Category : Children

(BBC) Portsmouth councillors spend own money on free breakfasts for children

Children will have access to free breakfasts during the summer holidays through a new initiative.

Portsmouth City councillors George and Brian Madgwick are personally donating £4,000 to fund the scheme.

The breakfasts will be held at St Michael and All Angels Church in Paulsgrove every weekend through the summer holidays.

George Madgwick said they hoped it would “ease the pressure” of the current cost of living crisis.

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Posted in Children, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship

(CL) Southeastern’s Karen Swallow Prior: Why the Pro-Life Movement Must Prioritize Nuance, Education and the Imagination Post-Roe

Yet even though she is grateful that Roe has been overturned, Prior cautioned Christians against being hasty with how they move forward, saying that Roe’s absence gives us a unique opportunity to create beneficial legislation.

“For example,” said Prior, “we need to learn the difference between between intervening in the case of an ectopic pregnancy, which is going to be fatal to both mother and child and an abortion.” Because Roe was the law of the land for so long, Christians haven’t had to think through how the answer to such questions will impact the laws we create—but now in some states we have new opportunities.

Said Prior, “We’re going to have to educate ourselves quickly and thoughtfully and not just rush to put legislation in place that would be disastrous or uninformed or medically irresponsible. Of course, we want all of these laws to protect all of the human lives involved, but that’s not something that happens quickly and overnight. We have to really understand what it means to be pro-life and how to apply that in principle.”

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology

(Local Paper front page) How one rural SC school district is tackling the in-school therapist shortage

Christina Cody has a tireless, we-can-make-it-work attitude.

No matter the problem, she’s the kind of person who will offer up ideas one after another until she finds one that works.

Cody is a health and wellness specialist for Cherokee County Schools, a small, rural school district in the northwestern part of South Carolina. Over the past few years, she has been confronted with the growing youth mental health crisis at every turn. The reports from her colleagues filled her with worry. They would despair week after week as more students threatened to hurt themselves or others.

Some students were stabbing themselves with pencils or scissors. Others tore apart pencil sharpeners to get the blades and cut themselves. When the last school year started, there were seven mental health therapist positions to serve the district’s 8,000 students. None were filled. Without them, educators did the best they could to help in a job they weren’t trained to do.

Students’ mental health needs were increasing well before the COVID-19 pandemic began. The needs have only grown since. More than a third of high school students nationally experienced poor mental health during the pandemic, with half feeling persistently sad or hopeless, according to a Centers for Disease Control Disease Control and Prevention study. In South Carolina, children’s emergency room visits for mental health needs are up nearly a third since March 2020, state officials have said. Suicide attempts also increased, particularly among teenage girls.

“That’s just a lot of pressure,” Cody said. “You can’t lose a kid. You can’t. It’s not an option.”

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Posted in * South Carolina, Children, Education, Health & Medicine, Psychology

(AC) Georgette Forney–Why are Anglicans Pro-Life?

People often say that abortion isn’t mentioned in the Bible. But the command to protect and honor Life is implicit in every word of Scripture.

First, we need to understand that the value of human life is based in our creation by God and in our redemption through Jesus. “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own, you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Our lives have value not because they are ours but because they are His! For this reason, we must live our lives giving glory to God and living in His statues. In this way, Scripture firmly contradicts the “my body, my choice” mantra of abortion supporters.

Second, because our lives have value in Him, we as His people are called to protect and honor all Life. The clearest evidence of this is in the commandment, “You shall not murder.” (Exodus 20:13) But even earlier, in the book of Genesis, God declares that the spilling of man’s blood is inherently wrong, due to our status as God’s beloved creation: “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man.” (Genesis 9:6)

True, society in general believes that murder is wrong. However, Scriptures show that “valuing” Life goes beyond avoiding the act of killing. Honoring the sacredness of Life means serving those in need and sharing the love of God. Christ demonstrates how we should do this: “For I was hungry, and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty, and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in…Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for Me.” (Matthew 25:41-45) Being a life-affirming Christian means more than opposing death—it means serving those who are hurting, lonely, and broken. It means caring for the “least of these,”—the unborn, the homeless, the single mothers, the elderly, and the handicapped. Because our lives are valuable to God, so theirs must be to us.

God didn’t “forget” to talk about abortion, assisted suicide, or euthanasia in the Scriptures. The gift of Life is proclaimed in all of God’s commands and in everything that God has created, including us.

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Posted in Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Language, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Theology

Church run ‘baby bank’ helps growing number of young families

The North Shields Baby Bank, based at St John’s Church Percy Main, in North Tyneside, has helped more than 400 families since its launch in March last year with items including nappies, wipes, clothing and baby formula.

The church is now appealing for help to replace its heating system, in order to keep the baby bank operating over the winter months.

Revd Lee Cleminson, Vicar of St John’s, said: “People are really, really struggling with energy prices, food prices and the cost of petrol and all sorts of other expenses. They are referred through different agencies and community projects to the baby bank but also there are people who knock on the vicarage door, because I live next door to the church.

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Posted in Children, Church of England (CoE), Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry

(World) Erin Hawley and Kristen Waggoner on the historic Dobbs decision–A victory for life and the Constitution

The U.S. Supreme Court’s courageous decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization is a win for life and the Constitution. That historic ruling finally reverses the court’s disastrous opinion in Roe v. Wade—a decision that made up a constitutional right to abortion and resulted in the deaths of more than 60 million unborn children. Because of the court’s ruling in Dobbs, states may now fully protect unborn life.

The Mississippi law at issue in the case, the Gestational Age Act, protects unborn children and the health of their pregnant mothers based on the latest science. It protects unborn life after 15 weeks of gestational age—a point in time when babies can move and stretch, hiccup, and quite likely feel pain. It permits abortions to save the life of the mother or for severe fetal abnormalities. Despite the modesty of Mississippi’s law, the lower courts struck it down because no matter what science showed, or how strong a state’s interest in protecting unborn life was, under the Roe regime, states may not protect life until viability—about 22 weeks of gestational age.

Dobbs is a win for life. Fifty years of scientific progress and innovation establish what the Bible has always taught: Life begins at conception. Ultrasound technology allows expectant parents to see the truth of Psalm 139: Children are fearfully and wonderfully made from the very beginning.

Under Roe v. Wade, moreover, the United States has been an extreme outlier in abortion law and policy. As the chief justice noted during oral arguments, the United States is one of only six nations, including China and North Korea, that allow elective abortions through all nine months of pregnancy. The Washington Post recently ranked the United States as the fourth most liberal abortion country in the world. Most countries do not allow elective abortions at all, and 75 percent protect life after 12 weeks of gestation.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Supreme Court, Theology

(ACNA) Anglicans React To Supreme Court Dobbs Decision

Today the United States Supreme Court ruled that “the Constitution does not confer a right to abortion,” overruling Roe v. Wade (1973). The decision will “return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives … to be resolved like most important questions in our democracy: by citizens trying to persuade one another and then voting.” In the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a five Justice majority of the Supreme Court overruled both Roe and the 1992 decision Planned Parenthood v. Casey.[1]

The inherent value of human life is revealed in the Scriptures, and this biblical commitment is reflected in the Anglican Church in North America’s Constitution and Canons which calls all members and clergy “to promote and respect the sanctity of every human life from conception to natural death” (Title II.8.3).

Archbishop Beach commented:

While this decision doesn’t end abortion in the U.S., it will lead to fewer children being killed through abortion. We thank God for this limited victory, and the Anglican Church in North America recommits itself to serving mothers so they can embrace motherhood and welcome their children. We also continue to point the way to God’s healing and forgiveness for all who suffer physically and emotionally from their abortion experiences.

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Posted in Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Children, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Supreme Court

(TLS) Norma Clarke reviews William Leith’s ‘The Cut That Wouldn’t Heal’

Just as I’m thinking “This sounds like Holden Caulfield. Is he channelling J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye?”, William Leith mentions Karl Ove Knausgaard. Knausgaard’s series of books, My Struggle, chronicles his thoughts and feelings, beginning with his father’s death. Leith orders the series, and when it arrives in the post he is terrified – he feels “dread”, wants to put the books on a high shelf with the spines facing the wall. Then, when he begins reading the first volume, A Death in the Family, he is gripped. Leith often depicts himself having two opposed reactions. In his earlier memoir, The Hungry Years: Confessions of a food addict (2005), he writes: “I am always too empty, and yet too full. I am always too full, and yet too empty”. There’s quite a lot of that here.

Leith came early to the confessional writing game. A Guardian article published in 2005, by which time his tortured relationship to food, drink, money and drugs had become a staple of his journalism, described him as the “poster boy of binge living”. His binge living was driven by anxiety, and the writing about it, displaying his appetite for self-harm and honing his expertise in liking himself less and less, gave him a living. The Cut That Wouldn’t Heal has a present-tense immediacy, beginning ten seconds before his father’s death, but some of the material is recycled from earlier writings. The “cut” of the title is on his father’s leg, and Leith doesn’t press the obvious metaphorical application to himself. Beginning with his birth, which his father didn’t welcome, and continuing through a childhood in which his father was mostly absent, physically and emotionally, Leith charts the many ways he failed to be good enough. His father, a psychologist, apparently didn’t notice or didn’t care that his son was bleeding.

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Posted in Anthropology, Books, Children, Marriage & Family, Psychology

(NYT front page) Days of Funerals Begin in Uvalde, with a Plea to Celebrate Life

Amerie Jo Garza, 10, a jokester who made the honor roll. Tuesday, 2 p.m.

Maite Yuleana Rodriguez, 10, who excelled in school and learned how to sew from YouTube videos. Tuesday, 7 p.m.

Irma Garcia, 48, and Joe Garcia, 50, the parents of Lyliana, Alysandra, Cristian and Jose. Wednesday, 10 a.m.

Jose Manuel Flores Jr., 10, called Josecito and Baby Jose, who collected toy trucks and played Little League. Wednesday, 2 p.m.

A week after a gunman stormed into Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, funerals began on Tuesday for the 19 young students and two teachers killed — as well as the husband of a victim whose fatal heart attack was attributed by his relatives to his overwhelming grief. Stretching into mid-June, the coming days will be packed with services, visitations, rosaries and burials, memorializing each of the victims whose deaths are the sum of a community’s agonizing loss.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Education, Parish Ministry, Violence

(NPR) A Uvalde coroner is haunted by identifying the bodies of children and an old friend

When they entered the school, he and the medical examiner found that the first responders had moved the bodies – separating the deceased from the wounded – in order to get to those who needed medical assistance.

“So when we got there, there were children in four rooms – the initial two rooms plus two other rooms,” Diaz said, adding that they “went room by room getting the plan together on what we were going to need to make sure that we identified everybody correctly.”

Diaz did not describe the scene in detail. Instead, he said, “It’s something you never want to see and it’s something you don’t, you cannot, prepare for. It’s a picture that’s going to stay in my head forever, and that’s where I’d like for it to stay.”

He says he has no intention of ever sharing exactly what he saw.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Education, Violence

(Economist) Asia’s advanced economies now have lower birth rates than Japan

Japanese fertility is still ultra-low compared with almost any society in human history. Yet it is now higher than that of any well-off East Asian or South-East Asian economy. The numbers in Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan ranged between 0.8 and 1.1 in 2020 (see chart). Nor is this a temporary blip caused by the pandemic: Japan’s figure was higher than all those countries in 2019, too.

Rich, baby-averse Asian countries in the region have three things in common. First, their people rarely have children outside marriage. Only around 2% of births in Japan and South Korea are to unmarried mothers, the lowest levels in the oecd, a club of rich countries. In wealthy Western countries that figure is typically between 30% and 60%. In China, the few who become pregnant out of wedlock are often denied benefits. The region’s decline in births has closely tracked a decline in marriages. The age at which people commit to a lifetime of entanglement has also been rising, further delaying child-bearing.

A second shared factor is expensive schooling. Pricey private tutoring and other wallet-emptying forms of “shadow education”, as such extras are known, are common in East Asia. The most frequent reason cited by Japanese couples for having fewer children is the cost of raising and educating them. Lucy Crehan, an education researcher, says that these problems might be even worse in other parts of Asia. Japanese pupils face their first high-stakes exams only at the age of 15. In contrast, children in Shanghai and Singapore must take such tests as early as primary school, piling on the parental pressure to perform and adding to the family’s tuition bills.

Yet it is the third factor that might explain why Japan is out-sprogging its rich Asian peers. A flurry of research in recent years suggests that high house prices cause young couples to delay having children.

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Posted in Aging / the Elderly, Asia, Children, Marriage & Family

(NYT) The deadliest U.S. school shooting in a decade shakes a rural Texas city

UVALDE, Texas — Anguished families waited late into the muggy Texas night on Tuesday to find out whether their children were among those killed by an 18-year-old gunman’s rampage at an elementary school in the city of Uvalde hours earlier.

Armed with multiple weapons, the gunman, who attended a nearby high school, killed at least 19 children and two adults at Robb Elementary School, the authorities said, in the deadliest school shooting since 20 children and six educators were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., 10 years ago. Several other children were injured in the shooting at Robb Elementary, including at least one 10-year-old who remained in critical condition at a nearby hospital.

At least one teacher was among the dead, and the gunman, whom officials identified as Salvador Ramos, died at the scene. A 66-year-old woman who officials said was the gunman’s grandmother had been shot at her home in Uvalde shortly before the massacre and was also in critical condition.

Robb Elementary lies in a rural area dotted with desert willows and bigtooth maples, about 85 miles west of San Antonio. Census data show that more than 40 percent of people in the neighborhood around the school have lived in the same house for at least 30 years.

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Posted in Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Education, Violence

(NYT) With Plunging Enrollment, a ‘Seismic Hit’ to Public Schools

In New York City, the nation’s largest school district has lost some 50,000 students over the past two years. In Michigan, enrollment remains more than 50,000 below prepandemic levels from big cities to the rural Upper Peninsula.

In the suburbs of Orange County, Calif., where families have moved for generations to be part of the public school system, enrollment slid for the second consecutive year; statewide, more than a quarter-million public school students have dropped from California’s rolls since 2019.

And since school funding is tied to enrollment, cities that have lost many students — including Denver, Albuquerque and Oakland — are now considering combining classrooms, laying off teachers or shutting down entire schools.

All together, America’s public schools have lost at least 1.2 million students since 2020, according to a recently published national survey. State enrollment figures show no sign of a rebound to the previous national levels any time soon.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Children, Education, Health & Medicine

The Bishop of Durham calls for end of the Two Child Limit

Bishop of Durham calls for the end of the Two Child Limit with Private Members Bill

Today, a Private Members’ Bill which would abolish the two child limit to Universal Credit was drawn from the ballot, to be introduced in the coming session by the Bishop of Durham. For the last five years, support provided by the child element of Universal Credit has been limited to the first two children. The Universal Credit (Removal of Two Child Limit) Bill would remove the restriction introduced in 2016 and reinstate entitlement of support for all children and qualifying young people.

The Bishop of Durham, the Right Reverend Paul Butler said about the bill: “There is a huge amount of evidence that says that the two child limit is pushing larger families into poverty. There were significant concerns about this raised at the time the limit was introduced, and they have proved true five years later.

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Posted in Anthropology, Children, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

([London] Times) Loyal labrador saves lost Texas woman with dementia

She strayed from a path and fell into the thicket. The search began the next day and security camera video showed Noppe and her dog on a road on the edge of the woods. The following afternoon the search was suspended because of a storm, though volunteers kept looking for her in the rain.

Noppe’s daughter Courtney said a team of tracking dogs had picked up a scent and a helicopter had been sent to try to spot her. At about 3am on May 6, the party turned off their all-terrain vehicles and heard a fateful bark.

“They just went to him and that’s how they found her,” she said.

Her family said that she was not seriously injured. “That dog has no leash, no collar, and stayed by her side for . . . three days,” her son Justin said. “That just shows you the loyalty that that dog has. He was never going to leave her side.”

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Posted in * General Interest, Animals, Children, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family

Greg and Beth Snyder are leaving the Anglican diocese of South Carolina to head to the University of Tennessee

The Lord has called me to a new ministry, a ministry which He has been preparing me for nearly 5 years. A ministry in the academy to young scientists and their professors. On April 13, I accepted the position as Lecturer in Geology at the University of Tennessee. Just a week later, on April 20 as you know, the Supreme Court ruling came down and not in our favor. I do not fully understand the Lord’s timing in this, but I must believe that it is good, and true and sure.

And I am encouraged in this by knowing that your Wardens and Vestry are ready and able to lead in the interim and to discern the nature of the next pastoral leadership for St. John’s Parish Church. I have seen the giftedness of this special vestry in recent months and you, the people, are all in very good hands.

My position begins at the University of Tennessee on August 1, so there are about two months or so before Beth and I, and Beth’s Mom, June, make the move to Knoxville. I must add that since the Lord has been growing this new call, both of my daughters have returned to Knoxville, and, as you all know, my granddaughter Ellie was born there. I had no idea of this 5 years ago, just as you all have no idea of the great blessing that will be poured out on you in the months and years ahead. “All will be well. All manner of things will be well.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Children, Education, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Monnica

O Lord, who through spiritual discipline didst strengthen thy servant Monnica to persevere in offering her love and prayers and tears for the conversion of her husband and of Augustine their son: Deepen our devotion, we beseech thee, and use us in accordance with thy will to bring others, even our own kindred, to acknowledge Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord; who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in Children, Church History, Marriage & Family, Spirituality/Prayer

Politico’s overnight Supreme court draft Leak Story that set Washington DC aflutter

The Supreme Court has voted to strike down the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, according to an initial draft majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito circulated inside the court and obtained by POLITICO.

The draft opinion is a full-throated, unflinching repudiation of the 1973 decision which guaranteed federal constitutional protections of abortion rights and a subsequent 1992 decision – Planned Parenthood v. Casey – that largely maintained the right. “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,” Alito writes.

“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” he writes in the document, labeled as the “Opinion of the Court.” “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Children, History, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Science & Technology, Supreme Court

Archbishop of Canterbury apologises to Indigenous peoples of Canada

The Archbishop of Canterbury has apologised for the “terrible crime” of the Anglican Church’s involvement in Canada’s residential schools – and for the Church of England’s “grievous sins” against the Indigenous peoples of Canada.

The Archbishop spent this weekend visiting Indigenous Canadian reserves, meeting with Indigenous leaders and Anglicans, and listening to residential school survivors, as part of a five-day visit to Canada.

Addressing survivors and Indigenous elders in Prince Albert on Sunday, the Archbishop said: “I am so sorry that the Church participated in the attempt – the failed attempt, because you rose above it and conquered it – to dehumanise and abuse those we should have embraced as brothers and sisters.”

He added: “I am more than humbled that you are even willing to attempt to listen to this apology, and to let us walk with you on the long journey of renewal and reconciliation.”

The Archbishop is visiting Canada to repent and atone for the Church of England’s legacy of colonialism and the harm done to Indigenous peoples – and to share in the Anglican Church of Canada’s reconciliation work with Indigenous, Inuit and Métis communities.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Anglican Church of Canada, Archbishop of Canterbury, Canada, Children, Church History, Church of England (CoE), Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Teens / Youth, Violence

(Church Times) Long-term strategy needed to tackle rising child poverty, says C of E report

A cross-departmental strategy with formal government structures and the “active commitment of the Prime Minister” is needed to address rising levels of child poverty in the UK, a new report from the Church of England concludes.

The report, published on Thursday, is based on consultations with 14 charitable organisations, which were contacted by the Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler, and the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Andrew Selous MP, in January 2021. The organisations, which include the Children’s Society and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, were invited to submit their ideas for a child poverty strategy, focused on tackling the underlying or systemic causes of poverty.

The consensus was that child poverty was a serious issue that was already on the rise before the pandemic, but had worsened during it: 4.3 million children were living in poverty in 2019 to 2020 and at least 120,000 more children were drawn into poverty as a result of Covid-19.

The Prime Minister and MPs, the report explains, have quoted from absolute poverty measures, which suggest that child poverty has remained stable since 2010, rising by only 100,000 between 2010 and 2020. This is measured against a substantial fall of 1.2 million (1.8 million before housing costs) over the previous decade (2000 to 2010), when Labour was in Government.

Read it all (registration or subscription).

Posted in Anthropology, Children, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Poverty, Religion & Culture, Theology

(The Critic) Sebastian Milbank–Rod Dreher comes home: The conscience of the New World is here in the Old

According to Daniel French there is an increasingly “underground” aspect to conservative Christian life in the UK — believers have woken up to the fact that the culture is against them, and in many cases even traditional religious leaders too.

Another of his UK allies, Dr James Orr, believes that Rod Dreher is destined to have a significant impact on our conservatism. “His insights are proving more salient with every week that passes, not only for Christians but for all those who are beginning to feel the consequences of rejecting the West’s Christian inheritance.

“As hyper-progressivism continues to colonise the UK public square with neuralgic imports from the US culture wars, I predict that more and more people in the UK will start to take Dreher’s jeremiads seriously and pay attention to his constructive proposals.”

Whether or not James Orr is right, Dreher is interesting not just for who he is, but for what he represents. He stands at a newly emergent nexus of traditional European conservatism, English realism, and American romanticism and religiosity. With an increasingly sterile politics, caught between technocratic centrism and the hollow battles of the culture wars, there’s a desperate need for new ideas, and fresh approaches. This is a man worth listening to.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Books, Children, England / UK, Evangelicals, Marriage & Family, Orthodox Church, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology

A Weekend Mental Health Break–(CBS) Tampa Bay Rays’ Brett Phillips credits home run to fan battling cancer

Chloe Grimes, an 8-year-old battling cancer, gifted her favorite player, Tampa Bay Rays’ Brett Phillips, a bracelet. He hit a home run while wearing it and has been wearing it for good luck ever since. Steve Hartman shares more in “On the Road.”

Watch it all.

Posted in Children, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Sports

Bono for Easter–The Day Death Died

Take the time to watch and listen to it all.

Posted in Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Easter, Eschatology, Marriage & Family

(FT Magazine) ‘We packed fast’: those who left Ukraine, in their own words

Anastasia and Sonia arrived from Dnipro in central Ukraine. Hosted by the Świderski family

Anastasia says:
“My sister called me at 6am, February 24, and asked me if I am alive. I was shocked because I didn’t know what was happening at all, I didn’t listen to the news. My daughter was supposed to have a concert in the kindergarten that day, and she’d just woken up. We never watch the news on television, but after she called we turned it on to see what she was talking about. We saw that they started shooting and bombing all over Ukraine. I was shocked and didn’t know how to react. I started crying. We called a relative that has connections with the army and asked what to do, and she said that we have to leave the city.”

Marcin says:
“It was mostly my wife’s initiative [and] when Anastasia came to us, she asked why we are doing this, and it’s hard to explain. It’s something that feels so natural to us. Maybe because of ­historical reasons, that we thought that in the past, as a nation, we were abandoned during the war. So right now we feel this natural solidarity with this other country that is kind of in the same position — that there is an aggressor, and the rest of the world can’t really intervene, or they don’t want to. And I think that this is something that we as Polish people feel quite familiar with . . . There was no calculation. We didn’t even think it through that well.”

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Posted in Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Immigration, Marriage & Family, Military / Armed Forces, Pastoral Theology, Poland, Politics in General, Russia, Ukraine, Violence

Bishop Helen-Ann Hartley, Bishop of Ripon shares a lovely story about an event that brought her (and others) joy

Listen to it all (just under 2 minutes).

Posted in Anthropology, Children, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Marriage & Family, Theology

(WSJ) Ukrainian Refugees Head to Poland, Seeking Safety in EU

Hundreds of Ukrainians poured across this usually sleepy border post on Poland’s edge on Thursday, dragging suitcases and bearing looks of disbelief in what European officials described as the first arrivals of a coming wave of refugees.

The crowd, a procession of mostly young parents with small children in tow, was crossing at a border post that ordinarily attracts a trickle of people stepping into the European Union. On Thursday, buses and minivans were crammed into the small parking lot to pick up Ukrainians who described waiting hours to cross the border and find onward transportation.

“It’s pure chaos here. All our buses are full,” said a bus driver, loading up his vehicle, as an argument broke out between two other drivers managing the throng of customers. “This is just the beginning. People are panicking. Most of our customers are women with children and they are very afraid.”

Poland is already home to between one million and two million Ukrainians. In coming weeks, government officials here expect an additional one million Ukrainians to follow.

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Posted in Children, Military / Armed Forces, Russia, Violence, Women

(CT) Birth Behind Bars: Christians Fight ‘Cruel,’ Outdated Prison Policies

Vanessa Franklin lost her mother, her father, and her husband in a 12-month span. But the grief of their deaths paled in comparison to parting with her three teenage daughters in the same year, 2008, when she went to prison for fraud.

“Being separated from them was worse,” said Franklin, who served four years in Oklahoma.

She couldn’t imagine a deeper hurt until a few years later, when her daughter, Ashley Garrison, was sentenced while pregnant. The 20-year-old went into labor the day she checked into prison.

Garrison had a boy and named him William. She held him for an hour before she was forced to relinquish custody to his father’s family.

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Posted in Children, Evangelicals, Health & Medicine, Prison/Prison Ministry

Unanimous backing from C of E Synod for call to protect child survivors of trafficking

The General Synod has given unanimous backing to a call for the Government to ensure the protection of child survivors of trafficking after hearing of fears that the Nationality and Borders Bill could leave more children unprotected and at risk.

Members voted 331 in favour, with no votes against and no abstentions, both to acknowledge the ‘leading role’ that the Government has played internationally in challenging slavery – while calling on the Government to ensure the proper protection of minors who are trafficked and enslaved.

The Synod also voted to encourage all dioceses, deaneries and parishes in the Church of England to raise awareness of modern slavery. Members further called on people to pray for the victims and survivors of slavery and trafficking and all those organisations who work to help and support them.

General Synod member Alistair Bianchi, introducing the debate at the Synod, said progress that had been made in tackling modern slavery and protecting children who have been trafficked risked being endangered as a result of measures in the Nationality and Borders Bill.

There are ‘considerable concerns’ that the lack of attention paid specifically to protecting children in the Bill – currently before Parliament – could have a negative impact both on child survivors of trafficking and children subject to the immigration system who are at risk of exploitation, he told the Synod

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Posted in Children, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Violence

The Bp of Gloucester’s Message for Children’s Mental Health week

Last week I was delighted to visit Cotswold School with Lucy Taylor (Diocesan Director of Communications and Engagement) to discuss our Liedentity work and to make plans for a future visit. It was good to hear of all that the school have put in place regarding mental health and I’m looking forward to making a podcast on the issue next month which will involve some of the students at the school.

Also last week I heard the story from a speaker in another diocese, of a young person with many struggles in her life. Someone rather tentatively invited her to a church youth event where she heard about Jesus Christ for the first time and at the end of it expressed some anger and frustration. This was not because of the event, but because she couldn’t understand why no one had told her of this good news before.

That is a sobering challenge for all of us who are adults. It is not an issue simply to be placed at the feet of youth ministers or Christian teenagers, teachers or parents, but rather I believe it is something God longs for each of us to hear and to respond to with lament, hope, action and prayer.

In LIFE Together in this diocese, local stories have resulted in the shining of a spotlight on ‘Investing in people and programmes which excite young people to explore and grow in faith’.

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Posted in Children, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Health & Medicine, Psychology

(Economist) China’s birth rate continues to fall

Despite the recent efforts of its government, China’s birth rate is falling. According to data released on January 18th by the National Bureau of Statistics, there were 10.6m births in 2021, 1.4m fewer than the previous year. For five consecutive years population growth has slowed, and last year the number of deaths, at 10.1m, approached the number of births, suggesting that the population may soon start to shrink.

This is a headache for the Chinese Communist Party. Its leaders worry that an ageing population and shrinking workforce will dent the country’s economic growth. After decades of a one-child policy designed to limit population growth, the government has tried to change gear. In 2016 couples were allowed to have a second child for the first time in more than 35 years—and last year the limit was upped to three. The government now tells its people, particularly women, that it is their patriotic duty to have more children. There are plenty of inducements to encourage more energetic procreation, too, including more state-funded childcare and better protection against workplace discrimination for women. Employers often illegally ask women about their childbearing plans in job interviews; some even force female recruits to sign contracts promising not to have children for several years.

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Posted in Children, China, Marriage & Family