UK & Ireland in Brief

All UK & Ireland

These articles were first published in our July edition of the newspaper, click here for more.

The Goodness of God

The songs Goodness of God, 10,000 Reasons and In Christ Alone have topped a new list of favourite contemporary worship songs.

CCLI (Christian Copyright Licensing International), has published a roundup of the latest favourites among UK churches who are licensed with the organisation. The top ten also includes How Great Is Our God (4), What a Beautiful Name (5), O Praise The Name (Anástasis) (6), Here I Am To Worship (7) and Cornerstone (8). Other favourites making the list include How Deep The Father’s Love For Us at number 20, Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone) (22), The Servant King (37), There Is A Redeemer (46), Come People Of the Risen King (50) and The Power Of The Cross (94). The list does not include classic Christian hymns as they are already in the public domain and not within CCLI’s remit.

Nicola Laver

Aaron Edwards

A theology lecturer dismissed from a Methodist Bible College for tweeting his Christian views on sexuality has told an employment tribunal that his sacking ‘has caused irreparable damage to my career and my family’.

Dr Aaron Edwards is suing Cliff College, Derbyshire, for unfair dismissal, harassment and discrimination. He lost his job in March 2023 after writing on X (then Twitter): ‘Homosexuality is invading the Church. Evangelicals no longer see the severity of this … If sin is no longer sin, we no longer need a Saviour.’ In response, the college released a statement saying the tweet was ‘inappropriate’ and ‘unacceptable’. Dr Edward said the college was unsupportive. He was eventually suspended and then dismissed. He justified his tweet to the tribunal as ‘… proclaiming a radical yet inculturated truth to the professing Church in the midst of a secular and/or religiously pluralistic public space’. He told the tribunal: ‘The language of my tweet is the expression of my religious view and one shared (both in content and expression) by the majority of the global evangelical church.’ The Tribunal’s ruling has not yet been handed down.

Nicola Laver

Transgender nurse

Several nurses are considering legal action against an NHS Trust alleging harassment and sex discrimination following the conduct of a ‘transgender’ colleague in female changing rooms.

According to Christian Concern, which is supporting the nurses, the head of HR at County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust said they needed to ‘broaden their mindset’ after they asked not to share a changing room with him. The nurses’ complaints about the individual – a nurse who is a biological male – include allegations that he walked around semi-naked and would stare at the nurses as they changed. In March, a letter signed by 26 nurses was sent to the Trust’s director of workforce setting out their complaints, but had not received a reply. But at a meeting organised by the head of HR, the nurses were allegedly told they needed to be ‘educated’ and become more ‘inclusive’. Andrea Williams, chief executive of Christian Concern, said: ‘Telling educated, qualified and caring women that they need to be ‘re-educated’ and be more ‘inclusive’ for raising concerns about what is happening is deeply troubling.’

Nicola Laver

Seyi Omooba

Actor Seyi Omooba, who lost her theatre role in The Colour Purple after production staff became aware of her social media posts years previously in which she expressed her Christian views about homosexuality, is taking her case to the Court of Appeal.

She has so far lost her claim for unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation against the theatre and her agents. In a statement, Seyi said: ‘The theatre world needs to be told, loud and clear, that cancelling people for their Christian beliefs is illegal and wrong.’

Nicola Laver

Reach Ministries

More than 150 evangelical church leaders from across the country gathered at Dundonald Church in South West London to attend the inaugural Reach Ministries National Conference.

Speakers included Andrew Wilson, Glen Scrivener, Rachel Sloan, Lee McMunn and Richard Coekin. There were ministers and staff teams attending from over 70 different churches from across the networks and across the UK. Reach aims to serve and encourage church leaders and their teams in godly and effective ministry that really does reach the lost. Andy Palmer from Christ Church Balham said: ‘Andrew Wilson’s session (on reaching the lost effectively) was worth the price of admission alone. I love hearing from people outside the usual tribe because they give so many new insights and perspectives.’

Graham Philips, Senior Minister, Hope City Church

Scottish Reformed

The 33rd Scottish Reformed Conference has taken place with the theme ‘The Providences of God’.

Rupert Bentley-Taylor preached twice on ‘The Son of Man’, from Daniel 7 and Matthew. Speaker Iain Wright expounded Exodus 33 in a moving address only two weeks after his youngest son, aged 16, was killed in a traffic accident. A total of about 350 people attended the event.

Richard G. Buckley

Synod of sin?

Church of England evangelicals are facing a fresh crunch moment as liberal bishops seek to impose standalone same-sex blessings.

On Friday 5 July, bishops, clergy and laity in the Church of England will gather for the next General Synod, where new proposals for the progression of Living in Love and Faith will be discussed. Evangelicals are preparing to ‘fight tooth and nail’ for a form of structural differentiation – and warn liberal bishops not to underestimate their determination. Andy Mason, minister of St John’s Chelsea and new Director of Co-Mission, commented: ‘The Church of England has crossed a line into corporate, institutional affirmation of sin, and so, the only way for me personally, as an evangelical, to operate in the Church of England is if there is structural differentiation.’

Milla Ling-Davies

Muslim vote

A new coalition of Muslim organisations has formed ‘Muslim Vote’.

It says: ‘This election signals a shift – Muslim issues at the forefront. We will no longer tolerate being taken for granted. We are a powerful, united force of 4 million acting in unison.’

Nicola Laver