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Celebrating faith and life in East Kent

When it’s more than just the blues Finding hope in depression

ISSUE 34 Spring 2018 Novena: meet the artist | Review: Creative Bibles | Lent

Spring 2018 Outlook Magazine|1

Resources for you Evangelism

Ever invited somebody to church? Or actively shared the Gospel with them? You wouldn’t be alone if you said no. Sharing the good news of Jesus with others through words and actions, although something all Christians are called to do, is not something everyone finds easy. Here are three resources to give you a fresh perspective on Evangelism.

Evangelism for the local church During Thy Kingdom Come last year, hundreds of thousands of people prayed for the Church to be empowered for evangelism and for people to come to faith in Christ. With preparations for this year’s event well and truly underway, a new booklet - Evangelism for the local church - has been put together. It aims to offer churches a new way to think about evangelism, by setting out a simple circular process to help church communities discern how God is already working and how they might work with him. Go to the ‘Sharing Your Faith’ pages of the Thy Kingdom Come website:

Mission Academy

The Word One to One

Produced by the Church of England, in partnership with a variety of youth and evangelism organisations, Mission Academy Live is a series of 10 video-based sessions. Each session seeks to empower young people to share their faith within a small group context. With a focus on peer-to-peer evangelism, each session provides an understanding of today’s contemporary context, with teaching, discussion, and testimony, all leading to a practical response. Through accountable relationships, this first of its kind evangelism and discipleship tool encourages young people to be intentional, authentic, united and obedient to God’s call.

If you’re someone who enjoys to a meet a friend for coffee and put the world to rights, then The Word One to One could be the perfect resource for you. Based on the simple idea of two friends sitting and spending time exploring the Bible together, this booklet includes an accessible text of John Chapter 4 to follow, and questions and answers on the text to help you and the person you’re reading it with understand the meaning. It’s designed in such a way that anyone can use it - you don’t need to be an expert on the Bible.

Find out more at

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Download a free copy from (a small donation from those who can afford to do so is invited).


Contents Spring 2018

Issue 34

Don’t ask me how my New Year resolutions are going. I haven’t totally given up hope…but year on year I’m losing faith in the self-improvement drive. As I write this, Lent is just on the horizon. It’s a time when we recall Jesus’ temptation and fasting in the desert - and many try to model in their own way throughout Lent a more simple and restrained lifestyle, as they prepare to celebrate Easter. But is there a danger that, in doing so, we turn Lent into yet another failed self-improvement drive? Or can some form of ‘giving up’ in Lent actually have a positive and lasting impact on our lives and relationship with God? That’s precisely the question we address in our debate (p8). For those at risk of losing hope altogether, Masami has some encouraging words (p17) and we’ve reviewed three ‘Bibles with a difference’ on p20. Our feature (p10) is an honest look at what it’s like to live with a mental health problem – and the promise that wellness is possible. We also meet the new Archdeacon of Ashford, Darren Miller (p18) and discover how a passion for administration led him to his new role.

Community News 4 Headlines: News from across the diocese

Features & Voices 8 The debate:

Lent abstinence

10 Feature:

Living with depression



Meet the artist

17 Masami writes: Hope when we can’t see it

One great thing about the Church calendar is that there’s always another spiritual ‘season’ on the way - and when Outlook next goes to print we should be halfway through the Novena - nine days of prayer between Ascension Day and Pentecost. I’m always blown away by the Novena - the power and beauty of a diocese united in prayer together, asking for God’s presence and guidance in all we do. You can get a sneaky insight into this year’s resource on p15, where we meet our Novena artist, Ian Pentney.

18  Interview:

As for Lent, my prayer this year is that I learn to be, before I start trying to do. Instead of adding things to my to-do-list, I hope that Lent will be a time to return to God’s presence, to learn how to sit at his feet. Perhaps then any change I make may be more honest and more lasting.

May God bless you this Lent and always,

Contact the editorial team Outlook is the quarterly magazine for the Diocese of Canterbury. Editor: Anna Drew | Sub-editor: Marilyn Shrimpton Writers: Holly Adams, Jennifer Ross Designer: Marilyn Shrimpton Canterbury Diocese, Diocesan House, Lady Wootton’s Green, Canterbury CT1 1NQ Tel: 01227 459401

Darren Miller

Resources 2

Resources for you:

Evangelism 20 The review: Creative Bibles

What’s On 22  Top ten things to do in Kent: Spring

The editor and team welcome submissions for Outlook magazine and can be contacted via the details above. For advertising enquiries please contact Sandra Heyworth | Tel: 07747 116 875 or The next edition will be published on 16 May 2018 (copy deadline 20 April) Feedback We hope you enjoy Outlook magazine and the editor would welcome your comments:

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Headlines News from across East Kent

God with Us Saturday 16 December - one of the busiest trading days of the year in Maidstone - saw the nativity story take place right in the heart of town. The story of Jesus’ birth was re-told in five scenes across four locations, involving choirs, musicians, actors and real animals. The animals stole the show, despite the reluctance of the donkey to make the journey up Bank Street from Nazareth to Bethlehem! Three shepherds (including Archdeacon Stephen Taylor) were awe struck by a flash mob choir of angels in Brenchley Gardens. Joe the camel drew the crowds to County Hall (Herod’s palace) before the wise men followed a star down Week Street to find Baby Jesus in Bethlehem (a.k.a. Jubilee Square). The event, organised by the Waypoint Project, involved 200 volunteers from 28 churches and beyond. Andrew Sewell, Waypoint Chairman, reminded the audience that Christmas is a time to celebrate ‘God with us’.

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Tenterden lunch club A new community lunch club for people struggling with debt or social problems has launched in Tenterden. The club is a joint project between church-led Tenterden Community Hub and FareShare (Kent) - an organisation that collects surplus, but within-date, food from local supermarkets for use by charities. It opened with a simple meal attended by community leaders, schools and other charitable organisations. Visit:

Award for Apollos The Apollos Trust offers Christian support within Homewood School and Sixth Form Centre, Tenterden, and the Marsh Academy, New Romney, and their feeder primary schools. In January, the Trust won the Kent Christian Radio Charity Award for Youth. “It was an honour to be nominated by the listeners of the Radio,” said Marsh Academy Schools Worker James Smith, “but to win the Award is such a blessing and acknowledgement of the work that the Trust does, and the work in both Homewood School and The Marsh Academy that is done to share Jesus with young people across Kent. We’re so excited to see what 2018 has in store for us and all that God will do through the Trust and in these two schools.”

Thy Kingdom Come 24 January saw the launch of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York’s third annual global, ecumenical prayer movement - Thy Kingdom Come. Figures from across the Churches gathered at Lambeth Palace to hear plans for this year’s Thy Kingdom Come, which will take place between 10-20 May. It’s an invitation to pray between Ascension and Pentecost for friends and family to come to faith. In 2016, 100,000 people pledged to pray. By 2017 that grew to more than half a million, from more than 85 countries including Ghana, the Netherlands, Malaysia, South Africa and Korea. See p15 to find out about what’s happening in Canterbury Diocese.

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Light the Dark Delicious Kent On 17 December, St. Nicholas Church in Thanington held a Christingle service for young and old.

A diocesan-run cookery competition championing the fantastic produce available in Kent is now open for entries.

Christingle celebrations are named after the Christingles that are lit during the service. They are made from an orange decorated with red tape, sweets and a candle. Christingle means ‘Christ Light’ and churches use them to celebrate Jesus as the “Light of the World”. Archdeacon of Canterbury Jo Kelly-Moore described the service as ‘truly delightful’.

The Kent is Delicious Cookery Competition is easy for any primary or junior school, home-school group, or Rainbow, Cub or Scout pack to get involved with; they just need to create a breakfast recipe that uses as many local and seasonal ingredients as possible. Entries by Friday 25 May visit for full details.

Inherit the Earth The vivid colours of the rainforest and the fight to protect the environment feature in a special exhibition from 27 January to 9 February at St. Martin’s church in Maidstone. The Christian Aid photographic exhibition, Inherit the Earth, shows how the charity works with local people and organisations to give communities a voice, establish their right to land and help them take advantage of new eco-technologies.

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#GiveUpSlavery Journey to Bethlehem Charity The Clewer Initiative has launched #GiveUpSlavery - a Lent resource with a difference.

Over the course of Lent, they are encouraging people to think about the ways their lives intersect with modern slavery: through the goods they buy or the services they use. Weekly challenges themed around different aspects of modern slavery help those unfamiliar with this hidden crime to see where the decisions they make can a difference to those who are most vulnerable.

In December, St. Nicholas Church in Allington organised a ‘Journey to Bethlehem’ for its four local primary schools. Over seven sessions, the team interacted with 1200 children and 100 adults - not to mention passersby - throughout the week. All heard the story of the first Christmas, told through the innkeepers, angels, shepherds, wise men, tax collectors and Roman soldiers they met on their way to Bethlehem.

top in Torteval Late last year Bishop Trevor Willmott shared in a special ‘topping out’ ceremony at St. Philippe de Torteval in Guernsey. Bishop Trevor blessed the church’s weather cockerel, which was then hoisted carefully to the top of the scaffolding, approximately 120 feet high, and positioned on top of the new stainless steel weathervane by Deputy Bailiff Richard McMahon and Main Contractor Louis le Couteur.

Spring 2018 Outlook Magazine|7 Old Barn Audio 1/4 page advert outline.indd 1

14/11/2013 11:14

Should we give stuff up for Lent? The debate

During Lent we reflect on the temptations of Jesus in the desert, when he fasted for 40 days before beginning his ministry. Should we seek to emulate that? Should we throw ourselves open to temptation in the hope that we will emerge from the desert somehow stronger, better, more faithful? For many people, Lent is an opportunity to dust off the failed New Year’s resolutions and give them another try. The most common things that people give up for Lent include chocolate, social networking, alcohol, meat and coffee. Certain vices like alcohol, swearing and sugary drinks nearly always feature in the list but trends and news events do influence people’s choices. But is it really anything more than an exercise in vanity? Is the real goal likely to be spiritual growth or waistline shrinkage? And does Lenten restraint really have any lasting impact - or will we all be back to back to normal by Easter Monday? Patterns of fasting and feasting can certainly be found in all the major religious traditions, so perhaps it’s something that is good for the soul - but how might we ensure that our experience reflects that? So, is there really any point in giving something up for Lent? YES: Stephen Taylor is the Archdeacon of Maidstone. I hope for us as Christians that we will anticipate the season of Lent and resolve to take it seriously. People seem divided between taking something up and letting something go, with others needing to let something go before taking up something else. The connection of the words

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‘disciple’ and ‘discipline’ find a renewed reality in Lent where we can challenge ourselves and our lifestyles with Christ’s example. Jesus’ fasting for forty days in the wilderness before he began his public ministry challenges us to pursue an abstinence that brings us closer to God. Some church communities have simple shared lunches as a part of this discipline, encouraging donations to charities. Others set up groups that meet each week in Lent to focus more on Scripture. Much material is available in printed form and online which gives us a sense of connection with other Christians praying and studying through the same themes.

Living a lifestyle in ignorance that spoils the world is one thing - being made aware and yet continuing in the same lifestyle is quite another...

Our Diocesan Day of Prayer last year certainly opened up many avenues into prayer - and taking those lessons a step further will be a fruitful journey for Lent. Joining in with shared patterns of prayer every day can bring a renewed sense of hope, purpose and connection into our lives that some find simply transformative. For me, this year I have been challenged on one hand by God’s love for the world and on the other by humankind’s scandalous abuse of the world. Living a lifestyle in ignorance that spoils the world is one thing - being made aware and yet continuing in the same lifestyle is quite another. I found the episodes of the BBC’s Blue Planet II last year the most wonderful insight into the glory of God’s creation I have ever seen but also the most disturbing into

how our lifestyles impact on the world we are called to be good stewards of. So - as well as praying and studying the Bible - I will be giving up plastic for Lent. I have already discovered glass milk bottles, toothpaste in glass jars and shampoos bars sold in paper bags. The pass-me-down bread maker had its first trial run today and there are many other challenges ahead! Why not join me by giving up something in order to reduce your impact on creation? NO: Helen Netherton is head of Religious Studies at The Archbishop’s School, Canterbury. For me, Lent 2018 will be about trying to be a more faithful disciple of Jesus Christ, and I relish the journey of that deepening relationship. When I was in year eight at school, we had a technology trip to Cadbury World to look at the packaging plant. What’s the one thing I remember about the trip? I remember the fact that it was Lent, and that I had given up chocolate. It is very difficult to enjoy Cadbury World when it is in itself an act of torture! Ever since that day, I have questioned whether it was actually wise to give up anything for Lent. Is it necessary - or even helpful? The purpose of Lent is to prepare for the events of Holy Week: the arrest, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus; a period to remember the temptation that Jesus went through before he started his ministry. However, is this what people really use the time for? Most people I have spoken to tend to give up luxuries such as chocolate or alcohol; other people use Lent to develop a spiritual discipline (maybe daily prayer, Bible reading or charitable giving).

What is the life that we are being called to live, and why are we making these choices about our lifestyles?...

But why do they choose to give up or take up those things? I know that I gave up chocolate in year eight because I ate too much chocolate in the first place. I know that the time that I prayed more during Lent was because I knew that I needed to pray more in the first place. For most people, they are going to give up something that they do not think they should be doing so much of anyway or taking up something that they should be doing anyway. Therefore, it seems strange and unnecessary to give up or take up something just for Lent. Surely, instead of that is the lifestyle that we should be aiming for on a daily basis. We should make a change and try to honour that all year round, rather than ‘playing at it’ for forty days. If we think about the example of Jesus in the desert, he had 40 days of temptation before he went on to live out his mission on Earth - the mission that we are called to continue in our lives today. What is the life that we are being called to live, and why are we making these choices about our lifestyles? If you are being challenged to change something in your life during the season of Lent, let me ask you how that will impact on your life and walk with God - is it only meant for this period of Lent or are you in it for the long haul? Check out Lent resources and challenges at●

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Glimpsing light through the dark woods Feature

Think about the past week: the places you’ve been to, the situations you’ve experienced, the people you’ve met. It’s estimated that one in six people have experienced a common mental health problem over the past week. How many have you met that may have faced that challenge? Mental health problems are a growing public health concern in the UK - and evidence seems to indicate that poor mental health is on the rise among young people. In this edition, we explore why this might be the case and find out first-hand what it’s like to live with a long-term mental health problem. Despite these challenges, our contributors show us where light may be found in the darkness.

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Mental health problems in local communities are now one of the biggest social issues local clergy encounter. New research from the Church of England and Church Urban Fund found that 83% of churches are involved in supporting people with mental health problems.

grammar schools, from children that don’t want anybody at their school to know that they’re doing the course…and they’re really struggling.” She says that the ‘always on’ culture of social media just adds to the pressure: “they’re in so much competition with each other and they’re online all the time.”

Nikki Brooker has more than 15 years of experience of working in the youth sector, helping young people to have a voice. A founder of the UK Youth Parliament and Australian charity My NT, she’s now Young Person’s Well-being Project Worker for the mental health charity Mind, working across Maidstone and Mid-Kent.

She adds that cuts to youth local services have compounded the problem: “It’s no surprise that young people’s mental health is suffering when it’s very difficult for them to find funded activities. There used to be youth clubs, there used to be youth services… now there’s nothing that offers them informal learning, that helps them with their confidence and self-esteem. So it’s down to charities like us to fill the gaps.”

About 18 months ago the charity received funding for specific work to help young people in Kent meet and defeat their mental health challenges. Nikki and her team work to deliver a variety of courses and one-to-one sessions with young people to help them address their own specific needs and take better care of their mental well-being. She explains that over the last few years there has been a notable decline in mental health for young people - both in Kent and on a wider scale - which she puts down to the increasing pressures young people face in their daily lives, particularly at school. “At one school we work with, for every subject the children have to do forty minutes of homework a night,” she says. “And one girl is doing eight subjects, but she’s got really bad anxiety and her anxiety is around being perfect. So she feels like she has to spend the full forty minutes on every subject - basically, her whole Saturday and Sunday is taken up with doing homework. We get a lot of our referrals for our evening programmes from

Nikki and the Mind team do this by offering courses that help young people to identify areas where they are vulnerable and develop tactics for coping with the pressures they face and their own mental health challenges. In 18 months the team have worked with 464 young people. No one is forced to go on the courses young people have to choose to participate - and the evidence is that they’re highly effective. Those who attend their most popular programmes - Managing Me and Taming My Temper show dramatic decreases in their feelings of anxiety and depression. One young person reported an astonishing 92% increase in wellbeing: “Yes, she felt listened to,” says Nikki, “and she learnt how to calm herself down.”

Untethered Writer and speaker Jo Swinney was just thirteen years old when she first felt the effects of depression in her own life. »

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of energy, loss of motivation and loss of hope. At the age of thirteen I didn’t have any understanding of that being maybe depression. I didn’t have words for it, I didn’t have anyone to talk to. So I cried a lot.”

Nikki Brooker

She had a very happy childhood and her family had made the decision to live in Portugal at the time. As the education system in Portugal could not offer her much at that age, Jo moved to England to attend boarding school and this change seemed to trigger her first serious depressive episode: “In my first couple of weeks two things happened, one of which was that I encountered homesickness and culture shock, which I was completely unprepared for. The other thing was that I was sharing a room with nine thirteen-year-old girls, who were pre-arranged into friendship groups. A couple of them were really unkind people and they took against me. So those were the sort of the precipitating factors, I suppose. What happened within me was that soon I wasn’t thinking about those issues - I just disappeared into myself, down a bit of a black hole.” Jo explains that one of the hardest things about depression is finding a language that can accurately capture the experience. It helps to speak in metaphors, she says: “One of mine was this feeling of being in space - not tethered to anything - feeling a sense of free-falling, an anxiety, heart-racing panic feeling, but continual free-falling, like not being in gravity. Being in total darkness - I couldn’t see, I just couldn’t locate myself. That linked to this dead weight - loss

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Jo and her family wrote to each other every week, but it wasn’t until she returned home for Christmas that the impact of her emotional struggles really became apparent. “I remember just being a shadow of my former self, just a bit of a miserable crumpled wreck. Very pale and very tearful. All the confidence had been knocked out of me.” Slowly, she emerged from that first episode, mostly thanks to a letter her mother had written to her over that Christmas break: “She said to me, ‘You’re listening to a lot of untrue thoughts going around your mind.’ And she wrote me this really long letter of things that are true. Some of it was expressed in a prayer and they were interspersed with Bible passages. But also as my mum, knowing me well, wrote things like, ‘This is true about you…’ ‘This is who you are…’ ‘This is how God sees you…’ I basically carried that letter everywhere and I read it first thing in the morning and last thing at night and I kind of replaced my thoughts with it - it was an absolute lifeline. And, hand by hand, I pulled myself out of that pit.”

Naming it Throughout the following years, every year Jo would experience at least one (if not two or three) episodes of major depression, interspersed with periods of what she describes as ‘low-grade not dramatic’ depression. She also had times when everything lifted and she felt she could

‘see clearly’. “What’s so difficult about depression is it affects your personality,” she says, “so I almost felt like I didn’t know which was really me - but I like the undepressed me a lot better. It wasn’t a reliable person to be, because sometimes depression would just come over me and all those things I wanted to be true about myself were just submerged.” It wasn’t until Jo began studying at university that she found a word for what she was experiencing: “One of my housemates was studying psychology and she was learning about depression. She came home one day and she was the first person to use that word about me in a medical sense. When she read out the description of it, I was like ‘Yes!’ and actually it felt quite validating. And then she said, ‘and there are things that you can do about it’. During that period, Jo was suffering acutely with depression. “My housemates were absolutely amazing in looking after me through that episode,” she recalls. “They used to take turns to get me up in the morning with tea and sit on my bed and stroke my hair until I could get out of bed. Then they would walk me to my lectures. One of them would pick me up. There was a really big main road that I had to cross in Birmingham to get to campus from where we lived and I used to be tempted to stand in front of a bus. I don’t know if they know that.”

Getting well Jo went to see a psychiatrist who confirmed the diagnosis, which, despite being a positive step, was not easy for Jo or her family: “I think they thought she would tell me I didn’t have clinical depression, that I was just

someone who experienced the highs and the lows. But she said, ‘absolutely, clinical depression.’ I had been coping so long already, and I didn’t think I was bad enough to need help.”

I was on my knees a lot and the Psalms give a language of desperation that is turned towards God...

Although mental health awareness has dramatically improved, Nikki says mental illness is still a big taboo among the young people she works with: “There’s a big stigma around mental health. The first question that we ask on our registration form is ‘Do you consider yourself to have a mental health problem?’ and 90 per cent of the young people will say ‘No’, even though they’ve identified as having stress, depression or anxiety. Some start to feel more comfortable talking about mental health, but some will still go away and think, ‘Well, that’s not me. I’m not that person.’” Jo travelled to Canada to study for her Masters degree and found much less stigma there. There she found a psychiatrist who worked with her for three years and helped her to take the brave step of starting medication, “She got me on meds - meds and her brought me to health in a way that I never thought was possible. In the way that bone that is fractured is still a bit weak there, I still have a weakness in mental health. But most of the time I’m really well.”

Faith As a lifelong Christian, how has Jo’s relationship with God and

with faith been affected by her illness? “In some ways it was a positive thing, in some ways it deformed my understanding of God,” she reflects. Her faith gave some of her darker thoughts an unhelpful edge. “I believed God needed me broken, so that I would need him,” she remembers. “At my worst points I was crippled by my inadequacy. I used to just feel this terrible sense of condemnation and being cast out, that God despised me and judged me and that I was beyond his love - that I was his worst mistake.” But it was also a huge source of comfort and support, helping her to challenge those toxic thoughts: “I was on my knees a lot and the Psalms in particular give a language of desperation that is turned towards God. I just felt like the Bible was this core of strength for my mind. My mind used to get really messed up and I used to have thoughts that would just destroy me - a lot of guilt and selfhatred and confusion. So I would try instead to just shut myself up and start reciting the Lord’s Prayer or Psalm 23.” The prayers of her friends and family also gave her huge comfort, she says: “We’ll never know really the extent to which prayer has changed things, but I know I was prayed for really faithfully.”

community, I think we’re in a good position to strengthen our service and add extra services within that. There isn’t such a stigma associated with coming to an organisation like Mind.” She’s got big plans about how that work can develop into the future - as well as the determination to find the funding and resources to make those plans a reality. In 2006, Jo published ‘Through the Dark Woods’: a book charting her personal struggles with depression and how it impacted on her faith. A rare book at the time, it arose from the fact that Jo’s time in Canada had given her the confidence to challenge the stigma associated with mental illness. “I came back and wanted to campaign a little bit,” she says. “And also I was so happy to be well. I hadn’t realised that these things you can do - the talk therapies and the medication and the exercise and the journalling… all these things, I realised you can get better. I wanted to explain depression to people who’d never had it, so that maybe they would know how to help.” Jo wants to encourage those who might feel that her »

Though the Dark Woods While mental illness can be debilitating and there are no quick fixes, both Jo and Nikki are hugely optimistic about the things that can be done to help sufferers. Nikki works collaboratively with young people to help them shape the services and courses that Mind offers so that they can be as effective as possible: “As a small local charity that can build relationships within the

Jo Swinney

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description of depression feels all too familiar - getting a diagnosis via your GP should be straightforward and can open the door to getting the help you need. “It’s not the case that everyone needs medication and everyone needs to go for counselling,” she adds. “I think, though, that recognising that it’s something that is not within a normal mood range is helpful. Things like a strong support network of people and caring for your body, getting enough sleep, eating a good amount of vitamins and vegetables…those things can really lift you in themselves. I think people are really frightened about going on medication but it’s a tool. There’s a chemical basis for depression that can be helped by medication. It’s just that sometimes life is really, really hard work and it’s just one of those tools to help to do the lifting with you.”

Nikki’s mental health tips Sleep hygiene Go to bed at the same time every night, get up at the same time every morning - even if you don’t feel like it.

Diet and exercise What you eat and how much you move make a big difference to your well-being. People don’t realise how much of an impact they have on your mental health.

The happiness hour An hour a day of whatever helps you relax.

Need help?


Samaritans (116 123) operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year. If you prefer to write down how you’re feeling, or if you’re worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email

Trying new things

Maidstone Mind are available on 01622 692383 or via●

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Have activities planned and even if you don’t feel like doing them, give it a try.

It’s only through gently doing things that make you feel anxious that you’re going to overcome those feelings.

Where the pen leads Novena: meet the artist

is really very central and I really love this idea of using image and text together to help people to find a way to pray. For me, that’s sort of the perfect project. So I’m very excited to be involved in the Novena this year.

A ‘novena’ is a traditional period of prayer that lasts for nine days between Pentecost and Ascension - when Jesus’ disciples are said to have prayed constantly. In 2018 our Novena theme is Changed Lives → Changing Lives, exploring how lives changed by encounter with Christ can overflow into families, homes and communities changed for the better. Our Novena pocket prayer resource combines art and scripture to create space for God to speak to us afresh, and this year we’re working with London-based illustrator Ian Pentney: “I’m an architect by profession, but I have been passionate about drawing since I was a little boy. My earliest memories are of sitting with a pen or a pencil and looking at books, and then drawing what I saw in those books. I suppose I’ve been a sort of frustrated cartoonist as well over the years and I’ve always kept that going even though I am also an architect and I still draw as part of my job. And latterly I’ve been doing an MA degree which explores storytelling using images and words. So, for me, that’s the perfect combination. “The opportunity to work on the Novena is, I think, a wonderful one, because it brings together all the things I am most passionate about. For me, my faith

“For projects like this, it’s really important to work well with a group of people. I guess, from my years working as an architect, I’m quite used to taking a brief. That means that you listen very carefully to what you’re being asked to do. In this instance it’s been wonderful, because you’re part of a very creative team, who each bring lots of passion and their own skills to the project. For me, it’s very important to listen so that I can really hear what others, as part of the team, are really talking about. “When I first met the Novena group, I talked about the importance of an emotional connection between what we are looking for in the passages of scripture that we’re using, and the themes for each day and how that might translate for those who use the resource. Because I do believe, at the end of the day, that people respond to emotion. And to capture the key emotions in something, for me, is important. So, really, that was the way for me to think about ‘What am I trying to do here?’ “Then also (because I’m an image-based person) for me it’s very important very quickly to start to draw. So, typically, on the way back from the meeting, because I live in London, I get on the train, have a sketch book with me, and I would sit down on the way back, and in the hour that I had on the train, I would just start to think using my pen. That’s how I think, it’s a thinking tool as much as anything else - a communication tool. “So that’s the process for me - to find out what the pen leads me to do, in a way. It seems a bit weird, but I think it’s true. I work through various ideas in the sketch book and reflect on those over a period of time. I’ll take up those I think work and work on them further. Very often I think that it’s the »

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initial ideas that are often the ones that are most effective. You can go off developing an idea, but there’s a danger you’ll lose the initial thing that made you do that drawing. So I learnt to sort of trust that initial gut feeling, and to run with that. What I’m learning is that, just because something is done really quickly, doesn’t mean it’s not finished. “That’s the advantage of my style - it is different to other people’s. I work more or less in a linebased medium and I’m very excited by the idea of what you do when you draw a line and what that communicates to people. I’ve spent all my life doing that in one way or another - whether that’s as an architect or as a frustrated cartoonist - or as a Novena artist.” ●

The Novena is an official resource for Thy Kingdom Come 2018 - join in a global wave of prayer for more people to come to know Jesus Christ. Find out more and Pledge 2 Pray at www.thykingdomcome. global and

More Thy Kingdom Come resources Kingdom Kit This family resource is designed to help and guide families in prayer through Thy Kingdom Come. The kit offers you and your family different ways to create space to pray for your friends and family members. It includes bubble wrap, a finger maze, sweets, paper hearts, seeds, bubbles, bookmarks and more.

Youth Prayer Journal Use this journal to sketch and scribble your thoughts, prayers and any answers as you go travel between Ascension and Pentecost. Each day there is a different theme to help you pray. Daily videos will be available online showing how other young people are praying for their families and friends. Get involved by posting your thoughts and prayers using the hashtags and be part of this global prayer movement.

Luke’s Gospel This gospel is for people to give away personally to their friends and family - those that they’ve prayed for during Thy Kingdom Come. As you end Thy Kingdom Come events or prayer times, perhaps consider handing out a copy of this gospel to everyone who comes, not for them to keep but to give away.

Creative Family Prayer Journal A 24 page journal designed to help families to pray together for mission and evangelism, this will be engaging for people of all ages - whatever their stage of faith journey. Order resources from

16 | Outlook Magazine Spring 2018

Hope when we can’t see it Masami writes

“They’re always there,” my dad said as we were walking home one cold evening recently. We were talking about the stars, always being present even when the sunlight, the clouds or the storms seem to overpower their light. That day had its ups and downs as I felt that a few things hadn’t really gone to plan. It was difficult. I knew that amazing things could happen from the difficulties, I knew that God was at work in my life and I knew that God would be faithful. However, the darkness still sometimes felt like a fog surrounding me. In the midst of it all, what made that day so beautiful was the gentle yet awe-filled promise of hope. God knew exactly what I needed in that moment. He knew that I needed a refreshing, hope-awakening promise. Walking through the field that evening, our breath so visible in the cold air, the stars shining bright, I felt a deep hope when I thought about this - the stars are always there, we just can’t always see them. It wasn’t until I was planning what to write for this article that I fully realised what that could mean. It suddenly clicked: we need to look up and see that hope is always there in the darkness. And even if we can’t see it in that moment, we can be certain that it is always there, like the stars. We can’t always see the hope in certain situations in our lives, and we may lose sight of it, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t there. That God-given hope will never leave us.

expectant in God’s loving plans. By having faith and trust in God even when we can’t see Him, we can wait in the hope He promises us. “My hope comes from Him.” Psalm 62:5. Hope doesn’t instantly solve all our problems but it does help us to have perseverance in the waiting. A word that’s been on my heart lately is ‘patience’. Hope gives us patience in God’s absolutely perfect timing.

“ ”

Hope gives us patience in God’s absolutely perfect timing...

“Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31. Whether you’re reading my words during Lent, Easter or further on in the year, I would really love it if you join me in this journey of learning to have an ever-growing faith in Jesus. Join me in daring to believe that hope is always there, even when we’ve lost sight of it. Because of what Jesus did on the cross, you can trust Him to give you a confidently expectant heart, patiently waiting in hope. If you feel like you’re going through a ‘hope-stealing’ situation right now, I want you to know this: whatever you face can never take away the presence of hope in your life, it can only temporarily take away your sight of it. Hope has a name, and that name is Jesus. Masami Iliffe is a 14-year-old student from The Archbishop’s School. She and her parents are part of The City Church in Canterbury. ●

So, what is this hope? Where does it come from? Here I’m talking about a great hope that comes from having faith in Jesus. This hope is being confidently

Spring 2018 Outlook Magazine|17

Art of the possible Interview: Darren Miller

including sermons that lasted an hour. And I didn’t get it. I wasn’t at the age where I could get it.” Undeterred - and reluctant to walk away completely from church - Darren took some time to find a form of worship that made more sense to him, eventually settling at the local Church of England church which was in a moderate-catholic tradition. For him, it was a real ‘light-bulb’ moment and he remembers a feeling of real space: “There were fewer words, shorter sermons… It was more about how you felt than the words you heard, it was more about what these set words actually did to you. It was…incarnational. I didn’t know that word at the time, but it was all about Christ in the world and we as Christ’s body. And that experiential version of Christianity began to mean a lot to me.”

Darren Miller was ‘installed’ as the new Archdeacon of Ashford on 13 January, coming to the role from more than 20 years in parish ministry, most recently in Surrey. Darren grew up in Harwich, with his mum, dad, brother and sister. Much to his family’s surprise, he became a Christian when he was only about seven years old, through a local beach mission. Seeing the mission as not much more than free childcare - and a great opportunity to get Darren and his brother out of the house for a day - their mother encouraged them to attend. His brother wasn’t terribly interested in the spiritual side of the day, but not so for Darren: “Much to my mother’s horror, it stuck!” he says, recalling that he wasn’t much interested in the games but that he enjoyed the opportunity to explore something that he had never encountered before: the Christian faith. Fired up by this experience, Darren began to attend Sunday school at the local free evangelical church every Sunday on his own - much to the bemusement of his own family. He thoroughly enjoyed this, but by the age of 11 he was deemed old enough to attend the main church services, and - in his words - “That’s where it fell to pieces. It was very, very different,

18 | Outlook Magazine Spring 2018

This kind of worship became even more important for him when he moved to Birmingham to attend university and had more freedom to explore his own faith and spirituality. “The Birmingham University Anglican chaplaincy was very much in the catholic tradition,” he recalls. “It was so powerful just to have worship where words are only part of it. Sometimes words can be a framework for much more that’s going on and the words are not the important thing, necessarily. So, colour, expression, the use of the senses, have always been important to me and it was there, so I went.” He found a spiritual ‘home’ at Birmingham Cathedral: “I wanted more space, I wanted the music to be able to speak…the music and those words that have been turned into such wonderful music can just take you places and let you see beyond yourself in a way that someone preaching can’t necessarily do.” Darren credits this desire to go beyond what words can offer - as well as his love for the outdoors - with sustaining his faith during those times when he couldn’t attend church very much. “Growing up in Harwich, you see the sea in lots of different ways. It can be blue, it’s very often green, it’s sometimes grey, sometimes brown, it’s sometimes threatening…you can see so much, and there are no words in looking at the sea and seeing what it means. When I was in Birmingham, I’d go up the Lickey Hills or Clent Hills

and look out. You see life going on around you. It’s at such a distance that you can’t engage with it, but it’s there and you see it and know that there are people, even though you can’t see them - there must be a story there, God must know what’s going on there, but you have no other connection but that, so all you can do is see and know. I think, for me, through those years when I could only occasionally go to church, it was seeing and knowing that God was there without necessarily being able to engage much further than that.”

“ ”

I’ve always felt a calling to this sort of role...

At University Darren studied Public Policy Making and Administration, and was all set for a ‘job for life’ in the Civil Service: “I had the degree underway, I knew roughly where I was going to go…It was all going to be lovely.” And then - to use his expression “God knocked,” and changed everything. “People said, ‘You make a difference when you talk about your faith.’ I used to just meet up with friends and found that I was being used as a confidante

and being asked to pray by people who I would not expect to ask for prayer. In the end, my chaplain and the Roman Catholic chaplain both said, ‘God’s calling you to something, you need to explore it.’ And in the end I thought, ‘I’m going to just test this.’ So I went through and, actually the process was irritating, because I was recommended for ordination training!” Darren opted to work for three years in the Civil Service anyway, before beginning his training for the priesthood. He doesn’t for one moment regret his time training for and working in administration. In fact, he sees that as vital in his sense of calling to his new role as Archdeacon of Ashford: “This is going to sound really daft and pious, but I’ve always felt a calling to this sort of role. The role of enabling, of finding ways through, of exploring what’s possible, of taking sometimes a knotty situation and saying, ‘what else can it be?’ is wonderful. I’m one of those people that find administration actually fascinating not the boring paperwork, but how bureaucracy can be something that enables, that can be creative, that can help things happen. In a church that’s changing, to be part of enabling people to see other ways to explore their situations is a real gift.” ●


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Spring 2018 Outlook Magazine|19

Creative Bibles The review

Looking for something different in your daily devotions? Last March Holly Adams and Marianne Hambrook embarked on an epic journey of laughter, tears and mispronounced words as they read the Bible out-loud to one-another; nearly a year later they’re about twothirds of the way through and as enthusiastic as ever about their challenge. They check out three new editions of our favourite book…

NIV Study Bible (Anglicised) - Zondervan, Hodder and Stoughton I’m no Bible scholar; I don’t know a talent from a shekel or a cubit from an ephah, yet this Bible unlocks many of the complexities I find in scripture. As well as accessible notes and images throughout there are also essays, charts, maps, chronologies, a harmony of the Gospels, a concordance of nearly 5,000 words, and introductions to both Testaments, the divisions of the Testaments and each book. There isn’t much space on each page, so if you like jotting in your Bible this probably isn’t for you, but the abundance of extra material makes this a richly rewarding reading experience. Holly

A Bible for all God’s Children in Rhyming Verse - Jenny Rawlings This new book from the Folkestone-based poet, aimed explicitly at children, builds on the success of her first rhyming Bible ‘The Rhythm of the Lord’. Hearing familiar stories retold in rhyme is very engaging and the ‘comments’ after each section encourage reflection, enabling a personal as well as poetic journey through the Bible. Although the verse can be a little clunky and unsophisticated, it is certainly a fun and fresh way for children to get stuck into the colourful stories of God, and it is clear this has been a labour of Christian love for the author. Holly

NIV illustrated Journalling Bible, Hodder and Stoughton As a regular Bible reader and serious journal writer, what joy to be asked to review a journalling Bible! It is clear, crisp and accessible in language, with one column per page and wide margins for capturing prayer, thoughts and reflections. A wonderful, daily resource for Bible reading. The table of weights and measures, lists of wellknown events, people, parables and miracles are really helpful. It’s interspersed with rich and colourful artwork, inspired by creation and the Cornish home of the artist. I wondered at first if this would be a distraction, perhaps leading me away from my time of contemplation. However, I found the images took me to a deeper place within my reading and prayer. Marianne

20 | Outlook Magazine Spring 2018

MAF uses planes to transform the lives of the world’s most isolated people, bringing help and hope to those in need.

RedTribe who are based in a remote Maasai community in southwest Kenya, now have better access to support after the rehabilitation of the old airstrip. For over 70 years MAF has supplied a solution for the problem of poverty in isolation, delivering a lifeline for isolated communities in over 25 countries across the developing world.

To arrange a speaker and hear more about MAF’s exciting work, please phone 01303 851955 or visit our website MAF UK Castle House, Castle Hill Avenue, Folkestone, Kent CT20 2TQ Scotland Office 29 Canal Street, Glasgow G4 0AD T 01303 852819 E





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Spring 2018 Outlook Magazine|21

TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN KENT Spring events


Wine and Wisdom

Quiz night to raise funds for the Friends of St. Mary’s Church, Wingham. Everyone is welcome: come by yourself or with friends (tables of eight). This has been a sell-out in recent years, so book early to avoid disappointment - contact Lynne Conolly (01227 722979). Tickets £6. Saturday 24 February, 7.30pm, The Village Hall, Wingham, CT3 1BD.


Weald School of Theology

Hosted by Goudhurst, St Mary’s, in partnership with St Paul’s Theological Centre, getting theology to the local church through streamed lectures, starting with The Bible Track which offers a broad outline to scriptural theology. The course runs in eight week terms, and participants are provided with notes and book lists. £20 cost for the term, details:


Open Synod: How do we read scripture together?

Revd Canon Prof Loveday Alexander leads us in exploring the role and authority of scripture over our life as disciples of Christ. After her introduction we will work together in small groups to identify questions or issues for a plenary session after lunch. Free to attend, but please book at for catering purposes. Saturday 10 March, 9:30am-1:30pm, John Wallis C of E Academy, Ashford, TN23 3HG.


Made 4 A Purpose

Come and enjoy an afternoon of fashion: two catwalk shows, artisan crafts and the opportunity to have your photo taken.

28 February-28 March & 2 May-23 May, 7.30pm, Goudhurst, St. Mary’s, TN17 1BL.

Saturday 10 March, 2pm5pm, Sittingbourne, Holy Trinity Church, ME10 3EG.



Lent Quiet Day

Hythe, St. Leonard’s will be marking Lent with a morning of contemplation and prayer. Several prayer stations around the church and the morning will end with a simple Eucharist service. All welcome. Contact Revd Lou Seear (01303 266217). Saturday 3 March, 10am-12.30pm, Hythe, St. Leonard’s Church, CT21 5DN.

All Night Vigil

Evening with music from the Canterbury Singers, directed by Adrian Bawtree. Programme to include a selection from Rachmaninov’s AllNight Vigil; settings of O Vos Omnes by Gesualdo, Victoria and Casals, and Ave Maria by Bruckner and Stravinsky. Tickets £10, with a donation from proceeds to go to Canterbury Umbrella Centre. Contact Julian Sampson (01227 721697). Saturday 17 March, 6pm, Canterbury, St. Paul’s Church, CT1 2NH.

Spring 2018 Up-to-Date & Events 22 | OutlookNews Magazine


Build an Easter Garden

Using Cathedral stone, come and assemble a small tomb and garden to take way for your own Easter Sunday celebrations. The event itself is free, but normal Cathedral Precinct charges apply. Saturday 24 March, 11am-3pm, Canterbury Cathedral.


The King’s Men

Concert of choral and organ music by the renowned close harmony group to raise funds for the Friends of St. Margaret’s Church in Bethersden. Tickets £15 from Marian Draper (01233 820989). Saturday 7 April, 7.30pm, Bethersden St. Margaret’s, TN26 3AQ.


Biblical interpretation since the Enlightenment

Lecture by Revd Dr Alan le Grys for the St. Stephen’s Theology group. Free to attend, all welcome. Tuesday 10 April, 7:30pm, Canterbury, St. Stephen’s Church Hall, CT2 7AB.


Organ and Folk: improvisation and premiere

Join in celebrating the 10th anniversary of St. Nicholas’ Church Robin Jennings organ, with renowned organist Tom Bell and fiddler Sarah Hatch. Tickets £10 (under 16s free) to include a glass of wine and nibbles, available from Christine (01233 840453) or Pandora (01233 713753). Friday 27 April, 7.30pm, Pluckley, St Nicholas Church, TN27 0QS.

Want your event listed on our website? Submit it at For a full list of events, visit

Be all you can be

St Ed’s is a school where every pupil is connected by a love of learning, the pursuit of possibility and the challenge of being the very best they can be. 01227 475601

Open Morning Wednesday 7 March

Spring 2018 Outlook Magazine|23

PRAYER Bread of Life, Sustain and bless all those who hunger and thirst. Give us an appetite to see your Kingdom come here and now. Out of your generosity, we find ourselves satisfied. Out of our abundance, may we feed others. Amen.

Prayer from #LiveLent group study notes

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Outlook magazine Spring 2018  
Outlook magazine Spring 2018