Displaying items by tag: United Kingdom
Last year you prayed for justice for a Franklin Graham event after posters for Graham’s ‘Time For Hope’ event were banned from Blackpool buses. Nevertheless, thousands heard him speak at the town's Winter Gardens, and hundreds responded to his altar call. Blackpool council refused the posters because of concerns that he would incite hatred because of past comments he had made about Islam and homosexuality. This week the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association was awarded over £100,000 in damages as the council said they accepted the advertisements were not offensive, and in removing them they did not take into account that this caused offence to other members of the public. They also regretted they did not consult with the organisers before taking their decision.
The Church of England will hold an unprecedented ‘act of repentance’ service for the medieval expulsion of Jews in 1290 and other anti-Semitic acts. The move comes as the 800th anniversary approaches of the 1222 Oxford Synod, which introduced notorious anti-Semitic laws, including forcing Jews to wear clothing to distinguish them from Christians. Despite the CofE not existing in the 13th century (Henry VIII created it much later), Justin Welby’s office said it is exploring the idea of such a service, in conjunction with the Council of Christians and Jews, as well as the potential for a liturgical resource that might be offered to local churches to model an appropriate symbolic repentance. David Rich of Community Security Trust labelled the apology a case of ‘better late than never. The historic trauma of medieval English antisemitism can never be erased, and its legacy survives today with rising anti-Semitism’.
Many churches will be running a wide range of school holiday clubs throughout the summer months. Pray for the themed weeks to inspire children as they discover their Father in Heaven’s love and the friend that they have in Jesus. May the new songs that they learn be sung at home with their families and friends. Pray for God to give His strength and stamina to the many adults who will be guiding the children through various craft activities, sports and games, presenting interactive mime and drama, storytelling, singing and dancing, messy play and much more. May they find many opportunities to introduce their groups to Christ in each session. Pray for the clubs aimed at children who would normally receive free school meals. Pray for the evening clubs and café clubs aimed at older children to be fun and safe for all. May every Christian holiday club be used by God to open avenues between churches and communities.
Iceland said photographs of empty shelves in supermarkets, signs of panic buying, were isolated incidents. While there were ‘some availability issues’, they said their supply chains are resilient. M&S and other businesses said growing numbers of staff have been ‘pinged’ by the NHS Covid-19 app and they must self-isolate for 10 days. Businesses want people who have been double-vaccinated or have daily tests to be able to return to work. The British Retail Consortium said shops were facing increasing pressure as they try to keep shelves stocked with rising numbers of staff self-isolating. It said ministers needed to ‘act fast’ and allow fully-vaccinated retail workers or those who had tested negative for Covid to go to work. The Road Haulage Association said a shortage of 100,000 HGV drivers is disrupting supply chains as workers return to Europe following Brexit.
From 19 July England’s church congregations can be free from face masks and allowed to sing. Congregational singing and other in-person interaction is important for Christians. May churches be gracious and wise as they use their freedoms as scientists warn ‘lifting of almost all restrictions is a mistake as not enough people have been vaccinated’. Prof Robert West said government predictions of 100,000 cases a day over the summer are optimistic: ‘We could be seeing even double that.' The test and trace system remains the only way the Government can contain the virus to an acceptable level. So the message on how closely people should follow the advice to isolate if ‘pinged’ by the app is crucial. Although it's not a legal requirement to do so, any suggestion that ‘it's up to you, optional, or a judgment call’ risks undermining the Government's entire approach. Pray for everyone to navigate wisely the tricky issue of keeping everyone safe as they use their new freedoms.
Health workers protested in July against a 1% pay rise which the Government insisted was all it could afford. 1% was rejected by unions representing the 1.2m NHS English personnel. Conservative MPs are worried that it made the government look ungrateful for frontline workers’ herculean efforts during the pandemic. Opinion polls suggested the public agreed, and health leaders warned that it would only increase the NHS’s debilitating problems in recruiting and retaining staff. The prime minister has now offered 3%. But unions called the offer an insult and are prepared to force an increase. The British Medical Association, the Royal College of Nursing, GMB and Unite are seriously considering taking action (work to rule or strike) by medics, including nurses and junior doctors, and are canvassing their members’ views on the offer.
Five Albanians who smuggled migrants through the Channel Tunnel were arrested and held in London; two more arrests were in Surrey and Oxfordshire. Migrants are concealed behind furniture in vehicles hired specially for illegal smuggling, using a network of connections across Europe. Migrants paid as much as £25,000, believing they will go on to work in the illegal economy once in Britain. Commander Richard Harrison said the gang had risked the safety of the migrants and threatened the security of the UK border. Pray for these arrests to lead to further dismantling of criminal tunnel networking. Recently 430 migrants crossed the English Channel in one day. The Home Office has said it was taking substantial steps to tackle the unacceptable problem of illegal migration. A bill is currently being considered by MPs which would mean that migrants entering without permission could face up to four years in prison.
Team GB will be represented by its largest-ever delegation for an Olympic Games on foreign soil, with 376 athletes and 22 reserves competing across 26 sports in Tokyo’s 2020 Games. Also, for the first time, Team GB will have more women than men. Since 16 July six athletes and two staff members from the athletics team have become self-isolating after having close contact with an individual, not from Team GB, who tested positive after arriving in Tokyo. Pray that they will be able to resume training again soon. Taylor Campbell, who will compete in the hammer throw, said cases like this would be unavoidable. GB team members flying to Tokyo had seats mixed with the public instead of sitting together at the back of the flight.
Largely thanks to campaigning Christians, one of the most wicked proposed changes in the law ever to have been conceived in this country has failed to win approval. An amendment to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, intended to legalise abortion for any reason up to birth, has been withdrawn after being selected by the Speaker for debate and a vote. Jesus has the victory over death and destruction, and is right beside those who promote justice, righteousness, life, health and peace to a very sick society.
‘This lady was in deep despair when I first met her. She came to a local church foodbank seeking help to feed her four children. Thanks to God, volunteers, donations of daily needs, and gentle support, Tahreen gratefully received practical help. She also heard the gospel, and by God’s grace, she found new life in Christ!’ For further details, click the ‘More’ button.