Image by Lawrence OP via FlickrIn the Methodist report on Ecumenical Relations in Scotland 2010, there is a long section about Action for Churches Together in Scotland (ACTS). This post is devoted to its networks.
ACTS Mission Network
During 2010 the Mission Network published its review titled "Through the Keyhole" which focused on the state of our churches and their place in our communities both through the eyes of church goers but also of the "unchurched". The report highlighted some interesting observations although most reflect other studies. "Being Church in Areas of New Development" has continued to be a major focus of the ACTS Mission Network's activities through 2010. New work being undertaken includes: "Mission Shaped Church" with a specific initiative being "Cafe Church" on which a couple of courses have been run and an embryo network of those interested established. This Network is also starting to take an interest in "More than Gold" the Churches response to the 2012 Olympic Games in preparation for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014.
ACTS Church and Society Network
The ACTS C and S Network continues to cover a very broad agenda. The Network continues to service and support a wide range of Associated Ecumenical groups and Bodies in Association. Significant areas of work during 2010 have included:
- A group looking at issues that the Scottish Gypsy "Travellers" have with the Church
- A group looking at the War in Afghanistan - through concepts of "Just War"
- The launch of the "Minority Ethnic Christians Together in Scotland" as a grouping of around 50 existing minority ethnic Christian groups
- A conference on "Spiritual Care in Higher Education"
- An exploration of Chaplaincy in the National Health Service
- Material for the 2011 Scottish Parliamentary Elections. This includes guidance on how to handle extremist groups (specifically those deemed to be racist) based on Methodist material.
A booklet on the Holy Trinity which the Faith Studies Network endorsed and published and placed on the website raised significant discussion during the year. While the members of the Network (including Roman Catholics) hope that it will be used by ecumenical and other groups to explore the issues and to improve their understanding of the place which the Trinity holds in their Churches' worship and doctrine the text has led to much anguish especially with the Roman Catholics. This issue illustrated the difficulty in ACTS speaking with one mind on any particular issue and while generally accepted that debate is healthy it can add some tensions between denominations on specific issues.
ACTS Church Life Network
In 2010 the Methodist Church through Rev John Butterfield took on the Convenorship of the Church Life Network. The "Back to Church Sunday" initiative continues to be one aspect of this Network's work as does the material on the ACTS website for "A Quiet Day for Scotland" 2010. The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity took as a theme for 2010 the centenary of the 1910 World Missionary Conference and this Network engaged in the production of this material. A new Associated Ecumenical Group to this network is the "Scottish Churches Disability Action Group" which had its launch in 2010 and is starting to develop an agenda for greater involvement of disabled people in Scottish Church. John Butterfield has also been instrumental in producing through this group the Easter 2011 worship material for ACTS.