1 December 2022

Ecumenical and Interfaith News: December 2022

Lieut-Colonel Jonathan Roberts

The latest updates from the Ecumenical Office.

Ecumenical appointments and retirements

Lieut-Colonel Jonathan Roberts
Lieut-Colonel Jonathan Roberts

Lieut-Colonel Jonathan Roberts was appointed Territorial Ecumenical Officer in July, taking over from Major David Evans who has entered retirement. David will, however, continue to work part-time as Territorial Ecumenical Support Officer.

Major Samuel Edgar has stepped from his role as Territorial Ecumenical Support Officer, which he began in 2014 upon retiring from active officership.

Jonathan said, ‘I and all those involved in the Army’s ecumenical and interfaith engagement are extremely grateful to Samuel for is commitment to this work over the past eight years. He will be greatly missed, but we know that God will continue to bless him and his endeavours.’

Summit highlights mission in new communities

A photo of Paula Haylett posing for a photo with two other attendees of the summit

Almost 100 people from various denominations attended the New Housing Summit at Regent Hall to consider how churches can minister to people in new housing areas.

The day brought together pioneer practitioners and those who work with regional church enablers, planners, developers and housing associations. Major Paula Haylett (Thirsk) was part of the planning group for the event.

Salvationists participate in WCC assembly

A group of six people wearing Salvation Army uniform

Six Salvation Army representatives attended the 11th General Assembly of the World Council of Churches.

The group, which included three officers representing the UK and Ireland Territory, was among more than 3,500 church leaders and representatives who gathered in Karlsruhe, Germany, under the theme Christ's Love Moves the World to Reconciliation and Unity.’

Birkenhead Corps provides chaplains

The corps teamed up with Churches Together in Merseyside to provide 10 chaplains to Wirral council as part of a joint effort to tackle knife crime.

The famous Knife Angel sculpture, which comprises 100,000 confiscated knives and weapons, was on display at the entrance to Birkenhead Park throughout July, and the chaplains offered spiritual and emotional support to anyone coming to see the 27-foot statue.

Corps officer Captain Samantha Hamilton said: ‘The partnership being forged between the Army, Wirral council and other churches in the area is an important one for us and a great opportunity for our support and presence to help provide healing to those involved in knife crime.’

Felixstowe musicians support Songs of Praise

A Songs of Praise meeting inside Felixstowe Salvation Army. The full congregation listens to the songsters sing

A Churches Together Songs of Praise meeting attracted a near-capacity congregation. The band and songsters provided pre-meeting music and took part in the service. Alongside a contemporary Anglican music ensemble, the band accompanied hymns and songs chosen and introduced by members of the congregation. The meeting was followed by fellowship in the community hall.

URC members join Knottingley Corps for Harvest

Nearly 40 people from the corps and United Reformed Church – who are using the hall for weekly activities and services – joined together for a Harvest supper and quiz. Donations raised more than £200, which was split between the two churches. The local food bank gratefully received the groceries displayed throughout the weekend.

Livingston Corps brings people of faith together

A diverse group of people posing for a photo beneath a Salvation Army branded welcome sign

People from Scotland, Nigeria, Pakistan and South America took part in the first Diversity in Harmony Day at the corps. They were able to share their different cultures and faiths. The day was a great success, and a similar event will take place in January.

Keeping the Faith

The Keeping the Faith report found that 90 per cent of local authorities described working with faith groups during the pandemic as very or mostly positive.

Stephen Timms MP reflected at the launch of the all-party parliamentary report that ‘local authorities are much more aware of what faith groups are doing and how well they are doing it.’

Race for Justice

Race for Justice book cover

Intercultural Mission Enabler Major Jonny Smith (THQ) has contributed a chapter about The Salvation Army to a new book, Race for Justice.

Published by Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (CTBI), it is ‘an in-depth, inter-denominational examination of how churches in Britain and Ireland have sought to tackle racism over the last 25 years’. Read more about the project on the CTBI website.

Wimbledon Corps hosts interfaith event

A photo of people from different faiths sitting in small groups talking

As part of Inter Faith Week the corps hosted a Scriptural Reasoning evening, with Christian, Jewish, Hindu and Muslim participants.

Those who gathered enjoyed a Syrian meal before representatives of each faith spoke about a verse from their Scriptures that relates to poverty and justice. Small groups then discussed each verse, which helped to deepen their understanding of the issue and of each faith’s approach to it.

Upcoming events

Lancashire Sings Christmas: Thursday 15 December

Churches Together in Lancashire is hosting its carol service on BBC Radio Lancashire.

Tune into BBC Radio Lancashire from 6.45pm on Thursday 15 December at home or listen with others at venues across the county.

The concert will feature:

  • Blackburn and Preston Salvation Army bands
  • The People’s Choir
  • The Reverend Phil Gough
  • The Chair of the Lancashire Methodist District

To find a venue and download the carol sheet, visit the Lancashire Sings Christmas webpage.

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity: 18–25 January 2023

Each year different churches around the world prepare resources for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

This time the churches of Minneapolis, USA, explore how the work of Christian unity can contribute to the promotion of racial justice across all levels of society. The ecumenical body CTBI has contextualised it by focusing on the 30th anniversary of the murder of Stephen Lawrence.

Holocaust Memorial Day: Friday 27 January

Holocaust Memorial Day takes place on 27 January every year. It is a day to remember the six million Jews and others murdered in the Holocaust and the millions of people killed in other genocides since then.

In January 2023 the theme is Ordinary People. The Council of Christians and Jews (CCJ) has developed prayers, reflections and advice on how to mark the day.

Newsletter by

Lieut-Colonel Jonathan Roberts

Lieut-Colonel Jonathan Roberts

Territorial Ecumenical Officer

Discover more

Supporting and developing the ecumenical and interfaith work of The Salvation Army.

Journeying together, respecting each other's cultures, and starting to tangibly see God's Kingdom now, right before our eyes.

Celebrating and embracing ethnic and cultural diversity within The Salvation Army.

Ensuring equality, diversity and inclusion are at the heart of everything we do.

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