Meet the Candidates

There will be a General Election on December 12th.  As Christians we are called to play our part as members of society.  For some, this means standing for election, but all of us have an opportunity to engage positively and vote.  We are therefore organising an Assembly with our partners in Citizens MK.  This will be an opportunity for us to talk about the issues that our members are most concerned about, to listen to what the candidates have to say, and to ask questions.

It’s really important that we get as many people there as possible, so that we can show how much we care.  The issues that our members will raise will be:

  • Mental Health – the top priority identified by MK Deanery
  • Climate Change – a Diocesan priority and a big concern for local schools
  • Refugees – which has been a big priority for us as churches since 2015
  • Hate Crime – which is a big issue in our diverse city
  • Fair Work – which is about the way people are treated by employers

If you want to know more and book a ticket, please see Eventbrite

This is an important opportunity to speak to people who may have the power to make a difference.  We want to have a positive relationship with the MPs in Milton Keynes – whatever party they may belong to.  This will be a way to build that relationship so that we can work together with them for a better MK!

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Service of Remembrance and Prayer for Sri Lanka

I’m sure everyone has been shocked and horrified by the carnage and senseless lost of life on Easter Sunday, 21 April.  Our own Rev Dr Sam Muthuveloe, Convenor of Hope Outreach UK,  has arranged a special service, to be held at Christ the Cornerstone Church this coming Sunday, 28th April 2019, starting at 2.30 pm, to remember the dead, pray for the bereaved, healing for the wounded, comfort for the distressed and peace and security for all.

‘Dr Sam’ had already planned to visit Sri Lanka in mid-May, before these atrocities took place.  The intention was – and still is – to commemorate 10 years since the cessation of hostilities, and to support and encourage Hope Outreach UK’s mission partners.  The focus of the visit will be to stand in solidarity with them and the local churches at this difficult time.

Please advertise this service as widely as you can.  Thank you.

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Lent Book Club at Christ the Cornerstone

This Lent we will be reading the book, Following the Way of Jesus, by Bishop Michael Curry, Episcopal Church USA. Join us.

Kindle Edition [Amazon] £6.72 Paperback [Amazon]- from £5.95

RETREAT There will be a retreat for discussion of the book, including quiet time and Holy Communion on Saturday 6 April 2019 10.00 am – 3.00 pm. at St Michael’s Priory, Willen. There are limited places; if you would like to come please book a place with our administrator as soon as possible. mark.okor@cornerstonemk.co.uk

“Bishop Michael Curry leads off this volume with a clarion call to join the Jesus Movement. A team of the church’s brightest stars follow up with reflections on the practice of ministry in light of the movement: Rob Wright on adaptive leadership, Broderick Greer on racial justice, Anthony Guillen on multicultural ministries, Megan Castellan on evangelism, Nora Gallagher on loving the earth, and Kellan Day on ministry with young people. Michael Curry closes with a word on making the world whole. Christians have been following Jesus together for some 2000 years – these leaders help to illuminate how we follow him in our time.” ___________________________________________________________________________________

300 Saxon Gate West, Central Milton Keynes, MK9 2ES www.cornerstonemk.co.uk T 01908-237777 E mark.okor@cornerstonemk.co.uk https://www.facebook.com/cornerstoneMK

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‘House the Homeless’ Day of Action: 16 March

Three of our churches/partnerships are Member Institutions of Citizens:MK, a diverse alliance of community organisations acting together for a thriving, inclusive and fairer Milton Keynes. On 16 March, Citizens:MK partnered with the YMCA Milton Keynes for a day of action to promote awareness and support for the new strategy of MK Homelessness Partnership and MK Council in addressing homelessness in MK. The aims of the Day were to:

1.Educate MK residents (including children) about homelessness and what city organisations such as MK Council, voluntary organisations and businesses are doing about it;

2.Celebrate the achievement of MK Homelessness Partnership (MKHP) producing its first ‘Strategic Review December 2017’, and MK Council approving a new ‘Rough Sleeping Reduction Strategy’ to reduce the number of people sleeping rough to zero by 2021; and

3.Collaborate in building power to support MK Council and MK Homelessness Partnership in achieving their goals.

First, at lunch time, pupils from three local primary schools enjoyed a facilitated Q&A session with four people who have experienced rough sleeping.

At 7.30pm, guests had an opportunity to quiz those in positions of leadership in addressing homelessness: Cllr Peter Marland, Leader of the Council; Gamiel Yafai, Chair of MK Homelessness Partnership; Simon Green, CEO of YMCA MK; Lawrence Morgan and Suzanna Raymond of the Citizens:MK’s ‘House the Homeless’ campaign. Guests asked questions about the recommendations in the Strategic Review and their personal experiences of developing and delivering them.

At 9.00pm, 55 guests attended a ‘House the Homeless Assembly’ at which Gamiel Yafai received a Citizens:MK Gold Award for MK Homelessness Partnership for developing a strategy with the goal of ending homelessness in MK. Our 3 church Member Institutions (Christ the Cornerstone; St Frideswide’s and Stantonbury & Willen Ecumenical Partnership) sent members to support this community action.

Towards the end of the Assembly, a film was shown of Summerfield School Choir singing a song about homelessness, ‘We Will Fix You’. It was a really moving rendition, and there was much blowing into tissues at the end of it.

After the Assembly, Ian Roberts and band played live music to entertain ‘Sleep Easy’ volunteers as they prepared to bed down in the cold to raise money for the YMCA. Although the temperature didn’t get below freezing until 6.00am, the one-night volunteer ‘rough sleepers’ felt the chill and discomfort of sleeping rough in winter.

Truby’s Garden Tea Room, sponsored by Meals by Malik (a local Muslim Woman caterer) and the owner of a small Muslim led printing company Good Response, provided meals for those sleeping out and refreshments for those attending the Assembly.

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Lent Leadership Challenge

In 1 Kings 19.1-16 we read about a particularly significant episode in the life of Elijah. The nation of Israel was facing a cultural, political and religious conflict on a massive scale. On the one side, we have King Ahab, with his infamous wife, Jezebel. On the other, we have Elijah and the prophets of Yahweh. Ahab and Jezebel are destroying the traditional culture of the nation – and making themselves rich through corruption, murder and theft. Elijah is fighting to preserve the worship of God, and the rule of law.

At this point in the story, Elijah has had a few big wins, but is now on the run in fear for his life. He finds himself on a journey of forty days and forty nights, until he reaches the Mountain of God. It’s a bit like Lent, although God does make sure he has food and drink for the journey…

Elijah is wrestling with big questions about his life and what God is going to do. He makes the same complaint over and over again: ‘I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.’ It’s a mixture of desparation, pride and confuson…

God promises to meet Elijah. First there is the wind that tears the mountains apart; then an earthquake and then fire. Elijah has experienced the wind, earthquake and fire of conflict, change and violence, but God is not found in any of these.

But then there is a ‘still small voice’ and now God speaks…

The interesting thing is what God says. He doesn’t tell Elijah to be strong, or give him special powers. He doesn’t promise to step in with signs and wonders. He doesn’t tell Elijah what will happen, or make big promises. He simply asks Elijah to go back home and anoint three people and call them to new roles: Hazael is to be King of Aram, Jehu is to be King of Israel, and Elisha is to be Elijah’s successor.

It’s a bold move to anoint new Kings – particularly when the old ones are still in post! This will be the touchpaper that sparks a revolution…

Jesus was also good at calling people. In the story of the transfiguration (when he meets Elijah) he brings three of his disciples who he is nurturing as leaders for his new movement. Ultimately, he anoints them with the Holy Spirit as a sign of this call.

One of the most significant things we can do is to build up others. Many great leaders say that their turning point came when somebody spotted something in them – and told them! A few words of encouragement can launch a lifetime of service.

So here’s my Lent challenge. Can you encourage three people this Lent. Can you find three people who you think have more to offer and tell them. You may never know how significant this might be!

(Based on a sermon at Cornerstone Church on 11th Feb 2018)

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Delegates Assembly launches new campaigns

The 2018 Delegates Assembly of Citizens MK has agreed to support four campaigns for 2018. These are: Mental Health, Fight Against Hate, Housing and Homelessness, and Young People’s Voices.

Cornerstone Church was particularly well represented, with Fidele Mutwarasibo, taking the lead on Hate Crime, and Tess Price convening the Mental Health group.

Tim Norwood spoke as part of the Housing and Homelessness presentation, helping to launch a new campaign around Community Land Trusts, which could make housing available at a cost linked to local income.

It was an energetic and passionate evening for Citizens MK. New leaders stepped forward and took on new roles.  Member institutions made commitments to attend two assemblies: the sleepeasy with YMCA on the 16th March, and the Accountability Assembly in April.

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Love not Hate

The Church of Christ the Cornerstone hosted a very exciting day as part of the Fight Against Hate campaign. There were moving testimonies from people who had been personally affected by hate crime or predjudice, and commitments from the police, the council, Ariva Buses and Citizens MK members.

Tim interviewed the winner of the poster competition, and Summerfield School sang their latest song – “Love is Stronger than Hate”.

John Robertson spoke on behalf of the Bishop of Oxford, who launched the poster competition in March. The day finished with a session with CUK leaders from across the country who joined us for a mini Weaving Trust event and a discussion about local and national follow-up.

The general feeling was that it had been a useful day, but there was much still to do…

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Enhancing and Resourcing the Rural Church

An implementation Steering Group has recently been established to take the above programme forward.  With Glyn Evans as Chair and Charles Chadwick as Executive Secretary, the team is also looking to recruit 3 new lay members, one from each of the 3 rural Archdeaconries.  The Steering Group has therefore asked us to draw your attention to 2 events to unveil the work of the project, and encourage you to consider attending.  These will be held on Saturday 17 June in Buckinghamshire, and Saturday 24 June in Oxfordshire. Posters will be sent out shortly to all rural benefices and parishes and the events will also appear on e-news in due course, but do make a note of these dates now.

As we know, the Diocese of Oxford is one of the largest dioceses in the country. 30% of its parishes have a population of under 500.  If the Countryside Commission’s definition of a rural place, where the population is under 3,000, is used, 50% of parishes qualify as rural. Since late 2014 a small working group, set up by the Board of Mission, has been considering many of the facets of how the rural church expresses itself, how it is experienced, and how it may be enhanced and resourced for the future.

At the start of 2017 the Board of Mission endorsed the report of the working group which has a series of recommendations that address nine identified areas which impinge on the life and flourishing of the rural church:

  • Addressing the environment, context and well-being of those who serve in a rural context
  • Raising vocations
  • Ensuring the future of church buildings
  • Exploring different models of governance in Multi Parish Benefices
  • Strengthening finance
  • Supporting rural schools
  • Engaging with the changes new housing brings
  • Training for people in leadership roles
  • Replenishing the rural church for the future

These recommendations are not intended to be a ‘top down’ programme, rather they are designed to offer thinking and resources for the rural church across the diocese. To that end we are calling the ongoing work The Enhancing and Resourcing the Rural Church programme.


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Quiz In Aid of The Food Bank: Saturday 11 March 2017 at 7.00pm

Pat Hodges (‘Miss Quiz’) and her husband Neil do a wonderful job in organising quizzes in support of different charities.  Although they usually take place at St Thomas’s, Simpson, or Simpson Village Hall, the next two are at different venues.  The first one – for the benefit of the Food Bank – will take place at THE HOLIDAY INN in Central Milton Keynes, on Saturday 11 March 2017, starting at 7.00pm.

The cost will be £8.00 per person.  A selection of savouries will be available on each table.  Please Note: You cannot bring your own drinks to this event!

If you would like to come along, please contact Pat at missquiz@sky.com or call 01908-644785.  Maximum 8 per table, but don’t be put off coming even if you’re on your own.  Pat does a great job of  putting people together.

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