Prayer

Pray for Schools - summer newsletter

For many years, the FCG has been active and diligent members of the Pray for Schools steering group. Their work has been going from strength to strength, engaging many churches and groups in praying for schools across the UK.

You can find out more about their interesting and varied work HERE and register for the newsletter HERE.

Let us pray….. Loving God, thank you for our schools.

We praise You Lord, for You are full of love, peace and hope. Please help us to be people of good news sharing your love, peace and hope into schools. Please help us to build good relationships with everyone. Please help us to be peace makers when there is tension and stress. Please help us to bring hope when there is despair and dejection. Please help us inspire others to be joyful when there is much to celebrate. Please help us demonstrate your love. Amen

Date for your diary! Pray Day is the third Tuesday of November every year when schools across Europe and around the world are the focus of prayer. This year it will be held on Tuesday 19th November 2019, with schools across the UK taking part. Join in the wave of prayer for our schools in your churches!

(photo courtesy of Naassom Azevedo at Unsplash)

(Prayer written by Lisa Jones, Scripture Union’s representative on the Pray for Schools Steering Group)

Coming up to the end of term...

Many of us know children in our families, churches and communities and are well aware that the end of term is fast approaching.

This is often a time which is eagerly looked forward to by children and parents / carers as it is good to have a break from the school regime. It can also be a time of mixed feelings, as the long summer break often exacerbates family tensions and particularly issues around food poverty. I recently visited a Congregational Church (CF are FCG members) who are making meals available for all the children locally during the summer break, as they have noticed a shift in the ability of some families to be able to provide during the holidays.

What does your church do? How might your church be able to offer support?

Last summer the Trussell Trust published an article and report about the needs of families over the summer. You can read this here.

Join us as we pray for children, young people and their parents and carers during the summer holidays.

Help them, loving God, to reach out to one another, in peace and love, and help them to reach out to those in their communities who can offer support, so they can assist and support, where needed.

We pray for churches and community groups who are showing the love of Jesus by providing meals, fellowship and activities to support children over the summer holidays.

May these be a great time of sharing and compassion. May new relationships between churches and local families be nurtured during this time.

Join us as we pray for our schools… for teachers and support staff who are approaching and much needed break, at the end of the academic year and for their families and communities.

Amen.

(photo courtesy of Jason Ortego at Unsplash)

Sara Iles, FCG Education Asst

How Norway turns criminals into good neighbours!

The BBC has recently published an interesting article about how the prison service in Norway has been working with prisoners, communities and local groups to support people serving sentences and on their release from prison.

The article poses an interesting question. “What is the point of sending someone to prison - retribution or rehabilitation?” I wonder what you think…

Twenty years ago, Norway moved away from a punitive "lock-up" approach and sharply cut re-offending rates. The BBC's Emma Jane Kirby went to see the system in action, and to meet prison officers trained to serve as mentors and role models for prisoners. You can read the full article here. The prisons in Norway have been working hard to engage people in their system and focus on rehabilitation. Rates of re-offending (called recidivism) have dropped dramatically following this change of policy and practice in prisons.

  • Are you interested in making a better future for men and women leaving prisons?

  • What could you or your church do to make a difference and help us all become better neighbours to each other?

There are lots of organisations in the UK who support this kind of work, The Prison Fellowship is one such charity. Find out about their work and how you can get involved here. As a first and crucial step, perhaps you could share this month’s prayer from the Prison Fellowship in your churches and house groups.

You also may be interested in finding out more about The Welcome Directory. This organisation plays a key role in resettlement of men and women into Faith Communities. You can read more about their vital work and find out how your church can get involved HERE.

When I was training for prison chaplaincy twenty years ago, I had the privilege of working with the St Giles Trust to support prisoners in learning skills to become peer listeners and resettlement workers. I hope and pray that the men I worked with, in those times, went on the support many others in gaining in confidence and improving their self-esteem, so they went on to become good neighbours to others.

Sara Iles, Free Churches Group

“For God has not despised my cries of deep despair. He’s my first responder to my sufferings,

and he didn’t look the other way when I was in pain.

He was there all the time, listening to the song of the afflicted.”

Psalm 22:24, The Passion Translation

Photo courtesy of Mathyas Kurmann at Unsplash

Education Sunday - 8th September - resources available now!

For well over a hundred years there has been an annual recognition of Education Sunday in England and Wales.It is a national day of prayer and celebration for everyone in the world of education.

Education Sunday theme this year is: ‘Form and flourish - to re-form’. You can download, share and make us of the varied and inspiring resources on this theme HERE.

This year the resources include a hymn written by our very own Sara Iles, FCG Education Assistant, based on Deuteronomy 32:11!

A PRAYER FOR EDUCATION SUNDAY Loving Lord, We think of the children and young people close to our hearts And know that they are precious in your sight, fearfully and wonderfully made; And so we place them into your hands today. Strengthen and nurture them. Be with them in their coming in and going out, At home, at school, at college, at university, In their sports, activities and clubs, their friendships and their quiet times. Mould them in your image, forming and reforming, Through the positive influence of those whose lives cross theirs, Through the love and example of those who care for them, And through the constant love of your Son, Jesus, who walks alongside them each step of their lives, known or unknown. Amen.

Another date for your diary - Pray Day for Schools is coming up on 19th November. To get involved or host an event at your church, have a look at the link here.

Photo courtesy of NeONBRAND at Unsplash

Chaplaincy and education

The FCG has been doing lots of work to develop and support chaplaincy in education - recently publishing some papers and church support resources for further education and chaplaincy work which you may find interesting - you can have a look here.

Today FCG are taking part in an ecumenical conference in Manchester, hosted by the FCG member church, The Church of the Nazarene, on chaplaincy in education. Please join with me as we pray for the conference… that God will inspire and motivate those participating to share and develop this work further in their churches and communities.

To find out more about this vital work and how to get involved, click HERE.

A CALL TO PRAY… Throughout the year: Living God, we pray that you will guide and inspire all those students embarking on training for employment and all those seeking support and new learning for their personal development. We pray for the staff and chaplains at our colleges and learning providers, that they have the courage, wisdom and stamina to support the students. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen

“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us.” Ephesians 3:20

Photo courtesy of Priscilla Du Preez at Unsplash