New resource to help us love our neighbours from different faiths

P&E logo

From Toby Haworth:

I’m writing to introduce to you the new website for Presence and Engagement - http://www.presenceandengagement.org.uk/, which you may of course have already visited since it went live a few weeks ago. The website aims to bring together resources for clergy, congregations, chaplaincies and schools who want to follow Jesus in loving their neighbours of different faiths.

Key features include religious demographic statistics from the 2011 Census mapped to dioceses and parishes which can be used as a tool in developing strategies for inter faith engagement. Other parts of the website provide stories and other resources for that engagement.

We intend the P&E blog to be a place for lively and thoughtful debate about inter religious issues and events which overlap with the Church’s work in our multi faith society. For example, a recent blog post from Birmingham (also published in the Church Times) focussed on the Trojan Horse investigations.

Please do be in contact with me if you would like to offer a blog post, update us on particular work in which you’re engaged or with any feedback on the website in general.

This comes with my warm good wishes,

Toby

The Revd Canon Dr Toby Howarth | Secretary for Inter Religious Affairs to the Archbishop of Canterbury and
National Inter Religious Affairs Adviser for the Church of England
Lambeth Palace, London SE1 7JU | Tel: + 44 (0)20 7898 1475 | Mobile: 07811 467 999
toby.howarth@lambethpalace.org.uk | http://www.archbishopofcanterbury.org

Mental health schemes to give early help to teenagers

Funding mental health

New mental health projects across England will help school pupils to deal with their problems and worries after receiving almost £5m of development funding from the Big Lottery Fund.

The funding means that pupils in a number of areas across the country will take part in pilot projects in the new school year. The area partnerships will use this pilot to work up long term plans that could then benefit from a multi-million pound share of HeadStart funding.

The areas receiving grants of £500,000 are Middlesbrough, Cumbria, Blackpool, Knowsley, Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Southampton, Kent, Cornwall and the London Borough of Lewisham. The partnerships in these areas will bring together a key mix of young people, youth workers, charities, health commissioners, parents, teachers, GPs and local authorities to address the various factors that influence a young person’s mental and emotional wellbeing.

The statistics on child mental health make stark reading. Among teenagers, rates of depression and anxiety have increased by 70% in the past 25 years while  one in 10 young people – so approximately three in every classroom – has a clinically diagnosable mental health problem.

A previous YouGov survey for the Big Lottery Fund revealed that 45 per cent of children aged 10-14 have reported being unable to sleep because of stress or worry, with fifty nine per cent saying they feel worried or sad at least once a week. However, only around 25 per cent of young people needing treatment for mental health problems actually receive it and usually only once they reach 18.

The HeadStart programme aims to develop ways of dealing with mental health issues before they become deep-rooted problems. Focussing primarily on schools, the HeadStart partners will offer a range of approaches, including peer mentoring, mental health ‘first aid’ training, online portals and special resilience lessons helping pupils aged 10-14 feel they have support at in the classroom as well as at home and tackling the stigma that can often surround the issues of mental health.

Angie Hart, Professor of Child, Family and Community Health at the University of Brighton, co-Director of Boingboing Social Enterprise and HeadStart advisor, said:

“Good mental and emotional health is as important to a child’s development as good physical health. Too often this can be neglected until problems and worries have become much more serious. The key to ensuring a strong emotional resilience among young people is early intervention. This involves tackling the root of the causes, including poverty and discrimination. The importance of prevention rather than the cure cannot be underestimated. The HeadStart programme will help to develop ways of supporting young people’s mental and emotional resilience in a world that only seems to subject them to more and more pressures.”

Junior school assembly on Leadership

I recently led an assembly on the theme of Leadership for one of our local junior schools:

servant leadership

Preparation:

  • A bowl of warm water, towel and flannel.
  • Some feet to wash! This could be a real person (a colleague not a child as this could lead to a misunderstanding, and you could also wash hands instead of feet if that’s more appropriate), but perhaps it would be more fun to use a doll/action man.

Assembly:

Explain that we will be thinking about leaders today – lots of different kinds of leaders in our communities and world. They are people who help shape our lives, give guidance and are meant to be examples to us.

 

Play a short guessing game. Give the initial letters of jobs that involve being a leader and a clue to help the children guess.

 

For example:

  • HT – someone who leads a school? – Head Teacher
  • 
C – someone who is the leading player in a team? – Captain
  • PM – someone who leads our country? – Prime Minister
  • 
C – Someone who directs an orchestra? – Conductor

 

Explain briefly the kinds of things these leaders do. If the school has a school council, talk about the role of school councillors.

 

Democratic countries have elections in order to try to change their countries for the better. We live in one of the world’s oldest democracies. Some historians argue that the first moves towards democracy in this country took place with the signing of a treaty called the Magna Carta in 1215. The treaty required the king of England at the time, King John, to have a duty to protect certain rights of his subjects, and restricted his powers under the law.

 

At the start of this new school year, we want you to think about your likes and dislikes in this school environment. We would like you to have your say. Do you feel that it is an attractive place to be in? Do you have enough computers? Do you have any ideas for improving this school? They will be presented to our school governors and you will have an opportunity to vote on which idea could be put into practice in the future.

 

‘It is the duty of government to make it difficult for people to do wrong, easy to do right,’ William Gladstone, Liberal prime minister of the 19th century.

 

We need good leaders in every area of our society. Without good political leaders, laws would be passed that would make it easier for people to do wrong things and get away with them. Gladstone was right about what governments exist to do – good leaders make it harder to do wrong and easier to do right. Without good political leaders, the country would descend into a very unstable place where the poorest and most vulnerable in society were not being looked after. Many believe a society should be judged on how well it looks after its most needy and vulnerable. Good government frees up people to take responsibility to do good and confront things when they are bad.

 

Explain that Christians believe that Jesus was a very special leader and that he showed his friends very powerfully what it meant to lead. Explain that in hot countries it was a custom that when a visitor arrived at someone’s house they would have their feet washed, because they would be hot and dusty, and this would be done by servants.

 

Tell the children about Jesus’ special meal with his friends, where he, though he was their leader, chose to wash their feet. His friends were not happy about him doing this, because he was taking on the role of a servant. As you talk, demonstrate by washing feet in your chosen way (see Preparation and materials).

 

Time for reflection

Reflection:

Explain that this story does not mean we should all go around washing each other’s feet literally, but that we should have the attitude of Jesus towards other people, serving them, respecting them, not bossing them about; treating each other as special people. Encourage the children to think how they could serve others today, in simple ways such as caring for a younger child in the playground, helping clear the table at home, and so on.

 

Prayer:

Thank you, Lord, for all the leaders in our communities, 
for our teachers, policemen and women, and so many others. 
We thank you for all those who serve with the same attitude as Jesus. 
Help us to serve each other with gentleness and respect.

 

We think of our leaders – whether those with political power or those that volunteer their time as school governors to help run our school. Thank you for democracy which provides a way for us to have our say.

 

Assembly: The Bible is a library

Bible

Today’s assembly was for one of our local Infants school’s and themed around the Bible is a library:

Aims

To help the children understand the variety of material in the Bible.

 

Preparation and Materials

  • A large Bible (you could borrow a lectern Bible from church).
  • Two benches or equivalent, one on either side of you.
  • A4 cards showing the following words, one on each: Stories, Songs, Poems, History, Wise sayings, Laws, and four road signs.

 

Assembly

If I asked you what your favourite book in all the world is – hands up if you would be able to name one straight away? Books are fantastic and the great thing about them is that there are books to suit everyone. Hands up if you like books about cars, wizards, pirates, detectives, cook books?

 

What book am I thinking about now? It’s in two main parts. One part is a special book for Jewish people, Christians and others. The second part is the Christians’ special book. But the whole thing is not just one book but lots of books – it’s the Bible.

 

Does anyone know how many books are in the Bible? The two parts are the Old Testament (39 books) and the New Testament (27 books). So it’s a bit more like a library of books than just one book.

 

Ask the children about going to the library – if there’s a school library you could talk about how we choose different books.   I expect your teachers really like you to choose a wide variety of different books, not always the same kind. That helps us to learn about lots of different things.
So I thought we would create a human library today. I am going to need some volunteers.  Invite a number of children up to represent the different types of books that we find in the Bible library. Don’t go into too much detail – you just want to give them the idea that the Bible is a rich and varied collection. Give them the A4 cards to hold. Put some volunteers on the OT ‘shelf’ (bench) and some on the NT.

 

Christians believe that as we read the Bible we get to know God better. There are lots of great children’s books and Bible stories (you could show some or mention where they are in the school library). Even if we find it hard to read the Bible ourselves at the moment we can listen to others tell us the stories and get to know God that way. Above all, Christians believe that God’s great book, the Bible, is meant to be enjoyed by everyone.

 

Ask the children what each road sign stands for:

  • No entry
  • Stop
  • One way
  • Danger from falling rocks.

 

Show a Bible and point out that Christians and people of other faiths believe that it is a book that contains much wisdom that can help us to live a better life.

 

Show the ‘No entry’ sign. Sometimes the Bible tells us that it is better for us not to follow certain ways of living (such as being selfish and holding on to our possessions). You may wish to draw attention to the Ten Commandments. Christians believe that this is not because God is a ‘spoil sport’ but because God loves and cares for us.

 

Show the ‘Stop’ sign. Explain that sometimes in the Bible there are stories and laws that tell us to stop doing something we are already doing. It may be that we are hurting other people or doing something that we know is wrong. The Bible shows us that we should stop doing wrong and follow a life that is good and helps and cares for others.

 

Show the ‘One way’ sign. The Bible shows us a way to live that encourages us to think of others before ourselves. It asks us to not always put ourselves first and make demands, but to consider other people’s ideas and preferences. We will be happier when we live like this.

 

Show the ‘Danger’ sign. Explain that Christians believe that the Bible is not there to make our lives boring or miserable but to show us a good way to live that makes those around us happy. It shows us that there is a danger of living lives so caught up with ourselves that we end up making ourselves and those around us unhappy too.

 

Recap that the Bible is not just a rule book for Christians to follow; it is full of examples of how we can live our lives for others. Many people find that it gives them direction and provides them with peace and comfort. Some people believe that God speaks directly to them through the Bible and others find it a good source of interesting stories and wisdom from the earliest civilizations. It tells the stories of Jesus and his followers in the New Testament, and of the Jewish people in the Old Testament.

 

Time for reflection

Think about books. What kind of books do you like? Do you have a favourite book and a favourite writer?  Do you know any very old stories such as those you might read in the Bible or from ancient legends?

 

Dear God, thank you for all the different types of books.  Thank you for the joy of reading.  Thank you for the Bible, for the stories, letters, poems and songs, history and more that we find between its pages.  Amen.

Job opportunity at schoolswork.co.uk

Schoolswork.co.uk are advertising a great role to go and work with them:

Job Opportunity - schoolswork.co.uk

Are you passionate about work in schools?
Are you interested in professional development?
Would you like to work within a creative, growing team that works nationally but is rooted locally?

We have an exciting new opportunity at schoolswork.co.uk for someone to join the team and take the work of the Enable Schools Work course to the next level. The job is part time and is available from May/June. You can download the relevant documents below, which should include all you need to know. Please also pass on the word to anyone you know who might be interested in joining us.

If you have any questions not answered in the documents below, please email or call on 01582 748964. We can also send you all of the documents in an email if it is tricky for you to download them here, or even post them out to you. Just get in touch and we’ll be happy to help. The closing date has been updated to Friday, 27th June 2014.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Amy

Read me first: Introduction letter
The Job Description: Download
Background information: Download
Application Form: Download

Talk on Psalm 84

Psalms

Tonight as part of our Psalms, Pudding and Prayer series, for our 11-18 year olds, I spoke on Psalm 84 – you can download the powerpoint here:

You might know the words of this Psalm from the Matt Redman song that we sing at Soul Survivor. The Psalm is the musing of one unnamed pilgrim as he makes his way up to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles. He’s longing to get to God’s house – he has this intense desire for the House of God. He longs to be with God’s people, worshipping. We read about it in vv1-2.

 

This traveller is even jealous of birds! The Temple courtyards were open to the sky, and the great eaves provided a place for good nesting, so there were always these birds in and around the Temple.

 

Do you have a love like this – a longing for God’s house?

 

As we read through the Psalm I think there are four key things to reflect on. Firstly:

 

  1. Look to God alone for your strength

How many have found that the Christian life is impossible without God’s strength? Yet so often our greatest battle is about learning to trust Him instead of doing it on our own steam. That’s human nature.

 

We do not have enough resources in ourselves to make the whole journey. Christians burn out because they strive in their own strength. And you know, you can get so far, but you’ll never finish without God’s strength.

 

At some points there has to be refuelling. Refilling. It’s why it’s so important to stop each day to read the bible and pray – to live daily in God’s strength.

 

2. Put your heart into the journey

Put your whole heart into the journey. We shouldn’t be people who are just letting life pass us by – being dictated to by our circumstances – “waiting out” our time until Jesus comes – we must have our eyes on the finish line, but our energies, our heart, our hands and feet, ought to be occupied with making the journey count – living for Jesus – Paul wrote: “For me to live is Christ”.

 

3. See the opportunity in every trial

Trials are on nearly every page of the Bible. The Bible talks about them a lot, because they are common to every person on the face of the earth. And if some well-meaning person has suggested to you that Christians aren’t supposed to have trials – that we’re never supposed to ever have a cold, that we won’t ever experience sadness or loss, that we shouldn’t ever feel a financial difficulty – then I think you should go back to that well-meaning person and invite them to read their Bible through again.

 

The 3rd key is not to pretend trials don’t exist but rather to see trials as opportunities. “The Valley of Baca” is literally: “The Valley of Weeping”. Haven’t we all passed through some Valleys of Baca? Some Valleys of Weeping. But here it says that, if the Lord is your Strength, and if your heart is set on the journey, you can see the Valley of Weeping become a spring. What to others is a place of bitterness can to you become a place of blessing. A place of growth.

 

It might not always be apparent, but the opportunity for growth and blessing is always right there in the middle of the trial. It’s not always easy, but with God’s help, and the comfort of the Holy Spirit, we can use trials as opportunities.

 

We all love the “mountain top” experiences; times of blessing and sunshine – but where does the fruit grow? You won’t find many orchards on mountain tops – oh, the view is nice up there, but the fruit grows in the valleys. And it’s those trials in our lives that God can use best to bring us on “from glory to glory” by His Spirit.

 

And this leads us into the fourth, and final, key:

 

4. Remember that God is in control

He’s always in sovereign control. He will never surrender His position on the throne to any person or any thing. He cannot be defied. God is in control!

 

Let’s read together verse 6 of this great 84th Psalm … [Read]. Here is the promise of God. If I am (1) looking to God alone for my strength, and (2) if I’ve put my heart into the journey, and (3) I’m looking to see what opportunity God might have in every trial, then the sovereign God will do two things for me:

a)     He will direct my steps in strength, and

b)    He will bring me right through to my eternal destination

 

He will direct their steps in strength: When you allow the Holy Spirit free reign in your life, you will go from strength to strength, until you bear the image and likeness of Jesus Christ. Oh, let God do that in your life! Submit to Him, I urge you today.

 

He will bring them through to their destination: This pilgrim is just longing to get to Jerusalem – to the House of the Lord. And here is the assurance – God will bring him through, safe all the way.

 

Can you be sure that you’re going to make it all the way to Heaven? Can you really know? ABSOLUTELY. He IS the Author and the Finisher of our faith!

 

Conclusion

I don’t want to just limp through life – by the grace of God I want to go from strength to strength! With faith in God I believe I can outgrow my difficulties. I believe YOU can outgrow YOUR difficulties.

 

Here again are the 4 keys to a successful passage through life, as we see them in Psalm 84:

 

  1. Look to God alone for your strength
  2. Put your heart into the journey
  3. See the opportunity in every trial
  4. Remember that God is in control

CMS and Greenbelt launch Missional Entrepreneurship competition

Pickwell Manor

There’s an interesting new missional entrepreneurship competition being launched by Greenbelt and the Church Mission Society:

The Church Mission Society, in partnership with Greenbelt, is launching a missional entrepreneurship competition ahead of this year’s festival.

Submit your entry by 18 July 2014 >

RS37572_United_Kingdom_Events_98066-scrWe are asking festivalgoers to submit an idea that is both transformational and includes a means of generating income.  

The shortlisted entrants will get to pitch to a panel of entrepreneurs at Greenbelt 2014.

The Prize

The winner will receive a free place – worth £400 – on CMS’smissional entrepreneurship week, an annual residential atPickwell Manor in Devon (pictured above). They’ll be taught with other budding entrepreneurs, the expertise necessary to work up their idea into a realistic money-making venture and have the opportunity to present to a panel of potential funders.

RS58016_ME_2013-8-scrHow to enter

Simply tell us, in 20-25 words each:

  • What is your idea to make a positive difference in the world?
  • How will it generate income to be financially sustainable in the long term?

Entrance criteria

The other beach nearby!

You must be:

  • over 18
  • a UK resident
  • able to take up the prize from 16-21 November 2014
  • attending Greenbelt Festival 22-25 August 2014
  • and willing to pitch at a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style event over the Greenbelt weekend.

Closing date for entries will be Friday 18 July.

Announcement of the successful shortlisted entrants will take place on Monday 21 July.

Submit your entry now >

All-Age Talk: Jesus turns water into wine

nearly-empty-glass-of-wine1

This morning I spoke at our all-age service on John 2:1-11 looking at Jesus turning water into wine, and here’s the PowerPoint:

The first miracle of Jesus took place in Cana of Galilee. The event was a wedding. Cana was a inconspicuous little town that lay outside of Nazareth. Cana had no social prominence in its day.  It’s interesting to note: Jesus ministry, like his birth, began in a small, unimportant town, to common every day people.

 

Mary the mother of Jesus, and Jesus and his disciples had all been invited to the wedding.  Weddings were, and are, a big deal in the Jewish culture.  The wedding ceremony would take place late in the evening after a time of feasting. The father of the bride would take his daughter on his arm, and with the wedding party in tow, would parade through the streets of the village so that everyone could come out and congratulate the bride. Finally the wedding party would arrive at the home of the groom. The wedding actually took place in the front door of the grooms house. It was no short ceremony … no the festivities lasted for days. It was a time of great celebration.

 

After the wedding ceremony the bride and groom walked through the streets accompanied by flaming torches. Their attendants walked with them keeping a canopy over their heads. The wedding party always took the longest route through the village so that as many people as possible could wish them well.

 

There was no such thing as a honeymoon! No, the couple kept open house for a week. They were treated like royalty. They dressed in fancy clothes and many times actually wore crowns on their heads. Whatever desire they spoke for…they received. Their word was law!

 

The groom’s family was expected to provide all the refreshments for this week of festivities.

 

That’s where we pick up today’s Bible reading.  Suddenly the host discovers that they are running out of wine. They had more guests than they anticipated. It would have been improper for the culture of this time to not have wine. Jews did not get drunk at these celebrations — drunkenness was considered a disgrace. But the host could have actually been sued for a breach of hospitality to his guest.

 

We can assume that Jesus’ mother was a close friend of the groom’s mother and she heard about the problem.  Jesus’ mother comes to Jesus and says, “Son, we’ve got a problem here, and we need your help. The groom’s family is running out of wine.”  The fact that Mary came to Jesus with such a problem is a reminder that Jesus is concerned with the everyday things in life that we face.

 

Jesus answers his mother in what seems like a harsh way. He was not being harsh, he was just simply already focusing on his life and ministry, and had began to detach himself from his family.

 

John calls this first miracle a sign. Signs are usually placed in places to give us information, or point us in the direction. The miracles of Christ were always meant to reveal to us the glory of God, and point us to who He truly is.

 

Let’s take a look at what this first sign means for us today.  Notice that first of all:

 

The wine can run out.

Mary realises the seriousness of the issue. You can hear it in her words… “They have no wine.”  To the Jewish people wine symbolised joy. The Jewish rabbis had a saying, ‘Without wine there is no joy.” At the wedding in Cana their joy had run out!  It is a reminder of the emptiness of our life without Christ.  This statement by the mother of Jesus goes beyond liquid refreshment at a wedding. It is symbolic of our lives. It is a scary thing when the “wine runs out.”

 

There are times when the wine runs out. The joy is dry!  For example, families that once began with exuberant joy are now ending in the pain of divorce – why? There is no more joy in the relationship.  You and I have no resources available within ourselves to replace the joy. Only new wine can come from Jesus Christ.

 

When the wine runs out, Jesus can turn the water into wine.

Mary came to Jesus and told him of the problem that they were facing. I can just imagine her telling the groom’s mother, “You hold on just a minute! I know just what to do with this situation.” She came to Jesus and told him.  I love her instructions to the servants. “Whatever he says to you, do it” Just Do It!

 

Jesus took the waterpots that were filled with ordinary water for handwashing. When the guest arrived someone would pour some of this water over their hands in a symbolic purification. To eat with unwashed hands would have been a defilement.  Jesus took this water and made approximately 180 gallons of wine.

 

It’s interesting to note that Jesus took the water for purification and used it for his first miracle. The water in those pots was merely for an external cleansing. Jesus ministry over the next three years would teach people about an inner cleansing.

 

Jesus takes the ordinary things and makes it into something amazing.  But not just that, if we look at the first miracle of Jesus we see this truth: “Jesus is not just the giver of joy…he is the giver of “abundant” joy.” He not only met their immediate need, but he gave an abundance.  Jesus did not just make some ordinary wine. No, the wine that he produced was better than that which they had started the celebration with.

 

Jesus didn’t just doctor the water so that it tasted like wine. No, the water in those pots was transformed into the finest wine the people had ever tasted.  The truth for us is this—Jesus is not going to just doctor up our lives a little bit, just put a plaster on our needs—no he wants to transform your life, just like he transformed that water. Our lives will take on a new nature.

 

Jesus is all about transforming power. Changing people—that’s what its all about.  This Sign teaches us that…

 

Jesus offers an abundance of new wine at the end.

Sometimes its hard for us to understand God not only meeting our need but providing for us an abundance.  That’s the story of grace. There is no measure to grace. There will always be enough grace to meet our needs. That’s the story of God’s love. There is nothing that you can do that will cause God to diminish his love for you.

 

Understand this principle of God today…God is not just a God of the required—he is a God of the abundance. Malachi 3:10, “Bring all the tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house, and prove me now in this, says the Lord of hosts, If I will not open the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it”

 

Not “just enough”—an abundance  Look at creation – the New Forest, there is an overabundance. God didn’t give us “just enough” beauty, it is all around us. Have you ever been to the seashore and looked out over the ocean. There is far more beauty that our eyes can absorb. Have you ever seen a field of wildflowers? Not just enough to fill a vase in your living room, but more than enough. This is the picture of grace…God always gives more than you will ever need!

 

So the wine is poured out and all the people who are present rejoice at the richness of this “new wine”.  This was completely against custom. The best wine was always offered first.  Isn’t that just like our Lord? The best always comes at the end. The grace we once tasted cautiously—we now drink freely. Jesus has poured out in us the richness of his love and forgiveness.  There is one among us who is pouring out the rich “wine” and there is enough for everyone!

 

 

What do you do when the wine runs out? Mary showed us by example. She told the servants that if they would just do what Jesus commanded they would see a miracle. A miracle that not only met their immediate need…but a miracle of abundance.

 

Has your joy ran out today? Jesus wants to transform you! Bring your need to him!

Why don’t we see miracles all the time?

Justin Holcomb:

Many contemporary Christians feel disconnected from the vibrant, Spirit-filled ministries of the prophets and apostles described in the Bible. In the Old Testament, God seemingly took the people of Israel through miraculous event after miraculous event. In the New Testament, those who watched the ministry of Jesus were seized with amazement at the miracles he performed (Luke 5:25), and the apostles in the early church regularly performed signs and wonders among the people (Acts 5:12).

Yet today, such miraculous events seem rare and, when we do hear reports of miracles, many Christians are skeptical. At the very least, we feel there’s something different about the way God worked in the Old and New Testament periods and the way he works today. This raises a valid question: Why don’t we experience today the miracles we read about in the New Testament?

To answer that question, we need to understand not only how God works through providence and common grace, but we must also understand the purpose of miracles in the Bible.

Read the rest.

Why did Jesus die on a cross – 7-11 year old Sunday School session

Jesus - wordle

This morning our 7-11 year olds spent the morning looking at ‘Why did Jesus die on a cross?’:

Game: FOUR CORNERS

Equipment required: A blindfold.
Designate one young person as the ‘caller’. Stand this person in the middle of the room and blindfold them.Number each of the corners of the room.

One of the leaders starts the game off. Each of the young people have to choose one of the corners of the room to run to. When everyone is waiting in the corner of their choice the caller shouts out a number (1 – 4). Everybody in that corner is out and should sit down.

Keep playing until there is only one player left in.

Once there are only eight players left you can add the rule that there can not be more than two people in each corner. With four players left you can only have one player in each corner.

If you have time you can select a new ‘caller’ and play again. You could see which caller manages to get everyone out with the fewest number of numbers shouted out.

Quiz: HOW MUCH IS. . .?

Equipment required: An Argos catalogue.
Call out various products from the catalogue and get the group to guess how much they cost. Give four possible price options and four corners where the group members must stand if they think it’s a certain amount, e.g. How much is a Barbie doll?Go to corner A if you think it’s £9.99. Go to corner B if you think it’s £16.98. Go to corner C if you think it’s £13.50. Go to corner D if you think it £17.99

We used this powerpoint to run it as a quiz: How much is it worth?

At the end of the game ask how much a human is worth.

Explain that Jesus died for us, we are so important.

Thought: HUMAN FOR SALE! HOW MUCH ARE YOU WORTH?

Equipment required: Some or all of the following items (optional): 7 bars of soap/fat, iron to make 1 nail, 7 cups of sugar, phosphorus to make 2200 matches, 6 buckets of water, sulphur to rid a dog of flees, 5 tablespoons magnesium/salt.Ask the group “How much money are you worth?” Get them to put a price on a human. £10,000,000?  Tell them that actually what’s actually in their body adds up to about £7

Read or show which actual items, what their bodies are made up of.

  • 7 bars of soap/fat
  • iron to make 1 nail
  • 7 cups of sugar
  • phosphorus to make 2200 matches
  • 6 buckets of water
  • sulphur to rid a dog of flees
  • magnesium/salt- 5 tablespoons

Explain that no one would sell you for just £7, you’re far more important than that. Jesus died to save all people. God loves us all so much and thinks we’re priceless!

Discussion: WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?

Equipment required: 2 white t-shirts.
Start the session by reading the crucifixion story (see ‘CF04 drama’ for the text). Talk a bit about the pain that Jesus must have gone through.Tell the group that people often say ‘Jesus died for our sins’. What does that actually mean? Discuss any ideas.

Ask for a volunteer. Put a white t-shirt on him/her. Ask the group what sins they all do (lie, gossip, swear, mock, bully, boast, be rude, be unkind).  As the group say these things, write them in black marker pen into the t-shirt in big writing.  Ask “what would God say if he looked at all those wrong things we do?” He wouldn’t be able to let us into heaven because we’re not perfect as God is.

Now explain that Jesus died for all of those wrong things that we do. So, if we love Jesus, when God looks at us, He sees a brand new white t-shirt that Jesus has given to us. We’re now perfect and allowed into heaven because Jesus took our sins and made us clean. As you’re talking, give the volunteer a new white t-shirt.

Show the group this verse from the Bible (maybe write is on a big sheet of paper).

But the fact is, it was our pains he carried—

   our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us.

We thought he brought it on himself,

   that God was punishing him for his own failures.

But it was our sins that did that to him,

   that ripped and tore and crushed him—our sins!

He took the punishment, and that made us whole.

Isaiah 53:5 (The message)

Talk about what it means and tell the group that anyone can have that white t-shirt, it’s a free gift.

Prayer: THANK YOU LETTERS

Equipment required: Paper and pens.
Ask the group if they have to write thank you letters after Christmas and birthdays. Why do they write them? (to thank someone for giving them a gift).Encourage the group to thank Jesus for dying for them and for the gift of eternal life in heaven.  You may prefer to write this as a group.

You could also use this time to talk about any further issues or misconceptions that may have arisen.

 

Job Opportunity

Mutley Baptist Church

Mutley Baptist, a great church in Plymouth are looking for a Youth and Children’s Pastor, do check out the full details:

Youth and Children’s Pastor

From September 2014 we are seeking someone who is passionate about introducing young people to Jesus and discipling them in their faith; to serve full time as a youth pastor and lead a team of paid staff and volunteers who serve in our youth and children’s ministry.The successful candidate must have experience of leading church based youth ministry and preferably a relevant qualification.Salary in the range of £21000 to £24000.Closing dates for applications is 24th June 2014 with interviews taking place over the weekend of Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th July 2014. Short listed candidates will need to attend both days. Accommodation can be provided for two nights and those travelling may wish to travel to Plymouth on the Friday night in anticipation of a 10am start on the Saturday.Please return competed application form to Rob Dymond, Operations Manager, Mutley Baptist Church, PLYMOUTH. PL4 6LB or byemail to robdymond@mutleybaptist.co.uk. If you need any further information please contact Rob on  01752 203346It is an Occupational Requirement for this role that the employee is a committed Christian.

Bereavement resources for young people

SeeSaw

SeeSaw, an organisation which offers grief support to young people in Oxfordshire helps children and their families both before and after a major bereavement, helping them to move forward and to face the future with hope, has been recommended by Ben Mizen for having some very useful bereavement resources including:

“It just gave me a bit of peace when the wheels of my life came off.” Parent

They can give advice to parents and carers, teachers and other professionals, and young people themselves. They also provide a tailored service to meet young people or their parents in person. The service is free and confidential.