Author: Kat Brealey
Date: 01 December 2016
We've been hard at work at P&E HQ, producing some new resources and reports to resource clergy in multifaith contexts. The first two of these are now available on our website and we hope they will be useful.
The first has been prepared with the aim of equipping Church of England clergy to support and minister to asylum seekers in their congregations - something which we know is an increasing part of life in many parishes. Navigating the asylum process can be challenging and there are multiple points at which members of the clergy may be asked to be involved with an individual’s case. This document sets out what to expect when doing this, and provides information about things to bear in mind at each stage. Part 1 introduces the UK asylum system. Part 2 highlights particular points at which clergy may choose to contribute. Part 3 addresses questions relating to preparation for baptism, illustrating this with examples Part 4 of the approaches taken by different churches. Part 5 signposts to various sources of further information, for questions which are beyond the scope of this document. This guidance has been collated by Martin Kettle, Church of England Home Affairs Policy Advisor, and Kat Brealey, Presence & Engagement National Programme Coordinator, with the help of a range of clergy and other individuals with expertise in this area. To download these guidelines, click here.
Secondly, we are pleased to share with you the report on a research project which look place between May and July 2016. The immediate impetus for this was the P&E task group’s consideration of how the Archbishop’s three priorities, one of which is evangelism and witness, relate to Presence & Engagement. At times interfaith work has been perceived by some as a specialism which fails to engage with broader conversations within the Church, thus limiting its appeal and masking its relevance to a host of issues facing the Church in today’s society. Using the Archbishop’s priorities as a tool to consider P&E afresh was an exercise designed to provide a new perspective, in which interfaith engagement is one aspect of the whole work of the Church – and as such, inextricably linked to other aspects. Thus at a time when questions of evangelism, growth, witness and mission are high on the agenda, this project looks to explore these through the lens of P&E parishes. How are churches engaging with these topics in their particular contexts? What unique challenges do they face, and what opportunities do they find? What insights might the experience of P&E clergy reveal which are valuable to the wider Church? How can P&E ensure it supports and resources churches of all traditions, while acknowledging the range of theological perspectives on these issues? Five focus groups took place around the country, attended by clergy from various traditions and contexts. This report highlights themes which emerged and identified some tensions which became evident, and may be of interest to those wrestling with these issues at a parish or diocesan level. To read more, click here.
For further information about either of these resources, or to offer feedback, do get in touch using the details on the 'Contact' page of the website.