Minister: Rev Naison Hove.
Church Secretary: Mrs Christine Slade. 01903 715745
Lettings: Mrs Angela Stratton. 01903 770853
Contact us by email:
Minister: Rev Naison Hove.
Church Secretary: Mrs Christine Slade. 01903 715745
Lettings: Mrs Angela Stratton. 01903 770853
Contact us by email:
The Revd Dr Kevin Snyman, who leads Commitment for Life, the United Reformed Church’s (URC) global justice programme, has curated the Fairtrade Foundation’s online Ecumenical Service of Worship, for Fairtrade Fortnight (22 February to 7 March). Created in collaboration with other Christian organisations, the service can be downloaded from the Fairtrade Foundation’s website from 25 January, and is scheduled to be a key part of the Foundation’s online festival – a series of digital events organised for the first time this year. Read More … …
Where are we at with the UK’s climate commitments? It is hard to predict what 2021 will be shaped by, but it is undoubtable that the impact of COP26 at the end of this year will be significant. The very present realities of the climate crisis remain stark – the impact of Fiji’s latest cyclone in December a clear indicator. Towards the end of last year, we saw the UK Government make various announcements regarding their commitments to climate action, at a time when they should have been chairing a review of the Paris Agreement during the original COP26 dates. So, where are we up to with the UK’s commitments to climate action? Here are some of the headlines. UK Nationally Determined Contribution increased to at least 68% of carbon emissions cut by 2030 The UK Government announced their increased target in December, raising their goal for 2030 to a 68% reduction on 1990 levels, from their previous target on 57%. This target, following advice from the Committee on Climate Change (CCC)*, is a significant increase, and is in line with the Government’s targets to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. It is the toughest target set by any major economy so far. The Government also took important action at their December 2020 summit by denying a platform to countries that have not set significant targets, including Brazil, Australia, Russia and Indonesia. Ahead of 2021’s COP26 summit, this sent clear signals about expectations. The target could have gone further, with research by Imperial College London and WWF suggesting a cut of 72% was economically viable. It is also important to remember that whilst the UK Government has set these targets, they are yet to fully meet the previous targets on the course to reach net-zero by 2050. The UK won’t use carbon credits to reach their net-zero targets The Government also agreed to abide by the advice of the CCC to achieve the target without using ‘offsets’. ‘Offsets’, or carbon credits, represent the amount of carbon dioxide reduced by measures taken, such as replacing fossil fuels with renewable electricity or reforestation overseas. They are often used to balance out the remaining carbon emissions produced when reductions do not meet targets. This is a significant commitment from the Government and a win for our Churches and other campaigners, who feared that the government would lean heavily on offsets in reaching their target rather than achieving a ‘true’ net-zero, jeopardising long term impact. The target won’t include aviation and shipping Emissions from aviation and shipping have not been included in the UK’s updated commitments. These areas have historically been omitted from climate negotiations due to their complicated nature. However, they represent large and increasing proportions of UK emissions, and for real progress to be made must be included and measured on our journey to net-zero. The Government committed to stop funding overseas fossil fuel projects The Government also made the significant commitment to end financing for oil and gas projects overseas. The measure means that the funding, mostly provided through UK Export Finance, will be cut significantly sometime this year. The Government have come under criticism in the past for a bias towards funding fossil fuel projects, primarily in developing countries. The government did not set out a target date for this action and there is still a window for new projects to be rushed through before the end of the consultation period on 8th February. The 10 point plan for a green industrial revolution Before the announcement of the UK’s NDCs, the Government outlined their ‘10 point plan for a green industrial revolution’, a self-declared plan for “Building back better, supporting green jobs, and accelerating our path to net zero”. The plan proposes to create and support up to 250,000 British jobs in efforts to propel green industry, including in energy, transport, nature and innovative technologies. Significant markers included wind, hydrogen and nuclear power investment; bringing the end of sales of new petrol and diesel cars and vans forward by 10 years to 2030; a commitment to plant 30,000 hectares of trees every year, and a focus on making the City of London the global centre of green finance. However, the plan contained a concerning reliance on new technologies, particularly in carbon capture and storage, which are at present undefined and still under development. The focus on hydrogen power also raised some concerns from campaigners, due to the environmental viability of carbon fuel production and use. These announcements represent significant movement from the UK Government on plans to reach net-zero and respond to the climate crisis. However, there is still a way to go to create a just and fair plan for climate justice, which would enable everyone globally to flourish. As we look forward to this crucial year in the lead up to COP26, there are a few key things to remember: The Government can enhance their NDC at any time. Whilst COP26, and the review of the Paris Agreement this year, are key milestones, each government is free to make changes at any stage. The UK Government could still improve their 2050 net-zero target, which many have warned is not ambitious enough. Frontloading action is essential – It is not just what targets the government set to reach net-zero that are important, but how they reach them. Crucially, the majority of carbon emission cuts must be made at the outset of target periods, rather than rushed through at the end, and should be reflected in the Carbon Budgets set by the government. The Government have given indications that they have recognised this need to frontload targets, particularly in responding to advice from the CCC. But over-reliance on carbon capture and storage would appear to be unsafe as it risks making subsequent carbon budgets unachievable.Our COVID recovery must be green – The finance and social investment presented through the country’s recovery from COVID-19 must play a central role in our journey to net-zero. This level of investment in social […]
Ruth Clarke, a trailblazer for all sorts of issues, especially the representation of women and young people in the Church and for the ecumenical movement, died on 11 January aged 85. A former Moderator of the General Assembly United Reformed Church (URC), Ruth was heavily involved with the creation of the Windermere Centre and served as its Assistant Director. It was during her time there that one of her daughters, Hannah, died in a motorcycle accident. This led to the creation of the Hannah Fund, which supported people wanting to visit the centre and the Hannah Wing, a suite for disabled…
Congratulations to Alan King, an Elder at Barnet United Reformed Church, who was awarded a British Empire Medal for services to young people in the London Borough of Barnet in the new year honours list. After joining the Boys’ Brigade at the age of eight, and then become a leader at 18, Alan became Captain of 1st Barnet Boys’ Brigade and Girls’ Association in 1977. He has served in this voluntary position for 44 years. Alan says the award was unexpected. Read More … …
The University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire’s (UHCW) Chaplaincy Team has won the ‘Chief Executive Award’ in the hospital’s Outstanding Service and Care Awards (OSCAs) 2020. The team includes the United Reformed Church (URC’s) Revd Paul Holmes, who serves as Chaplain and Bereavement Services Officer. Explaining why she made the nomination, Jackie Bell, Chaplaincy Administrator, said: “I was blown away by the care and compassion shown by the whole team.” When handing out the award, Prof Andy Hardy, the hospital’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “I will tell you now, with all due respect to other people shortlisted, when the nomination arrived on my desk I didn’t even need to read the nomination. This team doesn’t just support families and patients but all our staff as well. You’ve not been scared [of Covid], you’ve not been worried about that, but gone to bedsides and into patients’ areas on Covid wards. You are truly and utterly the heart of UHCW and all we stand for.” Paul described the award as humbling. To add to the celebration, Paul’s daughter, Katie Watts, who is a member of Foleshill Road URC, Coventry, also won the ‘Going the Extra Mile’ OSCA as part of the hospital’s Mortuary Team. Image: Paul Holmes, top, Katie Watts, bottom. Published: 23 December 2020
The year 2020 has been filled with ups and downs and uncertainties, but I am grateful to be alive today and to share my story with all of you. I am Jessica Bwali from Zambia and I am a journalist by profession. This year will go down in my life as one of the years that pushed me to the wall. At the beginning of the year, I had laid down a number of resolutions that I was hoping I could achieve by the end of the year. But barely three months into the year, the corona pandemic struck, and we went into quarantine! To make things even more difficult, depressing, and stressful for me, I was away from my family and friends, living in Germany. Yet, in the midst of the pain and grief the whole world was going through due to the pandemic, I saw hope. I saw people coming together, helping one another; people sharing what they had. I saw medical personals working tirelessly to see to it that they saved lives. I saw people praying for one another and doing their part to handle the pandemic. To me, that meant there was still hope for a better tomorrow, despite the losses and the pain. Mid 2020, I was picked as the African ambassador for the British Methodist COP-26 campaign. This means I will represent my country and the Methodist Africa region on issues of climate crisis. The fact that I’ll do this with fellow young people from Italy, Fiji and Britain is the icing on the cake. Being part of this campaign is not something I saw coming, but being part of it is definitely one of the most amazing things that has happened to me this year. Championing climate justice is close to my heart and I hope that, by the end of this campaign I, together with my fellow youths on this project, will have contributed fully. Looking at 2020 and everything that has come with it I can safely say that, despite the ups and downs, God is with us. God is there at the heart of our passionate fight for climate justice. God is there as comfort and strength and hope – in the face of coronavirus and in the face of the climate emergency. To everyone reading this, I wish you the best and to those who have lost loved ones or who are not in a good space due to the corona pandemic – I send my love to all of you. Do not lose HOPE. ~ Jessica Bwali, COP26 Campaigns Worker “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6 In 2020, the world has been upturned by an unexpected disaster which has consumed our attention. And yet, the world continues face a disaster on a greater scale. Communities all across the global south continue to be disproportionately affected by the climate crisis. Those who are frequently the least responsible for the causing the pollution that is destroying our planet. And yet, many find their lives disrupted by the unbalancing of the creation upon which they depend. In a year that has been dominated by worry, it is vital to remember the urgency of the climate crisis, particularly for those for whom the crisis isn’t a distant future but a current realty. In the places across our shared home which find themselves on the frontlines of the climate crisis, there is hope to be found in the work of climate activists such as Jessica. Her care and concern for the Earth can encourage us to value the Earth more; seeing it as a testament to the creative and mighty power of the One who created it. As Jessica’s story tells, Covid-19 allowed her to see people coming together in moments of crisis and distress despite pain and loss. It would be invaluable to the efforts of climate activists if individuals and communities channelled this same attitude of care and concern for others when acting for the protection of the planet. When the prophet Isaiah declares that the coming leader for God’s people will be named ‘mighty God’, he calls attention to the impressive power and strength of God. The mighty work of God is evident long before Isaiah’s prophecy, particularly when we consider God’s crafting and sculpting of the Earth in Genesis. Genesis 1 tells us of a God who creates a ‘good’ Earth from a formless void and who delicately and carefully fills the Earth with things which enables life to flourish. From nothing, God created everything, and into it breathed life. But this promise of a ‘mighty God’ is contrasted by Isaiah’s prophecy that it won’t be a King or warrior coming to deliver God’s people, but a child. All the might of the creator commanded not by strength and power, but by humility. God’s might incarnated to show honor even to the smallest, and most vulnerable among us. Just as God incarnate chose not strength but vulnerability to carry his might, where might we look today and see God present among those most vulnerable? When the voices of our brothers and sisters in the global south tell us that the world around them is rapidly changing, we ought to act to rectify what we have been complicit in. God is present in the lands and communities where the climate crisis is most apparent and God shares in their sorrow and vulnerability. The most mighty and powerful thing we, as God’s people, can do for creation is to honour the voices of those who are vulnerable and work to protect and restore what God called ‘good’. How often do you consider that God’s care and thought went into the creation of life that isn’t human and that God sees that life as ‘good’? Would you treat the Earth […]
God of allAt this moment of changewe pray for our country, our neighbours, and for your kingdom to come. Where there are new freedoms, may they be used with wisdom and compassionWhere there are new barriers, may we not forget those on the other sideWhere there are new challenges, may we seek your strengthWhere there is discord and hurt, may you enable healing and reconciliation. We pray for all who face uncertainty or anxiety at this time,for those whose lives and livelihoods will change. Confirm in us your eternal callto act justly, love mercifullyand walk humbly with you. Amen The post A prayer as the Brexit transition period ends appeared first on Joint Public Issues Team.
2020 has been a strange year, full of news and activities we would never have expected. Looking back, the JPIT team have gathered their favourite books, podcasts, hobbies and more, which got them through this year. Text-only version The post JPIT’s Review of 2020 appeared first on Joint Public Issues Team. …
We’ve been hearing a lot in the past few months about ‘Brexit preparedness.’ When 2021 starts, the transition period will have ended, and the UK will have left the EU – with or without a deal. The UK Government have been circulating some information about what Brexit preparedness might look like for individuals and businesses […] The post What does Brexit preparedness look like for the EU Settlement Scheme? appeared first on Joint Public Issues Team. …
“I ain’t going back to the streets” I have been working in homeless services for over 15 years, and since March I have seen a real difference in services. From day one of lockdown we saw agencies across the sector really coming together. I was asked to help manage a hotel for people who have been rough-sleeping […] The post Advent 3: Everlasting Father appeared first on Joint Public Issues Team. …