without hatred, to be achieved in blessing and loving and serving and transforming the society in which we live. Amen.


BBC religion Posted by Bishop Nick Baines. It was announced last week that the BBC is to shake up its commissioning briefs (so to speak). 23/1/15


According to reports, four of the BBC’s most senior commissioners will have their roles closed as part of a major overhaul of the factual division. The restructuring, which is being overseen by factual commissioning controller Emma Swain, is aimed at saving money and re-focusing the division ahead of the proposed closure of BBC3.


Basically, three-and-a-half head of commissioning roles will be removed and another created. This will result in the department having six commissioning heads, compared to eight-and-a-half currently.


The bit that interests me particularly is where this puts religion in the new scheme of things. One of the posts to go is that of Aaqil Ahmed, who currently combines being head of Religion & Ethics with being commissioning editor television.


The proposed three newly created head of commissioning roles will cover:


• Head of science, business, history and religion (specialist factual)

• Head of documentaries, current affairs and BBC3

• Head of specialist features and natural history


There will be consequences for other people involved in commissioning in the factual division.


This might all make perfect sense and be a rational and productive structural change within the BBC. But, in the absence of more detail, it also raises important questions:


Who will take overall responsibility in the BBC for the range, quantity and quality of the religious coverage? Or will this be left as a sort of “fill in” content?

How much, and what sort of, religious programming does the BBC expect of each of its TV networks?

3. Why is there no BBC news religion editor to complement the science, economics, business, political, financial, arts and sports editors?


This is not about special pleading by religious interest groups. At a time when it is impossible to understand the modern world – its politics, economics, military and humanitarian events – without understanding religion, why is religion not being prioritised as needing expert interpretation in the public and broadcast sphere? You don’t have to have a religious bone in your body to see the need for this sort of exploration and interpretation in the media. Whether personally religious or not, religion cannot be avoided by any serious observer as a serious factor in shaping – for good or ill – the actions and motivations of people and communities.


So, where will religion sit in the company of science, business and history? And who will be well-informed enough in all four of these areas to give adequate priority to each?


My questions arise from the limited information I have read. They should not be interpreted as suspicious or negative. But, the answers to these key questions will be interesting.

Peace and joy


Minister: Rev Stephen Bentley

Mobile number: 07734 07734 155664155664

St Paul’s Church

Jewellery Quarter

Birmingham B3 1QZ



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