Moments of Grace

The Jesuit theologian Gerald O’Collins has authored or co-authored over seventy books. He taught for more than thirty years at that flagship of theology, the Gregorian University in Rome. His students have become professors in universities, colleges and seminaries around the world. A number of his books have become standard texts used by Anglicans and Protestants, as well as Catholics. Many of his books have been translated into

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Bulgarian, Chinese, Italian, Korean, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and other foreign languages.

So what is he doing by publishing Moments of Grace—thirty-three chapters that shape prayer which draws on the four Gospels, the letters of Paul, and other books of the Bible?

O’Collins is convinced that merely academic theology is not enough. He thinks he should play a part, along with other professional theologians, in providing spiritual hearing aids. God speaks to us through the Scriptures. But we don’t always listen to God. We need help to let the inspired books become inspiring for us. Moments of Grace aims at breaking open the Scriptures and letting the Holy Spirit speak to us as the living Word of God.

This book opens up ways of listening to the inspired Scriptures. It can make it possible to hear some passage and feel, ‘these words have my name on them.’

Pope Gregory the Great said that Sacred Scriptures are like waters in which lambs may walk and elephants can swim. In other words, there is something there for everybody: for little lambs and mighty elephants. Whether we feel like lambs or elephants, we can all relate to the Scriptures and draw from them refreshment and life.

We receive life-giving force by letting the vivid language and images of the Bible confront us and set prayer going. The Word of God continues to be uniquely inspiring and spiritually energizing—heart-warming and soul-warming.

O’Collins reminds us of that old blessing which Jewish priests used in the Temple: ‘The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you’ (Numbers 6: 24-25). O’Collins presses on to note how the face of every human being can shine and become radiant. That happened long ago in Bethlehem. The face of a tiny child shone upon his parents and those who came to honour him. It was the Lord making his face shine upon us. The radiant face of the tiny baby in Mary’s arms was nothing less than the shining, human face of God.

This is simply one example of how Moments of Grace brings out the Spirit-filled light and power that the Scriptures embody. The book invites busy people to take time out of their heavy schedules and give themselves to prayer inspired by the Scriptures.

Precisely crafted and vividly illustrated, this book sets prayer going. May it prompt many readers into truly listening to the word of God, taking it to heart, and constantly acting on it.

Written by

Gerald O’ Collins

Moments of Grace is available to order now £11.99

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Prayer for Thy Kingdom Come

My first ever published book was prayers. I started writing it when I was sixteen or seventeen and it went out into the wild as a proper book when I was 18. I didn’t start it as a book. That was never the intention. All that happened was that I read David Kossoff’s book, You got a minute, Lord?, and had a go at writing my own stuff down. That was it.

I’ve never found prayer easy. Still, don’t. I’ve tried setting specific times aside, but end up finding I’m doing other things instead. I’ve tried quiet times, reading other prayer books, taking walks, writing more prayer books and have come to the conclusion that perhaps it’s not a case of trying to find ‘something that works’ but more ‘doing what fits best when’.

Obviously, I’m dogged by the same questions as everyone else: why pray? Does it work? How do you know? Is anyone listening? How can it work anyway if millions of folk are all praying at the same time about different things? And I don’t really have answers to any of those questions. Except that I’m convinced when I look back through my life, that prayer, and however or whenever I’ve done, is a vital part of everything I’ve experienced and all that I’ve become.

Thy Kingdom Come is a prayer movement which started in 2016 as an invitation from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to the Church of England. It is now, just two years later, an international and ecumenical call to prayer. Christians all around the world are asked to pray between Ascension and Pentecost for more people to come to know Jesus Christ.

Knowing Jesus Christ can mean many different things. It doesn’t necessarily mean a million road to Damascus experiences or it’s been a failure. Meeting Jesus is a hundred and one different things and more. It’s everything from a helping hand and an understanding ear to something life-changing. Perhaps it is simply the smallest of seeds sown all over the world which over time eventually grow into personal revelations about what and who Jesus is. Regardless, it strikes me that there is power behind millions of people getting together in prayer in the hope of, as Archbishop Justin Welby says, ‘… playing our part in the renewal of the nations and the transformation of communities.’ And that’s something I want to be a part of. What about you?

Written by Dave Gatward

For more information about Thy Kingdom Come, check out the website: www.thykingdomcome.global

 

 

‘Thy Kingdom Come’

Thy Kingdom Come is fast approaching and, in our small, semi-rural parish, we have been gearing up for a while now.  There are a lot of things on offer to try, a lot of imaginative cogs whirring round in our heads and a we-all-share_1huge amount of potential for reaching out beyond our church walls.

If you’ve not come across Thy Kingdom Come yet then, may I say, you are missing out!  Last year, the initiative launched by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York saw thousands of people across the world praying during the 11 day period between Ascension Day and Pentecost. The prayer was specifically ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ and 85% of Church of England churches, plus many of other denominations, joined in praying for the world and for people to come to know Jesus.

If you took a poll of how people were planning to pray and reach out during TKC this year, then I can guarantee that no two answers would be the same. For us, in our parish, it’s about reaching out to the community and our close friends and family. One of the highlights of last year was the prayer workshop we did in our local infant school, where each class spent a session in the hall exploring interactive prayer stations based on the Lord’s prayer. It was noisy, it was messy but it was also really touching and profound as the youngest children in our community connected with God and interceded for those they knew and cared for (see below for a link to what we did). This year we’ll be in school again but doing something completely different, which will have to remain a closely guarded secret for now or I will be in trouble!

It’s not just in schools, though, that we are hoping TKC will have an impact. We truly believe that we are supposed to bless our community so we’ll be venturing out on a prayer walk and making sure that church is open for prayer every day.  Most excitingly of all we will be hosting a training day by the Ffald-y-Brenin community about how we can work to form the local house of prayer where we live. Individually, we will be encouraging each member of the church to pray for 5 friends or family members who don’t yet know Jesus. We really want people around us to know that they are loved and valued by God and prayer is one of the most amazing tools we have in our box.

There is something incredible about being part of a movement of people praying together at the same time and for a specific purpose. It’s almost as if we are being swept along on a tide of God’s power and love and it really brings into focus the fact that, however, we choose to worship and whatever our style of the church looks like, we are all in this together. We are all disciples and we are all praying for God’s kingdom to be released on earth. So if you want to join in but haven’t really thought about how to have a look at the Thy Kingdom Come website or check out some of the numerous books and resources for prayer and worship available here at Kevin Mayhew. Join the movement and may God’s Kingdom come to you, your community and those you love!

www.thykingdomcome.global

flamecreativekids.blogspot.co.uk

Written by Mina MunnsRevd._Minna_Munns

Mina’s new book We all Share is available now only £6.99

Click here to view

 

Young Person’s Quick Guide to Leadership – the why, when and where!

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“Harris, the Headmaster wants to see you as soon as possible in his study.” was the summons. “Oh dear, I am in trouble.” was my initial thought as I left my 6th form tutor group. I already regretted having confronted a partisan sports teacher from a visiting school the day before quite so aggressively. Now it appeared the matter was going to be taken further. Minutes later I was reeling from shock as the headmaster informed me that I had been chosen to be head boy. The experience of finding myself in that role was challenging and enriching. It stood me in good stead for leadership throughout my life. I once spent a fortnight in Windsor Castle on a leadership course which was different.

Research shows that young people who have leadership roles in school go on to become leaders in their adult life. A few years ago, I was asked to run a training day for newly-appointed school prefects from schools all over the country. My preparation revealed that there were few resources written specifically for young leaders. Apart from those who go into the armed forces, young people with leadership potential tend not to receive training until they are in their mid to late twenties. My book aims to address this hiatus. It introduces young people to leadership theory (formation, styles, relationship to management), poses questions to help people explore their motives and strengths, and points them towards other resources. I have tried to be concise. The Appendix includes practical toolkits about communication, conflict resolution and chairing meetings.

When and Where?

I usually have two or three projects on the go at any one time. One day may feel like a day for poetry, the next for non-fiction and the next for a radio script! About once a year I go away for a month to somewhere with fewer distractions and concentrate on one piece of work. I wrote Young Person’s Quick Guide to Leadership last September in France in the foothills of the Pyrenees, courtesy of friends who loaned me their house. I know, it’s a tough life but someone’s got to do it! Having submitted the completed manuscript – one of my shorter ones as it happens – there was a discussion about a version for junior and primary schools. So, I sat down with a friend, Heather Torrens, who specializes in training pupil-leaders in primary schools to see what would emerge. We linked up with a brilliant young illustrator, Jethro Wilson who very quickly grasped our vision. The Junior edition will appear shortly. There will be a downloadable Teacher’s Guide, outlining leadership training sessions.

Final words.

I asked some young people including some of our grandchildren to test drive these resources. I was glad to take on their advice. I hope others find it useful.

 

Young person’s quick guide to leadership is available now

Only £5.99 Click here to view

Written by Paul Canon Harris

I’ll hold my hands up and say…

 

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I’ll hold my hands up and say that when I first began working as a children and families worker at a large city-centre church I had little to no experience of working with under 5s. Having been a junior school teacher, I kind of knew what I was doing with the 7-11s, but anyone younger stumped me slightly. In terms of the under 5s, I spent my first year in the job pretty much blagging my way through and learning on my feet, but it was in the flying by the seat of my pants scenarios that I truly started to make a connection with the amazing spiritual capacity of the youngest children in our churches.

If we’re going, to be honest, the under 5s in our churches can be something of a neglected group. In a lot of churches we often don’t have the volunteers to provide even a basic crèche facility and, when we do, there is sometimes very little spiritual input. As a church leader, I understand completely how hard it can be to know where to start to include our youngest members in a meaningful way. However, when I started to engage more with the under 5s, I realised that there is so much depth we don’t give them credit for and many easy ways of including them in what we do so that they can truly be part of the whole body of Christ. And that is the key. If we truly believe that children are part of God’s family and have as much of a place as adults do, then we can’t allow them to be excluded from our most important Christian rites. If we want our children, from the earliest age to be part of the story of our community, then we need to find more than token ways in which they can participate. It was believing this that got me started on the journey towards what eventually became
We All Share.

As I learned more about play techniques and the spiritual journey of the under 5s and listened to the stories from churches across the denominations and across the world, I became more and more encouraged. There are so many examples out there of children being drawn into the symbols, actions, words and story of Holy Communion. As well as my own experiences of working with children, I heard stories from others of under 5s showing deep understanding of what the bread and wine represented, of families being taught some theological truths by their youngest members and of children acting out in detail what they had seen week by week from their own vantage point. I learned, most importantly, that Jesus belongs to all of us, irrespective of age!

So if you are used to working with under 5s, or you have no idea where you would even start; if you are a church leader, a children’s leader or a parent; if you have children’s groups or no volunteers whatsoever; if you want something you can use at home or something you can use on Sunday morning with very little preparation, there will be something here for you. Have fun, be inspired and let me know what you are doing!

 

Buy now at Kevinmayhew.com 

Available as Book or eBook – £6.99 

 

Written by Mina Munns:

Revd._Minna_Munns

Happy Talk that is to be published by Kevin Mayhew this September.

During Lent, I’ve been leading a Bible Study Course in a small Suffolk village. Despite a less than warm village hall and freezing weather, a faithful group of around 14 people have met each week. We’ve been looking at the Beatitudes as found in Matthew but exploring why Luke had a different version and what different translations and other Biblical texts can teach us of their meaning.

It has always struck me as slightly odd that any number of people I have met who have little interest in the theological intricacies of Christianity and are very sceptical of the possibility that Jesus could be the Son of God, nevertheless feel that in the Sermon on the Mount and the Beatitudes in particular, Jesus was saying things they think are good common sense. It seems to me that whatever else the Beatitudes are, they are not common sense – they are radical counter-intuitive challenges to the way we normally think. Why should the poor, those who mourn, or the persecuted be considered blessed or happy or, as Nicholas King has in his translation,* should be congratulated. There’s a shock to these sayings when you look at them seriously.

It’s the NEB and the Good News Bible, among others, that have ‘Happy are . . .’ And I find that interesting, not simply in trying to understand what Jesus was saying but in exploring what we think happiness is. I’ve been thinking quite a lot about this recently and have written a little book called Happy Talk that is to be published by Kevin Mayhew this September.

Over the centuries and in different cultures and religions, the idea of what makes us happy, and what happiness is, has taken quite a number of different forms. To an ancient Greek it was only the gods who could be really happy – living beyond this world of work and trouble, of disease and death. It was only when you were dead, sharing the realm of the gods that a human being could be really happy. However, as in other religions, including the Jewish, it came to be felt that if you were wealthy, had fertile lands, and big herds, a position of power and lots of children you could count yourself happy. Lots of people see it the same way today – have the latest model of car, the biggest, smartest TV you can fit on your wall, all the gadgets you can think of and you will be happy. At least that’s what the adverts tell you. That’s what the consumer society and capitalist economics urge us to believe. It keeps the wheels turning.

But increasingly people are realising, as many of the ancients had already realised, that it’s a mirage, a con. Stuff, more and more stuff just doesn’t ensure happiness. Happiness is relationships, happiness is experience. And for the Christian believer, true happiness is ultimately not something we achieve but something we are offered as a gift – from others and from God.

If you want to know what else I think about happiness, how about getting my book when it comes out? That’ll make me happy!

* The Bible, A study Bible freshly translated by Nicholas King, Kevin Mayhew 2013

Written by John Cox March 2018

The dangers of social media

The dangers of social media have been highlighted by any number of recent items in the news. And as usual, there are plenty of people ready to blame someone, anyone, for what happens. The government should do more. The platform companies should produce more effective algorithms to filter out the grooming, the bullying, the abuse. It’s the schools. It’s parents.

New technologies have always produced their abusers as well as their users. Consequences are not always thought through or even imagined. People who are afraid of change have always been prepared to exaggerate what awful things will happen if you have cars, or railways or travel faster than sound. Those who embrace change don’t always take enough care to protect themselves and others from the dangers.

One of the problems with very rapid change, the kind of change we see in the world of digital communication, is that our common and moral sense sometimes takes time to catch up. Teenagers post a saucy photo of themselves, click the button and just haven’t thought it through that this will now go out to the world with all the potential for embarrassment and worse.

But there is something currently happening in one area of technological advance that is very interesting. While I am well behind when it comes to streaming the latest pop song I did get rid of my old tapes and replace them with CDs and I have gone so far as to download specific tracks both of popular and classical music. I’m almost ‘with it.’ But now I find that I should have kept all my old vinyl records. Technology has gone into reverse! The old turntable, amplifier and speakers hiding in a corner of my study gathering dust could be worth something after all. The music world is enjoying ‘retro’.

My daughter suggested the other day that perhaps the same will happen with social media – that it will decline and the older ‘face to face’ communication make a return. But I wonder. It would take more than a move to the ‘retro’. It would mean considerable changes in our social activity and social patterns. As a society, we are more’ instant’, more individualistic, less willing to take time in our relationships, more anxious about being liked – and the social media feed this.

Changes too in the world of publishing. More online. E-books. Volumes of encyclopedias have given way to Wikipedia. With an iPad, you have whole libraries available without moving from your seat. Bookshops have closed, not least Christian bookshops. But I’d like to bet that just as vinyl has had a resurgence (at least for the time being) so too will good old paper books. In the meantime, publishers have to look for the signs of the times, keep up, even try to get ahead of the latest trend. And Kevin Mayhew Ltd is no different.

 

Written by John Cox 2018

Youth and Children’s work

Taken from the November edition of YCW Magazine (Youth and Childre’s Work

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 Recent research suggests that as many as 1 in 6 young people will experience an anxiety condition at some point in their lives. Liz Edge looks at how we can encourage the children and young people in our groups to talk about these issues and seek help where they need it.

If the Bible tells me not to worry, then why am I so anxious all the time? It was questions like this that flooded my mind as a teenager after being diagnosed with anxiety.

I attended a loving church, but no one wanted to answer – or even explore – these sorts of questions. Church members would discourage me from thinking this way and unintentionally pour guilt into my mind for even contemplating these thoughts. Surely I couldn’t be the only teenage Christian living in the void? During my adolescence, I quickly learnt that emotional health and God didn’t mix. Over a decade later, after becoming a professionally qualified youth worker, I realised that young people were still asking similar questions. This void in conversation still exists, yet anxiety in the younger generations is on the rise. The responsibility is ours to help close this void and create a culture of resilient children and young people.

What is anxiety?
Definition: Anxiety is a word we use to describe feelings of unease, worry and fear. It incorporates both the emotions and the physical sensations we might experience when we are worried or nervous about something. Although we usually find it unpleasant, anxiety is related to the ‘fight or flight’ response – our normal biological reaction to feeling threatened. (Mind, 2015).

Anxiety is experienced by everyone at different times in their lives. It is often an unpleasant experience, but it is completely normal in most cases. Common times when a young person may experience bouts of anxiety are sitting an exam or starting a new school. After the exam is sat or the first few days of a new school have passed, the anxious symptoms usually stop and you can continue to normal life.

Signs and symptoms
There are all sorts of physical and physiological indicators that show a young person might be suffering from anxiety. Here’s a list which includes some of the most common factors to keep an eye out for:

- Muscle tension
- Nausea
- Difficulty sleeping
- Feeling ‘on edge’
- Restlessness
- Sweating
- Hot flushes
- Feeling a sense of numbness
- Pins and needles
- Fearing the worst/sense of dread

 

www.Liz-Edge.co.uk

YCW (Youth and Children’s Work)

Click here to view Liz edge’s new book Exploring Emotional Health, Available in Paperback and ebook formats 

 

 

Still Valued and Blessed Review

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This book is bursting with kindness. Its aim is to ‘highlight misconceptions about old age – from a biblical viewpoint’ and to ‘encourage older people, generally’.

Each chapter deals with a negative emotion – for example, regrets over past failures continues with relevant Bible passages and suggestions for addressing the situation and ends with prayer. The chapters are thoughtful and would help believers of any age. I found the title itself conflicting, because ‘still valued …’ has implications of ‘in spite of’, as with a car that has high mileage but is ‘still going well’. Yet God designed old age on purpose. His intention was that throughout our lives we would develop attributes and character that only come with a long life. God’s

purpose for older people was that they would become the elderhood of society. This is one of the reasons that we should rise in their presence (Leviticus 19.32). Pastor Coghlan acknowledges this when he writes: ‘Faithfully following Jesus will lead to acquiring great spiritual knowledge and wisdom. It is a call to respect older people. It is a call to value older people.’ So why do we not value old age and acknowledge the ‘elderhood’ of older people? Even worse, why do our seniors not see it themselves? Why the negative thinking
which this book so compassionately addresses? My research shows that it is ingrained, unrecognised, corrosive ageism. We have absorbed the world’s view of age, instead of the Bible’s. We look on the outer appearance instead of the inner and we do not give older people the position God intended. God’s design for older people and their purpose needs to be part of church teaching. All of us need to hear it. And seniors need to be intentionally released into the roles Pastor Coghlan mentions, such as mentoring, listening and teaching (see Paul’s advice to Timothy). ‘Look for the open windows,’ is the last sentence in the book’s narrative, but understanding God’s purpose means that, for His seniors, it is we who should be opening them.

Review was written by The Church’s Ageism

Louise Morse, media and communications manager for the Pilgrims’ Friend Society, a Christian
charity caring for older people. She is also a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist and author.

Exploring Emotional Health – **Review**

Review published in the August edition of  Life and ministry among young peopleLayout 1

How do you open up conversations with teens about difficult stuff like depression, emotions, self-harm or anxiety? More importantly, how do you support those who are experiencing these issues? Using creative workshops, Liz Edge gives youth leaders the tools they need to tackle some of the things young people face. She creates space where it’s safe to talk and develop the emotional literacy which will help build resilience in young people. Exploring Emotional Health isn’t the last answer, but it gives a very strong start to the conversation.

 http://bit.ly/2x014Zx