Church of England Faces 24 Days of Christmas Chaos

For my Anglican colleagues ….. here’s something for the staff meeting agenda:
Info below from national communication office. See also F4J Website
Campaign Group Fathers 4 Justice (F4J) said today that all 12,000 of its members will engage in a national campaign of civil disobedience designed to disrupt Church of England services across the country in December, including a march on St Paul’s Cathedral on Friday 9th December with thousands of Father Christmases.
The group says that it’s ‘D-ADVENT’ campaign of 24 days of Christmas chaos will see protestors scale Church roofs, stage sit in’s and deliver alternative services from the pulpit. Other groups are said to be preparing to blockade churches. A controversial religious Calendar and Xmas card are also planned by the organisation.
F4J say that the C of E has failed to address the distress caused to children and their families when they are separated from their fathers after separation

“The group stormed a General Synod Service in York Minster in July 2004 and latterly climbed St Paul’s in May this year. Representatives from F4J met the then Archbishop of York David Hope but no further progress was made.
Said campaign co-ordinator Ray Barry, ‘Christmas is a time for families but many kids will be asking ‘where is my father this Christmas?’ We are commanded to honour our father and our mother by the church yet fathers are being sidelined from christenings and confirmations and the church plays little or no role in trying to prevent relationship breakdown within families.’
F4J Founder Matt O’Connor said ‘We are going to rattle more than their collection plates this Christmas. The Church of England should be practising what it preaches rather than turning a blind eye to this problem. Where it should be setting an example of morality, equality and compassion in regard to family breakdown, it agonises over global warming and gay and lesbian priests. We will open their eyes and ears to the problems of fatherlessness and take the issue into the churches of Britain addressing directly as many congregations as we can.’
F4J stress the campaign is directed at the Church of England as an organisation and not at Christianity

info from national communication office

7 Replies to “Church of England Faces 24 Days of Christmas Chaos”

  1. Um. My thoughts were rather the opposite.
    “the church plays little or no role in trying to prevent relationship breakdown within families.”
    Absolute rubbish. They may have a point, perhaps even a very strong point, but agressive tactics like these make me less inclined to listen I’m afraid.

  2. Go F4J!
    Generally speaking their tactics are confrontational, yes. But also innovative and reasonably non-violent (I don’t consider lobbing paint at politicians unnecessarily violent). Their sometimes extreme actions reflect the degree to which they are marginalised by the system.
    It saddens me to to think that my work in the CofE might be perceived as adding to that sense of marginalisation. But I hope that it causes me to reflect on my practise, rather than to shrug off the problem and go into denial.
    One of the problems that the CofE has is that we are already considered as overly patristic (not sure if thats the right word – but favouring male leaders basically) by some segments of society. So, faced with the need to act positively towards marginalised men, we are paralised into inaction.

  3. Surely the church advocating marriage and relationships can’t be a bad thing. Maybe this is what the church needs to start putting out God’s way of doing relationships, and showing people that there’s another way, and that we don’t all have to be hurt and broken by doing relationships the worlds way. And yes – saying that fathers are important is a good place to start, I think.

  4. I’m not sure precisely what F4Js problem with the church is, but I don’t think that its to do with advocating marriage. I think that they appreciate that a *good* marriage is the most stable environment for children.
    I suspect that the problem is how the church deals with relationships that have already broken down: Perhaps supporting the mother, who is left with the child(ren) whilst forgetting that there is another partner being excluded and not supported because he is not seen with the children.
    There have been a few occasions when I have been asked to pray for a local mother and children locked in a custody battle, but rarely have I been asked to pray for the father, because he usually lives somewhere else and doesn’t go to our church.

  5. I think I need to understand a bit more about F4J.
    I passionately believe in the role fathers have to play and the need for them to continue to be part of their childrens lives. I also thought that the courts took a similar attitude but maybe I need to hear some more of the real life stories that no amount of Batmanesque campaigning seems to actual deliver.
    I also see the effect on young people where fathers have been violent and/or abusive and can’t see how an ongoing relationship would work.
    I do however find myself in agreement with their campaign aims but not their methods.

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