Ooh it's December 11th. CEN deadline looming. Here's last month's stuff.
Congratulations on surviving tricks, treats and bonfires. Junk festivals? But can you survive your junk calls and junk mail? The Royal Mail’s site will tell you how to stop unaddressed items being delivered by postie. mydm (my direct marketing) give you advice on cutting down unsolicited post too. The Telephone Preference Service are brilliant at screening out unwanted sales calls although you will cut out calls from everyone, including charities, who want your money or help without knowing you personally as a customer already.
Thinking about holidays? 4Safe is a great site to use to store details of your travel documents. You can also back up your work online in case your computer gets pinched while you are away. Costs £7.95 a year; discount for year one.
No holiday is complete these days without feeling a little bit guilty about ecological damage first. Global Action Plan have developed a range of programmes, tools and advice on how to make more environmentally friendly choices. Eco Congregation is an ecumenical programme ‘...helping churches make the link between environmental issues and Christian faith, and respond in practical action in the church, in the lives of individuals, and in the local and global community.’
Another good place to ‘audit your environmental performance’ and ‘obtain green lifestyle coaching’ (sorry my jargon alarm just went off but I am quoting) is at 3 Acorns, the web site of environmentalist Donnachadh McCarthy. Beyond Green (that would be blue then) is an interesting bunch of people who have some world changing ideas and a nice web-site.
Sharing resources is a good thing but few individuals or churches ever get round to chipping in with their great ideas. Then the church’s ministry becomes a constant wheel-reinventing exercise. Twelve Baskets is a Methodist-driven initiative by three individuals to make resources available, help contributors earn royalties and benefit charities – a triple whammy of altruism.
There has been much discussion about whether the internet is a force for good or evil. By and large the debate seems to boil down to freedom of speech versus all that porn out there. If you believe that censorship should be an individual matter and nothing to do with the state, have a look at Amnesty International’s petition at Irrepressible.info. It’s the bloggers around the world who are telling us the truth about oppressive regimes, by and large.
If you want to respond to persecution creatively, visit The Art of Persecution sponsored by Open Doors. £1000 prize money for a work of art, sculpture, music, photography or writing - £500 for the winner to keep and £500 to give to a specific Soul Sista (a Soul Survivor ministry) to see what they were talking about. If you’re not a soul sista maybe you’re a Christian Woman Today. Christian Womens Wrestling, ‘a non-profit, Bible-believing, Spirit-filled ministry taking Satan to the mat,’ may just be a spoof.
Christianity Magazine has a nice site which introduces the current issue and archives its articles. The Good News is a national magazine for the online Christian community which also breaks down into a number of regional sites.
Not sorted out Christmas resources yet? The Children’s Society have a website dedicated to Christingle stuff. Not everyone wants their Christmas present sent to someone else in the form of a goat, but if the recipient would like that sort of thing Christian Aid have Present Aid. Oxfam Unwrapped and World Vision’s Alternative Gift Catalogue do a similar thing.
Sorry I missed the URL for SAPS (the plant identification site) out of my list last month. Have beaten myself with a large stick and will now visit the site to identify it.
You can find the previous column, and older ones too, on-line at my blog, Mustard Seed Shavings. If you visit there you’ll see my avatar in its full glory. An avatar is a visual, cartoon representation of yourself which you can design and then attach to text messages, emails or web-sites. Build one at Wee World.
You can get the Church of England Newspaper online by visiting the website.