John Coleby

John Coleby

John began working at the Evangelical Alliance in 2016, focusing on issues of debate in parliament that are relevant to evangelical Christians in the UK. Before this he worked as a research assistant for the Church of England Bishop of Coventry, supporting his work in the House of Lords and his focus on freedom of religion or belief and global reconciliation. He holds a BA in Theology and an MPhil in Judaism and Christianity in the Graeco-Roman world, and he remains very interested in biblical studies and inter-religious dialogue. He also teaches English to speakers of other languages at a class run by his church.

COVID and the future of work

25 September 2020Over the summer, the Evangelical Alliance hosted a roundtable of member organisations discussing the impact of the pandemic on the economy, and what the church can do in response. One issue that stood out for several participants was employment and the future of work. While the furlough scheme has helped to mitigate the pandemic’s impact on employment, unfortunately many people have lost or will lose their jobs in this period and will need support. Many people are also reassessing what work…

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Roundtable: The church and later life

26 June 2020The Bible gives us a high view of older people (Leviticus 19:32, Proverbs 16:31). By contrast, our society often sees old age as a negative thing, and ageism has only increased over time. According to the World Health Organization, a low opinion of old age risks becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy, as this negative perception of age itself decreases life expectancy and quality (). The church can challenge this negative narrative. This challenge begins with the language we may use. Our words…

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Pentecost and the constant mission of the church

28 May 2020So, what can the account of Pentecost in Acts tell us about the nature of the church? Many preachers will go instinctively to Acts chapter 2, verses 42-47. There we get a description of the first Christian community which incorporates worship, teaching, prayer, generosity, hospitality, signs and wonders. We recognise so much good in this picture that we may forget how radically the outward circumstances changed for the Jerusalem believers in the space of a mere 50 years. Temple worship, for…

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Thy Kingdom Come 2020: a time for prayer and action

21 May 2020The Book of Acts (1:6-11) begins with this: “[The disciples] gathered round Him and asked Him, ‘Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?’ He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by His own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’ After He said this, He was taken up before their very eyes, and a…

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Rise in prayer and religious service attendance to be met with a step up in our witness

6 May 2020According to research launched by Tearfund, and conducted by Savanta ComRes, many in the UK are turning to prayer during the crisis. A third of UK adults (33 per cent) have prayed since the beginning of the pandemic. Of those surveyed, 30 per cent of 18-34 year olds pray regularly, compared to 25 per cent of over 55s. Of course, those who pray will be of all faiths and, interestingly, one or two will have no faith at all, but these statistics nonetheless challenge the assumption that religious…

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Parliament and coronavirus: the work of select committees

24 April 2020An important way in which our Parliament does this is through select committees, which are groups of MPs or members of the House of Lords who focus on one area of government policy. There are quite a few currently looking at various aspects of COVID-19 and the Government’s response. Here ishow three select committees are considering the effects of COVID-19 in relation to churches and Christian organisations. The Joint Committee on Human Rights (with members from the House of Commons and the…

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Faith in Later Life: helping Christians to reach and serve older people

17 April 2020To inspire and equip Christians to reach, serve and empower older people in every community during the pandemic, Faith in Later Life has a number of blog pieces on their website, which include reflections on what this current pandemic may mean for older people and how best to help them. Last week, for example, Faith in Later Life wrote a blog entitled “Six ways to reach out in Easter lockdown”. You can read it here. Jane from Nottingham saw a link to this article on the charity’s Facebook page…

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Holy Saturday: a time of waiting

9 April 2020Holy Saturday is the traditional name for the Saturday between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. We might have skipped over it in happier times; nothing much happens, after all, and it is primarily about waiting. But that is precisely why this Holy Week more than others, we may want to spend longer dwelling there than usual. First, let’s take stock of where the disciples were on that first Holy Saturday. They were grieving at a time of rejoicing – mourning the cross as Jerusalem celebrated the…

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Gambling with lives

28 February 2020The event coincided with the climax of the Big Step Campaign’s 100-mile walk, a campaign seeking to persuade football clubs to reassess their relationships with gambling companies, and support people addicted to gambling. The charity’s message in Parliament was stark. Since their last parliamentary event, 15 months ago, still more lives had been lost due to gambling addiction. The charity’s co-founder Liz Ritchie called for urgent action to recognise the harm done by addictive gambling,…

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Where in the world is it most dangerous to be a Christian?

16 January 2020Its conclusions make difficult reading. One in eight Christians worldwide face persecution measured as extreme, very high or high - a six per cent increase from 2019. Violations of freedom of religion or belief were often reported in the course of last year – the case of Asia Bibi, for example. In addition, the subject featured in Labour, Conservative, and Liberal Democrat election manifestos.North Korea remains the most dangerous place for Christians, having been number one on the World Watch…

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Missing God at Christmas

19 December 2019For example, nativity plays generally don’t depict all the denizens of Bethlehem who go to sleep, wake up and go about their business, completely ignoring the nativity taking place three doors down. And yet, surely part of the story is those who missed it: “He was in the world, and the world came into being through Him; yet the world did not know Him” (John 1:10). In the other three gospels, the spotlight is on Jesus and those who interact with Him. This means we can reflect on the responses of…

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