Let’s pray creatively!

Don’t forget our creative prayer meeting tomorrow! 

9:00 am, Stockport Baptist Church. 60, Thomson Street, Stockport, SK3 9DR

It’s time for our last prayer meeting of the year! As a team, we are stumbling our way towards the end of term, exhausted and a little under the weather! When things get busy and hectic, we can often put prayer on the back burner, shove it to the end of our to-do list, and push on through. Even if experience has taught us time and again this is a bad idea, even if the bible teaches us that prayer should be at the very top of our list, we still fall into familiar, unhelpful patterns. One of my favourite quotes of all time is about prayer, from Martin Luther: 

Image result for i have so much to do that i shall spend the first three hours in prayer

So let’s lean in! Let’s follow Luther’s example and start our saturday on the right foot – in prayer! Tomorrow we are going to be exploring prayer in creative ways – we have a creative God, and he loves it when we worship the Creator with Creativity! We will have some prayer stations and opportunities to focus on certain aspects of mission and life.This will be a wonderful chance to spend time in prayer together and focus on God, the reason for the season, our Creator and giver of life.

I hope to see you there!

Blessings,

Emma

All Different, All Equal. Anti-bullying week

 

It’s Anti-bullying week!

Hi everyone! In the lead up to Christmas, everything gets going for us! Next week is anti-bullying week nationwide, and we will be delivering projects on the theme of “All Different, All Equal,” in schools across Stockport. We have already delivered the project in two schools (Cheadle Primary and St John’s Primary) and we could appreciate your prayers for us as we lead these sessions in the following schools. The project focuses on addressing prejudice and discrimination – a hot topic for many schools at the moment – and a topic that requires a lot of sensitivity. I pray that the holy spirit will be with us in all we say and do. Please do take note of when we are delivering in a school close to you, and maybe spare a moment to pray for us on that day. Every prayer makes a difference!

Monday

All Saints Primary, Heatons. 9 – 1pm

Cheadle Heath Primary, Edgeley. 9 – 1pm.

Mersey Vale Primary, Heaton Mersey. 1 – 3pm.

Romiley Primary, Romiley. 1 – 3pm.

Tuesday

Abingdon Primary, Reddish. 9 – 12

Norris Bank Primary, Heaton Norris. 9 – 11

Mersey Vale Primary, Heaton Mersey. 1 – 3pm

Lane End Primary, Cheadle Hulme. 1 – 3pm.

Wednesday 

St Thomas’ Primary, Heaton Mersey 9 – 3pm

Queensgate Primary, Bramhall 9 – 12

Thursday 

Woodley Primary, Woodley. 11 – 12

Moss Hey Primary, Bramhall 1 – 2pm

Ramilies School, Cheadle Hulme 2 – 4pm

Friday

Norbury Hall Primary, Hazel Grove 9 – 3pm

Didsbury Road Primary, Heaton Mersey 9 – 10

Tuesday 21st

Prospect Vale Primary, Heald Green 9 – 1pm

Friday 24th 

Fairway Primary, Offerton. 9:30 – 3:30pm

Let’s pray together! 

I also want to invite you all to our last prayer meeting of the year! Myself and our Heaton’s worker, Jill, will be leading a creative prayer meeting at Stockport Baptist Church, on Saturday the 25th of November at 9am. There will be coffee and tea provided, and we will also have set up creative prayer spaces in the church. This is a great opportunity to come and spend some time in prayer for our area, our schools, and ourselves. Please join us as we dig into prayer for the last stretch of the term.

We appreciate all the prayers for our work – they are sustenance to us when we have nothing more to give! We hope to see many of you on the 25th, and I can’t wait to update you about how all our anti-bullying projects have gone.

Blessings,

Emma

Reminder: Halloween Event Tomorrow

Hi Everyone!

I just wanted to remind you about our event tomorrow night at St Mary’s Church, Cheadle entitled “Teenagers and the impact of Horror culture.” This is a great opportunity to learn more about Horror culture and how we can understand young people’s reaction and interest in it. We hope that many of you will be able to join us to engage with this interesting discussion. You can book a place at the event through our eventbrite link, here:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/teenagers-and-horror-culture-tickets-39250776128

I look forward to seeing some of you there!

Blessings,

Emma

Why do we need to talk about Halloween?

Darker evenings, pumpkins in the shops, leaves on the ground, and aisles of the supermarkets suddenly filled with cheap acrylic monster costumes – it must be Halloween!

When I was growing up in a small, Kentish village with a dominating parish church, Halloween was irrelevant to my life. Living in a Christian family in a Christian community, my autumn was punctuated by Harvest, Bonfire Night, Advent and then Christmas, but never Halloween. I never went trick or treating, instead attending the Light parties in the church hall. Halloween just wasn’t important to me, or any of the people I knew. Comparing notes with other Christians my age, they share similar histories. Our parents and communities kept Halloween away from us, but that is not the case in 2017.

As the world becomes smaller, more intimately connected by social media and the power of the internet, the American influence of Halloween has only increased in the last few years. Many of the children we meet day to day in school are not familiar with Harvest or Advent, but are, even at a young age, nostalgically connected with Halloween. They hear about harvest and advent at school in their assemblies, or maybe if their school takes a trip to the local church for a special service, but Halloween is the one that they see at home. Their parents buy them costumes, their brothers and sisters take them trick or treating, and last year, their phones and social media accounts whipped them up into a terrified hype about killer clowns. Halloween is important to young children – it’s a time for their family, for fun, for costumes and treats, but also for fear and sometimes, confusion. The church cannot ignore Halloween and hope it goes away. It’s hold is only growing stronger as these children grow up with a lifetime of halloweens behind them.

That lifetime of Halloween may impact them in different ways; for many it will include “fun fright” experiences. For some it will include viewings of themed movies; from the innocuous to the downright horrifying. For the 95% of young people who are not in church, their first introduction to the world of the spiritual will come from Halloween. It will come from ghosts and witches and zombies and demons. As a church, we have a responsibility to see that their spiritual education expands. But how do we meet their needs? Many of you will have grown up like I did, unaware of Halloween, entrenched instead in Christian communities, or maybe even growing up in a time in British culture when Halloween was nothing more than a bit of apple bobbing and face paint. How can we engage with children who are being raised on Halloween?

Well, we can start with a discussion about it! Jonathan Greenaway is an academic at Manchester Metropolitan University at the Gothic Studies department, and specialises in horror and theology. (He also happens to be my husband!) In my house, the topic of halloween, horror and the Christian response is often on the table, and so we have decided to open that topic up to youth workers, church leaders, and basically anyone who is interested in engaging with young people on this level.

We are holding a seminar at St. Marys Church, Cheadle, on Wednesday 1st of November at 7pm.

We hope that this will be a really helpful opportunity to discuss some of these questions. We have an eventbrite page, please just follow this link to book your place. The event is free of charge. We look forward to seeing you there!

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/teenagers-and-horror-culture-tickets-39250776128

Let’s discuss the Halloween generation!

Blessings,

 

Teenagers and Horror movies – how to engage

Talking to teenagers about Halloween can be a nightmare! 

But it doesn’t have to be. 

Horror movies and horror culture are a significant influence on our young people today, just look at the Killer Clown craze that swept up a frenzy last year! This can be very worrying for adults associated with young people – how can we talk to them productively about horror and Halloween without alienating them, and being accused of being out of touch? This seminar is designed to help us talk to young people about Horror and Halloween and engage with the materials that are so influencing to them.

Jon Greenaway, from the department of Gothic Studies at Manchester Metropolitan University, specializes in Gothic studies and theology, particularly in the medium of Horror movies. He is coming to speak to us about current horror trends, and how we can engage with these films through a Christian, theological way. We will also discuss strategies to look at these issues with our young people, how to talk about these films with them in a productive way. This will also be a great opportunity to ask questions that you might have about horror culture, and pray together for our young people as we navigate Halloween with them in a positive way.

The event is taking place at St Mary’s Church, Cheadle, at 19:30 on wednesday the 1st of November.

You can book online here at eventbrite. Tickets are free of charge. We hope that you will send this message on to the youth leaders in your church and give them the opportunity to come and discuss these very important questions.

We look forward to seeing you at the event!

Blessings,

Emma

The 95 tour tonight! (and a catch-up of mental health week)

The Scripture Union 95 tour is in Stockport Tonight! 

Emmanuel Church, Green Lane, Heaton Norris. 7:15pm.

Tonight! Don’t miss out on a great opportunity!

We hope that we will see lots of people tonight at this great opportunity to hear about what Scripture Union is doing across the country to reach the 95% of children who are currently not in church, and what part Stockport has to play in that.

Like I said: Don’t miss out!

Mental Health Week: 9th of October 

This mental health week we:

Introduced 200 year 7 students to the Lily Jo project, an invaluable mental health resource. 

Did our “Time to change” stigma assembly with over 600 secondary school students

Did our “We’re not afraid of feelings!” assembly with over 600 primary school students. 

Did our “We’re not afraid of feelings!” lesson with 120 KS1 students 

Did our “Be Yourself!” project with 100 KS2 students 

Had over 40 new students attend a mental health drop in club

Had 5 new students disclose mental health difficulties to us at drop in club. 

Spoke to over 1000 students in total about mental health. 

Thank you for all your support and prayers. Our mental health week was really blessed by God, and we are very pleased and proud of all we managed to achieve with his help.

Image result for Christianity day

Christianity DAY!

On Friday, we had an amazing time working with local volunteers and churches to deliver a Christianity day at an offerton primary school. It was such a great day, and even though it was incredibly tiring for the team, the school were very grateful and gracious and thankful. Praise God!

Here are some pictures of what we achieved in Christianity day!

Hope to see you tonight!

Living in the 95, mental health week, and a volunteer call out!

Living in the 95 

Did you know that 95% of all children and young people are not in church? You might have guessed if you have ever tried to teach a class of 8 year old’s about the bible, or have ever lead a sunday school lesson at a local church in the last ten years. The next generation of young people are a generation who have maybe never stepped inside a church building, never touched or opened a bible, and never engaged with a practicing Christian before. With only 5% of children making it through the doors of a church, how will they hear the gospel? The answer is quite simple – we will have to take it to them, where they are. On the streets, in youth clubs, online, and, significantly, at school.

At Christians in Schools the largest we see the 95% every day. Most of the children (We estimate 95 – 97%) come from a very limited religious and spiritual background. They are children who only go to churches for funerals (very few people are christened these days, and more and more people choose to get married outside of a church) and only hear about the bible at school in their limited R.E lessons. What we do is, at it’s simplest and most essential level, is engage children with a reality that they may never have had the opportunity to consider: What does it mean for me if God actually is real?

We have spent two days this week with Scripture Union at the Local Mission Partners conference in Leeds. It was a great time of renewal and inspiration, but it was also a time of real reflection. As Scripture Union begins to alter their national focus and mission towards the 95%, it really shed light on the importance of the work we do at Christians in Schools Trust. We are really excited to be part of the Scripture Union 95 tour, which will be stopping in Stockport on Monday 16 Oct (19:15) at  Emmanuel Community Church, 55 Green Lane Stockport. SK4 3LH. 

You can reserve your place at the event through the event brite link, here.

It would be great to see as many of you there as possible; there will be refreshments and a Scripture Union book tour, and a great opportunity to be trained by Scripture Union associates and learn about their work in the North West. I’m sure that anyone who attends will come away with loads of ideas as to how to reach the 95% in your local area!

Mental health week: 

It’s mental health week next week, which means we will be doing mental health projects in primary and secondary schools across Stockport. We are focusing on two particular themes this year: “Living with Mental Health,” which engages young people to support their friends with mental health problems, and “We’re not afraid of feelings!” which engages children to talk about their Big feelings with people they love and trust. Please pray for all of the young people we see next week; that those who are struggling will be encouraged by our presence to speak up, and that those who are not struggling will learn something about how they can support their friends and family. Please also pray for the youngest children we will be working with next week – year 1 children. Please pray that what we engage them with will be the first steps of a journey to a national culture change where children and young people are able to be open about their mental health status and live without stigma. I look forward to sharing our stories from mental health week with you next week. Here are the details of where we will be and when:

Stockport Academy – Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday morning.

Cheadle Heath Primary – Monday

Cheadle Primary – Monday

Bradshaw Hall Primary – Tuesday

Fairway Primary – Tuesday

Abingdon Primary – Wednesday

Thursday – Cheadle Primary.

Christianity Day! 

Finally,

We are doing a full day of Christian workshops in a primary school and we need some extra help! 

Next Friday we are undertaking our first “Christianity Day!” at a Primary school in Offerton. We are taking the whole school off-timetable and have arranged for some amazing people to come in and provide exciting workshops for the children. However, we could really use some extra help and extra leaders. If you are part of a local church, or would like to support us in this, please get in touch. You would need to be available from 8:30 – 13:00 on Friday the 13th of October. This is a great chance to reach out to the 95% yourself!

Come and be part of the adventure! 

You’ll find some photos from our LMP Day away below.

Blessings,

Emma

Emma and Jill on day one – Having a great time!

First talk on day 1 – learning all about teaching young people to Abide in the Vine of the Lord

Final session on the last day – worship and being commissioned back into our work!

The Diary of a Disciple! Really excited to working with this new material.

 

The Three Week Slump – pray for our teachers!

If you’ve ever been a teacher, you’ll know about the third week slump…. 

The term always starts with high hopes. Students are remarkably quiet as they settle into their new classrooms, new year six students are filled with responsibility, and new year seven students are overflowing with awe and excitement that leaves the giggly, but also respectful. For the first two weeks of term, behavior is good, children seem to be listening better, and are actually even secretly excited to be back at school with all their friends. Then the third week comes.

I don’t know if there is a biological alarm that goes off inside school children, but the third week is when they unconsciously decide that they are done settling in. Having settled in, they then decide that they are ready to make some mischief! This week, the bad behavior has arrived. Also, it takes about two weeks for all of those germs that have been swilling around in all of them to come to the surface. This week, the colds have arrived! And who is on the front line of all of this? The teachers of course!

So this week, we really want to pray for our teachers. We really want to give them support and love and care, for they are doing an incredible job. They are getting tired (many of them started the term tired!) and do need protection from illness and sickness as the term goes on. We ask you to join us in these prayers for our teachers – that they would bond with their classes and earn their respect. That they will manage discipline in a way that encourages growth and positive learning. That they will have their health protected by the strength of the Lord. If you would like, perhaps take the prayer at the top of this blog post, a prayer for our teachers, and commit to praying it once a week. If you know a teacher, maybe pray for them personally! Then see what the Lord does.

We would also like to personally invite you to the Scripture Union 95 tour! Scripture Union is coming to Stockport on the 16th of October! They will be hosted at Emmanuel Community Church. The event, which will give people of Stockport the opportunity to learn more about how Scripture Union is working in their town and Borough, begins at 7:15. This is also a very important training opportunity:

95% of children in the UK are not in Church.

How is your Church trying to reach the 95%?

The 95 tour is coming to Stockport, with an exciting training session that will equip you to serve the 95% in your local community.

We will be there, along with others! If possible, please do print a flyer and put it up in your church. Here is the flyer: 95 tour Flyer (002)

You can also register your interest in the Training session on Eventbrite – just follow this link! Eventbrite 95 Tour

We hope to see you there!

Blessings,

Emma

 

 

1 week down, 18 to go!

Hi everyone! 

Well, we made it to the end of the first week of term with our new team! Thank you to everyone who prayed for us as we started on this journey at the beginning of the summer, hiring new people and stepping out in faith for God’s provision. Your prayers have been the support that have guided our Trustees to make good choices, that have encouraged us to pursue God’s vision in this new term.

As we start week 2 of term and week 2 with the new team, there are some specific things we would like you to pray for:

  • New Schools: We have several new schools joining us this term for the first time. We would appreciate your prayers for the following schools; that we would be able to start meaningful relationships with them, and give positive input into the lives of their students. The schools are: MeadowBank Primary School, Cheadle. Abingdon Primary, Reddish. Broadstone Primary School, Heaton Chapel. 
  • New supporters: Education Sunday has just passed us, and we have had some great opportunities to speak to churches about exactly what it is we do here at Christians in Schools Trust. We are praying that these opportunities, and further opportunities that we may have, will enable us to garner more support from individuals. We are so blessed by our supporter base, but now that we have more workers, we are looking to God and his Church to provide the resources to support our step of faith. Please pray for us in this, but if you also have any friends who might be interested in supporting our work, please do direct them to our website for further information. 
  • New chapters: It is amazing to have new workers join us this term, and as we start a new chapter we need your prayers for our new team members. It can be daunting, starting a role that is incredibly hands on and requires adaptability and flexibility in times when a new worker might actually want security and clear guidelines. Please pray for our new workers if they start to reach out to schools on their own, make their own bookings, build their own relationships, and grow into the role. They have made a great start, but we ask for the Lord’s continued blessing on their work. 

We thank you for your continued support and prayers. May God be with you this week, and his spirit blessing you with his presence. May he feel near to you, and make his face to shine upon you.

With blessings,

Emma

 

Embracing Growth – So much news!

Hello Everyone! We’re back! 

It’s so lovely to be writing to you all again after such a long break. The summer seems firmly behind us now that the good weather is gone, but even as memories of holidays and time spent holidaying with loved ones fades, we are so excited to get back into schools and share our amazing news with you:

Our team has grown! 

We have hired a new full time primary worker, Joshua Openshaw, and a new part time worker, Jill Elston. You can read more about them and see their pictures in our most recent newsletter at the bottom of this post. We really believe we are responding to God’s word by hiring these individuals, and God has been speaking to us clearly about expansion. You can read more about this in detail in the letter from the Chairman in the newsletter below, but the most important point is that we are trusting Jesus to be faithful as we step out in faith and enlarge the place of our tents.

It reminds me very much of a sermon I heard last term about stepping out in faith. The passage being preached on was Joshua 3 verse 8 when Joshua, facing down the might of Jericho, tells the priests of the Lord to take the ark of the covenant out into the Jordan river. We know, from our biblical knowledge and heritage, that as the priests step into the river, the water dries up and the entire nation of Israel is able to cross the river Jordan thanks to a miracle of the Lord. However, we do not often consider what it must have been like to be a priest of the Lord at that moment. To be told to take the heavy ark, the most precious ark of the lord, and walk into the river Jordan without knowing what was going to happen. They had to have faith for that first step, trusting God for his protection even when all they could see where the fast-flowing, threatening waters and the might of the walls of Jericho. All they could see was danger and doubt.

They must have held their faith like a shield against their fear, and some people might say that maybe being that close to the Ark of the Covenant and so familiar with the intimate presence of God nullified their fears entirely. We cannot know for sure this side of heaven. But whatever they felt, they were obedient to God’s command to go, as given through his messenger, Joshua. Sometimes we can waver in our obedience when we hear a command from God that is sent through his Saints. Sometimes we tell ourselves: “Well, I’ll keep that to myself until God confirms it to me.” The priests of the Lord couldn’t do that. They couldn’t turn around to Joshua and say: “We’ll hold off on risking our lives, thanks, until God confirms it personally to us.” They recognised the spiritual authority of Joshua, a servant of the Lord, and obeyed.

For me, that is a powerful lesson in the way of obedience and servitude. When the Lord speaks to me through the Saints, through our trustees or supporters, I am challenged to be obedient to the spirit of Lord. One of the things I like about the bible verse that was given to the Trust (Isaiah 54:2) is that it includes the command “Do not hold back.” So often, our obedience is tentative. The equivalent might have been one of the priests of the Lord wading into the water before all the others, “just to check how deep it is.” The Lord doesn’t command tentative obedience. He says, “Do not hold back.” This academic year, I am going to be strengthened by those words in everything the team delivers and plans. We have this instruction from the Lord, to grow in every way, to make room for what is to come, and to do it without holding back. My prayer this year, is that we will be brave enough and strong enough to take those first steps of faith, and walk confidently into the promise God has given us.

Please do read the newsletter, it has some important dates in it for prayer and also some wonderful information from Josh and Jill. For those of you reading in your email, please follow the links to the website where you will be able to click on the newsletter and download it to read on your computer.

Here it is! NEWSLETTER START OF TERM 2017

With blessings at the start of the term,

Emma