When Riaan Swiegelaar, co-founder of the South African Satanic Church, told a Christian radio interviewer he'd never been shown unconditional love, she came and hugged him. He said he’d never had anyone do that and didn’t know a Christian could accept him unconditionally. After interviews affirming that satanism is growing, he did a ritual by himself to see what was the next step. ‘How do I get more power and influence? I opened myself up, and Jesus appeared. I was extremely cocky and said, “If You are Jesus, prove it”. He flooded me with the most beautiful love and energy, and I recognised it immediately because of what the lady at the radio station did for me.’ As a baby Christian, Swiegelaar says he isn't sure what's next for him, but he knows he will continue to learn more about Jesus and grow in his love.
Conservative MP Kemi Badenoch wrote in the Times, ‘I'm putting myself forward in this leadership election because I want to tell the truth.’ The Christian MP for Saffron Walden supports lower taxes to boost growth and productivity, and is accompanied by tight spending discipline. Her role as minister for local government, faith and communities included being the government’s liaison for the country’s faith leaders. She was born in Wimbledon, brought up in Nigeria, and has a range of faith traditions to draw upon. Tom Tugendhat, a Catholic, is MP for Tonbridge and Malling and chairman of the foreign affairs committee. He appealed to Boris Johnson on behalf of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and asked UK churches to negotiate her release from an Iranian prison. As of 14 July, he is one of the five remaining candidates, but Kemi has been eliminated.
The outgoing health secretary, Sajid Javid, has said that being at the National Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast inspired him to quit his role. The Street Pastors founder Rev Les Isaac spoke about the responsibility that comes with leadership, to serve the interests of others above your own, and to seek common ground of your party, your community, and above all, your country. Sajid said, ‘It doesn't matter what your political perspective is, in this house. I believe that we are all motivated by the national interest, and that the public expects us all to maintain honesty and to maintain integrity in whatever we do. This is not an abstract matter.’ Rev Isaac said, ‘God gives His people the capacity to be compassionate, not living for themselves but for others, such as the weak and the poor, the marginalised, and those in distress.’
The UN secretary-general has warned that war in Ukraine, climate change, the pandemic and inequality have produced an ‘unprecedented global hunger crisis’ already affecting hundreds of millions of people. UK’s April inflation was the highest in forty years, food costs increased by nearly 9% and the number of foodbank users has doubled in the last year, but tonnes of produce have been ploughed back due to labour shortages. Jesus told us to pray collectively and daily for the Father to provide ‘our daily bread’ (Matthew 6:11). Pray for leaders working to combat the global food crisis, for all who are suffering drought and hunger, and for ourselves to be generous and give (Psalm 37:21). The Bible emphasises our dependence on, and gratitude to, God for our daily bread, stewardship of the earth, and respect for one another. But our priorities easily become skewed in favour of selfish gain.
The Met Office has issued an extreme heat weather warning (Level 3 Alert) for most of England and parts of Wales, with temperatures building, especially from 16 to 19 July when the maximum could reach 38C. There could be a danger to life or potential serious illness; there could be widespread impact on infrastructure, with road closures and cancellations or delays to rail and air travel. Health minister Maria Caulfield said that a heatwave plan is being actioned; also a NHS hot weather plan is in place. Pray for health and social care workers to pay particular attention to the elderly and vulnerable. Pray for councils and boroughs to conduct welfare checks on vulnerable street people and rough sleepers. Pray for parents to watch young children for signs of heat exhaustion. In England, there were 2,500 excess deaths in the summer of 2020 as a result of hot weather.
A second-year history student at Cambridge University died in March 2022, three other students died in May, and another in June. The history student was ‘on course to finish as one of the most accomplished students in his year’. The coroner said there was ‘absolutely no indication that he was struggling’. He had had no contact with college counselling services, and his GP confirmed there were no mental health issues. Prof Graham Virgo said that after the fourth death they approached the NHS and public health agencies to investigate and review what had happened and what lessons could be learned. He said, ‘There was no common cause behind these student deaths, but after reflecting on the review, we have considered various aspects of our practice and implemented training in suicide prevention.’ Across the UK there is an increase in the number of young adults experiencing mental ill health. Pray for the bereaved families.
Female doctors have launched an online campaign that exposes shocking gender-based discrimination, harassment, and sexual assault in healthcare. Surviving in Scrubs is an issue for all healthcare workers, say the campaign’s founders, Becky Cox and Chelcie Jewitt, who are encouraging women to share stories of harassment and abuse to ‘push for change and to reach the people in power’. The campaign has called for the GMC, which regulates doctors, to explicitly denounce sexist and misogynistic behaviour towards female colleagues and ‘treat them with respect’. Over 40 stories have been shared on the campaign’s website, ranging from sexual harassment by patients to inappropriate remarks and sexual advances from supervisors. The report stopped short of detailing where racism and classism overlap, but they wrote on Twitter: ‘Sexism in the healthcare workforce is intersectional. Race, disability, sexuality, ethnicity, class, gender all interlink to create a multitude of experiences. Sexism doesn’t exist in a vacuum.’
On 8 July Martin Sargeant was charged by the Metropolitan Police with fraud by false representation and money laundering in the diocese of London. The sum involved is in the region of £5 million. Mr Sargeant left his post in 2019 after a review by the incoming Bishop of London, the Rt Revd Sarah Mullally. A diocesan statement says that, at the time, there was no suspicion or evidence of criminality. But, last year, the London Diocesan Fund contacted the police and the Charity Commission after a parish raised concerns about funds they had not received. Bishop Sarah thanked the police and the diocesan financial team for their work over the past year, as they continue to investigate the extent of this complex fraud which took place over a decade ago.