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January 2016

Re: Sermon of the Year launched
I wonder if others feel uneasy, as I do when I hear about a "sermon competition"? While many preachers need to "up their game" in communication skills, is a competition the best method of doing the job? Perhaps the colleges need to look at their practical communication/preaching courses and ministers need to do refresher courses to hone and update their skills throughout their careers, not have competitions.
Surely a sermon is a God-inspired message for a specific audience/congregation in a particular location at a particular time. Sermons should be messages that are honed for a minister's congregation, after much prayer. A competition cannot be driven by the same spiritual principals. It is simply  then a "talk" aimed at no one in particular - just to show off: a mark of pride. And that is quite simply anti-Biblical.
I think in the communication of God's Word and speaking God's word into a situation in 21st century people's lives, there needs to be a rethink on the best way to communicate what God is saying in an understandable and thought provoking manner.
As a minister's wife I see the amount of prayer and preparation time that my husband puts into his sermons but so many in the congregation say "good sermon," "you make me think" or eat their mints and think about Sunday lunch. So often the message doesn't permeate into people's lives, actions and the practice of the church. Maybe instead of sermon competitions we need to serious look at how we should be communicating with people, not using pre-Victorian media but 21st century media. We live in a different world from Spurgeon.
As a teacher I know that we remember more by visual communication methods and doing rather than by hearing alone. The churches don't seem to have cottoned onto this basic communication principal. To test it: ask your congregations on Wednesday what Sunday's sermon was about? That will test how good or not your preaching is, not competitions judged by academics.
Have we left God speaking into our world out in favour of gimmicks?
Moira Kleissner

Moira Kleissner suggests that the ability to remember a sermon is a true measure of how good a sermon is. I can't recall what my wife cooked for me last week but that doesn't mean it wasn't well prepared, delivered and tasty or that it didn't do me good by sustaining and strengthening me!
Rev Christopher Young

Re: Daring Greatly through women... with the courage to step outside the box
Thanks for this - in my house I have an old piece of furniture which has the scorch marks from a Suffragette arson attack! Of course their cause was right... but it's a complicated old world, isn't it?
Andrew Waugh

Re: Report from the Ignite Project Team
Some very recent and helpful research from @baptistuniongb on mission & ministry- lots for Methodists to learn here
Methodist SRI Team (via Twitter)

Re: Baptists Together magazine Spring 2016
Inspiring new 'Baptiststogether' Proud to be in covenant with my #Baptistfamily in a movement for mission in this generation @baptistuniongb
Martyn Travers (via Twitter)

Check out the latest edition of Baptists Together baptist.org.uk/Articles/45752… Thanks @BaptistTimes @baptistuniongb for this great resource!
Zach Dawes Jnr (via Twitter)

Re: Baptisms at Cemetery Road
Great to read such amazing Baptist stories from @CemeteryRoad #Sheffield in the @BaptistTimes #PraiseGod
Ian McDonald (via Twitter)

Re: Launch for Central African Republic sexual violence report
How sad it is to learn that you have no rights and that you are the lowest of all, lower than any animal in some cases so badly abused. Raped, beaten and starved. No counsel available when doctors sought. The legal system not standing up for justice, the abuser set free. Yet the competitive man is permitted to knock down any women competition. If women are the lowest of all and abuse is unrecognised, I wonder how we will cope.
What if Jesus comes back as a despised and rejected woman, who will notice him in a temporal female body? It is not the building that counts but what is inside. The bigger picture. What right do we have to restrict a woman who has the same Holy Spirit in her temporary body. Is a soul, a soul, or a female soul and male soul - I think not. I pray for all people to live in harmony and to recognise the only God and his son Jesus and his Holy Spirit for guidance. I pray that women will forgive the men and men will repent before judgement day.
Alison Whiteford Bell, Perth, Scotland.

Re: Jesus was an asylum seeker
Sad to see the Baptist Union is becoming more and more like a politically correct, left-wing campaign group rather than a group of churches which truly preach the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Re: Women as executive leaders

I welcome the call by the CBI director-general Carolyn Fairbairn to increase women as executive leaders – the chief executives, chief financial officers, heads of operating divisions, managing directors and partners. She is also absolutely right to say too much of the British business is still geared up for men, in terms of its social habits, its small talk and its clubbiness. However, Carolyn Fairbairn should appreciate that there are now 25 per cent of women on FTSE 100 Boards. In her evangelical zeal for more women executive leaders, she failed to include other groups who are under-represented as executive leaders in society such as BME communities. Diversity does not only means more women but include all people from under-represented groups. Her thirsty for more executive women as leaders of society will not gain effective momentum in the world of diversity as she is only targeting one under-represented group.
Handsen Chikowore

Re: Danish Asylum System is Shocking

I am completely surprised that Denmark will seize valuables from asylum seekers. What a shame to Denmark. How can you persecute asylum seekers in the host country? There are better methods and strategies of dealing with refugee crisis than to seize their possessions. Who will buy second hand phones from refugees in Denmark? Denmark has run out of ideas and they should think like first world country. I strongly condemn such move.
Handsen Chikowore


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State matters
Queen Elizabeth II (1926-2022)
Fresh Streams leadership statement following summer theology school
Response to Pension Scheme news; Following the Zeitgeist; A Theology of Unity in Diversity
Annual review; walking club; Rwanda
The Queen; does Jesus heal today?; Child Q
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