The Good Shepherd, Tadworth

'British Values' and Christian Values

By Revd. Timothy Astin, October 2017

If you are involved in school education as a child, parent, teacher or a governor you will have heard about “British values”. As part of school inspections (by OFSTED), questions are asked about how British values are learned and taught. It is now “part of the spiritual, moral, social, and cultural heritage development” of children. 

Our 2014 government summarised these British values as “democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, respect and tolerance for those of different faith or beliefs”. Many people have pointed to the potential contradictions in this advice. How does individual liberty and conscience with its traditions of non-violent protest and even civil disobedience sit alongside the rule of law? Again, both former Prime Minister David Cameron and Prime Minister Teresa May have spoken about the limits of tolerance with regards to aspects of religious extremism. 

Spiritual, moral and social teaching is at the heart of the teaching of the church and Christian values are the bedrock of British culture and morality. Going more widely, people talk about universal human rights. When you dig a bit into these rights you soon realise they are based on Christian teaching about the equality of all people before God. 

Sunday afternoon discussion group – starts 22nd October 

So what are Christian values? What do they teach us about British values? If you like a lively discussion come to Tadworth Vicarage on Sunday afternoons from 5-6pm starting on 22nd October. Over six weeks we will explore what are the most important Christian values. It feels to me like a British value to discuss things over tea and cake! 

Thursday friendship and study group – starts 2nd November 

Often we learn best when we can talk in smaller groups. So I’m also giving a chance to form a new study and friendship group on Thursday mornings. It will run for six weeks from 2nd November to 7th December. We can meet in church, at the Vicarage or perhaps someone might like to host a group at their home. Let me know if you would like to host a group. 

ABC – starts Thursday 26th October 

Exploring Christian values isn’t just for oldies. A new weekly group, ABC, starts in church on Thursday afternoons (2-3pm) on Thursday 26th October. ABC is short for Adults, Babies and Children and will be playtime in church with a short church service ….. and all over in time for the school pick-ups. Cups of tea provided for the adults. 

Well if all that is a bit serious, apparently the top religious joke of the moment is “so what if you can’t spell Armageddon – it’s not the end of the world”.