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JRI Newsletter Number 30, July 2014

Our latest newsletter has been published and is now online for viewing and download from the ‘Newsletters’ page, with optionsJRINews30 available for live active links and printable versions.

It is a 12-page edition, with a full report of the annual conference held at Redcliffe College on Saturday 1st March 2014 on the theme of ‘Sustainable Communities: What does the church have to offer?” It also includes information about CRES for the coming year; staff changes; recent publications; a new way of contributing to the funding of JRI; and more.

Food and Theology with Mike Rayner

Rev Dr Mike Rayner

Rev Dr Mike Rayner

Food and Theology with Mike Rayner

For some years CRES (Christian Rural and Environmental Studies) have been running day conferences and residentials at Ripon College Cuddesdon near Oxford. These have been excellent days, but until now have only been open to present and past CRES students, and staff. We felt that it would be good to open up these sessions to a wider audience so that more could benefit from them. The first such session will be on Saturday 13th September 2014, and we are very pleased to have Rev Dr Mike Rayner* coming to take the morning for us on “Food and Theology”. Details of the programme, how to book and a biography of Mike are below. Hope to see you there!

9.30-10.00 arrival
10.00-11.00am Mike Rayner- Session 1. Theological reflections upon the production, distribution and consumption of food
11.00-11.30am Coffee in the Common Room
11.30-12.45pm Mike Rayner- Session 2. Practical applications of our theology of food, both local and global
1.00-2.00pm Lunch in Dining Hall
Depart after lunch

Please note that ALL who intend to come to Cuddesdon must book by 25th August. The fee for attendance for the morning is £20 including coffee and full lunch. Bookings will be dealt with by the CRES administrator, Lynda McKeown. Please send a cheque made out to THE JOHN RAY INITIATIVE to: The CRES Administrator, THE JOHN RAY INITIATIVE (JRI), Wotton House, Horton Road, Gloucester GL1 3PT, UK
Telephone (mobile): 07583 481759. Email: admin@jri.org.uk
Please book early. Travel directions etc. will be forwarded to you with confirmation of your booking.

* Mike Rayner is Director of the British Heart Foundation Health Centre on Population Approaches for Non-Communicable Disease Prevention, based in the Nuffield Department of Population Health of the University of Oxford. The Centre, which Mike founded in 1993, is a World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre. Mike is also Chair of Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming and Chair of its Children’s Food Campaign in the UK. He is a trustee of the UK Health Forum, Chair of the Nutrition Expert Group for the European Heart Network based in Brussels and a member of the Scientific Advisory Panel of the International Obesity Task Force. He is also an ordained priest in the Church of England and the Assistant Curate at St Matthew’s Church, Oxford.


Biodiversity, Its Loss and Why It Matters

JRI is pleased to announce the publication of Briefing Paper Number29 by Will Simonson, an investigation into the Iberian_Lynxerosion of the richness of life on Earth, its causes and consequences, and why this is a Christian concern with a role for the church. ‘Biodiversity, Its Loss and Why It Matters’ defines and locates biodiversity, explains the crisis of the current dramatic loss and ongoing and future threats, and explores the values of biodiversity to humankind. Solutions to stem the loss are presented, and a distinctly Christian response proposed. Dr Will Simonson is a researcher in the Forest Ecology and Conservation Group, Department of Life Sciences, University of Cambridge, and has a long association with A Rocha. Download Briefing Paper 29 here. (8 page PDF)

Anvil Printed Copies Available

AnvilCoverFinalWe are pleased to announce that the printed copies of our “”Environment and Hope” edition of the theological journal Anvil have now arrived in the JRI office. The whole journal is available to be downloaded at www.anviljournal.org/29-1 but we are aware that many people would prefer  to have a printed version. If you would like a copy of this edition of the journal please send a cheque made out to the John Ray Initiative for £6.50 (£5.00 plus £1.50 post and package) to JRI, Wotton House, Horton Road, Gloucester, GL1 3PT. For quotes on multiple copies or overseas orders please email admin@jri.org.uk

God, the Earth and Humanity in the Book of Micah

JRI is pleased to announce the publication of Briefing Paper No28 by Keith Innes, a study exploring the nature and limits of the community of creation with reference to the Old Testament book of the propheVine and Grapest Micah. DOWNLOAD PAPER

“God, the Earth and Humanity in the Book of Micah” covers three themes: the involvement of the Earth in salvation and judgment; the significance of reversion to nature; and the status of inanimate things in the Earth community. Much natural imagery is used in the book of Micah and the study explores the spiritual reality beyond the simply metaphorical, in addition to the more direct challenges and warnings to a market economy rife with dishonesty and an increasing gap between rich and poor.

Keith Innes retired from parish ministry in 1997 and has since obtained a M.Phil degree at Bristol University on “Wilderness in the Old Testament” and published several papers on ecotheology. This is an 8 page document in pdf format (link opens in new window).

Progress or Problem? Responding to Genetically Modified Food and Crops

JRI is pleased to announce the publication of Briefing Paper No. 27 by John Weaver. This is a 12 page report summarising the Environment Day Conference at Redcliffe College, Gloucester, held on 2nd March 2013. DOWNLOAD PAPER

With contributions from Joe Perry, John Weaver, Martin Hodson and Christopher Jones MBE, the conferencWeaverGMCConfe identified the technology behind what are generally termed ‘GM Crops’ and set out the global and scientific context for the debate which has ensued. The contributors explored the nature of risks arising from their use, the influence on policies across many areas from environment and ethics to business and globalisation, and the impact at the local level. Positive and negative arguments were proposed with issues of population growth and food security set alongside the ethical issues raised by the adoption of this technology. A Christian theological perspective was also presented, with a discussion encouraging a coherence to God’s wisdom.

John Weaver is the Chair of JRI and formerly lecturer in Practical Theology and the Dialogue between Christianity and Science at Oxford and Cardiff universities.