Pilgrimage Prayer

There was an invitation to write prayers of support for those joining the Young Christian Climate Network (YCCN) Pilgrimage Relay to COP26, the UN Climate Change Conference taking place in Glasgow from the 1st-12th November 2021.

As some of our Woolwich Episcopal Area Youth Forum in Southwark Diocese are involved in the Canterbury Tributary in August, I wrote a prayer to be included amongst the contributions:

Creator God, we treasure the awesome wonder and intricate beauty of the world you have given us stewardship over.

We marvel at the diversity of the creatures and plants you have made, regretting that we have not taken better care of your world, of our world.

Jesus observed the farmer sowing, and walked with his disciples through harvest-ready wheatfields; he valued the fruit of the fig tree and the vine. He knew where the foxes had holes and the birds of the air their nests; he had an eye and heart for your world, for its plants and creatures and people.

As we walk in the footsteps of Jesus’ disciples on our own pilgrimage of faith, Lord teach us to value your gifts of creation and salvation, that we may be transformed and transforming. 

May the sovereignty of your kingdom come on earth, as it is in heaven, and give us the courage and strength to help bring it about; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Alastair Cutting :: August 2021

Please, God…

“Please, God, no more colouring…” is the astute headline on today’s Church Times.

Church Times 1 May 2009
Please, God, no more colouring…

It comes from an article on encouraging spirituality amongst the very young, which unfortunately, if you are not a subscriber, you probably won’t be able to read. Good though.

We try to do good stuff with and for kids, introducing them to Jesus, but I am conscious the we still fall sadly short at times…

Bring back Sunday Schools?

Last night I caught a little of Huw Edward’s BBC4 documentary Sunday Schools: Reading, Writing and Redemption. (Available on iPlayer until 24 Feb 2009.) I expected it to be your average media dismantling of religion, but was surprised how uniformly warmly the various participants, general public or celebrity, were about their contacts with Sunday School, and how it had so positively helped form their characters.

One of the participants was Roy Hattersley, who I knew had been in the choir at a Yorkshire church I did a curacy at: Wadsley Parish Church near Hillsborough, in Sheffield. When I was there in the late 1980s, Roy’s mother used to regularly be seen walking her Yorkshire Terrier through the church-yard, and was always up for a chat. Great to hear that the work the churches have been involved in since Robert Raikes founded the Sunday School movement in 1780 has had such a longlasting and positive influence. “Long live Sunday School” said Bill Tidy.

Huw Edwards ended the programme, conscious of the demise of Sunday schools in all but the largest and most significant of churches now, by saying “as one of millions who benefitted from attending Sunday schools, I think Britian is much the poorer – and one day we will wake up and will realise what we have lost”. May it not all be lost…

Wadsley Parish Church © Elaine Pickard

The programme blurb:
Documentary investigating the radical impact Sunday schools have had on
British society. Their early pioneers upset local bigwigs and the state
by teaching the lower orders to read. By Victorian times, huge numbers
attended the schools and they even gave birth to major football clubs.
In the twentieth century they still had a rich influence on the
personal lives of people like Patricia Routledge, Roy Hattersley and
Anne Widdecombe. Huw Edwards discovers their forgotten history.

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