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We update our blog several times a week, with news and comment on ministry, theology, the Bible, liturgy and issues of the day.

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Posted by Ros Clarke, 20 Feb 2018

The 2018 joint Fellowship of Word and Spirit/Church Society conference was on the theme of Crying in the Wilderness: Post-Christendom mission

The talks from the main sessions of this year’s FWS/CS conference are now available to listen to online.

These three talks explore the missio dei, God’s mission in the world. Dave Walker’s session introduced the missio dei, showing us how to see our place in the restoration of the created order from God’s perspective and for his glory. Jason Ward helped us to contextualise that mission with a careful analysis of contemporary culture. Finally, Geoffrey Firth reminded us that the church is God’s chosen vehicle for accomplishing his mission. Throughout we were reminded of the sovereignty of God, the power of story, and the grace by which God includes us in his mission work today.

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Picture of a church board with the creed, the commandments and the Lord's prayer.

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Posted by Lee Gatiss, 20 Feb 2018

Lee Gatiss discusses the next part of the Apostles Creed in our Lent series of blogposts: Believing, Living, Praying on the Apostles Creed, the Ten Commandments and the Lord's Prayer.

‘And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. And Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said,  “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”’ (Matthew 17:1-5)

I believe in… God’s Only Son, our Lord
All of us are defined in some way by our relationships. I am who I am in relationship to others: the son of Gordon and Denise; the husband of Kerry; the father of Joshua, Cara, and Lucy; the Director of Church Society, and the boss of David, Ros, and Sophie. The next line in the Apostles Creed tells us two things about Jesus’s relationships: he is the only Son of God the Father, and he’s our Lord.

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Posted by Lee Gatiss, 19 Feb 2018

Church Society, Reform and the Fellowship of Word and Spirit are delighted to announce their plans for uniting.

We are delighted to announce that the Church Society Council, the Reform Council, and the Trustees of the Fellowship of Word and Spirit have all agreed to pursue a merger. It is in the light of our shared Biblical, Reformed, Anglican faith and common goals that we have decided that the challenges of the present time require us to unite our efforts so that we are better placed to harness the energies of evangelicals in contending for the gospel.

Bringing such bodies together requires a lot of hard work and much trust but it is right for biblical Christians to pursue this. In the Bible the impact of sin always seems to be fragmentation and dispersal, but the fruit of the gospel and living under the rule of Christ is unity and gathering together. Furthermore we believe that in the circumstances of the present Church of England the coming together of these bodies will enable us to be more effective in the pioneering, establishing and securing of healthy local Anglican churches.

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Posted by Ros Clarke, 19 Feb 2018

Dave Walker and Jason Ward chat to Ros about the ups and downs of ten years in ministry.

Two of the speakers from the recent Fellowship of Word and Spirit conference,Dave Walker and Jason Ward, talk to Ros about the ups and downs of ten years in ministry. They also share highlights of their talks from the conference about God’s mission in the world.

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Posted by Lee Gatiss, 19 Feb 2018

In our Lent series, Lee Gatiss looks at the next line of the Apostles’ Creed, and the central confession of Christianity: I believe in Jesus Christ.

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” (John 20:30-31)

To say, “I believe” is a radical thing to do in our world. And that is especially so when the things we believe in cannot be seen. To say “I believe in Jesus Christ” means several things here in the Creed. For a start, it means we believe he exists, even though we can’t now see him. It also means we believe what he says, in a world that is not certain what is true and what is fake news. And finally, it means we entrust ourselves to Jesus Christ, as well as to God the Father Almighty.

The existence of Jesus
To believe in Jesus means at the very least that we believe in his existence. When we talk about Jesus, it is not make believe, a game. He is not a fictional character. Fictional characters can be inspiring — like Princess Leia or Spiderman or Wonder Woman or Frodo Baggins. But sane and sensible people don’t “believe in” those people, the way Christians believe in Jesus Christ.

To say we believe in Jesus is saying that we believe in a specific, real person who actually existed (in fact, he actually still exists, and is alive — but let’s not get ahead of ourselves!). Jesus was born a Jewish man, living in Israel at a time of Roman occupation over 2000 years ago. The Gospels — that is, the biographies of him in the Bible — give us detailed genealogies so we can locate him in time and space as part of a particular nation, a particular tribe, a particular family.

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Posted by Lee Gatiss, 16 Feb 2018

Lee Gatiss unpacks the second line of the Apostles’ Creed, and what it means for us that God is the creator of heaven and earth. This is part of our Lent series: Believing, Living, Praying, in which we are looking at the Apostles Creed, the Ten Commandments and the Lord's Prayer.

Creator of Heaven and Earth

“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters.” — Psalm 24:1-2 (NIV)

The short phrase “creator of heaven and earth” takes no more than 3 seconds to say, but it contains the most profound truths about God, the universe, and us.

The Creator God
The God we believe in, the Father Almighty, is a creative being. Behind the beauty and order of the universe is a creator, not random chance. A careful and deliberate personal creator is responsible for everything, not impersonal and blind “forces of nature.”

This means that God is above and beyond the world. He is not our creation, but we are his. He is not the product of primitive human fantasies, as some claim; we are the fruit of his imagination.
There was a time when we did not exist, when nothing existed — except God. Then, there was a moment of genesis. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).

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Posted by Lee Gatiss, 15 Feb 2018

Lee Gatiss looks at the first line of the Apostle’s Creed, our declaration of dependence. This is part of our Lent series: Believing, Living, Praying, looking at the Apostles Creed, the Ten Commandments, and the Lord's Prayer.

I believe in God, the Father Almighty

If you type “I believe” into Google, it helpfully suggests various ways to complete that sentence. “I believe I can fly” is the top suggestion, closely followed by belief in Father Christmas, miracles, and love. Magic, ghosts, unicorns, and angels are not far from the top either. Is this what belief is, in the twenty-first century — a yearning, a wish, for anything beyond the ordinary, something which may even be entirely fictional? And does that matter, as long as it gives me a warm, happy glow to believe it?

A declaration of dependence
The first line of the Apostles’ Creed is not an expression of wishful thinking. Rather, it is a declaration of dependence on the God who is truly there. It says I believe in God — not in myself and my abilities; not in chance or fate or the blind forces of nature. I believe in God the Father, who also has a Son and a Spirit, mentioned later — a specific God, a Trinitarian God.

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Flourish: a strategy for growth in the Church of England

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Posted by Ros Clarke, 14 Feb 2018

This year's Church Society Conference, "Flourish: a strategy for growth in the Church of England" and the Church Society AGM will be held on Saturday 12th May at Oak Hill College. The St Antholin lecture will follow the conference.

Bookings are now open for this year’s Church Society Conference. The conference will be held at Oak Hill College on Saturday 12th May, from 10am to 4pm, with the programme for the day as follows:

10.00am Lee Gatiss: Flourishing in a Hostile World
The persecution faced by the early church did not prevent it from flourishing and growing. How can we learn from our brothers and sisters who faced such opposition to the gospel?

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Picture of a church board with the creed, the commandments and the Lord's prayer.

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Posted by Lee Gatiss, 14 Feb 2018

Lee Gatiss begins our blog series for Lent by introducing the Apostles Creed.

Believing, Living, Praying


The Creed, The Ten Commandments, and the Lord’s Prayer

A revolutionary act: saying the creed.

To say the Creed is a counter-cultural, revolutionary act. To some it may appear mundane, merely reciting some old words in a church along with others in the congregation. But what we are doing when we join in this public profession of faith is taking a stand against all that is evil in this world.

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Lee on the Lectionary: 1st Sunday of Lent (Year B) from Church Society on Vimeo.

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Posted by Lee Gatiss , 14 Feb 2018

At the start of Lent, our readings remind us that salvation comes through suffering.

In this short video, Lee Gatiss expounds the lectionary readings for the 1st Sunday of Lent (Year B), which are Genesis 9:8-17, 1 Peter 3:18-22, and Mark 1:9-15.

You can also follow along with these video expositions on the Lee on the Lectionary Facebook page. We also tweet the video link every Sunday morning at 6am for those who like a morning exposition of the word. Follow us @churchsociety.

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