The Euro was on the edge of collapse.Most people have experienced a financialreverse, though some have benefitedsubstantially from low mortgage interestrates. Some have lost their jobs andothers are worried that they might.Many young people have not been ableto get on the bottom rung of a career orhousing ladder. Most readers of thisArchdeacons Visitation News will haveentered adult life expecting to be betteroff than their parents. Young peopletoday do not think that. They wonder ifthey start a family, how and when theywill find the deposit to buy a house.
For churches, as for families and indeednational governments there are financialchallenges in a period of higher inflationand falling disposable incomes. Manychurchwardens and parish treasurers haveexpressed concerns about finances in 2012.In response there have been resolute effortsto make savings in diocesan and nationalchurch expenditure while seeking to protectgood-quality clergy education and training.This is vital for the future.
Clergy, churchwardens and PCCs have newopportunities to work out how to reach outto those becoming aware that the glitz,glamour and easy money of recent yearssecure neither a happy nor a fulfilled life.
Secure, loving and supportive relationships infamily, church and community are much moreimportant. People are still attracted tochurches where Gods kingly rule can beseen in the lives of his people.
This years Living Faith initiative is emphasisingMaking a Difference in theWorld and it is achallenge to find practical ways of doing that.It certainly means that our churches need to beoutward facing, not inward looking. Someinitiatives such as street pastors and townchaplains are making a difference, but thereare other outward looking ways to make Christreal in our towns and villages.
In a recent address celebrating the 400thanniversary of the King James Bible in ChristChurch Cathedral, the Prime Minister said:We are a Christian country. In no way was hesaying that there is no place for those of otherfaiths or none. Quite the contrary. What I amsaying is that the Bible has helped give Britaina set of values and morals which make Britainwhat it is today. Of course, it is important toget the economy in good order, but ourwellbeing depends more fundamentally on therediscovery of those virtues and values whichare formed in us as we seek to live asfollowers of Christ.
We would like to thank churchwardens fortheir help in looking after our heritage.
We are very grateful to Ecclesiastical for itshelp in producing this newsletter at no cost tothe Diocese.
A challenging year...Towards the end of last year, the German Chancellor said thatWestern Europe was facing its greatest challenge since theSecondWorldWar.
The VenerableNorman RussellArchdeacon of Berkshire
email@example.comTel: 01635 552820
The VenerableKaren GorhamArchdeacon of Buckingham
firstname.lastname@example.orgTel: 01865 208264
The VenerableHedley RingroseInterim Archdeacon of Oxford
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Spring 2012 - issue 11www.oxford.anglican.org
We have begun by asking ordinary Christiansacross the diocese to tell us how you are makinga difference. Heres what some of you said:
I know that my mum gets upset sometimeslooking after Granny, and finds it quite a strain.So sometimes I just go and give her a hug.
I work in the international coal industry which putsmore carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than anyother industry, so I take every opportunity topersuade everyone involved in the industry toreduce its carbon emissions. This is part of caringfor all of Gods creation and everyone on our planet.
I am privileged to work as a church governor at mylocal primary school and have the opportunity ofsharing my faith with young children.
I visit the elderly, some of whom have dementia.I hope my regular visits help them retain the senseof their own unique value.
Its not too late for YOU to send me asentence about how YOU make adifference (email firstname.lastname@example.org). I would love tohear from you.
Christians offer phenomenal gifts to the world,through activities that are local, national andinternational, involving individuals (in theirfamilies and workplaces, paid and voluntary),parish-based projects, church and communityschools, ecumenical networks and interfaithco-operation. Sometimes we aim to meetparticular needs (support for asylum seekers,homeless people, families, older people);sometimes we choose to join campaigns andto speak out (against poverty, debt, and modernday forms of slavery). And there are manyChristians who act as mentors to, andadvocates for, those who are vulnerable
or at risk (e.g. those with learning disabilities,prisoners, those with mental health needs).
In a world of vast inequalities within and betweennations, and in a country where many are livingpressured and isolated lives with little sense ofpurpose or meaning, there is much that we cando to encourage reflection, learning and actionabout making the world a better place. But itsimportant to remember that Making aDifference in theWorld isnt simply about beinga social activist. Prayer and worship are equallyimportant and in everything we do, we shall befocusing on those too. Contemplation and actiongo hand in hand.
2012 is an opportunity to celebratewhat weare currently doing, inspire one another toembrace new things and remember that we arejoining in Gods mission, so will find God there.
Heres how you can bepart of it
Reflect and pray together using thevarious written publications and resourcesthat will be produced throughout the year,including a six-session resource for personaland group reflection, BE the Difference(due outMarch 2012), and Passion for RealLife, a resource for Holy Week.
Celebrate Make A Difference Sundayduring the Month of Sundays, that isOctober 2012. We will be producingresources later in the year to enableparishes to celebrate the activities of thosein the congregation. Set aside an OctoberSunday NOW and begin thinking aboutwho and what you would like to celebrateand how you can thank God and inspireone another.
Attend the arts-based Making aDifference diocesan festival that willbe held on Saturday 27 October 2012.Parishes will be invited to come along,bringing something with them that issymbolic of how they make a difference,so that we can gather these together andmake a big celebratory work of art! Keynotespeakers include AnnMorisy (author ofmany books on mission and social action)and Janice Price (Archbishops CouncilAdviser onWorld Mission).
Partner with your local school: theDiocesan Board of Education is focusingon Making a Difference too, especially inthe academic year beginning inSeptember 2012.
Revamp your church noticeboardto make sure you are communicatingwith the world about how you are makinga difference in your local community and/or nationally/globally. We will be invitingphotographs and running a competitionfor the best one!
Keep your eyes on the Door and thediocesan website for further informationabout all these activities.
Alison WebsterDiocesan Social Responsibility Adviser
2012: Celebrate Makinga Difference2012 is to be the diocesan Living Faith year of Making a Difference.We embark upon it knowing that ordinary Christians are busy transformingthe lives of others, often in quiet and unsung ways. The aim in 2012 is toshare what we do, inspiring one another in new and different ways.
Last year was the worst on record for thenumber of claims for the theft of metalfrom churches, with claims exceeding2,500 by the end of the year. In fact, overthe past four years, metal theft claims fromchurches Ecclesiastical insure have nowexceeded 25m, with over 9,000 claims.
More than seven churches a day are fallingvictim to the attacks and, unless action istaken now, the wave of metal theft raids canonly continue throughout 2012 causinguntold distress to our parish communities.
This is why Ecclesiastical has recentlylaunched the Hands Off Our Church Roofsanti-metal theft campaign, to deter criminalsand protect places of worship from this crime.
What is the Hands Off Our ChurchRoofs campaign?
Ecclesiastical is determined to do all it can toreduce metal theft. Over the last two years,Ecclesiastical has been piloting the use ofelectronic roof security systems on churchesin metal theft hot spots. The systems haveproven to be very effective at preventingfurther losses and the insurer is now takingthis initiative to the next stage. To demonstrate
the effectiveness of roof alarms on awidespread basis, at a local level, and toencourage more churches to install alarms,Ecclesiastical is currently investing 500,000to install systems on selected at riskchurches across dioceses in England,Wales and Scotland.
Once Ecclesiastical has protected theselected churches in a diocese by installingthe alarm systems, they will let all the otherchurches in the diocese know by sendingthem an information pack. The pack willcontain information about the alarm system,including details of where parishes can goto see a system in operation near them(Ecclesiastical recommends that you seefor yourself how effective the system is).It is expected that this will encourage manymore parishes to install alarms as a solutionto the church metal theft problem.
To help deter thieves further, the informationpacks will include two weather-resistant,glow-in-the-dark campaign posters (see pictureabove), which Ecclesiastical is encouraging allparishes to display prominently. You can alsodownload a copy of the poster atwww.ecclesiastical.com/handsoff
Roof alarms key benefits
Highly effective at deterring metal theftas demonstrate