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#5Things - Resources, Palestinian voices, Assisted dying, and more ed:25-17

This week #5Things A trove of discipleship resources, despairing peaceful voices from Palestinian churches and Christians, A pioneer of assisted dying wonders if ‘the genie is out of the bottle’. Chaplains play key roles as partners in preventing suicide in prison and evaluating ‘fairness commissions’ in the UK.

Dig into five things that we found interesting and perhaps helpful this week for all of us involved in telling the story of God.

Are you searching for discipleship treasures

Are you searching for discipleship treasures

The Discipleship Trove is a store of valuable electronic resources intended to support all aspects of Christian formation from large and small publishers. The Trove is an ongoing project of CODEC the Research Centre for Digital Theology at the University of Durham.

Resources have a broad coverage of different church traditions, group sizes, age groups, church traditions, and themes. The way the Trove brings resources from large publishers and tiny outlets together is very helpful.

Direct link: Discipleship Trove from CODEC Durham and TwelveBaskets funded by the Jerusalem Trust

Palestinian churches the strongest voices for peace in the world today

Palestinian churches the strongest voices for peace in the world today

The World Council of Churches has held a consultation on an ecumenical response to the fifty years of military occupation by the State of Israel of Palestinian territory that began after the Six Day War (1967).

This week the National Coalition of Christian Organisations in Palestine NCCOP warn that ‘things are beyond urgent’ and that their ‘only hope comes comes from the fact that in Jerusalem, the city of God, and our city, there is an empty tomb’ and plead for international churches to act peacefully with them in pursuit of peace and justice.

A friend pointed us to an excellent post on this conference by John Howard, Mission Partner in the Methodist Liasion Office, Jerusalem.

The General Secretary of the WCC remarked on the consistently non-violent and creative methods of advocating for peace adopted by Palestinian Christians saying:

Dr Olav Fykse Tveit said “You [Palestinian Christians] have been and are one of the strongest voices of just peace in the world today.” Dr Olav Fykse Tveit

Direct link to letter from NCCOP

Who is Boudewijn Chabot and why should you care

Who is Boudewijn Chabot and why should you care?

Boudewijn Chabot, was a pioneer of the now established practice of legally assisting patients to die in the Netherlands. While remaining a strong advocate for what he calls dignified dying, he is now seriously concerned that the Dutch legislation has let the euthanasia genie out of the bottle especially in cases of psychiatric illness and dementia(s)

He writes: The euthanasia practice is running amok because the legal requirements which doctors can reasonably apply in the context of physically ill people, are being declared equally applicable without limitation in the context of vulnerable patients with incurable brain diseases…. In the case of dementia, such a restriction disappeared by making the written advance request equivalent to an actual oral request.

Views on assisted dying vary widely within the church, and we are not advocating or endorsing a position here. Assisting a suicide remains a crime UK.

Direct links: Dutch original, Translation (we aren’t able to verify the accuracy of the translation)

Staff recognise chaplains as key partners in preventing prison suicides

Staff recognise chaplains as key partners in preventing prison suicides

Prison suicides being at all time high is news, but any understanding of prison staff views on suicide rates isn'tThe Centre for Mental Health released a briefing on perspectives of staff on preventing prisoners taking their own lives. The key theme of the briefing is the need for staff to work effectively in teams, harnessing partners from all sectors including chaplains to ‘prevent problems escalating’.

Within the healthcare workers in prisons there was also a positive recognition of the role of chaplaincy

The report quotes a psychiatrist as saying “We mustn’t compartmentalise things: there may be a mental health issue but it’s an individual at the centre of it. For example, their faith may be a really significant part of their life and to be able to practice it and have contact with others from that faith may be really important for them.”

Link: Direct link to briefing on Preventing Prison Suicide

Fairness Commissions: enabling better local governance

Fairness Commissions: enabling better local governance

Fairness commissions have been established from Shetland to Southampton since 2013. It isn’t entirely clear if they effect social change at a local level, and whether they they support greater civic wellbeing in a more enabling state.

Considerable commission activity was found to be attempting to mitigate poverty arising from public spending cuts and national policy. The need to hold expert opinion, views of local democratic representatives while still engaging closely with citizens is clearly very complex.

The tactics by commissions that generated most progress were those that had limited and concrete aims such as the Living Wage Campaign, Just Money or

exposing and ending injustices and improving local services, particularly the availability and accessibility of childcare and advice services.

There are lots of reports into the effectiveness of the commissions.

Link: Direct link to Local Government Information Unit briefing 2013

Link: Direct link to New economics briefing on Fairness Commissions 2015

Link: Direct link to Carnegie briefing on Fairness Commissions 2017

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