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Jan 26

I Can Research 1

Are these facts true or false? You may have time to research them now so turn the cards when you think you know.




You need curiosity to be a researcher but you need more than that.  You need to have skill, to persevere, to check your sources and not to just follow the crowd to mention just a few.

One of the joys of having a partner school in Uganda and of being part of a diverse school and of a diverse city is that we sometimes have to research why certain actions have particular meaning.

You might like to research Passion Plays, for example.  I also wonder which country reads crime novels and thrillers as part of its Easter celebrations.  Do you know in what tradition the service starts with the phrase, “it is time for the Lord to act”?  You could also research Janani Luwum, a previous Archbishop of Uganda.  Bishop Mike of Bristol is going to Uganda in February to commemorate him.

Wanting to understand our near and far neighbours is an expression of love and an acknowledgment that we are all related to one another as we are all children of God.

Prayer (from the World Council of Churches):


Eternal God, whose image lies in the hearts of all people,
Help us to remember

that you love all people

with your great love,

that all religion is an attempt to respond to you,

that the yearnings of other hearts

are much like our own

and are known to you.

Help us to recognize you

in the words of truth,

the things of beauty,

the actions of love about us.

We pray through Christ,

who is a stranger to no one land

more than another,

and to every land

no less than to another.


Optional music: A lot of research has gone into this piece, but mainly, it’s just fun!



Tags: Faith
Jan 20

I Am Interdependent 2




Oxfam published a report this week, claiming that the world’s eight richest billionaires (who are all men) control the same wealth between them as the poorest half of the globe’s population, roughly 3.6 million people.

How does this news make you feel? What would be your headline for this story?

Mark Goldring CEO of Oxfam GB writes,


This year’s snapshot of inequality is clearer, more accurate and more shocking than ever before. It is beyond grotesque that a group of men who could easily fit in a single golf buggy own more than the poorest half of humanity.


As I think about the probability that I am in the top 5% of wealthy people, and live in one of the richest countries in the world, I have to accept that I too have a responsibility to work hard for equality. 

But how do we do it? What possibilities and solutions are there to reverse the gaps between rich and poor?

Someone has made this video to try to tackle that question:



Do you agree or disagree? Do you think we should we be focusing more on climate change or social change? How do they impact each other?

640px Whole world land and oceans 12000

By NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


As we aspire to become more outward looking people, let us also remember to pray;

God of the body of Christ, organs and limbs, feet and hands,
the weak and the strong, the broken and the suffering,
We recognize our dependence on you,
we see how you knit us together as one.
We confess our own independence, our own individualism and self-centeredness.
We too often say:
I don’t need you
I don’t need others
I can only rely on myself.
We see this has a crippling effect on our society, on our nations, on our souls.
Help us to nurture into our lives the very things necessary to see our own interdependence.
May you also strengthen this community and draw us together as one.

The Black Eyed Peas once asked the question, where is the love? Last year, they remixed and re-released it believing it’s a message the world desperately needs:



Tags: Faith
Jan 13

I Am Interdependent 1

Can you guess what these are pictures of?


Sushirrito (9310623804)




Kronum Field

Yes, you’re right. They are all mixtures. The first is a sushi burrito, the second shows Tex Mex foods, the third is chess boxing (yes really it exists) and the fourth is kronum, a mixture of handball, basketball, soccer and rugby. Obviously, if you took one part away from each of these, you would lose some effectiveness.

Interdependence is recognising when we are stronger with others than when we are on our own. Think of an example when you have understood this. 


Sometimes you’re not stronger when you’re working with someone else and mixing the heavy rock band Black Sabbath and a Cathedral Choir is not an obvious winner. That’s what’s just happened, though.

Tony Iommi - the guitarist in heavy metal band Black Sabbath - has written an acoustic arrangement for Birmingham Cathedral to "give something back" to his home city. Iommi, who rose to fame alongside Ozzy Osbourne in the 1960s, worked alongside the Very Reverend Catherine Ogle in order to create a five-minute arrangement which celebrates peace and harmony.

How Good It Is was inspired by Psalm 133 and is performed by the Cathedral Choir. Iommi accompanies the ensemble on acoustic guitar.

This week sees the start of the ‘Week of Prayer For Christian Unity’, a chance for Christians to recognise and deepen their sense of interdependence with those from other churches. Please pray especially this week for all of us to recognise that we are part of the body of Christ. Here is a prayer specially written for this week:


Almighty God, you sent your son Jesus Christ to reconcile the world to yourself.

We praise you because through your Gospel, in all parts of the earth a community of love has been gathered together, and that in every place your servants call upon your name.

May your Spirit awaken in every community a hunger and thirst for unity.




Tags: Faith
Jan 6

I Can Plan 2


Panthera uncia Shynghyz Tama Zoo 2015-09-20


I don’t know about you, but I love a new week, a new term, a new year, as it presents to me a ‘fresh start.’ I know there can be much cynicism towards them, but have any of you got ‘resolutions’ this year?

Some time ago, the legendary Sir David Attenborough had a new year’s resolution. He wanted to make a wildlife series which including footage of snow leopards. That might not be a big deal to you but people told him it couldn’t be done, because they were too rare. Nonetheless he persisted with his vision and his plans, and in Planet Earth 2, we see how the BBC team captured the snow leopard on camera for the first time.

This is a behind the scenes look at the filming:



This is what they captured:



Allthough we are taught that much of life involves planning ahead, we still find ourselves forgetting, when watching great pieces of music, sport, or film, that what we witnessed took resilience and hard work. Be like Sir David and whatever people say, don’t give up your dreams! As we go into a new year, let’s pray:

Thank you for this New Year and for all the potential it holds.
Thank you that it’s never too late to start again.
Thank you that we can do things we once thought impossible.
Give us diligence to stick to our goals, to work that bit longer, lift that bit heavier.
Help us to keep dreaming big, to loving strong, and keep laughing hard.
Deliver us from fear that seeks to rob us off life.


Tags: Faith
Dec 26

I Can Plan 1


Image licensed under CCo Unsplash


Are you planning a major journey in 2017? January 6 is Epiphany, the festival that remembers the visit of the magi, the wise men, to Jesus. It is probable that the magi came from Persia (modern Iraq/Iran) and so they travelled over one thousand miles.  They could not have set off without some serious planning. So, what are you planning for 2017? Have you made resolutions, and if so, are they expressed positively (something you are going to take up or do more of) or negatively (something you are going to give up or do less of)? If you are serious about your resolutions, then you need to do some planning. Our best plans consist of small steps towards the ultimate goal, rather than relying on one dramatic move. When the wise men had finished their journey, they found that their plans had come to pass as they met Jesus. May all our plans for 2017 become fruitful as we commit them to God.

Jesus said,


Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.  But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

Matthew 7


The Adoration of the Magi, with the Nativity and the Presentation in the Temple, Master of 1518, Netherlandish, c. 1520, oil on panel, detail - Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University - DSC01065


Prayer: God of all daily journeys, may we know you are always with us even though we can’t see you.  Help us to recognise that sometimes we have to risk getting things wrong or being foolish. Give us the courage sometimes to choose to risk making mistakes for the sake of trying to do something good and worthwhile for you and help us to learn well from all our experiences.


‘Warm up’ for the service by listening to:






Tags: Faith