What are the largest religious groups around the world?

What are the largest religious groups around the world?

The Independent reports that the world is going to become more religious, with the number of people who identify as non-religious shrinking as a percentage of the world’s population, according to a report by the Pew Research Centre.

But what are the world’s religions, and how they distributed? This map, developed by The Independent and Statistia, shows which religions have the most subscribers in different parts of the world.

largest-religious

More people than ever use food banks in Britain today – and I’m one of them

More people than ever use food banks in Britain today – and I’m one of them

As the Trussell Trust reveals that food bank usage is at record levels one user writes a first hand account of her experiences using one:

My designated food bank operates out of a nearby church and I feel a deep sense of shame and anxiety on the way there. I worry that someone I know locally will stop to chat and I will be exposed as broke and dependent on charity.

The food bank volunteers, however, are kind and solicitous. They introduce themselves, shake my hand, and invite me to sit in chairs thoughtfully grouped at conversational angles. I am not interrogated and nobody towers over me; I am grateful for the eye contact and empathy I receive in response to my tale of benefit delays, impoverishment and worries about the rent. I am offered tea, cake and cheerful conversation in the most welcoming tradition of the church. It feels as though the whole process has been carefully worked out in order to preserve my dignity and I am moved by this tenderness.

 

As I unpack my groceries, I am deeply grateful that there are good citizens out there who have a bit to spare. I am also deeply angry that it is up to the churches and charities to plug the gaps left by a welfare state that seems to be creaking under sustained ideological pressure in one of the world’s richest countries. I feel guilty that my poverty is nothing compared to the suffering of those in developing nations or walking the roads of hostile Europe seeking refuge from war. And I am thankful that I have enough to eat for a while longer and that I will live to fight another day.

 

Drinkaware for Education resources

Drinkaware for Education resources

Drinkaware alcohol education resources have recently received the PSHE Association Quality Mark for best practice PSHE teaching resources.

Drinkaware for Education offers free, curriculum-linked alcohol education resources for students aged 9 to 14. Incorporating discussion-based activities, role plays and scenarios drawn from everyday situations, the resources make it easy to equip students with the information they need to stay safe from alcohol harm.

Using videos, lesson plans and a range of activities, Drinkaware for Education addresses emotional health and peer pressure, as well as the harms and risks commonly associated with alcohol.

Developed in conjunction with teachers and educational experts, the resources are flexible and can be adapted to suit teachers’ needs. Teachers can mix and match which activities to use and when to teach them, and they can be taught in any order.

Young people are encouraged to work in teams, as well as take part in whole group activities which develop essential skills such as risk-awareness, managing peer pressure and communication, through sessions covering:

  • The law on alcohol
  • Health and social harms associated with drinking alcohol underage
  • The effect alcohol can have on emotional health and wellbeing
  • The relationship between peer pressure and underage drinking

Visit the Drinkaware for Education website to register for these free resources

Girl Guides are getting a new badge for talking about mental health

Girl Guides are getting a new badge for talking about mental health

Girlguiding has a long track record in the UK when it comes to teaching girls and young women useful skills ranging from camping and personal safety to science, first aid, cookery and crafts. Once Girl Guides have a new skill under their belt, they earn badges which can be sewn onto clothing or a camp blanket

Now, Girl Guides will have a new badge to earn. Girlguiding has launched a new badge programme to give girls an opportunity to talk about their mental wellbeing and resilience

 

The new programme, called Think Resilient, was created following requests from Girl Guides with the aim of breaking down the stigma surrounding the topic of mental health and wellbeing and to encourage more open and supportive conversations.

Young women in guiding aged between 14 and 25 who are trained to talk to their peers and younger girls about things like body confidence and healthy relationships — called ‘peer educators’ — will manage the programme.

Girl Guides will take part in sessions designed to teach girls about resilience and techniques for positive thinking, as well as helping them identify their support networks. Peer educators will also use interactive activities to help girls find positive ways of dealing with pressures and challenges in their lives.

Activities include learning self-calming techniques and responding to “agony aunt” letters (notes modeled after advice columnists) by breaking problems down into small, solvable steps.

The move comes after Girlguiding research in 2015 found that 82% of girls aged 11 to 21 feel that adults don’t recognise the pressure that young people are under, and 66% of girls aged 17 to 21 feel that mental health is awkward to talk about. The research was based on a survey of 1,574 respondents.

According to mental health charity Young Minds, one in 10 children and young people aged between 5 and 16 suffer from a diagnosable mental health disorder, and nearly 80,000 children and young people suffer from severe depression.

Girlguiding’s chief guide, Gill Slocombe, said in a statement:

“Girlguiding listens to girls and we’ve created this inspiring new resource as a direct response to what girls told us they need.  I’m very proud of the young women in guiding involved in developing this programme that will have such a hugely positive impact on thousands of their peers across the UK.”

Reboot: Youth Apologetics

Reboot: Youth Apologetics

Once a year, REBOOT meets in the centre of London to explore questions such as ‘How can we know God exists?’, ‘Why does God allow suffering?’ and ‘Hasn’t science disproved God?’. REBOOT provides a place for young people, with or without any faith or church background, to raise their objections and investigate different perspectives.

Reboot 2
Photographs from RZIM Reboot Conference in London by John Cairns (www.johncairns.co.uk)

Through its annual conference, online resources, and speaking invitations, REBOOT aims to equip young people to understand and be able to answer some of these big questions for themselves.  Run by the Zacharias Trust and the OCCA [the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics] they want young people to have confidence in what they believe, and the chance to be honest about their doubts.

 

Reboot 3.jpgWhen? Saturday 24th September

Where? Emmanuel Centre, Marsham Street, Westminster, London, SW1P 3DW

Cost?  Youth: £8 per ticket  Youth Worker: free with 4 youth tickets

What should I bring? Yourself, a notebook and pen, a packed lunch

Children’s & Youth Work links

Children’s & Youth Work links

Here’s some links from the last few weeks that are worth taking a few minutes to read if you’re involved in children’s and youth work:

Chaplaincy Central conference 2016

Chaplaincy Central conference 2016

Chaplaincy Central Conference 2016: Inspirational Chaplaincy June 2015: A day conference for those involved in schools and FE chaplaincy organised by Chaplaincy Central

Chaplaincy Central logo

  • When:Wednesday, 15 June 2016 from 10:00 to 16:00
  • Where: Christian Life Centre 900 Bristol Road Selly Oak, Birmingham B29 6HW, United Kingdom – View Map
  • How much:£25 per place
  • Tickets available here

Children’s & Youth Work links

Children’s & Youth Work links

Here’s some links from the last few weeks that are worth taking a few minutes to read if you’re involved in children’s and youth work:

Origins: A youth prayer course for 11-18 year olds

Origins: A youth prayer course for 11-18 year olds

There’s a new resource from the fabulous team over at 24-7 Prayer, to help young people aged 11-18 engage in prayer.

In the gospel of Luke, one of Jesus’s disciples asks him to teach them something. The disciple asks,

“Lord, teach us to pray…”

In a fun and laid back way, Origins will engage young people in the idea of prayer over 7 weeks, as well as giving practical suggestions to help them grow their prayer lives.

OriginsStack.jpgWHO IS ORIGINS FOR?

Origins is a 7 week prayer resource for 11-18 year olds, that will teach young people to pray.

The course is designed for young people from all backgrounds. The desire is that anyone at any place with God can come along and build community whilst learning how to have a relationship with Jesus.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

OriginsSpreadEach session is designed to fit into one and a half hours, but it can be changed to suit your group circumstances. The length of prayer times will increase over the seven weeks.

This course is designed for youth groups of all sizes but we suggest splitting into smaller groups for discussions.

HOW MUCH IS ORIGINS, AND WHERE CAN I GET IT?

It costs £5 per copy and is available on the 24-7 Prayer Shop.

Government report revealing full impact of cuts to children’s centres

Government report revealing full impact of cuts to children’s centres

A damning report which revealed the full extent of the harm done by funding cuts to children’s centres was among more than 400 statements, documents and reports quietly released by the Government just before Christmas.

A six-year study by Oxford University researchers ‘The impact of children’s centres: studying the effects of children’s centres in promoting better outcomes for young children and their families‘ highlighted how children’s centres – often known as Sure Start – were making a difference in some of the poorest areas of the country, but have suffered acutely from cuts or restructuring.

The final report was agreed in August, but the Department for Education (DfE), which commissioned it, quietly slipped it out on 17 December, along with hundreds of other statements, documents and reports.

The study is the most detailed ever conducted into the impact of children’s centres on the families who use them. The researchers examined 117 children’s centres in 2011 and 2013 – many of which may have been hit by further cuts since – and analysed interviews with more than 2,600 parents who used them, in order to calculate the impact the centres were having on families using different types of service.