Broken – a TV series with plenty of religious content to learn from

The six-part series called Broken, which stars Sean Bean and Anna Friel, first aired on Tuesday 30th May. If you missed the first episode go to BBC iPlayer to catch up (until mid-July). Why? Well for a drip feed of Catholic religious beliefs, teachings and practice for the AQA Component 1 exam, this TV series is a ‘godsend’!

You will be able to see in the first episode the role of a priest in the local community; the preparations for First Holy Communion; the Eucharist; the importance of prayer; the last rites for a dead person and confession. If you’ve never been inside a Christian church before, or it has been a long time, then just by watching this drama by Jimmy McGovern you’ll see how the place of worship is used by a community in Northern England.

To top it off there is also a mention of Food Banks – perfect GCSE content!


2,000 Food Banks in UK giving out food parcels

New research by the Independent Food Aid Network has supported what the Trussell Trust (the biggest food bank network in the UK) has been saying: food banks are having to give support to more and more people in the UK and the needs have been increasing over the last nine years. Professor Jon May and chair of Ifan announced: “There are now food banks in almost every community, from the East End of London to the Cotswolds. The spread of food banks maps growing problems of poverty across the UK, but also the growing drive among many thousands of people across the country to try and do something about those problems”.


The reasons why people are having to turn to Food Banks to provide their food are varied:


The Ifan survey revealed a wide variety of food-banks with some faith-based, others non-religious; some with strict rules on the amount of food given to individual clients, others with open-ended commitments to families in need; some requiring clients to have a voucher validated by outside agencies, others operating a self-referral system.

British government have repeatedly played down the rise of food banks, rejecting growing evidence that financial pressures on families caused by welfare cuts, benefit delays and low income have pushed a demand for emergency food. Recently, the prime minister, Theresa May, attempted to brush off claims that nurses had been forced to use food banks by saying there were “many complex reasons” why people use them. The graph above showed that there are different reasons why people use them but basically families in 2017 Britain are starving and need emergency food to survive.

Food bank investigation by the Sunday Mirror

The Trussell Trust is a 400 strong network of food banks in the UK and a case study in our GCSE Religious Studies.

food-bank sign

It is a charity founded on Christian principles. They work with people of all faiths and none (just like Christian Aid), and are inspired by the words of Jesus in Matthew 25: 35 – 36. “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” Students will recognise this as coming from the Parable of the Sheep and Goats which we learn in our studies of evil and suffering, as well as Christian beliefs and teachings. In the parable Jesus returns to reward all those who have fed the hungry, clothed the naked, visited those in prison, and cared for the sick, teaching Christians to care for those who are suffering. Jesus’ message here is that by ignoring a sick or hungry person, a Christian would be ignoring Jesus himself.


The Trussell Trust’s vision is to end hunger and poverty in the UK and their mission is to bring communities together to end hunger and poverty in the UK by providing compassionate, practical help with dignity whilst challenging injustice.

General Synod Discuss Sexuality, Marriage and Gambling

The General Synod (the Church of England’s ruling body) will today vote on the recent report which upheld the Church’s view that marriage in church should only be between a man and a woman, and services should not be held to bless same-sex relationships. Protesters have been gathering outside the Church’s headquarters to make their voices heard that they don’t agree with Church supported discrimination.

Mr Tatchell a rights campaigner for decades said the Report “Denies the right of same-sex couples to be blessed in church, even though it will bless cats and dogs, and it gives a very clear message that clergy who are in same-sex marriages which are lawful will be denied promotion.”

Numerous LGBT+ groups have come together and asked their supporters to write letters to representatives in the Synod stating they should vote against taking note of the report.  “We are looking for a substantial vote against this dangerous and inadequate report”, the letter says.

Already this month’s Synod has unanimously passed a motion urging the government to bring forward proposals to reduce the amount gamblers can stake on on fixed-odds betting terminals from £100 to £2. This desire of the Synod to push forward legislation to stop people wasting their money to ensure a better quality of life won’t surprise students of Religious Studies.

proverbs  speak-up

The Book of Proverbs in the Bible where both of these quotes come from provides deep insights and wisdom on how to live a happy and peaceful life by honouring an omnibenevolent and omnipotent God. The guiding principle of the Book of Proverbs is: ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart'(Proverbs 3:5).


The well remembered by students camel quote can be found in the Synoptic gospels of Matthew 19:23, Mark 10:24,  and Luke 18:24. The Synoptic gospels meaning are those of Matthew, Mark and Luke because they include many of the same stories, often in a similar sequence and in similar wording. They are very different from the gospel of John whose content is comparatively distinct.


Mother Teresa is Canonised

On Sunday Pope Francis will lead a two hour long service to canonise Mother Teresa, so that she will be now known as Saint Teresa of Kolcata. Some people are orverjoyed about this with the prime minister of India, Narendra Modi, paying tribute to Mother Teresa in a radio broadcast, saying “she devoted her whole life to the poor”. He added: “When such a person is conferred with sainthood, it is natural for Indians to feel proud.”Others have been more critical, agreeing with the late writer Christopher Hitchens  who wrote, she was a “religious fundamentalist, a political operative, a primitive sermoniser, and an accomplice of worldly secular powers”.


If you haven’t had chance to learn about Mother Teresa in your RE lessons an American Catholic website has an in-depth review of why she is revered by millions of Catholics.

Rita Ora will be performing at the ceremony, to celebrate Mother Teresa’s Albanian heritage.