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Oct 20

I Value Myself 2

SMRC images

These photos of St May Redcliffe church show how they have been making a scene, to get 'seen for the unseen', and thus raise awareness about slavery in our city, as part of Anti-Slavery Week.

How could we as individuals, tutors or as a school, create more awareness about anti-slavery week?

I was privileged to help make a video for a charity that works to highlights modern day slavery and where it may be happening.

 

 

It can be all too easy to forget that slavery happens HERE IN BRISTOL. When we become preoccupied with ourselves, and our lives, we can forget about the unseen in our communities. However I believe God wants us to wake up to their need. This is shown in Isaiah 58:6 with the strong words:  

 

 

Is not this the fast that I choose: to loosen the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?

 

Unseen, a Bristol charity, is working hard to ‘let the oppressed go free’, by operating safe houses around the city to help victims of modern day slavery. It runs two programs – providing emergency refuge for women who have been trafficked, and resettling those victims afterwards. Have a look on their website http://www.unseenuk.org/ and join in their ‘Get seen for Unseen' campaign. I’ll be painting my nails!

 

Prayer:
Father God, we call on your name on behalf of all those in danger of trafficking and those who have already been taken.

As we mark Anti-Slavery Day, shine your light on their suffering so that more people are aware of what is happening and can help them. We dare to ask that those involved in the trafficking would have their plans foiled, and would see the error in their ways.

We thank you for the work of Unseen and others who work to combat modern slavery. We ask for your provision, wisdom and courage as they work so that more can live in safety.

May your kingdom come and will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Amen

 

Oct 14

I Value Myself 1

A simple message this week. How would you react if a friend or classmate told you you were beautiful? Here’s a video of reactions to Shea, a US student, saying exactly that.

 

 

Maybe we wouldn’t use the term ‘beautiful’ to describe ourselves but if we value ourselves, then we need to accept ourselves and understand that we are loved for who we are. Hindus and others will often greet people with the word ‘namaste’ and a slight bow with hands pressed together. This roughly means that they recognise the divine spark in each other. Maybe we could try something practical to recognise that all humans are children of God. We could compliment somebody else, we could pray for the wellbeing of someone we don’t get on well with or ………. (replace the dots with an idea that you/your tutor group can come up with).


John writes,

 

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.

1 John 4

 

Prayer:

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God,
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with us all,
now and evermore.
Amen.

Rend Collective have just released their second Campfire album. There’s a song on it which could easily become the SMRT Alive theme tune. Here are two versions, the first is Rend performing it. The second has the lyrics. Hope you like it.

 

 

 

 

Oct 7

I Can Communicate 2

life 863033 960 720
CCo Public Domain

 

In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.

Martin Luther King Jr

 

Communication is as much about what we don’t say, as what we do say. What issues do you feel need to be spoken about at this time? What stories need more coverage or action?

This week I, like many, was moved by Zianna’s story. Whether you’ve heard it or not, let’s listen carefully to what she says:



When asked why she spoke up, she said; 

 

I knew grown ups and others kids wouldn't get up there and do it. Kids, they're, like, shy. But I'm not shy to tell them how I feel about it.

 

How do we normally respond to things we see or hear that disturb, upset or anger us? 

A prayer for courage and peace;

Good and gracious God, Who loves and delights in all people.

Give us fire in the belly to speak up against injustice and rally for good.

May our hearts and minds be open to celebrate similarities and differences in the world.

We place our hopes for racial harmony in our committed action and in Your Presence in our Neighbor.

May all peoples live in Peace.

Amen.

This song about freedom and equality was written in 1963 has been covered by some excellent artists and most recently Emeli Sande:

 

 

Sep 30

I Can Communicate 1

Use the following video to set the atmosphere:

 


Discuss with each other how you reacted to the Sam Allardyce (the only England manager with 100% success rate) story and sacking that happened last week.

 

 

 

 

 


One thing that struck me was the way the previous England football manager, Roy Hodgson, was mocked for the way he pronounces his “r” sound by Sam Allardyce.


It seems as though some of us still feel it is OK to laugh at differences in speech and the way we sound. There are so many natural variations in speaking, some of us sound husky, some high-pitched, some monotonous, some nasal, some with a lisp, some may use an “f” sound instead of a “th”, some may be softly spoken, some loud. All perfectly acceptable ways of speaking that should not be worthy of comment.


Learning to speak is a complex process which starts the minute we are born, listening and babbling and creating sounds that eventually become meaningful words. Speech sounds usually develop in order but children vary in when they can say these sounds and how quickly they are produced.


Speech sounds can sometimes be problematic for children and they may need help with this from a speech and language therapist. There are also those born with conditions that make verbal speech very difficult and so need to use other forms of communication such as signing. Fluency in speaking can be problematic for some people and children will typically go through a phase of stammering with about 1% of adults having some form of stammer. In the UK significant speech, language or communication problems are found in more than a million children or young people. This has huge psychological implications affecting their learning, self-esteem, friendships and social interaction. How would they have felt reading what Allardyce had said?


Speaking and communication is such a massive part of expressing who we are as people, it is our way of interacting with others, it is the foundation for relationships, sharing our humour, our personality and having social contact.


It is a great responsibility for humans, for you and me, as to how we use our powers of communication.  Please think about your words and your body language particularly this week.


No wonder Paul advised the Colossians, and us:

 

Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.

Colossians 4

 

Jesus taught that we can communicate with God using a special prayer, the Lord’s Prayer.  Here it is in the language that Jesus used:

 

 

Use it as our prayer this week.  Could anyone in the group recognise some of the words?

 

 

Sep 22

I am Organised 2

Refugee boat

 flickr photo by CAFOD Photo Library https://flickr.com/photos/cafodphotolibrary/22527575640

shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-ND) license.

 

This 6 minute clip is from a BBC documentary Exodus that followed several families from Syria making the journey to Europe. Here’s an extract of one story that really impacted and stayed with me:

 

 

What reaction do you have to the clip? What stood out to you from her story?

 

If you’re like me, you often want to do something to ‘help’ but don’t know how. Or maybe you plan to do something but forget. Most of us need to be practical and intentional if we are actually going to do something!

Thankfully, there’s some amazing charities that want to help us to get involved. Our school is collecting items for Help Refugees, which funds schools and child friendly spaces in refugee camps. Why not go through the list below and assign groups or individuals to commit to get some items from one of the lists before Friday!

 

Harvest table

 

Let’s pray,
Father God, help us to remember those who tonight who have fled from their homes.
May we not forget them. Give us more of your compassion for their plight, soften our hearts to their situation, and help us follow your lead in seeking justice and mercy on their behalf.
Grant strategy and wisdom for government, charities and individuals who attempt to help them. May the items collected for Help Refugees bring a tangible sense of hope to all!
Amen.