Around sixty delegates from our Member Churches, National and County Ecumenical Officers and Bodies in Association came together in person to hear about CTE’s key areas of work and to listen to a series of speakers and experts on the ‘Cost of living crisis’.
The meeting opened with a minute’s silence and prayers focused on the third anniversary of the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown on 23 March. Enabling Group members then recited Psalm 23 together.
In the ‘business’ part of the meeting, a change of terminology was noted with regard to our Bodies in Association. These will in future be known as Charities and Networks in Association (CNA). This change will be communicated to our partner organisations and our website will be updated. Enabling Group accepted three new CNA into membership. They were:
This meeting said ‘goodbye and thank you’ to James Laing, who has been the CTE Treasurer in recent years. We welcomed the new Treasurer Pastor Rasaq Ibrahim, who leads a Redeemed Christian Church of God congregation in the West Midlands. James and Rasaq also presented CTE’s annual accounts and budget for the coming year.
Enabling Group agreed to the appointment of a Deputy Forum Moderator, Olivia Amartey, who will be on the Steering Group for the CTE Forum, 2025. Olivia is a member of the Elim Pentecostal Church.
In the ‘From our tradition’ slot this meeting was Vineyard Churches in UK and Ireland. Enabling Group attendees heard an introduction to this Member Church from their Chair, Jeremy Cook:
Cost of living crisis
The theme of Enabling Group was the ‘Cost of living crisis’. A number of external speakers were invited to share their perspectives.
Simeon Mitchell and Paul Morrison from the Joint Public Issues Team gave a robust and challenging presentation arguing that the crisis had begun well before the pandemic and was caused by structural injustices. They highlighted research by the Resolution Foundation showed that 1.3m people had fallen into poverty this winter. JPIT is the Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Methodist Church and the United Reformed Church working together for peace and justice.
Watch their presentation:
Jenny Sinclair the Founder and Director of Together for the Common Good offered a powerful theological reflection asking ‘How should the church respond to poverty at this time?’ Jenny asked us to consider ‘Whose side is the church on?’ She argued strongly that Jesus is on the side of the poor and that God’s love is covenantal and not contractual. Jenny said that churches must “resist the temptation to be useful” but instead be transformational.
Watch Jenny’s reflection in full:
Enabling Group also heard presentations from three Christian charities which work with those who have been affected by the cost of living crisis.
The Trussell Trust, which run foodbanks.
Hope into Action, which works with the homeless.
Christians Against Poverty which works with those in debt and runs managing money and life skills courses.