Jun 23

I Am Resilient 2

When it comes to people who show resilience, who do you think of and why?


Syrian refugee camp in Jordan flickr photo by Omgyjya shared with no copyright restrictions using Creative Commons Public Domain Mark (PDM)


For many of us who took part in Refugee Week (June 19th-25th), our idea of resilience is shaped by thoughts of those refugees who have to leave their country of origin to seek sanctuary elsewhere.

There are an estimated 60 million worldwide, and 168,978 people in the UK, who are classed as refugees, asylum seekers or stateless people. However, it's important to remember that individual people make up all those numbers. We need to hear people's stories for our hearts to be affected. Let's listen to one of those individuals. This is Ali's story.


How did this film make you feel? I would like you to watch it again, and this time, concentrate on trying to empathise with Ali, actively imagining what it would be like to be him in the situation he finds himself in. What does resilience look like for Ali?

All humans have the capacity to grow in and show resilience, and it's particularly important that we do so, with some of the challenges facing our world and our country at this time.

Loving God, as we pray, we think of the family and friends of Mohammad Alhajali, from Syria, and the families and friends of the other people killed in the horrific Grenfell Tower fire. Bring comfort and justice to those in that community.

We think about the families and friends of the victims in the recent terror attack on the Finsbury Park Mosque, and the other attacks in this country and world, and we pray that people would continue in their defiant resilience and desire to overcome evil with good.

Help us to continue to open our arms in welcome, and reach out our hands in support to those seeking help. That the desperate may find new hope, and lives torn apart be restored.

We ask this in the name of Jesus, the refugee, who came to bring justice and mercy on this earth.


For more viewing, watch the Finsbury Park community and the Mayor of London  giving a defiant message about resilience in the face of tragedy 



Tags: Faith
Jun 16

I Am Resilient 1

Have a look at this video and see if you can guess who is being talked about before the ‘reveal’ at the end.



There may be more than a touch of ‘urban myth’ about it but there is some good wisdom about resilience, about perseverance, about never giving up.

A good story about resilience in the Bible is the story of Nehemiah.  Here’s a very accessible version:


People with faith often credit their resilience to the vision and strength that God gives.  Does your faith help you this way?  Feel free to share your stories with the rest of your tutor group about this.

Here’s a prayer about resilience which uses some well-known and lesser-known people from the Bible:

Creator God,

Like Anna who waited to greet the Christ child, Show us where you are at work in the world.

Like Bezalel, anointed as an artist in the temple,

Equip us with skills to glorify you.

Like Jeremiah who heard the sound of your voice,

Help us to respond to your call on our lives.

Like Daniel who refused to eat food that was tainted,

Give us courage to be faithful to you in our world.

Like Nehemiah who wasn’t put off by threats,

Keep us firm in the ways you have shown us.


Like Lydia, a worshipper as well as a business woman,

Help us to put you first in our lives.




Extra material:

Resilience, Sesame Street and David Beckham:


Rend Collective’s version of Oceans:



Tags: Faith
Jun 9

Persecuted People 2

Displaced Rohingya people in Rakhine State (8280610831)


The Rohingya people, a minority group, in Myanmar, are one of the most persecuted communities in the world (they are in fact number 9 on the list of the Peoples Under Threat index). But how much do you know about them?

Here is a video from last year that documents some of the injustices the Rohingya people are facing! Please be aware that there are some potentially upsetting images in the second half of this video:


How is it that I knew so little about this situation? Why is it that some news gets more coverage? How do we respond?

The words of Isaiah 1:17 give us a clear vision, for how God sees these situations.


Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow's cause.

How? Get educated, get informed, get involved in conversation.

Get advocating, get marching, signing petitions, and demonstrating.

Get upset, get angry, get active, get praying:

Father help us in our fight against injustice, may we not be tired of doing Good.

We Pray for the Muslim community worldwide, in this season of Ramadaan, may they have strength and endurance and a fresh sense of faith, hope and love.

We particularly remember the Rohingya people, bring comfort to them, and may justice roll in that country!

May we do our bit to support all those who are oppressed. Let your peace come, let your will be done on earth as it is in heaven!



As both politicians and the general public process the news of the recent election, we pray:


God of all wisdom, inspire our government with a way forward that best serves the common good of all.
With all our differences, may we be a truly united kingdom at this time.


Tags: Faith
May 25

Persecuted People 1

We can travel more and find out more about countries than any other generation in history but there are still ‘secret’ areas in the world.  Open Doors is an organisation which publicises and helps persecuted people throughout the world.  Number one in its list of places where persecution is happening is North Korea.

What do you know about North Korea?

Explore Open Doors is particularly concerned about Christians but there are plenty of other persecuted groups in the country.

Talk about what you can do about such situations like the one that Christians face in North Korea.

If you haven’t watched the ‘pray with them’ video on the top right of the page, watch it as a call to prayer, real prayer.




(Please read and discuss in tutor groups)

Q:  Why are we having a church service on Thursday?

A:  We usually have a service on Ascension Day but we felt that, in the year of celebrating diversity, it would be good to celebrate Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit in all tongues and to all nations and races.

Q:  Why do we have a communion service?

A:  For many churches, a Eucharist, a communion service is the best worship that can be offered as it reminds us of both the sacrifice and the glory of Jesus and it helps us unite with him through the bread and wine or through an individual blessing.  We have House Eucharists during the rest of the year and, on Pentecost, we have a school Eucharist, which is a really powerful symbol of our togetherness in Christ.

Q:  Is there anything special for St Mary Redcliffe Church at Pentecost?

A:  Sunday will have seen the special Rush Sunday service (anybody been to it or know why it’s called this?).  We may well open the great West door for this occasion.

Q:  Why are there so many set words in the service?

A:  As we are a Church of England school, we use approved CofE services.  There are a lot of words but try to think hard about what they mean.  We have students leading the first part of the service to try and help this process.

Q: How should we behave in church?

A:  We expect the highest standards, as you know, at all times and this includes church.  You don’t take your bags with you and you’ll only need your coats if it’s raining.  You should leave phones etc. in your lockers at school.

We expect everyone to follow the service from the sheet.  The choir is leading the music and we should join in when requested, preferably by singing and by following the words at least if we find the singing difficult.  We can hear the music for the hymns by clicking on the following You Tube links: (we sang this earlier in the year, tho’ without the cantor) Holy Spirit Come to Us (during prayers) (our ‘hymn of the year’ tho’ we’ll add the organ) This is the final hymn but we’re adapting it.

Q: What happens at communion?

A:  You’ll be directed to one of the distribution points around the church where you take the bread and wine if you’re used to this or receive a blessing.  Before, during and after, please keep quiet so that we can pray and be inspired by the choir, the music and the church itself.  There is non-alcoholic wine available at the main altar should you prefer this.

Q:  What happens at the end?

A:  We applaud everyone’s contributions (in a formal service like this, it is not appropriate to clap after each item).  We go back to school under the direction of the House and, hopefully, we’ll have a fine lunchtime.

We welcome comments after the service straight to Mr Stevens, Chaplain Joey or via members of the Worship Committee (each House has some).

Thank you.


June 2017


Tags: Faith
May 19

I Value Justice and Respect 2 Dog House Dogface Dog Box Doghouse Cardboard Box 660505


Have you ever felt put in a box? It can feel like someone has made up their mind about you, before they've even got to know you.

As human beings we often make huge assumptions about people, without getting to know them. This can be known as prejudice or stereotyping.

Discuss, how do people learn to make stereotypes? How might they unlearn them? Are certain groups more subject to stereotyping than others? How can the media help to reduce stereotyping?

Back in February a Danish TV channel tried to tackle this issue by making an advert that called upon us to stop putting people in boxes; 



Acceptance and diversity are areas of justice I want to encourage us to continue to champion at SMRT. I would love to see us practice the powerful words of Romans 15:7,


therefore welcome one another as Christ welcomed you, for the glory of God.


Places of worship, like schools, have the potential to be incredibly welcoming but have, and can often be, the opposite. Suggest how schools could get better at this? Please come and tell me your ideas.

A Prayer:

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give us grace for each other.

May we see others as the Creator sees them.

May we work to tear down walls of hostility, and stereotypes.

To listen to people's stories and have compassion.

To learn and celebrate each other’s differences.

For unity,



For further viewing, watch this video that challenges gender roles amongst children:




Tags: Faith