Don’t be ashamed to seek help, struggling parents told

Trussell trust

Parents struggling to feed their children are being encouraged to seek help from churches and other services that can support them through their hardship.


The Church of Scotland’s Reverend Sally Foster-Fulton said the long summer holidays could be a challenging time for families in financial difficulty.


“With schools closed and hungry children at home there is the real possibility that many children from all parts of Scotland will spend the summer break not getting enough to eat – that is a shocking indictment on our country,” she said.


“People may jokingly mock school dinners, but they provide essential basic nutrition and for many children they are the one substantial cooked meal they will get during the day.  Although we are saddened and appalled at the inequality that leads so many families to struggle to get enough to eat we are proud to be working across Scotland with colleagues from many faiths in running food banks where people can get the essentials for life.”


Hundreds of foodbanks have been set up at churches across the UK by Christian charity the Trussell Trust.


The trust has seen the number of people using emergency foodbanks in Scotland more than double in the last year, rising to 14,318 people.


People turning to the charity included those experiencing redundancy and unexpected bills.


Mrs Foster-Fulton added: “There is no stigma in getting help if you need it and I would urge people who think they would benefit from the services of a food bank to contact their local church or their local authority.


“Bad luck and unfortunate circumstances can happen to anyone. Food banks and other services can bridge the gap when families are finding times hard – so we urge them to be courageous and take that first step.


“The longer-term challenge will be in finding ways to bridge this poverty trap permanently. That will mean all of us being courageous enough to challenge our part in perpetrating inequality.”




It takes a whole faith community…

community-300x183Colleen Sheid has some encouraging things to say about how we disciple people in the everyday world:

As a person who grew up without the church, it was a constant surprise to me to discover people ready to pour out their time, talent and love on my kids.  It began as soon as they were born.  We had three babies in 20 months – mathematically impossible unless you have premature twins before your toddler turns two!  In the crazy days following the twins’ homecoming, people from the church whom we barely knew were cleaning the house, bringing us meals, even doing our laundry.  The outpouring of work and prayer on our behalf was overwhelming.

That was just the beginning.   There was a nursery where we could leave them all safe in the arms of one-on-one caregivers while we sank exhausted into a pew and enjoyed the blessed stillness of sitting through a worship service undisturbed.

As our babies grew, church became their comfortable second home.  That was where they had big rooms to run around , cool toys to play with, crowds to charm.  At our church they were introduced to good music.  I recall taking my one year old to his first concert.  We wondered if he was old enough to behave, and were delighted when he sat attentive through song after song.  Then, during the first break in the music, as we were bowing to pray, he pulled his thumb out of his mouth and shouted,  “More songs!”

Read the whole article here.

How can we teach children the un-teachable?

diocese-of-londonSam Donohoe writes for the Diocese of London website:

Just a little something this week. It’s based on a quote I read while I was doing some reading for the course I’m studying for. I was reading ‘Children’s Spirituality: Christian Perspectives, Research and Applications’ and in the chapter by Dana Hood she talks a little about how we asses faith in children and raises an interesting point.

She says that rather than trying to measure a child’s understanding of God we should try and explore their experience God. She says that this is because God is not supposed to be understood but encountered.

There’s lots we could say about this and I’m aware that it isn’t a statement without its flaws but it got me thinking about how whether children in our churches are encountering a living God or being taught about Him. It is ok to have teaching as part of your sessions; I’m not saying we should abandon everything we do and replace it with us all sitting in a circle ‘encountering God’. You can try it with the children in your group if you want and good luck with that!

Read more here.

Yes, teacher, boys are different

Jessica Lahey writes on

In an attempt to get at what actually works for boys in education, Dr. Michael Reichert and Dr. Richard Hawley, in partnership with the International Boys’ School Coalition, launched a study called Teaching Boys: A Global Study of Effective Practices, published in 2009. The study looked at boys in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, in schools of varying size, both private and public, that enroll a wide range of boys of disparate races and income levels.

The authors asked teachers and students to “narrate clearly and objectively an instructional activity that is especially, perhaps unusually, effective in heightening boys’ learning.” The responses–2,500 in all–revealed eight categories of instruction that succeeded in teaching boys.

Click here for more information.