21 year old gets final birthday flowers from her dad who died of cancer when she was 16

The BBC reports on an emotional story of how a 21 year old called Bailey Seller has received her last bouquet flowers from her dad who died five years ago from cancer and had pre-paid for her to received flowers until she hit 21 years old. With the flowers she’s also been receiving a handwritten note which this year said: “I will still be with you with every milestone, just look around and there I will be.”

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Bereavement is the time we spend adjusting to loss. There is no standard time limit and there is no right or wrong way to feel during the bereavement period – everyone must learn to cope in their own way. We thought about this recently in our PSHCE lessons. It is a difficult but important topic to think about. The NHS provides lots of useful information on bereavement, and the Child Bereavement UK charity offers advice on how to speak to people who are bereaved.

 

 

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Are animals sentient beings?

First let’s check you know what sentient means.

Sentient – adjective – able to perceive or feel things.

animals around table

Most of the UK’s animal welfare law comes from the EU, so it is quite interesting right now as part of Brexit whether MP’s in Parliament are choosing to continue the EU legislation word for word or water it down for a future UK outside the EU. The first step, with MP’s saying that animals are NOT sentient, seems to show they are not going to see animals as creatures that perceive and feel things.  The RSPCA said to Farming UK: “It’s shocking that MPs have given the thumbs down to incorporating animal sentience into post-Brexit UK law.” Meanwhile Nick Palmer, head of policy at Compassion in World Farming, said: “How can the UK be seen as a leader in animal welfare when the repeal bill fails to guarantee that animals will continue to be regarded as sentient beings? We urge the Government to reintroduce the commitment into the Bill.”

Some countries like New Zealand have shown far greater consideration of animal rights:

sentient new zealand

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It’s not really about religion, it’s about the power of nations

So far it has felt like a Cold War between Saudi Arabia and Iran, but people are fearful it might soon turn into an open conflict. The Independent reports how the greatest threat to world peace coming from the Middle East is not terrorism but the wider Sunni-Shia religious conflict.

‘This is not really about religion, any more than the wars of religion of the 17th century, or the conflict in Northern Ireland, or the bloodshed in Bosnia. In almost all great so-called religious conflicts, what lies behind the shouting of the clerics is a contest between the power of nations. This one is, in reality, a contest for dominance in the Middle East between Riyadh (Saudi Arabia) and Tehran (Iran).’

Middle-East-Political-Map

The Guardian also reports on the mounting tension in Lebanon, due to the power struggle between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

‘Now, more than at any point in modern history, Iran and Saudi Arabia are squared off against each other as a race to consolidate influence nears a climax from Sana’a (in the Yemen) to Beirut (in Lebanon).’

73 millions trees being planted – a huge reforestation project in Brazil

A multi-million-dollar initiative which is led by a US-based NGO (non-governmental organisation), is being described as “the largest tropical reforestation project in history.” Over the next six years, it will aim to replant 70,000 acres (that’s about 35,000 football pitches) of land that has been turned into animal pastures.  We all know why this is necessary. Around 20% of the Brazilian Amazon (the world’s largest rainforest) has been destroyed since 1970, mostly owing to cattle farming. The rate of destruction has been slowing gradually since 2004 but scientists fear that a further 20% of the Amazon rainforest will be destroyed in the next two decades. So this reforestation is a great way not only for Brazil to keep the promises it made at the Paris Agreement, but also to help the world keep to the 1.2-2 degrees centigrade of warming permitted in the Agreement.

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500 years since Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses

In Religious Studies lessons we learn about Martin Luther and how he complained against the corruption of the Catholic Church by nailing his 95 complaints, or Theses, to the church door, sparking the Reformation.

Students always get confused between Martin Luther born in the late fifteenth century, a monk in what is now Germany…

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And Martin Luther King Jnr the Baptist minister from 20th century USA who was a Civil Rights hero…

Martin Luther King Jr

Well 500 years since Martin Luther nailed those Theses to the door, Lutherans and Christians are preparing to celebrate his huge role in the growth of Protestantism. It was Martin Luther who translated the Latin Bible into German as he strongly believed the people should be able to understand the word of God. Already since the start of 2017 media outlets have been celebrating the year of Martin Luther’s brave moves against the Catholic Church, with BBC Radio 4 broadcasting an interesting 27 minute long discussion of Martin Luther and the Reformation. Nothing can beat, for sheer weirdness the rap music video called 95 Theses, watch and learn!

Blinded By Your Grace

It’s Live Lounge Month with Radio 1 this September. One British artist who always impresses is Stormzy, and his song Blinded By Your Grace has some interesting commentary about faith:

I’m blinded by your grace
I’m blinded by your grace, by your grace
I’m blinded by your grace
I’m blinded by your

[Chorus: Stormzy & MNEK]
Lord, I’ve been broken
Although I’m not worthy
You fixed me, I’m blinded by your grace
You came and saved me
Lord, I’ve been broken
Although I’m not worthy
You fixed me, now I’m blinded by your grace
You came and saved me

[Verse 1: Stormzy]
One time for the Lord, and one time for the cause
And one round of applause
One time for Fraser T Smith on the chords
I feel we got one, I stay prayed up then I get the job done
Yeah, I’m Abigail’s yout, but I’m God’s son
But I’m up now, look at what God’s done
Now I real talk, look at what God did
On the main stage runnin’ ’round topless
I phone Flipz then I tell him that he got this
This is God’s plan, they can never stop this
Like… wait right there, could you stop my verse?
You saved this kid and I’m not your first
It’s not by blood and it’s not by birth
But oh my God, what a God I serve

stormzy

In an interview with Fader Stormzy said, “You know when you’re watching churches, and a lady or a man in the choir just takes it away, and it’s just like, Flipping heck, and everyone just feels it in their soul? I was like, “I want someone to do that. I want someone to come and take this tune where I can’t take it.” I listen to a lot of radio, and a lot of pop and R&B. I’ve always clocked with MNEK, he’s got such a voice. I was like, I know he can go to church with it. He came round to the studio, and it was like watching a magician work. He was able to record his riffs and his [backing vocals] and his harmonies all at once without hearing them back. He took the tune exactly where I wanted it to go.”

Then with Radio 1 Stormzy explained,

“It’s a song that means so much to me both in terms of my faith and what God means to me but also for my artistry as well. It’s a song that me and Fraser [producer and songwriter] made up and we was trying to make something incredible for the album and it’s a song I almost felt I wasn’t capable of making but between me, Fraser and MNEK we pulled it off.

“It’s a little bit of an anthem in the weirdest way. It’s a little soulful, a little gospel. I’ve played it at festivals and everyone’s hands are in the air like drunk and I don’t know if it goes but it’s working and it’s beautiful and it’s amazing. Everyone kinda comes together for it.”

 

First Female Time Lord

After months of speculation Peter Capaldi’s replacement as Doctor Who is Jodie Whittaker, making her the first female Time Lord.

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Whittaker said: “It feels completely overwhelming, as a feminist, as a woman, as an actor, as a human, as someone who wants to continually push themselves and challenge themselves, and not be boxed in by what you’re told you can and can’t be. It feels incredible.”

She also reassured fans to “not be scared by my gender. Because this is a really exciting time, and Doctor Who represents everything that’s exciting about change,” she said, adding: “The fans have lived through so many changes, and this is only a new, different one, not a fearful one.”

The BBC announced the 13th Time Lord after the Wimbledon’s Men’s Final on Sunday afternoon. You’ll see Whittaker for the first time in this huge acting role when the Doctor regenerates in the Christmas Day show.