Praying with loom bands

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Loved the article on Praying with Loom Bands over at Childrenswork Magazine, especially this idea:

Praying for the world

Choose three colours of band – one colour to represent you, one to represent your country and one to represent the world.

Using the single-linked method to make a band with alternating colours or with a block of each colour (as shown above). Add the link to make a bracelet and use it as a prayer bracelet – praying for each person or group as you move from colour to colour around the bracelet, or block of colour to block of colour.

Go check out the full article for more suggestions.

Bishops call for Iraqi Christians to be given asylum in Britain

Aid distributed to Christians in Iraw

The Observer reports: Bishops urge David Cameron to grant asylum to Iraqi Christians

The Church of England has demanded that the British government offers sanctuary to thousands of Christians fleeing jihadists in northern Iraq, warning that ignoring their plight would constitute a “betrayal of Britain’s moral and historical obligations”.

A number of bishops have revealed their frustration over David Cameron’s intransigence on the issue, arguing the UK has a responsibility to grant immediate asylum to Iraqi Christian communities recently forced to flee the northern city of Mosul after militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isis) threatened them with execution, a religious tax or forced conversion.

On Monday, France responded to the so-called religious cleansing by publicly granting asylum to Christians driven from Mosul. The Anglican Church argues the UK has an even greater responsibility to intervene, citing its central role in the 2003 allied invasion, which experts say triggered the destabilisation and sectarian violence that shaped the context for Isis to seize control of much of northern Iraq.

The bishop of Manchester, the Right Rev David Walker, told the Observer: “We would be failing to fulfil our obligations were we not to offer sanctuary. Having intervened so recently and extensively in Iraq, we have, even more than other countries, a moral duty in the UK.

“Given the vast amounts of money that we spent on the war in Iraq, the tiny cost of bringing some people fleeing for their lives to this country and allowing them to settle – and who, in due course, would be an asset to our society – would seem to be minuscule.”…

Rickie Lambert fails with his first spot-kick for Liverpool

Rickie Lambert - photo

Rickie Lambert, the man who never missed a penalty for Southampton FC, failed with his first spot-kick for Liverpool last night.

The striker converted all 34 of his competitive spot-kicks during his remarkable five years at St Mary’s.  But he failed to score his first penalty for Liverpool when he saw his effort during last night’s 2-0 friendly win over AC Milan saved by Christian Abbiati.

The Reds still won 2-0 in Charlotte, America, with goals from Joe Allen and Suso.

Gerrard reveals England retirement

Steven Gerrard today announced his retirement from international football with England following a glittering 14 years of representing his country.

Steven Gerrard - England

The midfielder’s journey with the Three Lions took him to three World Cup tournaments – 2006, 2010 and, most recently, this summer – and three European Championships.

After a debut against Ukraine in 2000, a total of 114 caps were amassed in the white colours, including 38 appearances as captain, making the Huyton native the nation’s third most capped player of all time.

In recognition of the Liverpool skipper’s unflinching commitment to England, he will now continue his relationship with the Football Association through an ambassadorial role.

Explaining the decision, Gerrard said:

“I have enjoyed every minute of representing my country and it is a sad day for me knowing that I won’t pull on the England shirt again.  However, I do look forward to continuing my strong relationship with The FA and helping out in any way I can going forward.

“I’d like to firstly thank my family and friends for all their support throughout my England journey. I’d also like to thank everyone who has been part of my international career, from the England managers I’ve played under to the staff at the FA and, of course, all the players I’ve been fortunate to play alongside.  In particular, the supporters have been amazing, not least in Brazil when they got behind the team despite the disappointing results.

“I’d especially like to thank Roy [Hodgson], firstly for giving me the captaincy permanently when he took the job, making me the proudest man in the country and allowing me to fulfil my childhood dream.  He has been very understanding over the past few weeks and is a man I will always hold in the highest regard.

“This has been a very difficult decision, one of the toughest I’ve had to make in my career. I have agonised over this since coming back from Brazil and have spoken to family, friends and people close to me in the game before coming to this point.

“Most importantly, Brendan [Rodgers] has been fantastic and obviously I have to look after my body as much as possible to ensure I can give everything when I take to the field.  To ensure I can keep playing to a high level and giving everything to Liverpool Football Club, I believe this is the right decision and having Champions League football back at Anfield is another big factor in my decision.”

Hodgson, who coached Gerrard both at Anfield and at international level, paid a glowing tribute to the man that captained his England side since taking the reins in 2012:

“While I’m disappointed in the decision, I can entirely understand Steven’s situation and can have no complaints given the incredible service he has given to his country.  I must respect his wishes due to the discussions we have had and the amount of thought and consideration he himself has given it.

“He is an incredible man and a fantastic footballer who we have all been blessed to see in an England shirt so often. It is never by coincidence that people reach such a staggering figure as 114 caps, it is a mark of his wonderful talent allied to a huge drive and determination to live up to the highest standard.

“He is not only a player to bring crowds to their feet with moments of brilliance; he was a tremendous captain and an exceptional role model for everyone who was fortunate to come into contact with him.  We shall miss his leadership qualities as we look ahead to the qualification campaign with a youthful group of players. I wish him all the best in the future, although I know I can count on his continued support and influence as a helpful presence moving forward.”

Rickie Lambert to wear No.9 at LFC

New Liverpool striker Rickie Lambert has been handed the historic No.9 shirt at Anfield.

Rickie Lambert - LFC

The England international sealed a switch to his boyhood side at the beginning of June and kicked off pre-season preparations earlier this week.

Today it was confirmed that the 32-year-old will follow in the footsteps of illustrious names such as Robbie Fowler, Steve Heighway, Ian Rush and Ian St John in wearing the number.

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

Bishop of Leeds new robes

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Loved this blog post from Anglican Memes:

As the new Diocese of West Yorkshire and the Dales prepared to enthrone its Diocesan Bishop, Nick Baines, details of his specially-designed robes were revealed.

Having been tipped off about the likely result of the General Synod vote on Saturday which made the wearing of robes optional, Bishop Nick requested a groundbreaking new design of Episcopal apparel which he strenuously denies is based on the Liverpool FC home kit.

His mitre bears what appears to be a hitherto unseen Diocesan acronym YNWA “Yorkshire North & West Areas”

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Note: Bishop Nick and the Area Bishops for the new Diocese do actually have newly-created robes which have been designed by Polly Meyell.  These can be seen on the West Yorkshire and the Dales website.

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.”

Southampton FC Home Kit for 2014/2015 launched

Southampton Football Club today unveiled its 2014/15 home kit with a clear message: the stripes are back.

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The past two seasons have seen the team play in what were effectively all-red shirts.However, Saints’ new board have decided to revert back to the more traditional look – something that many supporters had hoped for.  The club said: “The new strip celebrates Saints’ long and rich heritage with a design that is bespoke and unique to the club.”

Saints are producing the kit in-house this season, after their previous deal with adidas came to an early end.  The 2014/15 home strip will go on sale on Saturday 19th July, with the away kit to be revealed in the near future.

Adults’ home shirts will be priced at £50, with a long-sleeved version available at £55. Children’s shirts will be £40, with infants’ mini-kits priced £35.

The 2014/15 home strip will be available via the Saints Megastore, the Saints Store at WestQuay and the club’s online store:

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.

 

How to Maintain Pastoral Zeal While Avoiding Pastoral Burnout

Christopher Ash, director of Cornhill Training Course, speaking on May 13, 2014, at Truth for Life’s Basics conference, shares out of personal experience and from the Word:

How can burnout be a problem in ministry when Christ Himself encouraged His followers to give up everything for the sake of the Gospel? Christopher Ash explains that there is a vital difference between living sacrificially for Jesus and pursuing our calling in a way that leads to mental and physical exhaustion. When Christian leaders bear in mind that we are created by God from dust and that all of our endeavors are dependent on Him for success, we are reminded that Gospel ministry is a humbling privilege and enabled to rejoice that we are recipients of God’s grace in Christ Jesus.

You can watch the whole thing here: