Dissenters

A WARM INVITATION TO OUR 2019 MEETING OF THE DEPUTIES

Dear Friends,

A WARM INVITATION TO OUR 2019 MEETING OF THE DEPUTIES

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We very much hope that you will join us at 6pm at 27 Tavistock Square, London WC1H 9HH on Monday 14th October when we are delighted that the Rev. Dr Jennifer Smith, Minister of Wesley’s Chapel, will speak on the intriguing title of “Wife Beating, Worship and Public Conscience – C17th Providence Plantations and Today”

The “Deputies” were established as elected lay people, working with a body of Ministers, in 1732 to fight for the removal of restrictions which excluded the churches and people we now call in the “Free Church” tradition from many areas of public life. London based, they argued on behalf of churches across the country.

We maintain this somewhat quaint sounding body as an annual society to honour their memory and successful work. Free speech should never be taken for granted, enabling us to sustain our life, worship and witness. The body also keeps alive our historic right of direct approach to the Monarch.

Today, the Free Churches Group carries out the Deputies’ functions relating to government, as we will hear during our very brief formal proceedings.

This is an open invitation to your members and Minister. It would be most helpful to know in advance of the numbers attending. Please return the attached form by post or email. Respecting our historical structure, it would be appropriate to nominate two “Deputies”, but all are welcome. Please display the poster. Our income is limited, and a contribution would be very welcome to help cover our meeting costs.

We know that Jennifer will have a great deal of interest to say and we hope very much that you will come.

For more information and RSVP, please contact Sabina Williams at sabina.williams@freechurches.org.uk / 02036518334.

Paul Rochester and Keith Salway

General Secretary and Treasurer

A WARM INVITATION TO OUR 2018 MEETING OF THE DEPUTIES

Dear Friends,

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We hope that you will join us at 6.00 pm at 27 Tavistock Square, London WC1H 9HH on Thursday 8th November when we are delighted that the Rev. Joel Edwards, former leader of the Evangelical Alliance and now a Commissioner of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, will speak on “Martin Luther King Jr. - Disobeying with Civility”. You may have seen Rev Edwards as he preached at the recent “Windrush” service in Westminster Abbey.

The “Deputies” were established as elected lay people, working with a body of Ministers, in 1732 to fight for the removal of restrictions which excluded the churches and people we now call in the “Free Church” tradition from many areas of public life. London based, they argued on behalf of churches across the country. We maintain this somewhat quaint sounding Body as an annual society to honour their achievement. Free speech should never be taken for granted since it enables us to sustain our life, worship and witness. The Body also keeps alive our historic right of direct approach to the Monarch.

Today, the Free Churches Group carries out the Deputies’ functions relating to government, as we will hear during our very brief formal proceedings.

This is an open invitation to your members and Minister. It would be most helpful to know in advance of the numbers attending. Please return the registration form by post or email. Respecting our historical structure, it would be appropriate to nominate two “Deputies”, but all are welcome. Please display the poster. Our income is limited, and a small contribution would help to cover our meeting costs.

We know that Joel Edwards will have a great deal that will be of interest to say and we hope very much you will come to hear him.

Yours faithfully,

Paul Rochester Keith Salway


Please download here for invitation letter, registration form and poster.

Daughters of Dissent

A Century of Women’s Ordination

On September 17th 1917, at the height of the First World War, Constance Todd was ordained to the congregational ministry at the then King’s Weigh House now the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Family in Exile, in London. She was ordained alongside her fiancé, Claud Coltman, and they were married the following day. Congregational Churches are member denominations of the Free Churches Group (CF and URC)

Constance Coltman had studied Theology at Mansfield College Oxford.

Many events and celebrations have been held during this year to commemorate Constance's ordination.

Earlier in the summer, at Mansfield College, for a special day of events and fellowship, members of the Free Church Education Committee, including Revd Joy Langford BA, worshipped and shared with Baroness Kennedy of the Shaws: Helena Kennedy QC, FRSA and Revd Dr Janet Wootton MA (who has served on the Free Churches Council).

(Pictured here - left to right - Baroness Kennedy, Revd Langford, Revd Wootton - photo by Revd Sara Iles). 

You can read more about Constance Coltman's compelling and radical ministry in service to God  HERE and by listening to the Sunday Sequence and to this Radio 4 programme on Woman's Hour

"How should the Church change?"

The United Reformed Church (URC) magazine, Reform, has asked 95 opinion formers and opinion holders of today: How should the Church change?

This is part of the series marking the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. The URC are a member of the Free Churches Group. 

You can read what those thinkers and teachers have to say on this question HERE

What would you say? Should the Church change? How should the Church change? 

Here are some of the views:

Loretta Minghella, CEO of Christian Aid
"Working across community and national boundaries, the Church must extend – and be seen to extend – the unceasing welcome at the heart of the Gospel to every person, each one made in the image of God, each known and loved and called by name."

And another, from the Rev Dr Graham Adams, tutor at Northern College, Manchester and minister in the Congregational Federation (a denomination who are represented by the FCG) - "A church shaken open – by the stories and questions it tends to close down; by childlike curiosity and playfulness it prefers to tame; by the gifts of strangers and surprises it holds at bay; by creation groaning and the suffering of the silenced; in solidarity with all who are being shaken open by God to the reality of the domination system and the alternative reality that beckons."

 

Photo taken by Revd Sara Iles at Holy Island Sept 2017