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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
May 11

I Value Justice and Respect 1

This is Christian Aid week.  It’s the 60th Christian Aid Week.  British churches founded Christian Aid in 1945 to support refugees who had lost their homes and possessions in the Second World War. Twelve years later, they launched Christian Aid Week to help fund this ongoing work, so this year is the 60th anniversary and the need to support refugees is as strong as ever. Theodor was one of the many refugees who fled his country in search of safety. Hear his incredible story and why he has been a Christian Aid Week collector ever since.



Thank you if you feel moved by Theodor’s story or by the stories of other refugees and asylum seekers that you know.  That’s called compassion and it’s part of what prompts us to care and to act.

How else can you react?

- Get informed.

- Pray.

- Give to Christian Aid this week.  Help a collector as it can be quite a lonely job.

- Get more involved with the Ikoba School partnership.

- Join Christian Aid or any of the other agencies that specialise in refugees and/or issues for a fairer world.

- Ask the candidates for the election how they feel about support for refugees and ‘overseas’ aid.


Here’s a group idea from Christian Aid. 

‘Christian Aid wants people in power to know that we care about the plight of refugees and others in need.  Across the country, people in churches and schools will be joining in this simple action to reflect on this issue and make their voices heard: Find a length of red string, wool or fabric and ask students to hold it between them or pass it between themselves. As the students hold the string, ask them to think about or pray for people they would like to help. As they reflect or pray, ask them to tie a knot in the string. Each knot is a symbol that we are bound together. At the end of Christian Aid Week (14-20 May 2017), we’ll collect all the threads together as a visible symbol of the thinking, praying, acting and giving that has taken place during the week, while remembering those who are hungry, sick or need inviting in. We’ll present the bundle of string to our political leaders as a reminder that we are bound together, and that each of us around the world is deserving of safety and welcome – particularly those in need of food and shelter. ‘ 

If your group does this, I’m more than happy to send off the wool/strings.  


Prayer (using some words from the prophet Micah):

Lord, I know what you require of me. So please strengthen me today that I may act justly, love mercy and walk humbly before you, my God.  Amen.

You may have already seen the TV advert for Christian Aid Week.  Here it is:



I’m sure I recognise that voice.

And here’s a film with a bit more detail. 



Tags: Faith
May 4

I Can Revise 2

Multitasking image


Since the late 2000’s smartphone use has rapidly increased, with the current count at about 1 billion users. The smartphone has completely changed the way we interact with the world around us.

Make a list of the ways that the smartphone has affected our world positively?

Make a list of the ways that the smartphone has affected our world negatively?

Research tells us there are a growing number of people who admit that they experience smartphone addiction, with many users checking their phones compulsively throughout the day. Although this has become ‘normal’, it can present a problem when trying to focus one’s mind, talk with people, or fall asleep!

Are you someone who experiences this? Is it possible to break this addiction? If so, how? Here’s some top tips from a former app developer about how to un-hijack your life.


Proverbs 25:28 says that:



A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down wall.


My prayer is that we will create boundaries that positively affect our physical and mental health:

Creator God,

We are thankful for the good gift of technology through which we can create, communicate, and learn.

May we be people who are free from addiction, and who are free to live with or without our phones?

Grow in us self-control; help those revising to focus their minds, and peace to those struggling to sleep.


Take some time to meditate and enjoy this piece of music and visuals shot entirely on an iPhone.



Tags: Faith
Apr 27

I Can Revise 1

Here are some interesting ways to revise:

- I would walk up and down my garden reciting law essays I'd memorised, juggling at the same time. I’d read that focusing your attention on a physical task helps your memory.

- Rapping my revision notes to instrumental rap beats found on YouTube. Like this..?


- I stick notes on the outside of my shower facing in so I can revise whilst in the shower.

- Pick up a kitchen safe or similar which will keep whatever you put in locked up until a set time. Use it either to avoid temptation by locking away your favourite gadgets until you've done your revision, or place a reward of your choosing inside, such as your favourite snack, that will become unlocked once you're done.

- So you keep dozing when trying to revise?  This extreme measure has been used by female students in China. They were recently reported to have clipped their long hair to clothes pegs that hung above them, yanking them awake if they dropped off to sleep!

Talk to someone else in your group about the most effective and least effective ways you’ve used when trying to learn for exams or tests.  In the end, you can learn from other people’s experience but the best way to revise is to use the method that’s best for you.

Learning to revise well is part of becoming a more effective student.  It also tests our determination and our motivation.  Revising is part of fulfilling our potential so good luck over the coming weeks.

Prayer using Bible Verses:

Dear God,

I ask for your help during my exams and test based on who you are and the promises that you make in the Bible.

I thank you God that you are the source of all wisdom as it says in Proverbs:


By wisdom the Lord laid the earth’s foundations, by understanding he set the heavens in place, by his knowledge the deeps were divided and the clouds let drop the dew. 

Proverbs 3:19,20 New International Version of the Bible


Help me to remember that however complex the subject may be that I am tackling, you can enable me to grasp it, understand it and remember the details because you are the originator of all knowledge. I thank you that you promise to help me when I ask for wisdom as it says in James: 


If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. 

James 1:5 NIV


Help me to believe that even as I am praying, you are giving me the wisdom and the help I need.  I thank you that studying and gaining this knowledge will be beneficial to me as it says in Proverbs:


He who gets wisdom loves his own soul; he who cherishes understanding prospers. 

Proverbs 19:8 NIV


I thank you that although the discipline of studying seems very difficult right now, it will be well worth it as it says in Hebrews:


No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.  Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

Hebrews 12:11 NIV


I thank you that even though I may feel stress and pressure during exam time, it says in Philippians:


I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Philippians 4:13


And finally, I thank you that through the help of the Holy Spirit, I might have the mind of Christ:


For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

1 Corinthians 2:16 NIV


Thank you God that as I have spoken to you, you have spoken to me through your words in the Bible.  Help me to remember them and depend on them during exams.  Thank you for your wisdom, truth and help. 


Or if thinking about or doing revision is causing pressure:



Tags: Faith