FCG News

A Call to Action

The Free Churches Group working with the Blood Transfusion and Organ donation services facilitated a one day conference with BME Churches.

The aim of the day was to encourage more blood donors from Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities to come forward to meet the needs of patients like Shaylah (See her story below) .

Certain conditions, such as sickle cell and thalassaemia, are more prevalent within these communities. And, some rare types are also only found within these communities. Patients who require regular blood transfusions benefit from receiving blood from donors with a similar ethnic background.

Shaylah

Shaylah

Shaylah has a rare condition and needs regular blood transfusions, even over Christmas, to keep her alive.

The seven year old needs blood transfusions every 3 weeks to treat the painful inherited blood disorder, sickle cell disease.

She had a stem cell transplant from her mum in April but complications mean she is unwell again and currently having regular transfusions.

Shaylah says: “It makes me feel better because sometimes I get really tired and once I get my super girl blood I feel strong like supergirl!

“Blood donors are my heroes. I would say a big big thank youuuuuu!! Thank you for being so kind and not being scared of needles like me and I would give them a cuddle for being so kind and chocolate because I love chocolate.”

Sickle cell disease is the name for a group of inherited conditions that affect the red blood cells. The most serious type is called sickle cell anaemia.

Sickle cell disease mainly affects people of African, Caribbean, Middle Eastern, Eastern Mediterranean and Asian origin. In the UK, it's particularly common in people with an African or Caribbean family background.

People with sickle cell disease produce unusually shaped red blood cells that can cause problems because they don't live as long as healthy blood cells and they can become stuck in blood vessels.

Sickle cell disease is a serious and lifelong condition, although long-term treatment can help manage many of the problems associated with it.

Black, Asian and minority ethnic donors are specifically needed right now because:

some patients who receive frequent blood transfusions need blood to be closely matched to their own

a number of blood conditions, like sickle cell disease which is treated through blood transfusions, most commonly affect black, Asian and minority ethnic people

the best match typically comes from blood donors from the same ethnic background.

Giving blood

While people from all communities and backgrounds do give blood, fewer than 5% of our blood donors who gave blood in the last year were from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.

This is despite black, Asian and minority ethnic communities representing around 14% of the population. We want to try and readdress this balance.

If you have the sickle cell trait you can still become a blood donor.

For further information please visit here.

Participants also heard about the changes to the Organ Donation system – from ‘opt in’ to ‘opt out’.

From spring 2020, all adults in England will be considered potential organ donors, unless they choose to opt out or are in one of the excluded groups. This is commonly referred to as an ‘opt out’ system. You may also hear it referred to as 'Max and Keira's Law'.

What do you have to do?

If you want to be an organ donor, the best way to record your choice is to join the NHS Organ Donor Register.

If you do not want to be an organ donor, you should register a ‘refuse to donate’ decision on the NHS Organ Donor Register. This is also known as opting out.

If you are already registered on the NHS Organ Donor Register, and your decision remains the same, you should tell your family what you want.

If you want to change your decision, which is already registered on the NHS Organ Donor Register, you should amend your registration.

Whatever you decide, make sure you tell your family, so they can honour your choice.

For further information please visit here.

Christmas Reflection by Stephen Mugglin

Photo credit:  Freely Christian Photos

I came across the following when seeking out some words of wisdom for a carol service. Stephen Mugglin has captured the essence of ‘peace on earth’ and how there are times when we need to go and find that peace amid the busyness that is a constant presence in our place of work – the healthcare system, and times when we need to create that peace for those in our care.

Debbie Hodge

Christmas Reflection by Stephen Mugglin

High in the woods of Pengrove Pass, where the water and the sky seem to sing the same song, there stands in a clearing beside the lake a little log cabin built by a friend. It stands empty most of the year now, for the children who once played and laughed there have long since moved on. Still there isn’t any sadness, for each morning the dawn catches its own reflection in the stillness of the lake, and peace covers all.

Photo by  Charl van Rooy  on  Unsplash

I was scheduled to spend Christmas in Pengrove Mills, a town further down the river, but an unexpectedly busy autumn and fall had made me long again for the solitude of the mountains, at least for a little while, and so December found me in the cabin by the lake.

Mountains seem to have a wisdom all their own, and trees growing along the slopes in the pure air whisper their thoughts together in the silence. It’s a world of enchantment far and near, for the same snow that paints the distant hills also spreads a blanket over the cabin. Here earth and sky seem so close, mountain peaks just a snow-breath away, and time a cousin of eternity.

Photo by  Ngoc Lan  on  Unsplash

Photo by Ngoc Lan on Unsplash

This was the year I celebrated Christmas twice - once in the cold loneliness of the hills, and later in the warmth of the town - once by myself in the calm of the night, and again with the sound of friends all around - once with the stars shining deep in the lake, and then with bright lights in every window. But much as I enjoyed the time in town, it was the silence around the cabin that reminded me most of the Song of the ages and the Light of the world. Alone on the hillside, I knew the peace that had come to earth.

A WARM INVITATION TO OUR 2018 MEETING OF THE DEPUTIES

Dear Friends,

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We hope that you will join us at 6.00 pm at 27 Tavistock Square, London WC1H 9HH on Thursday 8th November when we are delighted that the Rev. Joel Edwards, former leader of the Evangelical Alliance and now a Commissioner of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, will speak on “Martin Luther King Jr. - Disobeying with Civility”. You may have seen Rev Edwards as he preached at the recent “Windrush” service in Westminster Abbey.

The “Deputies” were established as elected lay people, working with a body of Ministers, in 1732 to fight for the removal of restrictions which excluded the churches and people we now call in the “Free Church” tradition from many areas of public life. London based, they argued on behalf of churches across the country. We maintain this somewhat quaint sounding Body as an annual society to honour their achievement. Free speech should never be taken for granted since it enables us to sustain our life, worship and witness. The Body also keeps alive our historic right of direct approach to the Monarch.

Today, the Free Churches Group carries out the Deputies’ functions relating to government, as we will hear during our very brief formal proceedings.

This is an open invitation to your members and Minister. It would be most helpful to know in advance of the numbers attending. Please return the registration form by post or email. Respecting our historical structure, it would be appropriate to nominate two “Deputies”, but all are welcome. Please display the poster. Our income is limited, and a small contribution would help to cover our meeting costs.

We know that Joel Edwards will have a great deal that will be of interest to say and we hope very much you will come to hear him.

Yours faithfully,

Paul Rochester Keith Salway


Please download here for invitation letter, registration form and poster.

Economic and ecological justice...

I am delighted that the FCG have kindly granted me study leave and the chance to take part in this project. The work is looking into ways in which churches can tackle and transform financial systems and promote environmental awareness.

Next week I will be joining a host of member churches from Europe and the Caribbean in Guyana as part of the Council for World Mission NIFEA project. I am travelling with my Congregational Federation colleague, Yvonne Campbell, CF General Secretary.

You can read more about this work HERE.

Your prayers are welcomed for our visit.

We, as part of the CF team, have produced a Bible study pack for churches about how we can support and educate our congregations and communities about these vital issues, so please get in touch if you would like one.

Revd Sara Iles, Education Assistant, FCG sara.iles@freechurches.org.uk

Engaging with the Issues

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A series of Round Table Discussions on topics that are engaging the hearts and minds of the Community, the churches, local and national government at Free Church House, 27 Tavistock Square, London, WC1H 9HH.

 


Spiritual Care in Community Health Care Settings – Community Chaplaincy

Thursday 4th October 2018 & Tuesday 5th February 2019    

For those who connected with a faith community there is both social and spiritual support. For those who aren’t where is their spiritual support in times of health care crisis? This day will be based on the shared experience of individuals working in Community Health Care Chaplaincy and will enable participants to build their plan to make a difference in their community.


Dementia – caring for the carers as well as those who have dementia

Wednesday 3rd April 2019

The rate of increase in the incidence of dementia means that everyone knows someone who has dementia or who is caring for someone with dementia. This day will enable churches and individuals to learn from others in looking at opportunities to these needs in the local community.


Dying Matters

Thursday 29th November 2018

It’s a certainty – we will all die. This day will enable participants to explore the contemporary aspects of death and dying and look at ways to provide safe spaces when matter of death and dying may be explored. Ways of meeting the spiritual needs of those who are dying and their families will also be discussed.


Each day will begin with coffee/ tea and registration at 10.30 with a formal start at 11am and finish at approx. 3.30pm, lunch and refreshments will be provided.

The cost is £10 for each day and you are advised to book early as places are limited.

Please contact Thandar Tun (thandar.tun@freechurches.org.uk) with any questions.

This information is accessible to download here.

To book please complete and return the booking form.