News

Open letter in response to the Sri Lankan attacks

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We have all been shocked and saddened by the horrific terror attacks which took place on Easter Sunday in Colombo. Please find a letter to Sri Lankan communities in Britain from the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, the Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP.

Please do pass it on, where appropriate, and encourage others to share it.

Are you or anyone at your church involved in town or city chaplaincy?

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This event coming up soon in Luton might be of interest to you.

2019 ATCC Conference - "A Celebration of Chaplaincies" by The Alliance of Town and City Chaplaincies.

Having had two very successful national conferences in April 2013 and 2015, the Alliance of Town and City Chaplaincies are hosting another on Thursday 4th April 2019 at Central Baptist Church, Luton.

Please find out more information here.

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.