Films, Beer and Jesus
Covid has re-shaped our world in ways we could never have imagined even a few months ago. The end of year ‘festivities’ took a very dark turn, with separation and sadness replacing expected reunions and joyful celebrations. We wish you all a safe and happy 2021!
We’re living in a time of rapid change, and lots of industries are being forced to adapt to our new reality. One example is films. Cinemas used to be the only place you could watch films. But after VHS and DVDs came the internet, and now we have streaming services direct to our own TVs.
This trend has developed so much that in 2020 film revenues from
streaming services overtook those from ticket sales in cinemas. No-one is
expecting this trend to be reversed.
Another industry that has had to adapt is brewing. For a very long time the local pub has been an important place for socialising as well as drinking. But since 2000, a quarter of pubs in the UK have closed with many more expected to in the near future. Some brewers changed their business model - in 2015, beer sales in supermarkets overtook pub sales for the first time.
If we look at church, we see we’re facing a similar situation. Between 1980 and 2015, Church of England attendance halved in the UK. Covid restrictions have meant many places of worship closed. So, if we find (as brewers and film producers have) our old way of doing things is no longer working, what should we do? One answer might be ‘Nothing’. Maybe we just hold out and continue as before. Maybe the world just needs to come around to our way of doing things? We could ‘circle the wagons’ and create an exclusive, if dwindling, club for the like-minded.
But this doesn’t really fit with what happened in the past. From its earliest days the Christian faith has always considered itself as being for everyone. The foundation charter of the Church is the command given by Jesus to his disciples; ‘Go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” In other words, the Church is fundamentally about reaching everybody with the good news; about creating communities of faith centred on Jesus.
In early December the Church of England published a document describing what we hope church will look like in 10 years’ time (see image above). But what will this vision mean in reality?
We think it will mean a church that will be more varied; a church with fewer traditional parish buildings but more small local faith groups – many led by non-clergy. They may be able to meet in person, but many will be virtual. We will be less focused on putting on services fewer and fewer attend, and more focussed on finding new ways to introduce people to Jesus. We will work with these new followers of Jesus to try to imagine what church might look like for them.
We can imagine a range of reactions as you read this - outrage, sadness, disappointment, fear… yet maybe a few will be saying, ‘About time!’ or ‘Thank goodness!’ Yet we need to remember the Christian church has at its heart a story of death and resurrection. Over the past 2000 years the church has had to face many challenges. And after each decline – some that felt almost like a death – the church has re-emerged stronger, healthier, better than before. So as we walk together through uncharted territory, we are encouraged by these words from Isaiah: “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Welcome to the adventure of faith!
The Avon Swift Team
 Matthew 28:28-30, NIV
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Please take time to follow the latest advice about churches in our group opening. Look on your church noticeboard or contact your church warden for details.
The Church of England also has a page where you can find the latest updates here:
CLLAMS - Christians in Leicester and Leicestershire Against Modern Slavery
Two documents that explain the problem and what to look out for.
If you have a safeguarding concern, you can contact the local Independent Person for your parish.
Their details can be found on individual church websites or on the church noticeboard.
Also see the links page or on A Church Near You.
If you are not sure who to contact our local benefice Safeguarding Administrator is Karen Morgan 01455 699259 or 07853 339936.
In Leicester Diocese, if you have concerns about a child, young person or an adult who may have been harmed or be at risk of harm, please contact the Diocesan Safeguarding Advisers for advice and support: Rachael Spiers 0116 2615341 or Peter Holloway 0116 261524.
(Pete Holloway will be available 21/12 - 23/12, Tel 07930 887984. )
If you have concerns about the immediate safety of someone please don’t delay in ringing the Police on 999 or Children or Adult Services:
- Leicester City Children and Adults Services (incl. out of hours for Children’s Services) – 0116 454 1004
- Leicester City and Leicestershire Adult Services out of hours – 0116 255 1606
- Leicestershire Children’s Service (incl. out of hours) – 0116 305 0005
- Leicestershire Adult Services (daytime) – 0116 305 0004
Out of Hours Safeguarding Cover -
Thirtyone:eight will be providing the usual safeguarding cover in the evenings and at weekends.
Tel 0303 003 1111 (Option 2). Please state you are calling from Leicester Diocese.
In an emergency (especially if someone is in immediate danger of harm) you should always call 999 and ask for the police.
Childline For children who want someone to talk to Tel: 0800 1111
t’s important that we support those who are feeling lonely and isolated,
whatever age they are."
“We the parishes of The Avon-Swift Benefice commit ourselves to God and to one another, seeking to become a community that is centred on Christ and inspired by the Spirit to respond to the love of the Father and share it with others."