‘WithIN’ – A Conference on Everyday Faith: Tuesday 8 October 2019

This conference is a Watling Valley Ecumenical Partnership (WVEP) initiative in conjunction with the Diocese of Oxford and HeartEdge/St Martin-in-the-Fields.

The name “WithIN” refers to being WITH God, IN the world.  The keynote speaker will be the Revd Sam Wells.

The day session will start at 9.30am with worship led by the St Martin’s Singers, and will end between 5-5.30pm.  An evening session has been planned for those unable to attend during the day.  This will start at approximately 6.30pm with worship by Testament, and end by 9.15pm.  It is hoped that exhibitions and stalls will be available for folk to look at between 5 – 6.30pm.

As well as having a keynote speaker, there will be a variety of workshops to choose from, looking at the various aspects of everyday spirituality and aiming to be practical, accessible and fun. There will even be a workshop that teachers may find useful.  Workshop leaders include  Barry Lotz, Ruth Maxey, Jonathan Evens (HeartEdge, St  Martin’s), Charlie Kerr (Diocese), and Tina Molyneux (Diocese).

WVEP expects the day to be free, although donations would be welcomed. Tea/coffee/Lunch will be provided, as well as light refreshments in the early evening.  Lunchtime will include ‘Great Sacred Music’ with Sam Wells and the St Martin’s Singers.

Booking will be via Eventbrite (but is not yet open). All are welcome, and WVEP hopes to encourage a wide range of participation.

Please advertise this event as widely as possible, especially before the summer holidays start!

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Action Counters Terrorism: Awareness eLearning

ACT Awareness eLearning will provide nationally recognised corporate CT guidance to help industry better understand, and mitigate against, current terrorist methodology.

The following eLearning Modules are available:

  1. Introduction to Terrorism
  2. Identifying Security Vulnerabilities
  3. How to Identify and Respond to Suspicious Behaviour
  4. How to Identify and Deal with a Suspicious Item
  5. What to do in the Event of a Bomb Threat
  6. How to Respond to a Firearms or Weapons attack
  7. Summary and Supporting Materials

You will be provided with your own corporate URL link and PIN to immediately access the online version.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I register?

To register please visit: https://ct.highfieldelearning.com/

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INCREASE IN FEES FOR MARRIAGE CERTIFICATES FROM 16 FEBRUARY 2019

The two tier charging system which has been in place for a number of years for obtaining copies of entries in the Marriage Register (£4 at the time of registration and £10 thereafter) has been changed with effect from 16 February 2019. A standard fee of £11.00 should now be charged regardless of when the application is made for one or more Marriage Certificates.

Couples who have already booked their marriage services (and those enquiring) should be informed of this change as soon as possible, so that they are aware of the statutory increase in the fee, as the Table of Parochial Fees has yet to be amended on the Church of England website.

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Free Advice and Training for Online Communication

Free advice and training for parishes and organizations within the Diocese is available for all things related to online communication, including websites and social media. Sessions are available to book and take place at Church House Oxford.

  • These sessions are not just intended for individuals but also cater to small groups. They can be tailored to your needs, but areas that might be of interest include:
  • Help planning and developing a new website (or reviewing your current one).
  • Design advice (user friendliness, mobile friendliness, helpful widgets and plugins).
  • Introduction to content management.
  • Search engine optimization… getting listed higher and improving the quality of your search engine listing.
  • Using Google resources: Webmaster Tools, Maps, Google Analytics, Google Local.
  • Writing a compelling Wikipedia entry.
  • Making the most of ‘A Church Near You’.
  • Creating e-newsletters (e.g. Mailchimp) or surveys.
  • Creating better photographs and graphics for the web.
  • Creating and sharing videos on Youtube, Vimeo.
  • Streaming video.
  • Creating podcasts and using Soundcloud for audio files.
  • Sharing files with Dropbox, Google Drive etc.
  • Setting up private discussion areas (e.g. Secret Facebook groups, Yammer).
  • Gaining a foothold on social networks, (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram).
  • Introduction to Adobe Creative Cloud (Dreamweaver, Photoshop, In Design, Premiere etc.).
  • Demystifying web databases.

To discuss your needs and to book a slot please contact jo.duckles@oxford.anglican.org or webmaster@oxford.anglican.org.

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#FollowTheStar

The Church of England has launched its national campaign for Christmas 2018. It uses the hashtag #FollowTheStar and there is a range of material available for churches to use, including books, apps and images.

“For many of us, Christmas brings up so many emotions, memories and expectations. We have one nativity story, but it can seem like we all have very different Christmases.
“For you it might be a time of joy and togetherness. Or perhaps it’s all about planning and to-do lists. Many others can find it a sad and lonely time – nagged by the feeling that your Christmas is not like those ‘perfect’ ones we see in the media.
“But just like the unexpected assortment of people who were invited to meet the baby Jesus, #FollowTheStardoesn’t ask you to be perfect. It says: come just as you are to take the life-changing Christmas journey.”

Archbishops Justin Welby & John Sentamu

For more resources, see the Church of England web site. They can be used with or without the CofE branding – at the request of MK and Cumbria!

#FollowTheStar

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Advertising Strategy

Milton Keynes Deanery has been an active partner in Christian advertising in Milton Keynes. We have worked with Church.Ads and helped build a network of churches and partners in our city. We have been commended for the number of churches involved, the amount of money raised, and the impact we have had on non-church people.

This reached a peak with the production of professional quality radio adverts in 2017 – recorded in London with the support of a national funding charity.

Our strategy is changing for two big reasons: firstly, the investment in digital communications by the Church of England at national level is resulting in the decline of the ecumenical approach pursued by Church.Ads; secondly, Deanery Synod voted not to prioritise our radio work for the next few years in favour of other projects…

Our Deanery Mission and Pastoral Committee (DMPC) discussed advertising strategies in September. They decided that advertising is best done at local level – although some churches may need support with this. They also felt that cross-city messaging is still worth doing, but may need further thought. They will come back to this at future meetings.

This means that we will not be leading an inter-church advertising campaign this year, but will be encouraging churches to think locally and use helpful resources like #FollowtheStar.

We think this reflects national and cultural shifts, and we hope churches will take advantage of the opportunities they have to reach out.

I hope to run a training session in November.

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Bishop Steven Leads the Way on the Fossil Fuel Debate at General Synod

Olivia Graham, Archdeacon of Berkshire, writes today in the Oxford Diocesan e-newsletter:-

“The national investing bodies (NIBs) of the Church of England are actively engaged with companies involved in fossil-fuel extraction, to persuade them of their responsibilities to meet the carbon reduction targets agreed in the 2015 Paris climate summit. The NIBs have given a wonderful lead to a coalition of investors, and have developed a good tool for holding these companies to account. Last Sunday saw a fascinating debate in General Synod about their strategy, and Oxford Diocese introduced an amendment to the motion which would have ensured that if, by 2020, these extraction companies do not have a clear business plan for reaching the targets set in Paris, the NIBs would disinvest. The amendment fell, but it paved the way for agreement that this indeed should be the NIBs policy, with the date moved back to 2023. Politics is the art of the possible! I am proud of the leadership which our Diocesan Synod has given on this issue, and the courageous way in which +Steven has taken it forward: a powerful signal of our commitment to this most important and urgent issue of our time.”

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Challenging the Church on Fossil Fuel Investment

Bishop Steven appeared on the Today programme on 5 July to talk about the Oxford Diocesan Synod amendment on fossil fuel investment, which is being debated at General Synod TODAY.

The Issue: Should the Church of England continue to invest in fossil fuel companies in the light of the Paris Agreement on climate change?

In 60 seconds…

Where we invest affects the credibility of the leadership we offer as a church. We believe that the Church of England should not be profiting from fossil fuel investment that’s misaligned with global climate targets.

During a motion being debated NOW at General Synod, the Diocese of Oxford will call on the Church to begin to divest from any fossil fuel company which ‘is not on an unequivocal path by 2020 to aligning its business investment plan with the Paris Agreement on Climate Change’… We think that gives plenty of time for the fossil fuel companies we invest in to make serious changes to their plans and intentions.

(For further information, please see Bishop Steven’s blog on this important topic at https://blogs.oxford.anglican.org/should-the-church-of-england-continue-to-invest-in-fossil-fuel-companies/?utm_source=Diocese+of+Oxford+Mailing+Lists&utm_campaign=e1004ee304-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_06_07_04_41_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_5e6b832234-e1004ee304-339831409)

You can also find further information on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/dioceseofoxford/posts/1761701897254458?hc_location=ufi

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Deanery Organising: Priorities

Synod has given some very helpful guidance on the projects that MK Deanery will prioritise over the next two to three years. We have limited resources, so it is very wise to focus. We will have more impact if we concentrate on a relatively small number of key issues.

The top three priority projects are:

  1. Mental Health
  2. Affordable Housing
  3. Domestic Abuse

In each case, we’ll have a project team, a team leader and a member of staff assigned to work with them. We will encourage the team to build partnerships with other groups and organisations, and we will promote this work through our various channels of communication. I think we should be able to make a big difference!

These projects will run alongside a number of parish and deanery “development” projects involving church planting, boundaries, deployment and so on… The Deanery Mission and Pastoral Committee has a very full agenda of its own.

We are also pleased to have a new Deanery Finance Team who will be presenting their proposals for a new Share Allocation Scheme at the July meeting of Synod.

Communication and Young People were raised as issues, but we don’t have the capacity to run big projects at this stage. We will carry out a review of our strategy in both areas over the coming year. Perhaps something big will emerge in future.

The issue of refugees and migrants is an important one for us as Christians in Milton Keynes. We live in a diverse, multi-cultural city at a time of global crisis. It’s important that the Church speaks up for all those who are marginalised, whether they are homeless, hungry or displaced. God calls us to see all people as our neighbours. 

Although we will not have a priority project that focuses on refugees, we will continue to work with Refugees Welcome and the Red Cross. We will encourage churches to engage with refugees – and consider Community Sponsorship as a way of helping families.

On this issue, there will be an act of remembrance on World Refugee Day (20th June) at 6.30pm. More information about this soon…

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