Dear families of St George’s School                                                                              

You will have received the very sad news that Ticen Yashar (TJ) a Parent Governor at St George’s, has passed away after  courageously battling against cancer.

TJ will be very much missed in our school, we mourn her passing, but we also wish to give thanks for the wonderful contribution  she made to our community here at St George’s.

We offer this prayer as a school community for  TJ,  and  also for other  loved ones that are no longer with us. We ask that you remember TJ, and her family, in your prayers.

 

  “Verily we belong to God, and verily to Him do we return.”

 

 


Welcome to our Collective Worship page!  You will find weekly reflections, prayers and songs related to the time of year or value of the month.

Tune in here for updates from Father Richard and St George’s church. Scroll down and look for Children’sdate or theme:

I feel so, so lucky…

“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

 

 

The old hymn “It Is Well With My Soul” echoes the sentiments of Julian of Norwich’s most famous words, “All shall be well.” How does God’s peace and hope enable you to feel this?

 

One group of people that have been particularly affected by the Coronavirus pandemic have been care homes and their residents. Many care homes have sadly had residents die from
COVID-19, particularly earlier on in the crisis. To try and keep residents safe and prevent spread of the virus, during the lockdown care homes have had to close their doors to
visitors which has included to family members and friends of residents. A significant number of older residents in care homes have dementia and have found it hard to understand what
has been going on with Coronavirus and therefore not understood why they haven’t been able to have visitors and why there have had to be social distancing restrictions in place.
Knowing that their loved ones are confused and anxious about the situation has, understandably, upset the relations and friends of those residents concerned.
Some care homes have tried to help by using telephones and the internet to enable residents and families to keep in ouch with each other. This has made a big difference and it has
often been charities that have donated telephones and / or computers to care homes to enable them to have this communication.
Nina Ambrose from Writtle in Essex is 1 such family member. Her father, Roger Ambrose, moved into Manor Lodge, a care home in Chelmsford, a couple of months before the
lockdown began.

 

Roger was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s 6 years ago and Nina and he used to see each other several times a week. Unable to see him because of the lockdown, Nina,
who was furloughed from work, decided to train to be a volunteer at the care home so that as well as helping other residents, she would be able to visit her father. She had to pass
the necessary checks on her and undertake training and 8 exams to become a qualified volunteer. She was then able to volunteer on a separate unit from the one her father was in at
the home, helping to organise events and activities for all the residents. She volunteers 3 or 4 times a week and at the end of each volunteering shift, she changes her clothes and
shoes. Then, strictly staying at social distance, as her reward, Nina is allowed to pay her father a visit. They sing together or sometimes just sit in silence, but are together.
Nina say’s, “People say ‘What you’re doing is great,’ but I’m doing it for selfish reasons – I feel so, so lucky to be able to spend this time with him.”
However since she began to volunteer at Manor Lodge, Nina has also so enjoyed getting to know other residents as well, so much so that she plans to continue to volunteer at Manor
Lodge when Coronavirus is over as well.
Nina and Roger’s story is an example of where working from the heart has been rewarded by God who has used Nina to bring His love to others, transforming an initial inward looking act of compassion to an outreach of kindness and service.

 “God of compassion, Be close to those who are ill, afraid or in isolation. In their loneliness, be their consolation; In their anxiety, be their hope; In their darkness, be their light; Through him who suffered alone on the cross, but reigns with you in glory, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

 

“God of hope, strengthen our hope; God of love, kindle our love so that, in a fragile world, we may be signs of the faith, hope, love which we share in Jesus Christ. Amen.”

 

 

 

Oak National Academy Assembly

This week, Professor Robert Winston answers children’s science based questions.

 

One Less Lonely Voice:

Romans 12: 10-13 Love each other like brothers and sisters. Give your brothers and sisters more honor than you want for yourselves… Serve the Lord with all your heart.  Be joyful because you have hope. Be patient when trouble comes. Pray at all times. Share with God’s people who need help.

Our country has been living in lockdown for over three and a half months now due to the Coronavirus pandemic. This has meant that households have not been able to mix with other households. This has been very difficult for some people, particularly people who do not live in happy families, for some people where they are the only adult or only child in a household and for some who live on their own. Many of us living in lockdown have experienced feelings of isolation and loneliness. Recently, government changed their lockdown policy to allow support bubbles. If someone lives by themselves or are a single parent with children, they can create a support network so that it includes one other household. This way of connecting with one other household is called making a ‘support bubble’. Once people are in a support bubble, they can think of themselves as in a single household, but can’t form more than one bubble.  Year 1 and Year 6 currently have bubbles too in school.

Loneliness is an important issue that we need to be mindful of; even before the Coronavirus pandemic, nine million people said they often or always felt lonely. We need to remember people in our church, school and wider community who may not have immediate family to meet up with or for support. This Coronavirus time is a real opportunity for us to think about how we can support some of those more vulnerable members of our community. The church as well as our school community is made up of families and individuals of all shapes and sizes – we need to care for them all.  Just like we can blow bubbles and watch them spread out into the air around us, so through a new support bubble that we may be in and / or other future ways of supporting others, our attention, concern and compassion can bring comfort, care and love to the lonely and isolated.  We can pray that the Holy Spirit works through us to touch the lives of others in kind words or actions, whether close or ‘socially distant’.

Who is in your home or bubble?  How can you show love and care to them? How can you care for others who are isolated or who you can’t see in person at the moment? (sending letters, emails, messages…)

Father, We thank you that no matter how alone we are, we will always have you. Thank you that you hear everything we think and you understand us. Thank you for those around us, our own family, school family, church family or bubble. We pray that support bubbles helps the most isolated and we pray for normality to return.    Amen.

 “God of hope, strengthen our hope; God of love, kindle our love so that, in a fragile world, we may be signs of the faith, hope, love which we share in Jesus Christ. Amen.”

 

This week in Assembly – Dinosaurs!  We’re going on a prehistoric adventure with the roarsome team from the Natural History Museum in London. They are going to be teaching us how to tell a T-Rex from a crocodile and everything in between.

 

Here is this week’s assembly from Oak National Academy.  This week we’re incredibly excited to be joined by The Duchess of Cambridge this week who wants to share the importance of spreading a little kindness for our mental wellbeing.

 

Animal Friends!

From this week zoos are able to open again after being closed since the Coronavirus lockdown began! Although zoos were empty of visitors, they were still full with the animals whose home they are. At London Zoo during the lockdown, animals have been reacting in different ways to their zoo being closed. Senior Zoo keeper, Tara Humphrey say’s, “Some of our residents don’t seem to have noticed. The Asiatic lions, for example, are lazing in the spring sunshine and seem more focused on rolling around in the scent and spice trails keepers have been laying down.”

However some animals have been feeling the effects of the lockdown in not such a happy way. The pygmy goats, for example, have been missing the visitors and have been waiting at the gate every morning anticipating the arrival of a stream of people.
But because the zoo has been closed to visitors during the Coronavirus pandemic, no guests have been arriving and their ears were being left unscratched. When the keepers realised that the pygmy goats were feeling sad and lonely because of missing being petted by visitors, they started to give them extra attention. Zookeeper Tara say’s, “We’ve all been taking it in turns to regularly visit the zoo’s pygmy goats at our children’s zoo, Animal Adventure, to give them some extra attention.”

Zookeeper Tara says that all the zookeepers are missing the visitors too, “We love seeing people’s reactions when they see their favourite animals right in front of them . . . But we’re safely making the best of this terrible situation and are focusing on this uninterrupted time with our animals.”
It is so important that we treasure what we have and look carefully at how people and other living things around us really are. We can comfort someone else who might need some friendship to help them feel better: – a smile, kind words, giving some time to them and, when social distancing restrictions have been lifted, a hug may seem small things, but they can actually be big things which make a real positive difference for someone lonely or who doesn’t feel good at that time. We are all connected and we all need to look after each other.  And excitingly, the zoos are open again!

Creator God, We pray today for our animal friends, grateful for their companionship and devotion. We pray that we may be kind to all animals.  We pray for animals unknown to us who are suffering.
We ask a heart of compassion, gentle hands, and kind words.
Help us to be true friends to the animals and love them. Amen.

 

Here is this week’s Oak National Academy Assembly – the theme is ‘Togetherness’.  This week’s assembly is aimed at older children and deals with some complex and sensitive themes of WW2.

Here is a song for everyone to enjoy on a similar theme, linking to being together in faith and children of God:

 

Black Lives Matter

God created humanity in His Image. – Genesis 1:26-31

So God created mankind in his own image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.

As I’m sure that most of you know, two weeks ago, a man named George Floyd died in Minnesota, America. He was an African-American man, arrested after being suspected of using fake money. Police held him down in the street by kneeling on his neck. Despite saying, “I can’t breathe,” he wasn’t released, but was knelt on for over 8 minutes. Tragically, he died. The 4 police officers have been sacked and charged with murder or aiding and abetting.  This incident has stirred up anger and shock by people all over America and around the world. There here have been massive protests – in person and online – because of the racism still taking place in American society and because many African-American communities feel they receive unfair treatment in America, particularly from the police there.

We have all been shocked seeing the news unfold over the last few weeks.  People have been fighting racism for many generations and many people are feeling that incidents like this make it seem like gaining equality is still far off in many parts of the world.  At the protests, people held up signs saying ‘Black Lives Matter.’  It is saddening that this declaration even needs saying.  Every single human life that God made matters deeply.  God hates racism – the Christian faith teaches us that all humanity is made in the image of God and that God was pleased with His creation. Each of us is valued and loved.  All those who follow Jesus-  and all of us at St George’s school – need to ensure we are never being discriminatory in any way ourselves, we are helping to eradicate all discrimination, we cherish diversity in God’s creation and we look for and recognise Christ in each person.

‘We are the World’ by Michael Jackson affirms that ‘we are all part of God’s great big family’ and that ‘the world must come together as one’.

This song ‘Bleed the same’ is a song by Christian artists Mandisa, TobyMac and Kirk Franklin.  It speaks out against division and prejudice based on appearance:

Let’s fight for each other
If we’re gonna shout
Let love be the cry
We all bleed the same
So tell me why, tell me why
We’re divided
Tell me, who are we
To judge someone
By the kind of clothes they’re wearing
Or the color of their skin?
 

God of Love,

We pray that we always show love and exclude no one.

Let us rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep, live in harmony with one another. Let us not be proud, but associate with those who are brought low.

We pray that we are never wise solely in our own sight. We pray that we do not repay evil for evil but give thought to do what is honourable in the sight of all.

So far as it depends on us, let us live peacefully with all and help us to always demonstrate total inclusivity within our school and church. Amen.

This song ‘Something Inside So Strong’ by Labi Siffre is a powerful song that speaks of the importance of rights and the resilience of people unjustly oppressed.  This version is performed by Lewisham and Greenwich NHS choir.

 

Here is this week’s Assembly from Oak National Accademy.  The theme is ‘Movement’.

We’re joined by Olympic Bronze medallist, three times World Champion and six times European Champion gymnast Beth Tweddle who will be sharing her journey into professional sport. Artist researcher Stacie Lee Bennett-Worth has put together an incredible dance class designed to get us all feeling great through moving!

Christian Value – June – Honesty

What is honesty?  Honesty is being truthful.  It is choosing to live your life by sticking to the truth and choosing not to lie.  There are different ways we can show and understand honesty:

> Being honest with yourself – This means looking inside yourself and recognising what you are really like or really want. It could mean being true to yourself, saying ‘no’ to lying and cheating, owning up to mistakes or not trying to fool anyone, including yourself, even when it is inconvenient.

> Being honest with friends and family – This mean being honest and truthful with your friends and family, teachers and adults at school.  Sometimes this can be hard but if you persist in this, people will be able to trust you more!

> Being honest with everyone – becoming a trustworthy person means sticking to the truth, being straightforward in what you say and standing by your principles.

Christians believe we should work for a more honest world where trust is central and people speak the truth plainly.  But the world can often be a place where we need to ask “who can we believe”? It is important that we are aware of exaggeration and manipulation that is often used for people wanting to deceive – in person and online especially.  We need to ask whether others are being honest and watch out for untruth.

 

Luke 19:1-10 :   The story of Zacchaeus , the man who climbed up in a sycamore tree to see Jesus,  has been mentioned in connection with our Christian Value of Faith/Belief. But Zacchaeus’ story has an important lesson about honesty too.  Zacchaeus was a tax collector, known for how rich he had become – likely by being dishonest and keeping some tax money for himself. But one day, Jesus came to Zacchaeus’ town and Zacchaeus had the chance to meet him. In fact, Jesus went to his house!

What Zacchaeus did next was amazing! He told Jesus that he would give half of his possessions to the poor and that he would pay people back 4 times what he had cheated them. Not only does Zacchaeus see the error of his ways, but he has a total change of heart. He no longer wanted to live a dishonest life, but an honest one – because he came to know and believe in Jesus.

Here is a traditional tale about what happens to trust when you tell lies:

 

Pentecost. 

“Happy Birthday Church!” . . . . . Pentecost celebrates the birthday of the Church and marks the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the first disciples. It was a time of great change and transformation for all those involved. The prayer of those in the early Church led to practical action to bring the effects of the Holy Spirit to everyone, particularly the vulnerable.

Lots of people have been looking after those who are often left out and those who are vulnerable in our society. This includes the church today in which thousands of Christians across our country and millions of Christians across the world are enabling the Holy Spirit to work through them to bring Jesus’ love to our brothers and sisters in need.

God calls us to pray for change and to become agents of that transformation.

At the first Pentecost and the coming of the Holy Spirit, there was a noise from the sky which sounded like a strong wind blowing. The wind is a helpful symbol of the Holy Spirit, we can’t see it but we can see and feel the effects of it. When we fly a kite we feel the strength of the wind moving and directing it. This is like how when we open ourselves to the spirit of God, it shapes and moves our life in a way that results in much growth and spiritual fruit. Through our prayers and actions we can make a difference to others.

You may like to make a Pentecost kite, writing on it a prayer for someone and then fly your kite.  https://www.thykingdomcome.global/sites/default/files/2019-03/TKC_prayer_kite2.pdf

 

Who would you fly a kite for this Pentecost?    How would you like the Holy Spirit to touch their life?    How do you pray that the Holy Spirit will grow you?

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and for ever.
Amen.

 

Another important song to reflect on at this time in our world:

 

Thy Kingdom Come – Care and Prayer  

Jeremiah 29: 11-13 “I say this because I know what I have planned for you,” says the Lord. “I have good plans for you. I don’t plan to hurt you.   I plan to give you hope and a good future.  Then you will call my name.  You will come to me and pray to me. And I will listen to you.  You will search for me. And when you search for me with all your heart, you will find me! 

“Care for those you are praying for, pray for those you are caring for.” This is the message of ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ in 2020.  It is a nationwide challenge to show your faith in action, pray for and tell others the Good News of Jesus.  Prayer and care is always important. However, it is even more important in times of difficulty, uncertainty, worry and anxiety like the times that the world is currently going through now with the Coronavirus outbreak.   Last year ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ culminated in a large event in Trafalgar Square. Sadly this year, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, Christians can’t physically gather together to pray, but the prayer continues with a lot of care as well!

Watch highlights from last year here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07jj9l7

         

In our bible reading, the prophet Jeremiah tells us about the promise of God when we pray to Him and of how our prayer will bring us all back to a better place and better times.  ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ encourages us to ‘Pray for 5’ in which we are encouraged to prayerfully choose 5 people to pray for at this time. Using the thumb and fingers on 1 of our hands can help us to remember to pray for these people as we also use our hand to care for them in whatever way we can and they need.

Who are the 5 people you pledge to pray for? How will you care for each of these 5 people? Through your prayer and care, how will each of these 5 people feel God’s love?

Think about one of the 5 people that you are praying for, pray their name in each of these prayer sentences:

May my prayer come before you for . . . . . ;

I pray for the wellbeing of . . . . . and their family; I pray for help for . . . . . ; In your great love, Lord, draw . . . . . closer to you; I pray that . . . . . will know your love.

Amen

“God of hope, strengthen our hope; God of love, kindle our love so that, in a fragile world, we may be signs of the faith, hope, love which we share in Jesus Christ. Amen.”

 

Thank you Teachers!

Gracias, shukran, danke, spaciba, daalu. Can you identify these languages? What is being said?

(Thank you in Spanish, Arabic, German, Russian and Igbo).

We’re told ‘thank you’ is the ‘magic word’ and it may have been one of the first words you said as a baby. British culture is famous for how often it is said in conversations. Britons say thank you more than any other culture in the world. Some languages do not have a word for ‘thank you’; gratitude might be shown in another ways through body language or expression.

This week is Thank a Teacher Day. A teacher is anyone who helps you learn. Think of an adult who helps you learn, at school or at home. Now in your mind think of three things you are grateful to them for.                                                                                                       

How will you show people who teach you that you are thankful today for all they have given?   How can you enjoy learning with gratitude?

Dear Lord,

Thank you for all teachers and people who teach us, including our families. Give them patience, for the path of learning is not easy. 

Enable us to work together as we all find new ways to live and to learn.  Help them know that they influence our dreams and ignite a passion for learning.

Amen

 “God of hope, strengthen our lives; God of love, kindle our love so that, in a fragile world, we may be signs of the faith, hope, love which we share in Jesus Christ. Amen.”

 

See below for Oak National Academy’s weekly assembly on ‘Resilience’.  This week we’re joined by former England captain Stuart Pearce, who is talking about the highs and low of his international football career.

International Nurses Day

Matthew 25:34-40   “Then the King will say to the people on his right, ‘Come. My Father has given you his blessing. Come and receive the kingdom God has prepared for you since the world was made.  I was hungry, and you gave me food. I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink. I was alone and away from home, and you invited me into your house.  I was without clothes, and you gave me something to wear. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’

“Then the faithful people will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and give you food? When did we see you thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you alone and away from home and invite you into our house? When did we see you without clothes and give you something to wear? When did we see you sick or in prison and care for you?’

“Then the King will answer, I tell you the truth. Anything you did for any of my people here, you also did for me.

Last week, International Nurses Day was celebrated around the world, on the 200th Anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth. Nurses, doctors and all the NHS staff are true heroes at all times, but now more than ever. Their skill, unconditional dedication, compassion and care is there whenever we need it and at this time of Coronavirus, they are beacons of hope. 

Jesus Christ lived a life of service, “seeking to serve others and value them.” He teaches us all that we are each called to get involved, to always help those who are suffering in any way that we can.  In our bible reading today, Jesus says when we care for others, we also care for and serve him.  Florence Nightingale would have been proud of today’s nurses and doctors as well. We also honour and remember the memory of nurses, health workers and others who have tragically died during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

What do these words from our song mean to you at this time? “I will hold the Christ-light for you in the night-time of your fear. I will hold my hand out to you, speak the peace you long to hear.” “I will share your joy and sorrow till we’ve seen this journey through.”

‘The Still’ is a powerful and moving short film made virtually to thank the NHS and as a beautiful tribute to it. The film tells us how, in the still of lockdown, nurses doctors and other NHS staff have been overwhelmed emotionally and physically by the relentless demands they face.  But we then see celebration as we see the incredible support for the NHS via moments from the country’s outpouring of thanks each Thursday evening. At the end of the film we see a child painting a rainbow for the NHS, that biblical symbol of hope that things will get better.

Click to watch:  https://www.creativeboom.com/inspiration/the-still/

God of love and hope,

You made the world and care for all creation, but the world feels strange right now. Some people are worried that they might get ill or are anxious for their family and friends. Be with them and help them to find peace. We pray for the doctors and nurses and scientists and all who are working to discover the right medicines to help those who are ill.

Thank you that even now, you are with us. Help us to put our trust in you and keep us safe.

Amen.

“God of hope, strengthen our hope; God of love, kindle our love so that, in a fragile world, we may be signs of the faith, hope, love which we share in Jesus Christ. Amen.”

 

Here is this week’s assembly from Oak National Academy with special guest Helen Sharman – the first ever British astronaut talking about her experiences in space!  This week’s theme is ‘Discovery’…

 

The Blessing (UK)

Numbers 6:24-27, “The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face towards you and give you peace” 

A blessing is a prayer for God’s favour and protection. The prayer sung in this song is over 3,000 years old and can be found in the Bible in the book of Numbers chapter 6.   It was first spoken to Moses by God and prayed over the Israelites, God’s people.  Here are two versions for the blessing as a song, filmed just a few days ago separately and put together to form a crescendo of praise. One version features dozens of UK musicians from over 65 churches with different traditions, another features children from all over the UK singing and signing.  Since its release on YouTube, The Blessing has had 2.27 million views with the comments underneath saying things like ‘awe-inspiring’ and ‘it gives me hope’.  The words say that God is for us, which means God isn’t against us. The words say God’s presence can be with us, which means he is always there. And the prayer asks for God’s favour to not just be on us now, but on those younger than us in our families and even on their children, the children that aren’t yet born!

What do you notice about the faces and cultural backgrounds of those in the film? What does this say about the groups of Christians in the UK?

At the beginning of the song there are some words; ‘Churches around the UK have come together at this time to sing a blessing over the nation’. Would you choose to sing this blessing? Why/ why not?

At the end of the song there are more words, they say ‘Our buildings may be closed, but the church is alive’. What is the point being made here? What does an ‘alive’ church look like and would you agree?

God of hope, we pray that you would bless us and keep us, make your face shine on us, be gracious to us and give us Your peace.  In the name of Jesus, Amen

 “God of hope, strengthen our lives; God of love, kindle our love so that, in a fragile world, we may be signs of the faith, hope, love which we share in Jesus Christ. Amen.”

 

May’s Christian Value – Love      

What do you think of when you hear the word ‘love’?

   

There are many different kinds of love – love that parents have for a child; love for your friends; falling in love… All kinds of love are special and we each have a unique experience.

The Bible says that God is love and all love comes from God.  He loves each one of us and shows his love in many ways, but most significantly thought dying on the cross for us.

Mother Teresa, a missionary sister, who lived and worked amongst the poor of Calcutta said that  – ‘It is impossible to love God without loving our neighbour … the best way to serve God is to do the next loving thing’.

Jesus tells a parable about loving your neighbour in Luke 10:

A man asked Jesus a question: “Teacher, what should I do so I can go to Heaven and live forever?”  Jesus replied, “What is written in the Bible?  What do you think?” 

The man answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength, and love your neighbour as yourself.”  “That is right!”  Jesus said.  “Do this and you will live forever in Heaven.” 

But the man wanted to know more so asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbour?”  Jesus decided to answer this question with a parable to help everyone who was listening understand. 

Jesus said:  “There once was a Jewish man walking along a road.  He was coming from Jerusalem and was heading to Jericho. Suddenly a group of men jumped out from behind a hill.  They took all his belongings and tore off most of his clothes and left him lying and bleeding on the side of the road.

A few minutes later, a priest was walking down the same path and noticed the man lying on the side of the road.  You’d think he would run over and help the man.  Instead he crossed the road and walked on the other side and acted like he didn’t see the man.   About an hour or so later, another man, called a Levite, was walking down the road.  Levites were people who assisted priests with their work.  He slowed down and walked a little closer to the man, but then kept walking without helping him at all.

Just a few minutes later, another man came walking along.  He was a Samaritan.  One thing you should know about Samaritans is that, in those days, Jewish people and Samaritans didn’t really get along.  The man who was dying on the road was Jewish.  So what do you think the Samaritan did?  You would think he would walk by too.  But as soon as he saw the man, he went over to him and felt compassion for him.  He cleaned and put bandages on the man’s wounds. Then he lifted the man on his own donkey and took him to a hotel to take care of him. The Samaritan paid enough money so the man could stay at the hotel until he was well enough to leave.

After Jesus finished the story, he asked, “Which of the three men do you think was a neighbour to the man who was left beaten on the side of the road?”  The man who asked him the question at the beginning replied, “The one who had compassion and helped him.”  Jesus told him, “Go and do the same.”

Jesus wants his followers to show love and compassion to everyone they meet.

VE Day 75 Years – Living in Safety and at Peace

Zechariah 8:4-8 (‘Our city’ originally reads ‘Jerusalem’) 

This is what the Lord of heaven’s armies says: “Old men and old women will again sit along our city’s streets. Each will carry a cane because of his age. And the streets will be filled with boys and girls playing.”

This is what the Lord of heaven’s armies says: “Those who are left alive then may think it is too difficult to happen. But it is not too difficult for me,” says the Lord of heaven’s armies…. “I will save my people from countries in the east and west.  I will bring them back. And they will live in our city. They will be my people. And I will be their good and loyal God.”

   

The 75th Anniversary of VE Day is celebrating and commemorating 75 years since the ending of World War 2 when peace arrived over the land. People of the country came together to get through the difficult time, community spirit at home in our country shone through the painful division between countries within the world. There are many similarities with the war that the world is currently fighting against Coronavirus; however, this time, humanity across the world is joined together on the same side fighting against Covid-19. God’s promise, as expressed in our Bible reading, highlights how His power will conquer the seemingly impossible and bring about safety and peace to our world at this time of turmoil. As Queen Elizabeth II assured us recently, “We should take comfort that while we may have more still to endure, better days will return: we will be with our friends again; we will be with our families again; we will meet again.” 

What is the victory that we are currently counting down to?    What similarities do you see between VE Day 75 and the day that we hope and pray for when Coronavirus is defeated?

Lord God our Father, we pledge ourselves to serve you and all humankind, in the cause of peace,

for the relief and suffering and for the praise of your name.

Guide us by your Spirit;  give us wisdom; give us courage;

give us hope and keep us faithful now and always.    Amen.

“God of hope, strengthen our hope; God of love, kindle our love so that, in a fragile world, we may be signs of the faith, hope, love which we share in Jesus Christ. Amen.”

 

Watch below for this week’s assembly from the Oak National Accademy, with special guests from the West End production of The Lion King!  This week’s theme is ‘Wellbeing’ – watch for some incredible singing and artistic ideas.

Nature’s Greatest Symphony. 

Do Not Worry – Matthew 6:25-27 and 31-34 – 25 “So I tell you, don’t worry about the food you need to live. And don’t worry about the clothes you need for your body. Life is more important than food. And the body is more important than clothes. 26 Look at the birds in the air. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns. But your heavenly Father feeds the birds. And you know that you are worth much more than the birds. 27 You cannot add any time to your life by worrying about it….    31 Don’t worry and say, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ 32 All the people who don’t know God keep trying to get these things. And your Father in heaven knows that you need them. 33 The thing you should want most is God’s kingdom and doing what God wants. Then all these other things you need will be given to you. 34 So don’t worry about tomorrow. 

 

The first Sunday of May is International Dawn Chorus Day. This day is the worldwide celebration of what is often described as “nature’s greatest symphony.” All across the world people get up early to enjoy the wonderful and greatly varied sounds of birdsong. This year it has never been a more welcome sound and is clearer and more spectacular than ever because of the removal of all the usual background traffic and aeroplane noise pollution due to lockdown. Nature is providing a great solace –  a comfort – for most people at this time;  God is giving us a gift to help us during this lockdown.  Jesus also used to birds to teach us to rely on God for each day of our lives and not to worry about tomorrow – another important reflection for us at this time.

What do you think about when you hear the dawn chorus?     How does the dawn chorus make you feel?     Why might the sound of birdsong be a gift from God for us at this time?

Dear Lord,

Thank you for the beauty of nature and all the amaing parts of your creation.  Help us to protect it and appreciate it. Teach us how to trust you for each day and give up on worrying. 

In Jesus’ name, Amen

“God of hope, strengthen our hope; God of love, kindle our love so that, in a fragile world, we may be signs of the faith, hope, love which we share in Jesus Christ. Amen.”

 

Watch below the first assembly from Oak National Accademy, joined by Gavin Williamson (Education Secretary), Justin Welby (Archbishop of Canturbury) and children from around the country!

The theme is Hope – “In the Bible, hope means the certain expectation of something you don’t have yet but you will have in the future because its been promised by God.”

#faithathome

Hebrews 11:1 – Faith means being sure of the things we hope for. And faith means knowing that something is real even if we do not see it.

Look at the picture. What does it show? If this plant were put in a school, would it still grow? If it were put in a living room, would it still grow? If it were put in a supermarket, hotel, would it still grow? With the right conditions, it would! The Archbishop of Canterbury is leading the first ever national act of collective worship online via the Oak National Academy. This will launch #faithathome, a project asking us to think about how we can grow our faith at home. The spiritual part of us can be encouraged even when we’re at home, on our sofa or whilst we sit on our beds. We can gather with others and feed and nurture our faith. Faith can grow at home.

In this context, faith is having trust in a relationship with God. Can anyone share how you feed and nurture this relationship? What might stop faith from growing?

Faith is knowing the sun will rise, lighting each new day. Faith is knowing the Lord will hear my prayers each time I pray. Faith is like a little seed: if we planted, it will grow.  Faith is a swelling within my heart. When I draw close, I know. Amen

 “God of hope, strengthen our hope; God of love, kindle our love so that, in a fragile world, we may be signs of the faith, hope, love which we share in Jesus Christ. Amen.”

 

‘You’ll Never Walk Alone.’ 

Mark 12:41-44   41 Jesus sat near the Temple money box where people put their gifts. He watched the people put in their money. Many rich people gave large sums of money. 42 Then a poor widow came and gave two very small copper coins. These coins were not worth even a penny.  43 Jesus called his followers to him. He said, “I tell you the truth. This poor widow gave only two small coins. But she really gave more than all those rich people. 44 The rich have plenty; they gave only what they did not need. This woman is very poor. But she gave all she had to live on.”

During this time of Coronavirus, so many people have been undertaking good deeds and showing acts of kindness to help others affected by the pandemic. One example is Captain Tom Moore. He is 99 years old and thought that he could help by doing a sponsored walk, walking 100 lengths of his garden. He hoped to raise £1,000 for NHS Charities Together which support the incredible NHS staff and volunteers caring for COVID-19 patients. People around the world have been so inspired by the effort that Captain Tom has made that thousands of people have sponsored him and he raised donations totalling at least £28 million! He is now keeping on walking while people are keeping on donating! See him walking – and singing – in the video below.

Our Bible reading tells the story of a poor widow who is very kind in her financial offering to the temple and although it didn’t seem much to some people around her, it was the most kind because she made a real sacrifice, giving all that she had to live on. Captain Tom’s walk reminds us, as well, that everyone is of value and has something to offer; Jesus teaches us that each one of us is precious and loved by God for who we are.

How do Captain Thomas Moore’s words give strength and hope to people during this time of the Coronavirus pandemic?     What purpose and gifts do you see in each person? 

Keep us, good Lord, under the shadow of your mercy.

Sustain and support the anxious, be with those who care for the sick, and lift up all who are brought low; that we may find comfort knowing that nothing can separate us from your love in Christ Jesus our Lord.    

Amen.

“God of hope, strengthen our hope; God of love, kindle our love so that, in a fragile world, we may be signs of the faith, hope, love which we share in Jesus Christ. Amen.”

A Rainbow of Hope 

Genesis 9 v12-16 ‘Then God said, “This is the sign of the promise, the agreement I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, an agreement for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. (…) Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting promise between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”’

Handmade rainbows have appeared in windows up and down the country. They have been created as a sign of joy for passers-by and support for the NHS and keyworkers in our nation. Why a rainbow? It’s bright, colourful, represents hope and a promise of better things to come. In the Genesis passage God speaks to Noah after the huge and destructive flood. He makes a new agreement with all living things, promising He will never flood the Earth again. Then God said… “Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant”. Rainbows are made when water mist mixes with sunlight. The rain of a storm is mixed with warmth of sunshine producing the hope of a rainbow. A rainbow can’t be created without the rain and sun together. Hope comes when sadness has been.                                                                                                           

     

Who were you thinking of as you listened to the song? Do you see the hope the rainbow brings? What does this hope look like for you or what do you need hope to look like? 

“Jesus Christ is risen indeed, Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia. May the light of Christ, rising in glory, send away all darkness from our hearts and minds.”

 

RestHelping Young Children to Rest - MOPS International Blog

Psalm 23: 1-2:

‘The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He refreshes my soul.’

Psalm 23 was written by a king who was experiencing a very difficult life. He had enemies who wanted to harm him and even kill him. In these verses he is saying what is real for him. Although his circumstances are awful, he manages to find rest in green pastures (fields) and beside quiet waters. He recognises that God is leading him and therefore knows he can entirely trust God, not needing anything. It is likely that the green pastures and quiet waters were not real, but in his mind and spirit. Easter is about a new ‘dawn’ or time. A new dawn or opportunity to change how things are in our minds and spirits is here too.

Can you picture those green pastures and quiet waters in your mind’s eye?   Can your mind and spirit be stilled so that you can experience rest? Where does this rest come from?

Heavenly Father,

Thank you for rest. Thank you that we can find it even if we are physically not in a restful space.  Guide our minds to rest and trust as a new day has dawned and the way to life stands open.  Release rest and peace to us and all those who are wrestling with sadness, anxiety, fear and worry.

Amen

 “Jesus Christ is risen indeed, Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia. May the light of Christ, rising in glory, send away all darkness from our hearts and minds.”

 

 

Matthew chapter 28:

The day after the Sabbath day was the first day of the week. At dawn on the first day, Mary Magdalene and another woman named Mary went to look at the tomb. At that time there was a strong earthquake. An angel of the Lord came down from heaven. The angel went to the tomb and rolled the stone away from the entrance. Then he sat on the stone. He was shining as bright as lightning. His clothes were white as snow. The soldiers guarding the tomb were very frightened of the angel. They shook with fear and then became like dead men. The angel said to the women, “Don’t be afraid. I know that you are looking for Jesus, the one who was killed on the cross. But he is not here. He has risen from death as he said he would. Come and see the place where his body was. And go quickly and tell his followers. Say to them: ‘Jesus has risen from death. He is going into Galilee. He will be there before you. You will see him there.’” Then the angel said, “Now I have told you.”  The women left the tomb quickly. They were afraid, but they were also very happy. They ran to tell Jesus’ followers what had happened. Suddenly, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings.” The women came up to Jesus, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go on to Galilee. They will see me there.”

 

The Easter story is at the heart of Christianity and is the most important Christian festival. It celebrates Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead, three days after he was executed by crucifixion. It is the most important Christian festival, and the one celebrated with the greatest joy.

 Here is a quick version of the Easter Story:

Holy Week

The most solemn week of the Christian year, Holy Week is the week leading up to Easter, and is the week during which Christians particularly remember the last week of Jesus’ life. Holy Week begins on Palm Sunday and ends on Holy Saturday.

The Easter Story of the events in Holy Week are a rollercoaster of emotions!  There are some tragic and scary parts, and the darker parts of human nature are exposed… But we know there is a happy ending to the story.

This year, churches won’t be able to celebrate Holy Week in the usual way, but we can still remember the important events at home.  On Palm Sunday, churches live-streamed services and remembered Jesus riding into Jerusalem and on Easter Sunday, they will remember him rising from the dead – coming back to life!  How can you celebrate in your own home?  Often people celebrate using signs of new life – such as eggs and baby animals – or ending their Lenten fast (often eating delicious food!)

 

Enjoy a few Easter songs from assembly:

 

 

April’s Christian Value – Faith/Belief

What is faith?  The word ‘faith’ is used to describe the core beliefs a person holds, especially their religion and their trust in God.  The Bible says that faith is being sure of what you hope for and certain of what you cannot see (Hebrews 11:1).  This is not always easy, and Christians believe that their faith is a gift from God.  It is something they persist in through good times and bad.  Our faith can be strengthened by praying, talking to other people, asking questions or trusting God to help you.

Here is a story of one of Jesus’ disciples journey of faith:

Jesus Appears to Thomas   John 20:24-29  

24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”  But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”  26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”  28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”  29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”           

‘Clap For Our Carers.’ 

During the Coronavirus pandemic, people are having to stay in their homes for most of the time and stay away from each other to stop the virus from spreading. However last Thursday evening at 8:00.p.m something special happened. Although people still stayed physically apart from each other, the country joined together in ‘Clap For Our Carers.’ Millions of people stood in their front doors, at their windows or outside in streets clapping their hands. People were saying ‘Thank you’ to those in the NHS for all their caring of people who are ill. We must never forget to appreciate what others are doing to care for us during this worrying time, all sorts of people working hard doing all sorts of jobs. Through upsetting times it is good to know that there is always goodness in the world, people who are acting in the way that Jesus commanded us to live, looking after one another.

Who would you like to say ‘Thank You’ to, at this time and for what?    

How does what they do help you feel better in the current situation?

Gracious God,

Give skill, sympathy and resilience to all who are caring for the sick and your wisdom to those searching for a cure.  Strengthen them with your Spirit, that through their work many will be restored to health, Through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

“God of hope, strengthen our hope; God of love, kindle our love so that, in a fragile world, we may be signs of the faith, hope, love which we share in Jesus Christ. Amen.”

Here is a song about thankfulness:

 

‘The Season We Are In’

 

In the reading from Ecclesiastes we read that there is a time or ‘season’ for everything. Everything on Earth can fit into one of the categories in these verses; weeping, laughter, searching, giving up the search, being silent and having a time to speak. Although we are living through a time none of us have experienced before, this time will pass, this season will end and we will look back and remember the pain and the joy. The clip reminds us of the wonderful things to come from the season we are in; dreams and inventions, fun on TikTok, Facetime and PE with Joe! Earlier in Ecclesiastes we are also reminded ‘there is nothing new under the sun’. This is to say nothing is a surprise to God. While we work out how to understand and live through this current season, He knows how it will end and promises to be present with us through it.

What are the positives you are experiencing in this season?

How will you choose to remember the positives… and work through the negatives?

Heavenly Father,

You don’t promise an easy life but you do promise to walk with us through it all.  Thank you for the amazing things to come from this season we are experiencing, some we hear and see, others we may not see for some time.  Would your presence be very real to us when we work and walk through the hard periods.  Through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen

“God of every moment, strengthen our faith; God of love, kindle our love so that, in a fragile world, we may be signs of the faith, hope, love which we share in Jesus Christ. Amen.”