'Education has the best chance of turning lives around'

Emily Dewar-Langridge teaches young offenders at Feltham prison, and has won an award for the difference she’s made to students. Here, she explains her role. 

Emily writes: "I’ve been a teacher at Feltham prison – an institution for young male offenders – for two years now. I work with 15 to 18-year-olds, but only a few of them stay with us throughout those years. The average sentence served here is about four months, so the group changes frequently....." You can read more about challenges and opportunities encountered and the hope this teacher sees in who she works with, in the newspaper article online HERE

Wherever we might find ourselves in life, we always have the chance through education and support, to make a fresh start...to work towards fulfilling our God-given potential.

Education has the power to turn our lives around, even when we might feel lost or broken...

Education can give help us to see a silver lining to build a brighter future, even when the present moment feels cloudy and hopeless... 

Have you been inspired by this teacher's story? what could you do in your church or as an individual Christian to make a difference for education in prisons?

You might find some of the these links helpful in praying and thinking about planning this... :

Prison Advice and Care Trust

Prison Fellowship 

Free Churches Group Welcome Directory

Prison Hope 


Working with Primary Schools

As part of our goal to share news and articles from our member church groups / denominations, here is a recent article to encourage us to engage with our schools - from The Baptist Union of Great Britain

Martin Sweet, who is a member of the Free Church Education Committee, writes:

"The primary school is a place where community really meets – and where Christians can serve with integrity.... Another school year full of opportunities for local churches and Christian groups to engage with the young generation....."

You can read the full article HERE.

** How could your church engage with schools? And with the younger generation? **

Martin Sweet writes on behalf of the Baptist Education Group (BEG). The vision of the Baptist Education Group is to encourage every Baptist church to strategically engage in supporting its local school. Visit the BEG page for more of Martin's articles and resources. Martin is director of Spinnaker Trust, an organisation with over 25 years’ experience, based in SE London, regularly supporting over 100 primary schools in London and the Southeast with RE, assemblies and much more.

Image courtesy of a Creative Commons Licence from https://freelyphotos.com/notepad-and-pencil/  


Merger of Healthcare Chaplaincy in England

We are delighted to announce an exciting new development for Healthcare Chaplaincy in England through a merger of the two main bodies in Healthcare Chaplaincy in England.

The Network for Pastoral, Spiritual and Religious Care in Health (NPSRC) and the Chaplaincy Leadership Forum (CLF) have agreed to merge the two groups in order to create a new one-group structure for the strategic development of Healthcare Chaplaincy in England.

The new name of the group will be the Healthcare Chaplaincy Forum for Pastoral, Spiritual and Religious Care.

The new forum will be made up of representatives of the Chaplaincy Bodies - CHCC, AHPCC and UKBHC, Faith and Belief group members of the NETWORK, NHS England, a Project Officer for NHS England projects and an Independent Chair of the Forum. It is planned for there to be, at some time in the near future, user representatives included as members of the forum.

Its purpose and function is supporting strategic development, monitoring work projects, being a forum for consultation for future policy and making recommendations for the development of good practice in Healthcare Chaplaincy in England.

The new body will serve to enhance healthcare chaplaincy and enable greater cohesion and development in England, which will be good for patients and staff in the NHS and other healthcare settings.

The work of the Forum will start on 1st December 2017.


Sarah Sewell, Keith Munnings, Derek Fraser, Debbie Hodge, Catherine Thompson and Paulette Johnson – members of the Merger Group.

24 November 2017


This press release is available to download here.


Art and faith

As part of our aim to share news from member group / church denominations, I thought I would share a piece from the Congregational Federation (CF) website. (Their mission is "Bringing together independent free churches for mutual support and the advancement of the Christian faith.")

Earlier in the summer, they shared news of an interesting and thought-provoking range of art which churches can borrow from the Westhill Endowment. The CreateTalk Touring Faith Exhibition Scheme aims to encourage conversations, enable reflections and inspire action by visitors from the local community to your exhibition.

Westhill has been providing faith exhibits for hire for more than 10 years and the CreateTalk initiative was adopted by Westhill in 2017 from the United Reformed Church. 

 A range of exhibits is available for hire on different themes and using different forms of art.
 Exhibitions venues include churches, community centres, educational centres, hospices,   places of work, retreat centres or any other venue chosen by the group hiring the exhibits.
 There is no limit on the number of exhibitions which you can host. Lots to inspire us in our churches.....  Sara, Education Asst, FCG 

  • Octave - A collection of eight paintings by Elizabeth Gray-King known as ‘Octave’ which invite viewers to pause and ponder. Pictured is a work by Elizabeth, entitled Leap 
  • Gethsemane Garments - A collection of four Gethsemane Garments by Peter Privett which show pain, suffering, hope and renewal.
  • Good Grief/ Bald Statements - Eight sculptures by the late Jean Parker which deal with personal loss and the grieving process, after Jean’s own experience.
  • Holy Writ - In 2014, in association with the ‘Holy Writ’ exhibition in Lichfield, the exhibition organisers organised a community project.
  • Let the Needle do the Talking - A collection of embroideries by the late Pamela Pavitt which are presented in two groups.
  • Light shine through the Darkness - A collection of 19 paintings by Ruth Goodheir about a new future and a sense of purpose.
  • Picturing Creation - Seven paintings by Kate Neal known as ‘Picturing Creation’ depicting the creation story in the Bible.
  • The Journey - A compendium of 42 paintings by Peter Clare known as ‘The Journey’ about the spiritual aspects of life’s major events.

For more information go to http://www.westhillendowment.org/faith-exhibits

Furthering our vision....!

We have a vision to pursue with further education! We are on the path to developing awareness in our churches of the crucial role which further education play in our society and to develop ways churches can get involved. 

In 2015, a Working Group was commissioned by the Directors of the Free Churches Group to produce a report on the current and potential future engagement of the Free Churches with Further Education (FE). A report was published by the Working Group in July 2016.

** A Vision and Policy Statement has been developed, affirmed and shared during Autumn 2017. You can read a copy HERE. ** 

Join us as we develop and pursue this vision - find out ways in which your local church or wider denomination can get involved - please do contact Sara Iles, Education Assistant, for further information! sara.iles@freechurches.org.uk 

"The nature of FE makes clear the significant part it plays in the society that our churches seek to serve. This commitment to deepen our engagement with FE will entail doing more to identify and connect with those involved with FE within our own congregations and for churches to seek out and create opportunities to engage with the FE colleges in their local communities. " From the main FE Report 2016 

Photo taken by Isobel, a sixth form student from the Midlands.