The Sunday Refill – 7 Links for Your Weekend (28/3/21)

Seven up…

1) Easter Videos, Resources & Songs at Go Chatter – Need some visual resources for services, events or social feeds this wee? Look no further than Go Chatter! You can also see their selection of songs for church services, and customisable ‘scroll-stopping’ videos.

2) Jonathan Fletcher Abuse Report – Sobering and distressing reading this week, after independent Christian charity Thirtyone:Eight produced this long-awaited ‘Independent Lessons Learned Review’ (146 pages) concerning Jonathan Fletcher and the church where he was vicar, Emmanuel Church Wimbledon (at their request and on their terms). This is after news first broke publicly in 2019 about his abusive behaviour. More on the scope of the review can be found here. Not least in terms of listening to the 27 survivors who felt able to speak out, the report is important reading. One victim, Lee Furney, waived his right to anonymity and spoke out this week, including to Channel 4’s Cathy Newman and at length to Christian investigative journalist Julie Roys. An Independent Advisory Group, including one of Fletcher’s victims and four members who would identify as ‘conservative evangelical’, met with the Reviewers and produced this separate 5-page statement. It draws out some of the wider questions and concerns about what kind of ministry culture fails to identify or act appropriately on Fletcher’s abuse and what might need to happen to navigate a way forward together with integrity. As Thirtyone:Eight’s reviewers said, “Where ‘protecting the gospel’ or ‘protecting the network’ is synonymous and seen as the ultimate goal, where institutions are prioritised over individuals, where there is no, or insufficient external oversight or accountability and where psychological maltreatment is down-played and dismissed, the potential for harm is significant.” As if that wasn’t harrowing enough, another report, this one concerning John Smyth (now deceased), also an abuser and connected to Fletcher, was published this week for Scripture Union. Pray. Listen. Weep. Thank the Lord for those who have pursued truth and justice at cost.

3) Five Lessons Learned in Preparing for Easter – So. Much. Wisdom. A good read ahead of this week.

4) A Renewed Hope: Parliamentarians tell the Easter Story – There’s something powerful about this retelling of the Easter story from across the political spectrum.

5) Keswick Convention 2021 – Keswick Ministries announced last week that they’re planning “with caution and optimism and looking forward to seeing you at this year’s Keswick Convention (17 July – 6 August).” The Government’s roadmap confirms that the Convention can go ahead this year as the restrictions ease, but due to Covid it will be a very different year to normal. There’s a list of Frequently Asked Questions here.

6) Why Counting Counts – Praying the Census – After Census day last week, Alianore Smith reflects on how we might respond as Christians.

7) Drone Flies Over Volcano – For something a bit different, this is stunning footage from the violator that began erupting near Reykjavik last weekend. And if that doesn’t captivate you, then it’ll have to be this thread of Premier League managers as pieces of art.

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Written by Robin Ham