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World News

People in need 'line up at churches not council offices' says new Churches Together in England general secretary

by Donna Birrell

The newly appointed General Secretary of Churches Together in England says he hopes churches will work even more closely in order to support people who are struggling.

Bishop Mike Royal, who'll take up the role in March, is a co-chair of the Cinnamon Network charity which supports community engagement in social action projects.

He’s been telling Premier how unity is at the heart of his mission. 

“I’ve spent my life and ministry being committed to that. In my new role I’ll be based here in Birmingham where I live but the offices are in London and I will be getting out and about around the country. I really want to see the renewal of ecumenical ministry across the nation. 

“There is some great work being done in the regions around the country by Churches Together groups, so how do we take that great practice and find innovative ways to renew?"

Mike Royal has been in ordained ministry since 1993 and was consecrated as a Bishop with the Apostolic Pastoral Congress - a Charismatic and Pentecostal group of churches in 2016.

As well as being co-chair of The Cinnamon Network, he is a founding trustee and former national director of the charity Transforming Lives for Good which works with children and young people at risk of exclusion from school. He is also a part time Forensic Mental Health Chaplain with Birmingham & Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust and has led the Street Pastors’ team in Birmingham. He is currently Co-Chair with the Anglican Bishop of Birmingham of the Birmingham Commonwealth Games 2022 Churches Together Working Group, coordinating the churches’ work on Anti-Trafficking, Young People & Apprenticeships, Health & Well Being, Church Engagement and Social Cohesion and Chaplaincy.

“I think that when statutory agencies want to speak to the church, often they think ‘well, where do I start?’ But when the church works together and is working under an umbrella such as Churches Together in England, the statutory agencies, like the local authority, the police, the health service, know where to go. It’s important for community needs that we are not in silos, we’re not in our own little bomb shelters, but we are working together.

“I've seen during the pandemic, how co-ordinating foods and the work of food banks generally enabled food was getting to those most in need. When people are in need of food and those basic provisions, they don't line up outside the local authority’s council offices, they line up outside our churches, and so we need to be working together to meet those needs.”

“I am both honoured and humbled to accept the role of General Secretary of Churches Together in England, as the church journeys together to fulfil the mandate of Jesus - ‘that they all may be one, as we are one’ (John 17.22). 

“I pray, as our country and the church navigate together through challenging and difficult issues, that we will all find a deeper commitment to God and to one another, as we travel together on this vital ecumenical journey.”

Bishop Mike will take up his post in March 2022 when the current General Secretary, Rev Dr Paul Goodliff retires. 


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