Month: June 2016

When I was thirsty…


I’ve never been a huge fan of water. I couldn’t understand why people would drink water, when they could drink squash. In fact, after I had my tonsils out, I had to stay in an extra night because my mum gave me Ribena to drink rather than water. At first I thought this was an over-exaggeration, until they explained that they weren’t able to tell if I was throwing up blood or Ribena!!!! At that point it was necessary that I drank water, I didn’t like it, I definitely preferred Ribena, but I had to drink water.

It is only in the last year that I have started to regularly drink water, and I am not really seen around school without my pink water bottle. In the staff room, the place I mainly reside is by the water cooler. What was the turning point? I’m competitive!!!!!! Last year I got myself a fitbit, and as well as counting steps, telling you how active you’ve been, how much sleep you’ve had, and most importantly how many calories you’ve burned off; it also measures how much water you’ve drunk – you have to tell it, but it tells you whether you’ve drank enough. What has this got to do with being competitive? I like to get a green water bottle!!!!! When I first started, I couldn’t believe how much I was meant to drink. But I have to admit, I have felt so much better since I have started to drink water. I’m still rubbish at drinking water when I’m not at school. But I am drinking a lot of water every day and feeling better for it.

Water is a necessity in life. It makes up the majority of our body. It makes up the majority of the Earth’s surface. It is essential for growth. Yet do we appreciate it? As with so many things, we don’t appreciate it, until we no longer have it. We have Muslim pupils at the school who are currently observing Ramadan, and are not drinking water in daylight hours – I know that they appreciate water.

There are scary statistics about the world and the amount of people who do not have access to clean water. We take it for granted. I know that I can be a bit of a water snob –  I’m not a fan of drinking water from a tap, I prefer it to be cold and filtered. I’m pretty certain I wouldn’t care, if that was the only water I had access to.

The thought for the week comes from an ancient Greek Sophocles who said

If you were to offer a thirsty man all wisdom, you would not please him more than if you gave him a drink.

What do we want? What do we need? Do we give people what they need, or do we give them what we want to give them. There are many verses in the Bible which talk about water, we are told that Jesus gives us the water of life. There is a Psalm which says “As the Deer pants for the water so my soul longs after you”. This is referring to our necessity for God in our lives. This is true, but the thought for the week challenges us… Do we focus on telling people about God, and what God can do in their lives? Or do we look for what people need, and provide help, showing what God can do in their lives?

Think about those statistics of people in the world who do not have access to clean water, who have to travel miles in order to get any water to drink. What would make a bigger difference? Telling them that God is good, or giving them some water?

Worldwide Challenge: Find out about charities that provide water for those who do not have access. Is there anything you could do to raise awareness, or raise money to support that work?

Personal Challenge: Have a think about those you spend time with. Is there something that someone needs that you could provide and show God’s love for them? A listening ear? A cup of tea?

Prayer: We thank you God that you are the living water. That you provide for our needs. We pray that we will be able to see the needs of others to be able to show your love to them. Amen

When I was homeless…


I have a confession to make. Most days as soon as I get home, I put on my pyjamas! It doesn’t matter what time it is, I put on my pyjamas. Recently, I decided I should put on a time limit the pyjama thing, and vowed that I would not put my pyjamas on until 9:00 – as that seemed like a decent pyjama time. I’ve got no idea who I was kidding – I still got changed as soon as I got in, I just put comfies on instead – jogging bottoms, a vest and a hoody – essentially, pyjamas! I’m not sure what it is about pyjamas, I think I just love the comfort of them. You know that you are safe in, you don’t have to go out again, you don’t have to put on a show for anyone. You’re home in your PJ’s – there is no better feeling!

Imagine if you didn’t have that home… Imagine if you didn’t have that comfort…

It is difficult to imagine… especially if you’ve never been there, or experienced anything like it. But for some people, that is the challenge every day. Trying to find somewhere that they can call home. We can walk through Canterbury in the evening and see people sleeping in the parks, in shop entrances, because they have nowhere to call home. A lot of the time, this is not their fault, but it is a situation that they have found themselves in.

An issue we hear about on the news a lot is the issue of immigration, migration, and refugees. They are used as the basis of political arguments; at the moment they are being used as a basis for whether people should vote to remain or leave the EU. People seem to forget that we are talking about Human Beings, not commodities. Our thought for the week this week, continues to look at Acts of Mercy, from the parable of the sheep and the goats, “When I was homeless, you made me welcome”

The thought for the week comes from Pope Francis who says:

Migrants and refugees are not pawns on the chessboard of humanity

This is exactly what I am talking about, they are Human Beings, and that is how they should be treated. There are two things that come to mind here:

Firstly, the word refugee, means that the person is seeking refuge, they are seeking safety. They have had to leave the place they call home because it is unsafe, that may be for many reasons. But they are still having to leave the place they know as home, the people they love. We hear stories of people squeezing on to boats, risking their lives, because it seems to be the only option available to them. Imagine, if risking your life and those you love, was better than staying in your home.

Secondly, there has been a story in the news recently about one of the Barracks in Canterbury being developed to house homeless families from London. There has been some upset over this as people say that the land should be developed for homeless families in Canterbury. I understand the argument, but these people are still homeless.

In both these situations the choice lies with higher authorities, not with the people themselves. There is not a huge amount that we can do, in order to stop these decisions being made in the first place. However, we can show love, compassion, mercy, to those who are made homeless. If you had to leave everyone and everything you knew, and move somewhere completely different, how would you want to be treated? Would you want to be welcomed or turned away?

How can we do this? We can raise money to help those who are directly helping refugees. We can welcome those who move to Canterbury, and make them feel at home. One of the things I love about The Archbishop’s School, is that it is so welcoming to anyone who comes in… the question is… do we do that outside of the school as well? Have a look at the challenges below.

We are so fortunate to have somewhere to call home, we go home to a roof over our heads, so many in this world don’t have that. Let us reach out an open arm to make everyone feel welcome, and to help them feel that this could be home.

Prayer: Father God, we thank you that you provide for us. We thank you that Archbishop’s school is a welcoming school. We pray that you may show us, how we can help those who are less fortunate than ourselves that they may feel welcome and at home. Amen

Challenge 1. This week is refugee week. Can you go without a luxury for a week? And donate the money to charity to support refugees? Take a look at this website

Challenge 2. Think about the families that are moving from London to Canterbury. If that were you, what would find helpful in a welcome pack? I think I’d like some pyjamas!  Any ideas let Mrs Netherton know!

When I was sick you visited me


Growing up I was very aware that if I had a day off school ill, then I was not able to do any of the things that I used to do outside of school, whether that was Brownies/Guides, Swimming, Music lessons or Church Youth group. It’s still something I struggle with today – especially if I have a day off on a Friday – does that mean I’m not allowed to do anything over the weekend?

This all changed when I was in year 11, I was very ill at the beginning of the year, and had to have nearly an entire term off school. I was receiving lessons at home, but I wasn’t actually going to school. However, my mum forced me to go out. She arranged things with my friends, and told me what I was doing! Why did she do this? She was worried that if I stayed at home on my own, that I would just get worse, and recognised the importance of keeping up my relationships with my friends. I think there was also the recognition that by spending time with my friends I could ‘escape’ the illness. When I was with my friends we would spend time talking about the silliness that was happening at school, I would be finding out about all the gossip, I definitely wasn’t thinking about being ill.

The thought this week carries on looking at acts of mercy “When I was sick you visited me” with the quote coming from an anonymous source

“When ‘I’ is replaced by ‘we’, even illness becomes wellness”

I know that I always felt a lot better after I had spent time with my friends. It didn’t cure me, I still needed the medical advice and support, but I did feel better. Illness can be a very solitary thing, and to know that there is love and support from friends and family makes all the differences. This is why the work of hospital Chaplains is so important, they are able to visit those who do not have anyone to visit them.

Afterall, sickness isn’t always visible, there are many who are unwell, but they don’t have a plaster cast or crutches to show everyone else that they are unwell. We cannot make assumptions about people. Everyone deserves to have someone around them.

So what can we do? We can show love and compassion. Even if there is no way to visit those who are ill, we can send a text to show that we are thinking of them. It’s about being aware, and reacting to the need that is there. Sometimes just knowing that you haven’t been forgotten is enough to keep you going when things seem tough. I have learnt how important it is to have people around you when you are ill. Think about how you would want to be treated if you were in that situation.

Challenge: Think about someone you know who has a long term illness, think about a way in which you can show them that you are thinking of them.

Prayer: We thank you God, that you are a God of love and compassion. Help us to show that love and compassion to those around us. Amen

When I was hungry, you fed me


I’ve just been on holiday to Scotland with friends, and there was one phrase which I heard more than any other… “I’m hungry, I’m just so hungry” this came not from one of my friends but from her 6 year old son! He was always hungry, and yet when he was offered a rice cake, or fruit, or an oatcake, he wasn’t THAT hungry after all – shocking!

This week we start looking at acts of mercy, those suggested by Jesus in the parable of the sheep and the goats. Given at a time when people felt that following God was about saying certain things, doing certain things, and yet Jesus tells them it’s about showing mercy to others.

 Jesus says ‘when I was hungry you fed me’ with all of these acts of mercy that we will be looking at over the coming weeks, Jesus makes it very clear that what we do for others we do for him. This is quite a powerful idea.

I often think that we don’t really know what it is to be hungry, not to be properly hungry. If my friends son had actually been hungry, then he would have quite happily eaten the rice cake, oat cake, fruit. He had the option to choose not to eat those things, and to hold out for the chocolate, sweets or ice cream.

Unfortunately there are many in this world who do not have that option, who are starving, who will eat anything that can to try and get some nutrition. There are people in this area as well.

But what can we do?

Our quote this week comes from Mother Theresa who says

If you can’t feed a hundred People , then feed just one.

 It is difficult to know what to do or how to help, afterall, you wouldn’t want to go up to somebody and just say “would you like some food, you look hungry”

But there are organisations who can do this, who help those who need help. At school we have a yellow bin which supports Foodbank, an organisation that provides food parcels for this who need them. They also work with those Pepe, so that they won’t need food parcels again. By giving to Foodbank and to other charities, you may not physically be feeding someone else, but you are feeding the hungry.

Prayer- father God we thank you that provide for us, that you give us, our daily bread. We pray that you will help us to provide for other people, and show love to them through acts of mercy. Amen

Challenge: find out what can be donated to Canterbury Foodbank and make a donation this week. Encourage others to do the same.