Happy New Year!
It was wonderful to celebrate Christmas, full of thankfulness to God over the victories we saw in 2022. The scriptures tell us the prayers of righteous men and women are powerful and effective, so, as we head into 2023, please join us in prayer this year.
Below are a few different areas of our work along with some prayer points to help guide you in your prayers.
You may also want to subscribe to our PrayerMate feed: http://praynow4.org/christianconcern
Could the Church of England bless sexual immorality?
The Church of England (CofE) could announce a decision to allow blessings of same-sex relationships in a matter of weeks.
The CofE’s College of Bishops is due to meet later this month to “agree the outcomes of the Living in Love and Faith discernment process” in what it describes as an “offering” to the church for a way forward on LGBT issues.
If the CofE begins to formally approve of sin, it will make true mission more difficult, and it will become even easier to label faithful Christians as extreme and marginalise them.
It’s why we’ve been contending for God’s good pattern for marriage within the CofE and throughout the entirety of the Living in Love and Faith process.
Our recently launched tool helping people to ask bishops to stand for God’s good pattern for marriage and not to change the Church of England’s official teaching has been used over 6,000 times.
Please join us in praying bishops would do just that. On the chance that they decide to deviate from God’s Word, please pray for wisdom for Biblically faithful pastors and organisations as we consider our response.
Challenging buffer zones that ban prayer and free speech
Over the past few years abortion providers and their supporters have been on a relentless crusade seeking to accomplish two things:
- The decriminalisation of abortion, which would allow abortion on demand for any reason right up to the point of birth
- Banning offers of help and support to women who, given the right support, may choose life over an abortion – ironic given their self-proclaimed ‘pro-choice’ label
While, attempts at decriminalisation have resulted in multiple failures in recent years – the most recent being on 23 November 2021 – abortion providers are getting closer at banning offers of help and support, mainly through the use of Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs).
PSPOs were introduced in 2014, as part of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act, and, controversially, give councils the power to ban certain activities they believe are having a “detrimental impact” on quality of life. Since their introduction, a small percentage of the UK’s 100 plus abortion facilities have convinced their councils to implement these censorship zones.
We believe PSPOs being used in this manner goes beyond their intended scope and breaches basic human rights. We are currently supporting two cases challenging their implementation in Bournemouth and Birmingham.
Please pray we would be successful in seeing these censorship zones struck down and that pregnant women would not be denied help and support.
Last year, MPs voted in favour of an amendment to the Public Order Bill that would introduce new censorship zones around all abortion facilities in England and Wales. While the final wording of that amendment hasn’t yet been published, it is scheduled to be debated before the end of January.
Please join us in praying this amendment would not go through.
Making schools safe from transgender ideology
Tragically, schools have become a key battleground for identity politics – with children suffering with the ramifications of an ideology that treats their minds and bodies as disposable fodder.
It was with great joy then that we were able to rejoice with Christian parents Nigel and Sally Rowe, last year, as we secured a commitment from the government to reform transgender policies in primary schools.
While this is fantastic news, the Church of England is refusing to withdraw its own trans-affirming guidance which affects over 1,000,000 children across more than 4,8000 primary schools.
The controversial Valuing All God’s Children guidance has been cited by a number of headteachers and school leaders to justify extreme teaching on gender identity to eight-year-olds.
The official CofE guidance has also been brought up in legal proceedings to discredit Christian Legal Centre clients – and likely many more faithful Christians we don’t know about.
Here are just a couple of those, whose cases are coming up this year:
Rev. Dr Bernard Randall was forced out of his role as school chaplain and reported to the government’s terrorist watchdog, Prevent, after telling children they are entitled to make up their own minds about the claims of ‘identity politics’.
You can judge for yourself whether Bernard is a terrorist or not by reading and / or watching his full talk:
With the support of the Christian Legal Centre, Bernard challenged Trent College for discrimination, harassment, victimisation, and unfair dismissal. A result is expected on that hearing later this year.
Further to the school’s treatment of Bernard, the Church of England branded the chaplain a safeguarding risk and Diocesan Bishop, the Rt. Rev. Libby Lane, refused him permission to officiate in church services. Bernard will also be challenging this in the coming months.
‘Hannah’, who cannot be named for legal reasons, lost her job as a primary school teacher after raising safeguarding concerns over a child that was socially ‘transitioning’ gender at her school.
In her interactions with the school, VAGC was used in an attempt to discredit Hannah’s concerns and validate the school’s affirmation of the child’s ‘transition’.
With the support of the Christian Legal Centre, Hannah is now seeking to challenge her unfair dismissal at an Employment Tribunal.
We are also supporting school worker Kristie Higgs who was sacked for publishing two Facebook posts that raised concerns about transgenderism and explicit sex education at her son’s Church of England primary school.
Please join us in praying:
- that the government would keep its word and reform its transgender policies for schools in a manner that does not affirm identities and social transition
- that the CofE would feel a sense of conviction and withdraw its own trans affirming guidance
- for healing for children who have been harmed by trans affirming guidance and policies
- victory in the cases of Bernard Randall, Hannah, Kristie Higgs, as well as many others we are helping in this area
Christian doctor Dr David Mackereth lost his job as an assessor for the Department for Work and Pensions after saying he wouldn’t use transgender pronouns.
In a mixed judgment, last year, the President of the Employment Appeal Tribunal ruled that Biblical beliefs that do not affirm transgenderism are protected under the Equality Act, while also ruling that Christians cannot express those beliefs in the workplace without fear of losing their jobs.
With our help, Dr Mackereth will challenge that ruling and an earlier judgment which stated that Biblical belief on gender is not “worthy of respect in a democratic society.”
Challenging financial censorship
In 2020, a Christian ministry received death threats and had its accounts closed by Barclays Bank following a coordinated harassment campaign by LGBT activists.
With our support, Mike Davidson and Core Issues Trust will this year challenge the multi-billion-pound corporation over the closure of its accounts after spurious attempts to have the case struck out ended in failure.
The case coincides with PayPal closing the accounts of the Free Speech Union – something it later U-turned on – and parliamentary activity seeking to ensure similar incidents don’t happen again in the future.
Please join us in praying that financial censorship of accounts of people and organisations with Christian views would be ruled illegal.
Following continuous pressure from LGBT activists, the government has several times pledged to ban ‘conversion therapy’.
A ban could criminalise private consensual conversations and prayer and would have huge ramifications for parents and Christian counsellors.
A ban is also unnecessary. Genuinely harmful practices are already illegal and/or not practised in the UK. The only exception is medicalised transgenderism, which is demonstrably harmful but wouldn’t be affected by a ban.
While it’s unclear where the current make-up on government stands on a ban, equalities minister Kemi Badenoch has publicly expressed her commitment to bring in a “robust bill” banning ‘conversion therapy’ and stated a delay was down to the complexity of the debate and “moving goalposts.”
Please pray for wisdom as we continue to campaign against a ban and work with MPs on this matter.
Many other cases
These examples only scratch the surface of the work ahead for Christian Concern and the Christian Legal Centre. There are many other cases , some small, some big that we anticipate telling you about in the year ahead.
Please pray for all the Christians involved in these cases and pray for wisdom as our team seeks justice and speaks of Jesus Christ in public life.
We will also be working in many ways to resource and equip Christians to be people of truth, justice and hope.
This year, our publishing arm Wilberforce Publications hopes to publish several books that will inspire and equip Christians.
Christian Concern also seeks to provide several new exciting resources to help Christians shine for Christ in their lives and by taking action.
Please pray that we’d be able to get these into many people who can benefit from them.
Our further schools work continues to flourish under the headship of Steve Beegoo and his assistant Emily Bourne.
Please keep praying for them as they continue to equip and support many groups across the nation at different stages of operating a Christian school. Pray they would be a blessing and an encouragement for those they serve.
Every year around 80 students and young professionals attend our Wilberforce Academy where they are equipped and inspired to serve Christ in their work and beyond.
Please pray for the hundreds of people who have attended the academy over the years – that they will continue to serve Jesus with their lives, working together to make a positive difference in public life, here and around the world.
This year, we will also continue our legal challenge against Fitz William College, Cambridge and their decision to cancel a booking for the Academy because of our beliefs are not compatible with the values of the College. Please pray for success in that case.