Pray for Britain and Pray for the Government

As a church, we need to be praying tonight and over the next few weeks for the government, the Prime Minister and most of all for the country. It had to happen at some stage, Brexit had to be bought to a close. Today the PM Boris Johnson has done that.  For too long we’ve had a weak and feeble leadership that has allowed the Brexit referendum to drift without end. That weak and rudderless journey is over.

At the last election, in 2017, we as a church opted to recommend supporting the Labour Party. In their manifesto, they said they would abide by the results of the referendum. But for 2 years we have seen them, together with other anti-leave parties, do everything within their power to halt Brexit from happening. As many of you know we’ve now removed that support from the Labour Party.

As a church fellowship, we’ve spent many hours discussing the politics of Brexit at social events. Many of those hours have been spent in dismay as one side of Parliament or the other side tried to stop any sort deal. The politicians in Parliament were overwhelmingly anti-leaving the EU while the country as a whole wanted to leave.

It’s a terrible situation when politicians consider their egos to be more important than the will of the people. Many of those who have done everything to stop Brexit stood on a manifesto saying they would stand by the choice of the people. It was, of course, a lie, their only interest was to be voted back into Parliament. And so for 2 years, we have had an impasse and blockage.

The impasse would have been dealt with 2 years ago but in Theressa May we had a weak leader. A leader who could not and would not make a decision. But this could have been because she was anti-Brexit at heart.

Finally after so long of being kicked into the grass a decision on Brexit is going to happen.  Those who don’t want to leave are not going to be able to continually kick the ball down the road until they find a way of over-riding the referendum.  

Within a couple of months, businesses will be able to start planning for the future again, people will be able to relax and know that a decision has been made. We will finally know the path that the country is to take.

We need to remember that politicians who want to hold off a decision being made will say this is undemocratic and unconstitutional. But it’s not.  It’s not even as long as the politicians will make it out to be. The proroguing, or suspension, of Parliament, is going to be about 5 weeks. But 4 of those weeks Parliament was tabled in to be closed anyway for conference season. The actual number of additional days that it will be closed for is 8. This is in line with most proroguing periods before the start of a new session of Parliament.

Already we are seeing crowds building outside the Houses of Westminster being whipped up by left-wing antagonists and agitators. These are going to be a difficult few weeks and it will take strong leadership to see us through it.

As a church, we need to pray fervently and without ceasing for the safety of the government, for the protection of the Prime Minister and the stability of the country.

Starting from tomorrow we also ask our members to undertake a three-day daytime fast. From tomorrow we will also be holding an evening prayer session for the country from 7.00pm to 10.00pm.

We pray that God leads us through this time and protects those who are tasked with protecting democracy and seeing through the democratic will of the people.

Our church stance on trans-gender kids and residential camps and changing facilities

The first thing to say is that we don’t currently have a transgender child or adult involved in the church. As such this is not an immediate issue. However, we do believe we need to have a policy in place. This means we have a plan to deal with this situation. This is particularly true as we’ve just been made aware of the stance of the Girl Guides. Transgender girls or boys want to be girls, are allowed into the Girl Guides.

The big concern is that on residential camp or residential weekends away are we going to allow the mixing of boys and girls in the same tent. The Girl Guides are quite happy with it and their policy is that transgender girls or boys wanted to be girls, can sleep in the same tent or dormitory as young girls. They can also use the same changing facilities and are treated effectively as girls.

This, of course, means that you could have 14-year-old boys sleeping in the same tent as 10-year-old and 12-year-old girls on camping weekends. They can also use the same changing rooms and facilities. Another big worry is that the Girl Guides will not inform parents if a boy is allowed to sleep in tents of young girls during residential camps.

Self-defining gender can put young girls at risk

 The current law regarding gender identity in the UK is if you are a male and want to be classed as a woman then you have to have lived as a female for at least 2 years. You also be signed off by a doctor to have an application go to a panel. The panel will then decide whether to officially class you as a woman. The same is true for a woman who wants to be a man.  They have to live for at least 2 years and have a panel sign them off as a man. Now at the moment, there’s an attempt to change the law so that people can self-define as they want.

Self-defining is what’s the Girl Guides for use as their basis for gender. This means a man can self define themselves as a woman and apply and be accepted as a leader of a Girl Guides unit. A teenage boy can also self-define themselves as a girl and join a Girl Guide branch and go camping with them like a girl. The Girl Guides uses the very broad term of self-defining as a basis of whether somebody is a boy or a girl or a man or a woman. It is much much more relaxed than the legal definition at the moment.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; – Psalm 139:14

As a church, we don’t recognise that gender is fluid. Neither do we recognise that you can change gender from the one that God has assigned to you. We consider the gender of a person to be the gender into which they were born. Our policies regarding youth work and residential camp and everything else is based on that.

We only recognise birth sex for our same-sex groups

We will not allow transgender girls or boys to take part in activities that are exclusively for girls or exclusively for boys unless they are born into that sex. This is a safeguarding issue for the majority and for us the majority always takes precedence.

Changing rooms and toilet facilities of our new centre will be purely based on the sex of the person at birth and not on any self-defining gender basis. The same goes for our youth clubs. 

We have regular girls-only groups and regular boys-only groups for a reason. That reason is so that children and youth can grow up and discuss and talk about things in a safe environment. The girls’ groups are run by women and that allows them to talk about their feelings about developing and growing up. And the same is true about the boys’ groups which are one by men. Each sex has its own particular issues that they want to talk about it. It’s not really fair on the majority if there are people on the opposite sex involved in a discussion.

We only provide affirmative action for birth gender

One of the things that we do with our single-sex groups is that we operate positive affirmation and encouragement. So we will always encourage a girl to be a girl but to also discover that she has great potential and great opportunities in this life. And we do the same with boys, we reaffirm strongly their gender as a boy. 

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
and before you were born I consecrated you;
Jeremiah 1:5

All our youth groups and children’s group are based around biblical teachings. We teach our children they are wonderfully and beautifully created. We would be unable to provide support and encouragement to a child who wanted to be another sex. That would go against the plans that God has for them. As such, if we were ever to have a tans-child involved in the church, we would refer to them by their birth sex and not a self-defined gender. We would positively affirm their birth gender and not support their self-defined identity.

With regards camping and residential weekends away this could be a little bit more difficult. Not necessarily for us but certainly for the child themselves. I’ve already been said we would treat the child as birth gender and not a self-defined gender. It would mean that either the child will sleep in the boys’ dormitory if they are born a boy. A girl will sleep in the girls’ dormitory if they were born a girl. If there is a spare room, we would allow them to sleep in their own room. But this would almost certainly come at an extra cost to the parents. It’s not so bad for camping as we easily take a small tent for them to sleep in. 

Providing a safe space for children

So for children, we do not recognise a gender apart from the gender into which they are born. There is currently no legal way for a child to get a legal change of sex. Even if the law is changed to allow for self-defining of gender we, as a church, will not recognise that law within the church. We will also not recognise the law with regard to our church activities.

The maintenance of a safe space for the majority of our church kids will always take priority. The mental well-being of the majority will have to take the precedence over the needs of a tiny minority.

So our standards and policies regarding trans children are quite clear. We operate by the birth gender of the child. But what about the adults who may want a leadership role, not just of the church, but in particular with our youth groups?

Trans-gender adults in our church leadership roles

As a house church, we know that we don’t have any transgender people involved in the church or in leadership roles. This will most certainly change in the future. Especially as we to open to the public with our new building. How will we deal with the situation of a transgender person wanting to be in a role of leadership or even as a volunteer? 

The first thing to say that we take the youth leadership role very seriously. Leading and mentoring young people is one of the most important things that a church can do. As such only established and trusted Christians and our best leaders are allowed to apply to work with our children.

Obedience to God essential as a leader

It is highly unlikely that a person who is in conflict with God will qualify as a leader. If a person is unwilling to accept the gender God has given them then that is a major spiritual conflict. We test all our leaders against the Word of God and their obedience to God. None of us is perfect, but there has to be a certain level of obedience and biblical knowledge to be in leadership. There must be a willingness to accept God’s authority and plans.

We feel that somebody who has not accepted the sex that God has created them to be is probably in substantial conflict with God. But we will be happy to accept them into the church if they wanted to find out more about the Word of God. In addition, we would be more than happy for them to repent for their sins. But it’s unlikely that we would consider them for any sort of leadership position.

We would certainly not allow any self-defining person to be involved with any of our youth activities. It’s not the ideal role model for them to come into contact with. 

Church youth leadership calls for the best leaders available

Fortunately, we have sufficient resources in committed christians to call on if we need new youth leaders or volunteers. Because of the importance that we put on youth mentoring and our youth church it can take many years for a new person at the church to come close to consideration. We would be looking at least 5 to 10 years of full membership of our church before a person could be considered for working with our children and youth.

I would hope that parents can be safe and confident that children within the church will always be protected. That their child’s well-being will be put at the heart of our activities. And that the wellbeing of the majority will be given priority.

New school year about to start and compulsory RSE lessons are here

It’s just a few weeks now before children go back to school in England and Wales. For many parents is coming here is going to be their first experience of the new compulsory relationship and sex education lessons in English schools. Wales is currently considering similar legislation which will also come in fairly soon.

The new compulsory RSC lessons are said to be introduced in September 2020. But the department of education is pushing many schools to become early adopters. This means these compulsory lessons will start this September in 2019.

Compulsory relationship lessons are required in secondary schools and can take place, but are not legally required to take place in primary schools. Parents are unable to take out their children in a relationship parts of this lesson but I still have the right to take out children for the Sex Education part of the course. 

In relation to the sex education part of the course in secondary schools, parents can withdraw their child up to the point at which it is 3 times before that child turns 16. At that point, parents cannot withdraw their child from their sex education part of the costs.

At no point whether in primary school or secondary school can a parent withdraw their child from the relationship aspect of the course. 

homeschool
How to homeschool bravely for christian parents

No legal requirement for primary schools to teach LGBT issues

Secondary schools have to cover LGBT relationships in the relationship part of the course. However, there is no legal requirement for primary schools to do so. It is up to each Primary School to decide on whether to cover LGBT relationships in an age-appropriate way.

Of course, this promotion or teaching of LGBT and particularly transgender relationships can cause an issue with people of faith. In fact, transgender issues should cause concerns with parents who have no faith. This is because of the now substantial increase in young girls who are deciding to self-define as transgender following the promotion of a transgender lifestyle.

Churches should support homeschooling

So what can the church do about this situation? For us, as a church, we choose to promote homeschooling as the best option for children of faith. For us, homeschooling is the best option to help children to grow into mature, sensible, well-rounded adults. The wellbeing of children is better with homeschooling than state schooling.

We believe that the church should be doing a lot more to help support and encourage homeschooling in the UK. They should be able to help develop homeschooling networks where parents share the teaching of children. They could provide space and a room for children to meet and homeschool within the community.

Homeschooling is not that difficult to do. There are plenty of different programs available to follow. At our house church, we have a large portion of our members with children who are homeschooled. The parents share the teaching which is really just supervision. The principle of homeschooling is for the child to discover the facts with some guidance from a parent.

Homeschooling provides positive affirmation of the individual child

Apart from children getting great affirmation for who they are and a reduced risk of bullying. Homeschooling offers the chance for education to be tailored to the child. This was a child can do and specialising what really takes their interest at an early age. It’s not some sort of conveyor belt for a child to be pushed along and come out the other end the same as everyone else.

This makes homeschooling a great opportunity for the more creative child. It can also be a great way for children who are technically minded or engineering minded to specialise early. 

Homeschooling also takes a child every situation that is currently happening in school. Increasingly, children are pushed a particular social or political ideology by teachers. Children are no longer free-thinking and taught to follow an ideology.

Homeschooling can set a child free to become a creative person that is useful to society.

The church should be the driving force in the promotion of homeschooling. Churches should make space and rooms available for study.

christian homeschool
Christian homeschooling curriculum for the UK

Anyone can homeschool with a little organisation

You don’t need to be a full-time stay at home parent to do homeschooling. We have a group of 5 parents in the church who work together as a team to homeschool their children. They take it in turns to oversee the study and are able to work it in with flexible working at work. All it takes is a little bit of organisation.

One of the things that we will be doing when we open the church building is to have a space available with resources for homeschooled children. They can come together to socialize and work together on projects. Most of our children enjoy the performing arts and creative arts and they will be able to organise lessons around those topics.

Some kids also love technology. We currently have a couple of groups who are doing the Lego Robotics and Coding First League. STEM subjects can be done at homeschool if the church offers a space for them to work together.

State schools don’t just educate, they indoctrinate

You need to understand that schools no longer just educate children. They try to influence them with social and political ideas to fit into the political flavour of the day. It’s becoming more like indoctrination than education. Homeschooling allows your child to get back to the education part.

For us, the church is about community. It’s about people coming together to worship Jesus and to support each other. Churches need to provide practical support and help for parents. They need to provide pastoral support to parents who want to homeschool. 

This will enable christian parents to give to their children an education that is about knowledge. Homeschooling will allow parents to protect their children from the harmful influences taught at school. The parent is the best person to know when their child is ready for relationship and sex education. It’s the parents who know when it is best to tell their child about same-sex and transgender issues. They are the best person to know how to raise the subject.

The state-school system is driven by activist out to promote a cause. Politicians and teachers are happy to follow the lead of activists without consideration of the wider and long-term implications of what is being taught.

Homeschool offers better mental wellbeing for children

We promote homeschooling within our house church. When we have our public building open we will be using it to promote homeschooling to the wider public. As the mental well-being of young people continue to get worse because of the style of teaching, its essential that the church makes its stance on homeschooling known.

The well-being and mental health of children should be at the front of any organisation. It’s not at the front of the education system in the UK any more. That is demonstrated by the figures for child mental health. Homeschooling is an education system that is better for mental health and self-esteem. It is a system that all churches should support and promote.

Child Gender Reassignment – The Next National Scandal Being Formed?

When you reach the age of 57 you often think there’s nothing left to shock or surprise you. But on a very, very rare occasion, something happens that is so shocking it is verging on the unbelievable. For every generation there comes something that is a national scandal. 

In the 60’s we had the scandal of children being separated from their parents. They were sent across the world to places like Australia and Canada to work on farms. In the 90’s we found out about contaminated growth hormone, then there was the blood clotting hormone scandal. More recently, we had the scandal of social workers and police ignoring the pleas of children and parents in the Pakistani child abuse rings. Social workers and police not wanting to be called racist ignored the pleas of thousands of young girls. They were repeatedly raped and hooked on drugs.

The new scandal of trans-gender diagnosis

But all of these, in due time, will pale into insignificance once the full implications of what is happening to children at the NHS child Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) in North London. In that place, what doctors are doing to children in the name of political and social ideology is frightening.

What adults do with their own bodies is their choice. They are old enough to make a decision if they want to change sex. We might not agree with that as a church, but they are old enough to make that choice. At the GIDS in London though they are doing incredibly dangerous things to children as young as 5. At the front of the queue for this gender-changing drugs and surgery regime? It is pre-teen and teen girls and also children suffering from autism.

Anyone involved with, or bringing up, pre-teen girls (or boys) know they are not the most stable of people. They are easily influenced and become obsessed with trends, fashions and celebrity. Rational and considered thought is not the most recognised trait of an adolescent. Yet the staff and doctors at GIDS believe it is rational to give puberty restricting drugs and surgery. 

Doctors fearful of being attacked as trans-phobic

Clinicians will mark children as trans-gender without any questioning. It’s because they are frightened of being called transphobic and subject to harassment and threats by activists. Even the natural behaviour of children growing up and questioning their bodies or sexuality now has to be called ‘trans-gender tendencies’.

Experts are now beginning to question what is going on in the GIDS unit. A new book to be published in September describes what’s going on. Inventing Transgender Children And Young People is a series of essays by experts that are seriously questioning the activities of GIDS and the damage it is doing to children.

An article in the Daily Mail gives advanced insight into what is in the book. It includes the account of a whistle-blower from GIDS. 

An editor of the book, Heather Brunskell-Evans, a former research fellow at King’s College London,  said that 30 years ago the thought of a child being born in the wrong body would have made no sense to the public.

She added: ‘Now the idea, which was invented by specialists in gender medicine and transgender activists, has become universally accepted.

‘But we are collectively arguing that this unquestioning acceptance poses a serious threat to children’s well-being and safety. We hope through this book to bring the world’s attention to the public scandal of transgendering children.’

Pressure from activists, not doctors driving the increase in diagnosis

The book warns how psychologists are now scared to question transgender identity in children. This is because of pressure from activists, parents, teachers and politicians. Doctors who question a diagnosis of transgender are called out as being trans-phobic. Doctors at GIDS are failing to take into account conditions such as autism when treating children as trans-gender.

In less than a decade, numbers of children being referred or treated by GIDS rose from under 100 in 2009 to 2,580 last year.

75% of diagnosis are girls, many without a previous history of gender questioning

The most frightening thing about the figures is that 75% of the referrals were girls wanting to trans-gender to boys. A large part of that rise by girls has happened quickly and suddenly in the child. There were no previous questions raised until the girl reach her teenage years or puberty. Do doctors think that the girl is going through a phase or a fad – as young girls often do? No, they invent a medical term to make this a trans-gender issue. It’s no longer a young girl going through normal adolescence when they question who they are and work out who they are. Are they a young girl who is easily influenced by media and not yet comfortable or confident in their own bodies – something they will naturally grow into.  No, now they suffer from ‘rapid-onset gender dysphoria’. 

These young girls now suffer from a medical condition that allows liberal doctors with an agenda at the unit to perform their experiments and treatments on.

Warning going unheeded

But the warnings in the book about the unit are not new. Dr Bell, a former governor of the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust who runs the unit have previously branded it as unfit for purpose. He also gave a warning in a report on the unit:  

‘Many services have championed the use of medical and surgical intervention with nowhere near sufficient attention to the serious, irreversible damage this can cause and with very disturbingly superficial attitudes to the issue of consent in young children.’

One of the NHS gender specialists working at the unit said:

‘I keep thinking about all of the children, adolescents and families who are being harmed by the one-dimensional discussion and the attack on truth and on thinking and on what we know about adolescent well-being.’

We are seeing here the formation of a scandal that will rise up in 20 or 30 years as children now being subjected to extreme experimental treatments start to question why adults did nothing to stop it. We will hear of children who really weren’t trans-gendered but pushed in that way direction by clinicians more interested in protecting their jobs and appeasing activists and political agendas rather than protecting the future of children.

New laws needed to prevent experimental treatment on children

As a Christian I don’t believe in new laws. I believe in preaching the gospel and letting the words of Jesus change peoples hearts and desires so new laws become irrelevant. But there are times when laws need to be introduced to protect innocent and vulnerable children.

Adults have the ability to make up their own minds and if they want to change gender so be it. That’s their choice. But we need to ban the use of gender-changing drugs and surgery in children. They have not matured sufficiently to make such a life-changing choice.

We need to begin with banning the use of puberty-blocking drugs in children unless it is specifically for ‘precocious puberty’ in children aged under 10. This is what the drugs were developed for and they should be restricted to that sole purpose up to the age of 10. They should not be used in the treatment of gender re-assignment.

Pray about the issue

Please pray about this issue so that innocent children can grow up normally without being wrongly diagnosed and treated as trans-gendered. Also, pray that girls, in particular, are not given drugs that will destroy their chance of a family of their own in the future. But most of all ultimately pray so that they are protected from political and social activists and just given time to become confident in themselves. 

Young teenage girls who just suddenly decide they want to be boys without any previous inclinations need to be protected from doctors and clinicians more concerned with being politically correct or socially aware than being concerned about the right diagnosis for their child patient.

There really should be no long-term gender re-assignment medication or surgery performed on any child under the age of 18. They are not mature enough in their own mind or confident in their bodies to make that choice. Adults can but children need to be protected by the state from that sort of abuse. 

As well as praying for the issue, as a church, we feel we need to do more. This involves campaigning and lobbying. The trans-gender community have a well-oiled and well-resourced campaign and lobbying organisation. It allows them to push the agenda without challenge.

Christians need to lobby to protect children from misdiagnosis

 As a family of Christ, we need to organise and campaign to protect these children. We need to be able to challenge un-challenged lobbying. The Bible tells us in Proverbs 31:8 to speak out for the voiceless. Its something we need to do.

We want to set up a campaigning and lobbying organisation based on sound evidence and research. We want to present arguments that will challenge the lobbying of the transgender community who want to inflict experimental treatment on younger and younger children. 

Please pray for us but most of all if you want to get involved to set up a local group to help write to MP’s or fundraise or just promote what is going on please get in touch.

 

A tithing church is a successful church

I often get asked if tithing is an essential part of being a christian. The answer is that it does not impact on your salvation and everlasting life in Christ. On the Day of Judgement, Jesus is not going to get out His ledger. He’s not going to see who paid the subscriptions or not. However, tithing is a sign of submission and obedience to God. It is also a practical thing to do to ensure your local church thrives and expands. 

When I talk to christian about tithing, there are two main questions which crop up on a regular basis. How much should I tithe and what does the church do with the money. Both of these are perfectly valid questions. Each church will have its own answer. The only answers that I can give are what we, as a house church in Newport, operate on. Continue reading “A tithing church is a successful church”

New Appeal For Mobile Recording Studio

Firstly, I have to say that fundraising for our performing arts centre in Newport, South Wales, remains our top priority. All our time is being dedicated  to getting our new church building purchased and converted. There is no let up in the time or work we are putting into this major capital project.

But, as many of you know, we have been donated a large amount of professional studio equipment. We don’t need this for the performing arts centre as the music studio has already, effectively, been equipped. This new donation of equipment is to be put towards a mobile recording studio in a bus. Eventually, we want to take it out to rural churches where christian youth may not have the same resources than a city or large town church. Continue reading “New Appeal For Mobile Recording Studio”

Avril Lavigne’s new single – why the christian hate? Just listen to the lyrics

The ‘christian’ backlash against Avril Lavigne’s new single I Fell in Love with the Devil reminds me of the recent backlash of Good Omens and confusion between Netflix and Amazon Prime. A lot of self-righteous hatred but with no knowledge or understanding of the fact.

The simple reality is that if you listen to the lyrics or read them (lyrics are below) you will understand that the new single due for release this month has nothing to do with worshipping the Devil and everything to do with the battle that christians go through every day. Continue reading “Avril Lavigne’s new single – why the christian hate? Just listen to the lyrics”

Good news that mainstream church to consider becoming a safe space

News that the Church of England is to debate about whether to offer safe spaces to children after school has to be welcomed. What is most surprising though is that this is not already happening. But it shouldn’t be just for helping steer them away from knife crime that churches should be open and welcoming to children. There is a whole range of social issues that the mainstream church needs to get involved with. Continue reading “Good news that mainstream church to consider becoming a safe space”

On the hunt for a bus in Newport, South Wales

I am always amazed at the generosity of people who come together to help promote the gospel of Jesus Christ. This weekend I met up with some brothers and sisters in Christ. One was a sound engineer and seller of music studio equipment. On the verge of retirement he was praying about what to do with his left over stock and demonstration equipment.

God brought us together at the right time and we now have the offer of a range of recording equipment. There is more than enough to equip a double-decker bus into a mobile recording studio. The task now is to find the bus to convert. Continue reading “On the hunt for a bus in Newport, South Wales”

1 in 3 deaths in England and Wales is an aborted baby

It may be Father’s Day but the news that 1 in 3 deaths in England and Wales is now an aborted child should make us remember the value of life. It’s a timely reminder that it takes two to make a new life. To read that last year a record number of abortions was performed (200,608) is heart-breaking. So many lost lives before they had the chance to do the plans that God had put in place for them to do.

But those were the numbers just for women who lived in England and Wales. An additional 4,600 abortions were carried out on women who were visiting the UK but not resident in England or Wales. Continue reading “1 in 3 deaths in England and Wales is an aborted baby”

New Welsh Curriculum Increases Need For Home Schooling

As a house church we have always positively encouraged home-schooling as an option for christian kids. In fact,  a group of parents who home-schooled their children established the church. Unfortunately, they did not feel their churches at the time offered the support needed and this church was formed.  The new Welsh education curriculum is coming into force in 2022. As a result, there are arguments why home-schooling should be the preferred option for christian parents and children.

Home-schooling may sound difficult to do but in reality it is not that imposing. Getting into a network offers advice and support. Consequently, home-schooling can a positive choice for both parents and children.  Networks support parents in supervising learning and networks help children build relationships and social skills.

A child sat at home alone behind closed doors is an image that teachers, politicians and others like to portray. However, the reality is very much different. Home-schooling can be liberating and produce well-rounded and happy kids. But this is something that many schools are failing to do.

Home schooled kids are much more balanced

I don’t have a great deal of active hands-on work with the youth of our church. But I do notice the difference between the home-schooled and the mainstreamed schooled kids. I think most people notice that one group of youth – the home schooled – are much more positive, happy and chatty. You can almost feel the stress that comes out of the schooled kids especially as terms progress. On the other hand, the schooled kids tend to have more negative thoughts about the future and their options. 

Looking at the outline draft proposals of the new Welsh curriculum I don’t see too many benefits for children. What little physical activity at school that takes place will almost certainly be removed. This is a real concern considering we are in the midst of a child obesity crisis. Time allowed for P.E. lesson should be increased and not removed.

But the biggest concern for us is that Kirsty Williams, the Education Minister for Wales, is very keen on removing the rights of parents to remove their children from sex education lessons. Sex education and relationship lessons will also extend from secondary schools to primary schools. We can take a warning from Birmingham and the protests there. No consideration will be given to the faith of the family in relation to these lessons.

Church supporting the home-schooled

As a church, we have 3 years in which to really put in place support for christian families. To encourage them to go the home-schooled route. It offers a much more positive experience for kids as the education is tailored to the child.  It does bend to the  whims of teachers and politicians.

When the new curriculum comes into effect we will have a number of parents with experience of delivering home schooling. They will have experienced, over a number of years, the main key stages. We want to be able to tap into that experience to provide support for christian families. To support those who want to put faith at the heart of their children’s formative years.

We want to start to break down the misconceptions of home-schooling. The lonely child locked in a bedroom with books and a computer is not the reality of the situation. The need for moms to stay at home full-time in not needed for home-schooling. We have a group of home-schooling parents who are able to arrange work-shifts and share home-schooling responsibilities. Sharing supervision allows for parents to work. And encourages kids to work together on projects and learning, building up team-working and communication skills.

Aylwood Centre home school resources

By the time the new curriculum comes into force our Aylwood Centre for Performing Arts will be open. Part of the centre will offer resources and support for home-schooled children to work from. Giving them and their parents the chance to meet up and network. 

One of the main aims will be to provide the resources for home-schooled children who want a career in performing arts. Whether that is stage-work or backstage work such as theatre technology or new media arts.

Once we have the Aylwood Centre opened we’ll be running a series of open days on home-schooling for christian families.  It will let you find out more and the positive influences that home-schooling can give to your children.

 

How did the NSPCC get it so wrong with Munroe Bergdorf?

There’s has been an outcry on both sides of the argument with the debacle over Munroe Bergdorf and the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC). But how did the NSPCC get it so wrong, who made the decision to invite her to be an ambassador and where was the due diligence checks before the offer was made?

Munroe Bergdorf is a controversial character and a trans-gender activist. She was invited to be an campaigner for Childline and the NSPCC to look out for the rights of trans-gender children. Nothing wrong in that you might say. A few days after the invite went public the NSPCC dropped her and withdrew the invite. Continue reading “How did the NSPCC get it so wrong with Munroe Bergdorf?”

Why we’re not a charity – and never will be

I’ve been asked a few times recently as to why we are not a registered charity. After all, it makes raising money easier, it’s very tax-friendly and helps to establish our credentials. From a financial point of view, it is, without doubt, a tempting option. We looked very closely at this option when we first started out. But we decided it was not the way for us. 

First and foremost we are about Jesus. Everything we do puts Jesus and the Word of God at the very centre. The requirements for being a charity has changed over time. 50 years ago, an organisation that was promoting the gospel could have easily submitted and gained charitable status. Today, it’s not so easy.  Central to a modern charity is the requirement for doing community or public good. It may be, as a consequence of our work, we provide benefit to the wider community. However, it is not central to our existence. The promotion of Christ as Lord and Saviour, the teaching of the Word of God and the support of young christians is our reason for existence.

Continue reading “Why we’re not a charity – and never will be”

Why it’s important for a church to have a building

As a church we’ve spent about 3 years meeting as a house church with no formal home. This has been a wonderful experience but it is not a sustainable solution for any church. We are blessed having a member with a substantial property including outhouses that we’ve converted to youth facilities. But, at the end of the day, it is still a private home. This means the church has a responsibility for privacy and safety of members.

Churches, by their very nature, can be working with and attracting people who are hurting and have real issues. When we first started as a house church we came across issues that are of concern. One of our members had problems with someone who kept calling at all times of day and night. This is not good for the member and her family. The result is that we are very careful about releasing details of addresses. This is probably the biggest single problem for house churches or community churches.

Continue reading “Why it’s important for a church to have a building”

Just 200 donations away from success

It’s been a long road but we’re now just 200 donations away from success. It will probably be more but when you raise money for a major capital project it is worth splitting it up into manageable chunks. We decided as a church not to approach grant giving bodies for help. This was to ensure that funders could not restrict how we operated and could not require us to provide our resources for non-christian use.

The result is we have had to rely on individual gifts and donations. Splitting up the appeal into manageable chunks of £1,000 each has been a big benefit and makes the overall target seem achievable. Obviously not everyone has donated £1,000. Our donations have ranged from £2 all the way up to almost £180,000 from a legacy donation. The majority of our donations have ranged between £500 and £1,000.

Continue reading “Just 200 donations away from success”

An incredible gift for our proposed studio

I always love meeting up for afternoon tea with one of our major supporters. There are some people who just seem to carry the peace of the Spirit with them wherever they go. So it is with Margaret. She has spent over 70 years as a devoted follower of Christ and whenever you are in her presence you bathe in wisdom and peace.

Spending a few hours with her today was a wonderful experience and then she brought the topic round to why she asked me to call on her. She wants to donate a baby grand piano to our new centre when it is finished. This is an incredible and generous gift. Already we’ve decided that it will take pride of place as a feature in the live stream studio.  It will be a beautiful addition and feature for when we live stream acoustic concerts and other videos. Continue reading “An incredible gift for our proposed studio”

Last Easter without a home and restarting the dance group.

This should be our last Easter as a house church. We’re well on the way to having our own building and this will mean, as a church, we will have a place to meet. This should be an exciting and productive year for the church and our ministry.

One of the best things about closing in on our target is that we are able to release some church income for other projects apart from the building fund. One of the things our church youth have missed over the last 3 years is their dance club.

We used to hire a hall for the club each week but this had to come to an end when we started to concentrate our attention on our building fund. Currently the youth meet in a converted double garage at the home of one of our church founders. It’s been very nicely converted with lots of facilities such as coffee bar, projector and big screen, computer area and the like. We also have a small recording and media room that has been converted from a large shed. But we’ve not had the space to allow the dance club to restart.

But this Summer we’ve decided to release some income to hire a hall and employ a street/interpretive dance teacher as part of our Summer programme. This is something the youth are really looking forward to. Christian dance is something they’ve want to restart since we closed the club down. 

We’ll probably have to restrict the dance lessons to our church members and possibly friends this Summer but christian dance will be an important part of our outreach to young people in the future. Once we have our own building with space for dance we’ll be reaching out to local kids to take part.

Interpretive dance is a great way to reach young people with the gospel. When you do interpretive dance – or any type of dance really – you need to understand the words and meaning of the song. You have to really concentrate on the message that is being delivered by the song and bring that message into dance. By using contemporary christian songs with a strong message we can encourage young people to really meditate and concentrate on the words. 

Obviously the choice of music is important, it needs to be both relevant but also openly convey the message of Jesus.  Through music and dance we will be able to reach out to groups of young people that are not easy to reach.

Music and dance has a very strong tradition within faith. Certainly in Old Testament times music and dance was a major way of celebrating God and teaching about God. It is a tool that can be used today with great effect as well. 

For us, as a church, it is great to be back into investing into the arts again. It’s one of our main reasons for setting up the church and ministry. Our mission is firstly about reaching out with the gospel and secondly it’s about celebrating and glorifying God.

 

Plans are back from the architects

I think it’s been about 3 years or so now since we launched our fundraising appeal to build a christian performing arts and digital media centre. There’s been ups and downs but we have finally got plans and designs back from the architects. Things are definitely, finally, progressing.

There is still plenty of money to be raised but we’ve reached the point at which we’ve been able to start making a practical movement towards opening the centre. We have had plans put together for the building. This will include;

  • function room for concerts which will also be used as a dance studio
  • workshop for our print-shop so we can get back to our own in-house printing and expand our range of products
  • reception area with cafe and shop space
  • 3 booth  music recording studio
  • live stream-casting video studio
  • range of offices and a training room

Property Costs

The property itself is costing us £280,000 but there are substantial structural issues that need to be dealt with. The full cost of developing the building is going to be an extra £650,000 – £700,000. 

video streaming studioWe have the funds in place to make the purchase and most of the structural build. There are plans in place to raise the remaining funds before the major building work is finished. However, we can develop the centre over time. If there is insufficient funds then work will be prioritised.

It feels as if it has been a long time in coming but finally we are seeing a conclusion in the (distant) future. Once spades hit the ground it will at least feel we’ve made progress.

A calling from God

Opening the christian media and arts centre has been core to our calling by God. We have blessed being able to provide small levels of support to individual young christian musicians and songwriters. This new media centre will be able to take us to a completely different level of supporting and encouraging young people.

Three years ago we used to have a thriving outreach with young people and children. We provided christian dance lessons, music lessons and other opportunities. But the cost of hiring rooms meant it was a drain on our resources so we ended them. By doing this we were able to commit more of our income to our building fund.  Once our building takes shape we’ll be able to start offering courses and workshops in christian music, dance and drama again.

We will also have a place that we can open to the public. At the moment, as a house church, we don’t have facilities for the public to find out what we do or for young people to explore faith. We meet in a house and as such we can only work with our own church youth directly.

Equipping young people with the gospel

Our new centre will give us the chance to give young people the training, resources and encouragement they need to explore a career in christian music and performing arts. We will be able to give them the confidence to consider christian leadership for the future. We also aim to open their minds to taking on an extended missions placement as part of their christian development.

Aylward Centre for Performing Arts

We’ve also come to a decision about the name of the building. We’ve decided to call it the Aylward Centre in memory of Gladys Aylward, a christian missionary who dedicated her life to looking after children. 

We feel that her story about following her calling against the odds, will be inspirational for to all. Despite being told she was not good enough, Gladys went on to do amazing things for Jesus. Our project will be there to support young christians develop their skills based on ability alone.

The final lap

When I first ventured out on this capital cost fundraising project I didn’t know or expect to meet some of the obstacles along the way. Or the amount of time these things take. But when you reach the stage of architects giving you sketches of the project, floorplans and schedule of works, then you know you’re on the final lap. And how happy I am about that.

DONATE TO AYLWARD CENTRE

I’d like to say a very big thank you to everyone who has donated towards our appeal and also to everyone who has organised fundraising events for our performing arts centre. Please don’t stop now, we are so close to the finishing line.

Donate to the Aylward Centre

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If you'd like to support our work to open a christian performing arts centre in Newport, South Wales, then please visit our donate page.