Displaying items by tag: Scotland
Two teenage asylum-seekers have won their battle to escape deportation to Pakistan. Brothers Somer Bakhsh and Areeb have spent most of their lives fearing that they could be forced to leave Glasgow and sent back to the country of their birth where Christians are persecuted. They now have some certainty in their lives, but they have only been granted ‘limited leave to remain’ until February 2022. Somer, who got four As and a B in his Highers and aspires to be an astrophysicist, said, ‘Scotland is my home. I have grown up here, all my friends are here, and I feel like a Scottish boy.’ First minister Nicola Sturgeon described the brothers as a ‘credit’ to Scotland, and Jeremy Corbyn urged the Home Office to grant the family leave to remain.
The number of applications for homelessness status in Scotland is up by 3% on the previous year, with 36,465 people needing help from their local council. Glasgow saw the biggest increase, up 8%; it also accounted for 95% of the cases where a council did not fulfil its legal obligation to offer temporary accommodation to a homeless person. Nearly 3,000 slept rough at least once in the three months prior to seeking council help. Shelter Scotland said the figures exposed the devastating impact Scotland's ‘housing emergency’ has on people's lives. They come from every walk of life, and many want to find work; they are no different from the rest of us. Homelessness begins when something bad happens - relationship breakdown, redundancy, poor mental health, alcohol/substance addiction, domestic abuse. People don’t choose their circumstances.
Last week we asked God to unlock doors that are bolted, and change hearts and minds to see God’s way forward as we await the outcome of the Conservative leadership election. This week, let us continue to focus our prayers on bringing reconciliation to divided families, divided communities, and divided nations within the UK. Pray a blessing on those who have a different Brexit view from you. Pray that our politicians will choose their words carefully and that they will engage in constructive discussion, not negative argument - seeking to reach an agreement - not score party political points. Pray for a divine breakthrough - a 'suddenly' of God, bringing a Brexit solution that will last. May we move on and focus on other pressing issues for our nation. Pray also for a blessing over Europe. May God move mightily in bringing revival to the church and transformation to nations.
Women who have had a brush with the law are turning their lives around by making luxury handmade chocolates at a community interest company called Positive Changes. People with criminal records face barriers to employment - no qualifications, low self-esteem. Grace Chocolates, based in a church hall, is breaking their cycle of re-offending by giving them a job. In twelve months, six volunteers working with women one day a week made 19,000 chocolate truffles. Mary, an ex-drug user, said, ‘I was put on a court order and got involved with Positive Changes. It’s more than just a chocolate-making company. Words cannot easily describe how my life has been turned round 360o. When I started the course I was quiet and withdrawn. But my self-esteem and self-confidence is now sky-high by comparison. Rev Dan Harper said, ‘Positive Changes is freeing ladies to grow into the people that God made: wonderful, worthwhile people capable of love, compassion and hope.’
There are more slaves today in the world than at any other point in history. Right now, over forty million people are trapped and exploited in slavery. Over 25% of these are children. IJM invites you to join them, standing in the gap and going into deeper intercession for the survivors who have been rescued and crying out for those who are still trapped; praying for the teams going into the darkest corners of the world. Come in May to London or Glasgow, prepared for a day of storytelling, inspired intercession, and worship. Join guest speaker Benson Shamala (IJM Kenya’s deputy director), Dr Amy Orr-Ewing, and singer-songwriter Lucy Grimble in London, or with 24-7 Prayer Scotland’s Crystal Cryer and worship group Ps & Gs Music in Glasgow. Pray for justice and courage to equip you to raise your voice against the strongholds of violence and be part of ending slavery for ever.
The Church of Scotland has issued a new prayer in light of the ongoing uncertainty over Brexit as MPs appeared to remain in deadlock, despite Theresa May's offer to quit. The prayer reminds us that the date will arrive and will pass, and that time is in God’s hands. When we worry and feel paralysed by not knowing, we can ask Him to remind us that He is the God of all possibilities. We are to turn our eyes to look beyond 'us', to a world in which God’s love transcends every border and barrier. We pray that ‘in every place, in everyone, in everything, in every corner of Your creation, You are. For our times are in Your hand. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.’
The Turning mission last August involved teams from many churches going out on the streets and sharing the gospel. This will start again on 2 February in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, and Glasgow, and will continue on the first Saturday each month, with churches sharing the Gospel and seeing people come to Christ. Last year, approximately 300 people made a commitment to the Christian faith. Plans are also being made for a further round of ‘Leaders Envisioning’ meetings in late February, aiming for new missions in August as The Turning is rolled out across Scotland. Organisers have also produced The Turning Bible which helps those who have responded on the streets to understand the Word of God as they begin their journey of faith. This version is easy to read and understand, using everyday language, and is perfect for reading aloud. See
A recent Confident Christianity conference in Dundee’s Central Baptist Church saw around three hundred people considering how to share the gospel in our age of tough questions. Pastor Jim Turrent started proceedings with a call for the Church to embrace the Biblical call to unashamed proclamation. He suggested that lack of confidence in the gospel is the main factor inhibiting our effective witness today. Evangelists suggested how to open up deeper, more fruitful conversations around Jesus and the gospels, and Dr Ben Thomas gave his testimony of conversion to Christ when he was sharing his life with his same-sex partner. He explained that deep wrestling with scripture led him to conclude that this could not continue, and therefore he has chosen a single, celibate life. Reactions to the conference were positive. Organisers are praying that its fruit will be more ‘Confident Christians’, because they are the key to the re-evangelisation of Scotland and the North.
‘As believers in Almighty God we have the authority to call for divine order in the Government, in Brexit, in the economy, and in every section of society. This is a “Daniel” moment when God's people can come before Him, crying out for His mercy and forgiveness as we confess our sins as a nation and call for His will to be done, in these crucial days. On 30 November Christians across Scotland and the nations will be united in prayer for the Prime Minister, Cabinet, MPs, Scottish First Minister, her Cabinet, and MSPs. We are praying for wisdom, clarity and unity. We can add our voices on that day, and in the coming days pray for our MPs by name. We must avoid being influenced by anger, fear, confusion, criticism or division, and instead lift our eyes to the One with all the answers, confident that as we do so it's not our battle, it's His battle!’
Rev David Robertson, former Moderator of the Free Church of Scotland, said new guidance on transgenderism sent to Scottish schools is 'harmful and totalitarian'. The document, 'Supporting Transgender Young People', was partly funded by the Scottish government and created in partnership with LGBT Youth Scotland and the Scottish Trans Alliance. It says that teachers should not inform parents of a child's desire to change gender unless the child agrees, and allow children to use whichever toilet and changing room facilities they prefer, adding, ‘If parents voice concerns about their child sharing toilets and/or changing rooms with a trans learner, they should be reminded of the school's ethos of inclusion, equality and respect'. The guidance also recommends gender-neutral dress code options and allowing students to compete in sports according to their gender identity.