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Join a panel of MPs and church and workplace leaders, to discover how to face and respond to disagreement in a Christ-like way.

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There is little doubt that this country has become increasingly divided and divisive - a trend that is alarmingly mirrored globally. It’s spread across society, in the places we work, play, and volunteer, and, tragically, even in the church.

Dialogue has often given way to polemical rhetoric and ‘cancel culture’, making it increasingly difficult to acknowledge any strengths in opposing positions, or even hear them. Sometimes, out of fear, we avoid broaching a controversial subject at all – even when it’s sorely needed. But we flourish – as humans, as a society, as teams, communities, and organisations – when we are able to achieve constructive discourse: when we disagree well.

Now as ever, Christians should be known not just for what we say but how we say it. Not just for what we stand for, but how we respond to those who would stand against us. But how do we do it amidst such division?

In this event, we’ll hear from a panel of experts who have plenty of experience with disagreement in a variety of different contexts. We’ll hear stories of when it’s been handled well and when it’s been handled badly, and receive wisdom for how to respond to disagreement in a Christ-like way as resilient and attractive disciples of Jesus.

Speakers:

Stephen Timms

Stephen has been MP for East Ham since 1994, and was previously Leader of Newham Council. He was a Minister from 1998 to 2010, and Shadow Minister for Employment in 2010-15, before sitting on the Education and Exiting the European Union Select Committees in 2015-19. He now chairs the Work and Pensions Select Committee.

He has been the Labour Party’s Faith Envoy since 2007 and is founding chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Faith and Society. He serves on the Council of the Evangelical Alliance, and on the Plaistow Christian Fellowship leadership team.

Jenny Brown

Jenny has worked in education for 22 years. Starting as a maths teacher, she soon moved into senior leadership and helped to turn around a school in Special Measures. From there she took on her first headship, starting a new free school in Nottingham. Jenny has this year gone on to head up Derby Cathedral School, and is looking forward to helping it to grow and flourish in a new purpose-built building. When she's not leading a school, she's inspecting them through her work for Oftsted, which gives her no shortage of disagreement to navigate!

Steve Elmes

Steve is married to Sara and they have three grown up children. He is the Lead Minister of Bookham Baptist Church in Surrey, committed to growing fruitful followers of Jesus. Over the last ten years or so, Steve has been involved in helping local churches in the South East to get into conversation about sexuality and discipleship – a contentious area where different viewpoints quickly emerge. How we hold these differences well has been creatively explored in Steve’s published works: Sexuality, Faith & the Art of Conversation and A Beautiful Endeavour. Steve enjoys walking, cycling and dancing.

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