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S E K’ ND IC IN E U K A HN AZ TH AC I-ET MAG BL LT AN U M ISTI R CH

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ISSUE 113

SHARLENE -MONIQUE Here to Stay

The New Roaring Twenties

The

EASTER, EOSTRE, PASSOVER OR PESACH?

dangerous collusion of silence

Celebrating 40 years of The PCU

INTERVIEW: PASTOR PENNY FRANCIS

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Dear Readers Welcome to our 113rd issue and… Happy Easter! It has been quite a challenging time; the first two months of 2020 were dealing with severe weather conditions, with extensive flooding causing many to lose their homes. Now, the world is dealing with a global health emergency, with coronavirus (COVID-19) now declared a pandemic. Thankfully, the weather is slowly improving as we approach spring, which the scientists claim will not only improve the flooding situation, but the warmer weather could stave off the pandemic. Easter is a time of love, new beginnings and celebration, and we are celebrating… 40 years of the Pentecostal Credit Union in the UK! Read about Rev Carmel Jones and his beautiful wife Iveline, who founded the Pentecostal Credit union in 1980, and how it now has an asset base of £11m! What a great achievement for the Windrush Generation and the UK Black Church. The Queen’s Foundation for Ecumenical Theological Education is celebrating 50 years as a united ecumenical theological college, and the GMIA (Gospel Music Industry Alliance) - the body representing UK Gospel - has appointed six new directors to take gospel music into a new era in 2020! We have interviewed much loved Pastor Penny Francis, co-pastor and joint founder of Ruach City Church. May marks National Fostering Fortnight. Could you offer a child a loving home? Or maybe you could become a foster carer? Check out our fostering and adoption articles. The World Health Organisation (WHO) is encouraging us to improve the lives of older people, their families and the environment – we all need to be part of this great programme! Plus, the law on organ donation is changing. Are you aware of the changes? Finally, could you be a Keep The Faith contributor? Or maybe you would like to be a guest editor? If so, get in touch with us at editorial@keepthefaith.co.uk.

15

TS CONTE1N 13 ISSUE

NEWS

18

05-06 In the news 07 Silent no more by Sally Anderson-Wai 08 Justice rolled at the second Justice Conference UK by Marcia Dixon

GOSPEL MUSIC 10 GMIA appoints new Directors for new era by Juliet Fletcher 14 The Africa Worshop Experience Part 2 by Milton B. Allen 14 Music Matters by Benjamin Harrell 15 Sharlene-Monique is here to ‘Stay’ 16 10 years of Music Ministry by Mike Maidment

FEATURE

24

46

Happy Easter and stay safe!

Shirley McGreal

18 Interview with Pastor Penny Francis by Akosua Dwomo-Fokuo 19 The Bridge by Tina Boyle-Whyte 20 Enlarging its Ecumenical tent by The Rev Canon Dr David Hewlett and Dr Dulcie Dixon McKenzie 22 ADF Symposium hears of horrific false blasphemy attacks by Shirin Aguiar 23 The new roaring twenties by Louise Morse 24 Celebrating 40 years of the Pentecostal Credit Union by Marcia Dixon 26 5 misconceptions about introverted leaders by Carol Stewart 27 A measure of faith by M. Jasmyn Allen

COMMENT 28 How do you handle doubts and self-condemnation? by Rev Stephen Brooks 30 Food 4 Thought by Marcia Dixon 31 Easter, Eostre, Passover or Pesach? by Gary Clayton 32 The dangerous collusion of silence by Dionne Gravesande 33 Endings are actually new beginnings by Esther Kuku

LIFESTYLE KEEP THE FAITH MAGAZINE R

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The Publisher would like to thank Juliet Fletcher, Benjamin Harrell, Milton B Allen, Marcia Dixon, Dulcie Dixon McKenzie, David Hewlett, Louise Morse, Tina Boyle-Whyte, Shirin Aguiar, Carol Stewart, M Jasmyn Allen, Martins Agbonlahor, Gary Clayton, Rev Stephen Brooks, Dionne Gravesande, Esther Kuku, Dr T Ayodele Ajayi, Amanda Hamilton, Marnita Coleman, Geraldine Parker, Sally Anderson-Wai, Emma Smith, Victoria Fagg, Jack Cameron-Stubbs, Sean Gilchrist, Akosua Dwomo-Fokuo, Dave Hall, Gareth Russell, Carmen Caroll, Mike Maidment, Shana Dawn Lewis, our supporters and advertisers. The opinions expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the Publisher.

34 Help give new hope this Easter by Geraldine-Parker Smith 36 Essentials for entrepreneurs by Keno Ogbo 38 God, all I wanted to do was make cakes! by Shana Dawn Lewis 40 Mindset makeover by Dr T Ayodele Ajayi 42 Know your customer rights by Amanda Hamilton 43 Get your head back in the game by Marnita Coleman 44 For the love of The Gambia by Martins Agbonlahor 46 Finding Rest by Victoria Fagg www.keepthefaith.co.uk


04 NEWS

‘WACADAY’ WELCOME

T New Christian care home Renewal Programme

C

hristian charity, Pilgrims’ Friend Society, will break ground at the site of their first new care home in Chippenham, Wiltshire. This is part of their Renewal Programme that will see six brand new care homes opened in the next 10 years, alongside investment in their current facilities in order to ensure their long-term usability. The project expects to help meet the growing demand for suitable care homes, based on the projected 70% growth in the over-60 age group between 2014 and 2039. Middlefields House in Chippenham promises to offer up to 48 residents state-of-the-art facilities, communal spaces and stunning gardens, as well as providing specialised care for those living with dementia, ensuring that their unique needs are properly addressed so they can continue to live fulfilled lives. Speaking at the breaking ground ceremony, Pilgrims’ Friend Society Chief Executive, Stephen Hammersley CBE, says: “There is an increasing need to provide care for the growing number of older people in the UK. Middlefields House is the first phase of our long-term commitment to provide excellent care in a Christian context for older people.”

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Hammersley continues: “We are committed to ensuring that older people will continue to live fulfilled lives in their later years, not just by taking care of their physical and emotional needs, but by also providing communities which inspire and encourage spiritual growth. We believe the Bible’s promise that people “will continue to bear fruit in old age”, and work hard to make sure that our homes and housing schemes create an atmosphere which allows older people to flourish in their later years.” The home is due to open in 2021, and it is hoped prospective residents will register their interest and look to hear more about the brand new facilities throughout 2020. To find out more about Middlefields House and the wider work of Pilgrims’ Friend Society, go to pilgrimsfriend.org.uk/ middlefieldshouse.

he foam mallet landed softly on a head many years after Timmy Mallet and his mallet were the staple diet of a popular children’s TV programme, Wacaday (Wide Awake Club). This time, it was welcoming visitors to the Christian Resources Exhibition, which took place on 4-5 March at Stoneleigh Park, near Coventry. Timmy was with a former comedy sparring partner, Don Maclean, to open the exhibition. He then talked about his 4,000-kilometre cycle ride on the Camino, inspired by his late brother, Martin, who had Down’s syndrome. Timmy’s clothing was glaringly colourful, but he was outdone by some of the outfits worn later in the day by clergy, such as the Rev Kina Robertshaw, a curate at St Peter’s Bromyard, in the diocese of Hereford, who took to the catwalk to show the latest in clerical clothing from four exhibitors at the Exhibition. Steve Goddard, managing director of CRE, said: “People are naturally concerned about the coronavirus, but in spite of that I was delighted that the exhibitors and visitors felt able to support the Exhibition.” CRE National 2020 will be at Sandown Park, Surrey, from 13-14 October. For more information, visit www.creonline.co.uk.


Don’t be afraid to speak to your doctor about the

menopause

Charity Nyirenda

I was diagnosed with HIV in 2003, which was when I was in the UK and studying international travel and tourism at South Chelsea College in London. I was diagnosed when I was writing my exams and actually failed the last exam because of it. That was 17 years ago but even today I remember what a difficult time it was. I’m 50 now and starting to think more about ageing with HIV. From speaking to my friends, I know that women living with HIV can experience the menopause at a younger age or have symptoms, like hot flushes or heavy bleeding, that are more severe. I’ve had heavy periods since my teens so I don’t know if I’m going through the menopause or not, but I haven’t had my period for over a year and sometimes experience vaginal dryness which could be early symptoms. But until recently I haven’t thought about the menopause because my doctor never mentioned it to me. I think it’s important for women like me who are living with HIV, and reaching a certain age, to start thinking about the menopause and talking to their doctor about their symptoms, especially if they are more serious. But I know what it’s like to be afraid to speak to your doctor. About three years ago my knee became swollen and I was in constant pain. I told my doctor about it many times but she was so focused on my HIV that it took a long time to find out that I had arthritis, which upset me a lot. Looking back, I was right to keep asking questions because my HIV can lead to things like swollen and painful joints and stop me from exercising, which I know is important to keep me healthy. I think some people – including myself – are afraid to ask their doctor questions because of language barriers, but it can help to have somebody to go with you and explain to the doctor exactly what you need. That’s why I wanted to take part in the photo shoot for the … Treating Me Right? campaign because there are so many people, like me, who don’t know how to talk to their doctor or are afraid to ask too many questions, especially if they don’t think they are related to HIV. I hope women who see my poster and are worried about the menopause are encouraged to speak to their doctor about it and are not afraid to do so.

Not afraid to ask about menopause It’s about Be heard in decisions about your HIV health. Visit TreatingMeRight.co.uk to find out more. Developed and paid for by Gilead Sciences Document number: UK-HIV-2020-02-0017 Date of preparation: February 2020

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06 NEWS

Funding offer for churches supporting flood-hit communities Churches supporting communities in areas that have been hit by the recent flooding are being invited to apply for exceptional grants from Allchurches Trust to support their efforts as they continue to respond to the needs of local people. The Trust’s grants team is already reaching out to churches and dioceses in the areas that have been most affected, but is encouraging churches of all Christian denominations in the UK and Ireland that have incurred additional costs, due to supporting local flood efforts, to get in touch. To enquire about this funding, please call Allchurches Trust on 01452 873189 or e-mail atl@allchurches.co.uk The grants available can cover churches’ additional heating, lighting and cleaning costs, but also food and drink provided for residents affected by the floods and emergency response teams and other community-focused initiatives related to the flooding. For example, St Peter’s Church in Bentley – an area affected by the South Yorkshire flooding – received a £600 grant from Allchurches Trust in December to support its community response, including a weekly newsletter for residents. Allchurches also provided a grant of £2,500 to help fund the additional overheads that Fishlake St Cuthbert’s Church incurred during its flood relief support operation. Across South Yorkshire, almost 2,000 people had to be taken to safety and at least 1,200 properties were evacuated, with the village of Fishlake being one of the worst hit.

The church was open every day from 10am to 5pm, providing flood-hit residents with food and a wide range of household supplies, including new and used clothing and cleaning materials. It also acted as a base for emergency responders and an informal meeting place for displaced households. Tim Carroll, Chairman of Allchurches Trust, said: “We know that churches across the UK are playing a vital role in the emergency response to the recent flooding, providing much needed practical and emotional support. We hope that our funding can help cover the additional costs they will have incurred as a result, and enable them to continue their efforts in supporting their local communities in this time of great need.” Emma Smith

WINDRUSH DAY 2020 LAUNCHES WITH £500K FOR COMMUNITIES

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ommunities across the country will share £500,000 to host events marking the second national Windrush Day, Communities Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP confirmed. The nation will pay tribute to the outstanding and ongoing contribution of the Windrush Generation and their descendants on 22 June 2020. Building on the success of the inaugural national Windrush Day last year, 49 projects across the country will receive funding to mark Windrush Day 2020, and commemorate the seminal moment nearly 72 years ago when the Empire Windrush arrived at Tilbury Docks. Those hosting events will work to celebrate, commemorate and educate communities on the leading role the Windrush Generation and their descendants have played in making Britain stronger, culturally richer and more inclusive. Funded projects will hold a rich and wide-ranging series of events, including: • a celebration of the 50th anniversary of Highfield Rangers, a youth football team founded by

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teenage Windrush arrivals in Leicester • an exhibition with portrait photographs and oral histories from the Windrush generation, to be shared with Birmingham schools • a theatre production to tour community venues and schools in Bristol, together with educational materials and local radio programming • a 16-week intergenerational project to celebrate Windrush stories through drama and use of personal artefacts • a national touring exhibition and accompanying publication, celebrating children’s charity Barnardo’s Black history New guidance, supporting community groups and civil society organisations to host their own events, has also been launched. The marketing and events toolkit will ensure Windrush Day is marked as widely as possible in communities around the country. For more information, visit https://www.gov.uk/ government/news/windrush-day-2020launches-with-500-000-for-communities.

New impact evaluation tools for churches A suite of new tools will help churches and Christian organisations take an impactfirst approach to project planning, and to evidence and evaluate change more effectively. Allchurches Trust, in partnership with Church Urban Fund, has produced a simple interactive project planning tool and project reporting form, as well as an impact reporting toolkit, which includes more detailed guidance on monitoring and evaluation. Allchurches Trust chairman, Tim Carroll, said: “Monitoring and evaluation that is proportionate, evidences change and shares learnings – both good and bad – can be hugely important for the long-term success of projects and organisations as a whole, but it’s perhaps the biggest challenge facing charities today, including funders. “We hear from so many churches and Christian charities that they struggle to know where to start with impact evaluation, especially when so many of their projects are people-focused and relational, and numbers can never tell the story on their own. “That’s why, after a workshop we ran with Church Urban Fund for Christian funders last year, we took away the learnings and partnered to produce these simple, interactive tools as a starting point for project evaluation, which can then be tailored to the needs of the individual church or charity.” It is hoped that the use of the tools, particularly in the development stage of projects, will help organisations to strengthen their funding applications by encouraging them to focus and bring to life the change they want to make in their communities, and support them to set out how they will achieve and measure the outcomes that will evidence that change. These tools are free to use, and can be found in the ‘Featured resources’ section of Allchurches Trust’s new advice and resources hub on their website at www.allchurches.co.uk Emma Smith


NEWS 07 11

Silent no more

W

omen who have suffered sexual abuse as children will find help and solace at a new groundbreaking national conference, where a survivor will speak about her experiences and her restoration. Restoration Church in Walsall hopes organising ‘Silent No More’ will be the catalyst for change to equip and release Christian women who have suffered from childhood sexual abuse. It also wants to raise awareness of the issue to help empower churches to address the after-effects of childhood sexual abuse among their congregations. Pat, who was neglected and abused by her mother and was molested by her uncle between the ages of 14 and 16, will be one of the speakers on May 16th, 2020, at The Village Hall Hotel in Walsall, along with Laura Brett from Press Red (a ministry which aims to eradicate abuse and violence against women), and Claudia Bell from Thirtyone:eight (a Christian charity which aims to protect vulnerable people from abuse).

from the pain, shame and guilt and, through the love and mercy of God, I am not consumed by my past. “I want to say to people who have suffered a similar experience to me, ‘Don’t give up, reach out to God, forgive those who have hurt you and, most importantly, forgive yourself.’” Pat added, “I have always known that God would use my experience to help others. I wasn’t sure how, but now I am very excited to be about tell my story of the goodness of God.” Leonard McDonald and his wife, Pauline, who are the senior leaders of Restoration Christian Ministries, helped Pat when she approached them, saying she wanted to reach out to other victims of childhood sexual abuse. He said: “If Pat, with the support of her church family, can be a catalyst for change and start the conversation, not only will believers be healed, but unbelievers will also see the healing power of the Gospel, when victims share their faith journey in the context of childhood sexual abuse. “We feel strongly, when it comes to abuse, the silence from the church only makes it harder for people to receive support. Churches must seek ways to share the love of God to those who have suffered. Jesus came to heal the broken-hearted. If we fail to speak openly about those things that break hearts, we fail to show the relevance of the Church and her message.”

Pat

The organisers of the conference, which is sponsored by Serenity Woman’s Ministry from Restoration Christian Ministries, are aiming to compassionately support and equip women suffering from the after-effects of childhood sexual abuse. They will also pray with them and hope to create safe, healthy environments for women who suffer in silence. Christian celebrity, Nikki Tapper, will be the conference compere. The speakers will share their experiences while providing a biblical foundation for the restoration of those who want ministry. The conference will be interspersed with worship and prayer.

For more information, visit www.restorationcm.com Sally Anderson-Wai

Pauline and Pat

“At the ‘Silent No More’ Conference, I will speak about my experience and how I got through it,” said Pat, who is in the process of writing a book. “The sexual abuse affected me on all levels, but today I can praise God because I am healed. Although I have scars and memories, I am free

Pauline and Leonard McDonald

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08 NEWS

Justice rolled at the second Justice Conference UK

Esther Swaffie ld

ce Panel on ra

Following the success of its first UK conference in 2018, the Justice Conference returned to unite hundreds of Christians who wanted to explore the theology of justice. The event - hosted by international Christian relief and development agency, Tearfund, alongside 11 partner organisations – is part of a global movement that provides a platform for the faith and justice community, with conferences taking place in eight other countries. ‘Let Justice Roll’ was this year’s theme, focusing on six calls from the book of Amos: to remember, to places of pain, to lament, to righteousness, to true worship and to rebuild. Keynotes and seminars explored what these mean in various expressions of justice globally. Speakers from around the world came together to challenge the 500-strong audience on how justice can be addressed within the UK Church and internationally. René August, co-director of The Justice Conference South Africa, reminded us that Find us on Twitter and Facebook: @KeepTheFaithmag

resolving injustice will not be an easy ride. She said: “We cannot worship Jesus without a willingness to go to places of pain. A call to the places of pain was the very place that Jesus occupies in the Scriptures.” Eugene Cho, founder of One Day’s Wages – a grassroots movement focused on alleviating extreme global poverty, asked delegates to act upon what they had heard over the two days. “We have to make sure justice goes beyond textbook and theory.” Dr Robert Beckford presided over a panel

discussion about youth violence and knife crime in Britain’s urban cities. The event blended the arts and speech to create a unique atmosphere. Poet and performer, Thandi Gamedze, shared her poem called ‘Let Justice Roll’, whilst Micah Bournes challenged our perceptions on inequality, saying there is no such thing as ‘almost equal’ during his spoken word performance. Conference director, Jo Herbert-James, commented: “Over the two days, we welcomed God to move amongst us, as we journeyed through the book of Amos and wrestled with issues of injustice that we see in the world around us, and right on our doorsteps. We couldn’t have done it without the hard work and dedication of our core team, wonderful partners and fantastic volunteers.” The Justice Conference events take place around the world and throughout the year, and are open to all Christians, from all expressions and denominations of church, who want to explore the theme of justice. Recordings of the Conference sessions can be ordered through www.eden.co.uk (search for ‘Justice Conference’). For more information, visit www.thejusticeconference.co.uk.


Right now there is a shortage of foster carers in our area and we have children who need a caring, nurturing, stable home. You can apply to be a Foster Carer if you:

Helping parents keep their children through fostering Fostering has evolved over the years to include fostering of different types, including fostering children of school-age, teenagers and sibling groups; to now include fostering unaccompanied asylum seekers and parents with their child/ren. For each type of fostering, different skills are required. In this article we are shedding light on parent and child fostering. What is parent and child fostering? Not everyone grows up in a loving and nurturing environment to know and understand what it means to provide good parenting for their child. Many are faced with challenges on how to parent their child, and that is where parent and child fostering comes in. Essentially, parent and child fostering is supporting parents to have their children remain in their care. A mother, father or both mother and father come into care with their babies or toddlers to receive guidance and life skills such as cooking, washing, providing stimulation, attending activities and providing a routine for their child. A parent and child foster placement offers a parent the opportunity to learn these valuable life skills in order to provide their child with a nurturing and fulfilling environment for their child to thrive. Placements can last from one month up-to a year. What does it entail? Parent and child fostering is different to other types of fostering because the parent is responsible to care for their child, the role of the foster carer is to provide guidance and support to help the parent care for their child effectively. With existing parenting skills and specialist training from the Fostering Support Group (FSG), our foster carers share their skills with young parents who have different difficulties such as poor/non-existent parenting skills, a history of drug/alcohol abuse, learning difficulties, mental health problems or parents who have suffered from domestic violence. Can you foster? Our foster carers come from different backgrounds and experiences. Working with FSG is like one big happy family where you are provided with 24/hour support and guidance, as well as training. Foster carers can be employed or unemployed (even if you are on benefits), single or married, have children or not, homeowners or renting, from a faith background or not. We want to hear from you. FSG offer a competitive fostering allowance with robust 24-hour support from a dedicated supervising social worker, ongoing training and encouragement. Working from home as a foster carer has never been so rewarding. Get in touch with us to discuss your individual circumstance and to learn how you can foster. Call 020 8778 9669 or visit www.fosteringsupportgroup.com

· Have time to care for a child (employed, self-employed or unemployed) · Have a spare bedroom · Have good support networks · Have a real interest in children · Are able to work with professionals · Are flexible to foster children aged up-to 18 · Are open to foster a parent and child We offer: · A dedicated supervising team member · A generous weekly allowance · Two weeks paid respite · Ongoing training · Monthly support group meetings · Out of hours support plus much more

call: 020 8778 9669

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10 GOSPEL MUSIC

GMIA appoints new Directors to take Gospel music into new era JULIET FLETCHER

is a former BBC Producer and funding Executive of the GMIA

The Gospel Music Industry Alliance (GMIA) - the body representing British Gospel - has appointed six new directors to shape and implement a national vision for the sector, as it launches into the new 2020 era. Chosen for their influence, experience and expressed passion, the elected individuals are: Karen Gibson – founder and leader of Kingdom Choir Marcia Dixon – award-winning Journalist and PR specialist Wizdom – Managing Director of Tileyard, the largest independent music community in Europe Anu Omideyi – founder and leader of The Reapers Choir Tolu Adepegba – radio and media presenter Roger Moore – record label and film production owner/founder, GL360 The new directors were chosen by special committees set up in each of the GMIA’s six regional areas, representing practitioners from Scotland, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, South West & Wales, the North, the Midlands and South East & London. The mood amongst the diverse creative community is one of great excitement and expectation. They join existing directors: Janet Simpson (music director and member of legendary group, The Simpson Sisters), Kevin Tomlin (Black Music historian and author) and GMIA founder, Juliet Fletcher (British Gospel pioneer). During the past decade, the growth and influence of gospel music in Britain has seen an exponential participatory increase, particularly with the rise of African gospel beats, and following the popularity of community, university and corporate gospel choirs. More significant to this Find us on Twitter and Facebook: @KeepTheFaithmag

is the exposure of gospel acts at various high-profile events and occasions in the media.

WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE? Changes for the organisation followed an intense process of procuring new volunteers; taking part in the formation of regional networks, and recommendations to the GMIA Board, with nominations coming from far and wide. This was independently adjudicated by O’Neil Dennis (aStepfwd.com) and Adebayo Abimbola (7GospelTracks.com), after their formation of Gospel Action Group, which was set up as a catalyst for seeing transformation for sector ambitions through united effort. More than fifty nominations were whittled down to fifteen. Each representing their region, a total of thirteen regional nomination committee members were all instructed to vote on their final choice of six, without conferring with anyone. The importance of these new appointments brings a total new impetus to GMIA, because it was galvanised from the sector itself. In the words of my young people’s motto from the 1970s: “Cooperation, coupled with zeal, will accomplish that which zeal alone cannot do.” There are many of us who have had a lot of zeal, passion and desire to see a demonstrated unity that knows no geographical, ageist, denominational or cultural boundaries. It is an exciting time for GMIA to have this new influx of very influential and inspirational individuals - a strong collective to forge and shape a national plan in this new era. We all know that a vision that is clearly defined and achievable is required.

A WORD OF WARNING - A WORD OF ENCOURAGEMENT The election of these individuals does not negate the critical need for as many individuals to join the effort of shaping and implementing what it means for us to have a working representative organisation for our creative community. The task it great and calls for all our abilities to respond to the needs in our communities. See how the coronavirus affected us in our live events. How are we going to respond as a creative faith-filled community? Even our own businesses will need to know how to survive in whatever economic or cultural environment we find ourselves. GMIA now consists of nine directors:

KAREN GIBSON Karen Gibson, an award-winning choir conductor and workshop leader, is a powerhouse of inspiration and energy. Known for the high quality of her work, Karen’s experience is extensive. She has been involved with vocal groups and choirs for over 25 years, conducting gospel workshops across the UK and Europe, as well as Nigeria, Japan, Zimbabwe, Rwanda and the USA. Long before her performance with the superb Kingdom Choir for the Royal Wedding in 2018, Karen’s international status and influence were already well established. She has walked through doors of opportunity within our education system, which includes leading a ‘How to’ gospel workshop for 250 educators at the London Music and Drama Education Expo 2017, and opening for the first ever Music and Drama Education Expo in Manchester, 2017. MARCIA DIXON Marcia Dixon is a communications specialist who runs her own PR consultancy called Marcia Dixon Public Relations, which specialises in helping churches, ministries, businesses and organisations reach the Black Christian community - considered to be the most cohesive, wealthiest, educated and aspirational sector of Britain’s African and Caribbean population. Marcia has, quite rightly, received numerous high-profile recognitions and awards for her longest running single-handed contribution to Christian media, particularly in the Black Church experience. In 2004, she was nominated for a European Federation of Black Women Business


GOSPEL MUSIC 11

Destiny’s Child, Mary Mary, Letitia Wright and David Oyelowo, to name only a few. She has also hosted numerous high-profile events, including the Wise Women Awards, Thy Kingdom Come in Trafalgar Square for Archbishop of Canterbury, and various major concert events. She was nominated for a UK Entertainment Award for Best Show amongst mainstream contenders -the only female in the category. She is the founder of ‘Kandid with Lady T’, a podcast which was nominated for a prestigious Jerusalem Award, coming second runner-up. In addition to radio and TV presenting, Lady T’s services also include being a guest panellist, event host, voice-over work, and music and media consulting. Owners Award, and in 2005, the African Caribbean Evangelical Alliance included Marcia Dixon in their list of 21 people who have contributed greatly to the development of Britain’s Black Christian community. A Lifetime Achievement Award for her media work, in mobilising and informing faith communities, was presented to her at the first Legacy Gala, held in London. She was also awarded the Inspirational Woman of the Year at the 2016 Wise Women Awards. More recently, in 2019, she was nominated in the category for Media Excellence at the Baton Awards, an event held for BAME women at the House of Lords. “LADY T” TOLU ADEPEGBA Tolu Adepegba, affectionately known as “Lady T”, is a multiple award-winning radio and live event presenter, with over a decade in the music industry. Lady T studied Music and Media Management at London Metropolitan University, after which she secured an internship at MTV as a production assistant, where she gained skills in TV production and management. Following a significant stint at BBC Radio Oxford, she moved on to host the flagship and primetime show, Gospel Drive, on the UK’s number one Christian radio station, Premier Gospel for seven years, which had an average listenership of 765k listeners per week.

With her infectious personality and fantastic sense of humour, Lady T rapidly grew in popularity with the audience. During this time, she has interviewed gospel greats, including Donnie McClurkin, Kirk Franklin, Michelle Williams from

in the heart of the industry as part of Tileyard London in Kings Cross. ROGER MOORE Birmingham-born Roger Moore is the eldest of four children, raised by his Christian parents in the Wesleyan Holiness Church. This upbringing not only guided him spiritually and shaped his morals, but also influenced him musically and culturally. In the early 2000s, Roger volunteered for two local gospel promotions, where he was mentored in running tours with international traditional gospel artists and in running urban music events.

WIZDOM Wizdom has worked in the entertainment industry for the last 20 years, and has built a reputation for excellence within the creative development of young people. Promoting his first event aged 12, and releasing his first song on the BRIT School CD at 14 years, he joined the pioneering “Tru Skool”, MOBO award-nominated hip-hop group, GreenJade.

As a member of GreenJade, he was executive producer for nine albums, whilst running the group’s record label and recording studio. He has also directed six music videos, and managed at the Brixton Fridge (The Electric), ULU, Granaries, Cargo and many other venues. Wizdom was instrumental in creating the Gunz Down song, video and schools tour that was part of Choice FM’s Peace on the Streets campaign, which was seen by 10,000 young people in London, and corresponded with a fall in gun violence amongst young people between 2005 and 2011. He revolutionalised the XLP Arts Showcase programme as Arts Director for the charity XLP, helping a number of young people to realise personal and creative arts goals, including: Jermain Jackman, winner of Voice UK; TriN3rgy’s appearance of Britain’s Got Talent, and helping to provide 25% of the initial intake to the new music industry college, ELAM (East London Arts & Media School). Wizdom is now the Managing Director of Tileyard Impact, which is a creative industry youth and community development programme based

He went on to launch Divine Intavention, where he supported over 25 individual Midland-based acts to record and release their own material. Roger was the executive producer for over seven CD albums and a live recording. Roger became frustrated with what he felt was a lack of strength and depth of gospel media platforms in the UK, and he launched Gospel Link Magazine in 2006, which ran for six years. The knowledge and skills he developed producing Gospel Link Magazine formed the foundation of Gospel Link 360 CIC. Roger continues his commitment to building UK Gospel, and has expanded his platform through podcasting with the #TheLiftShow & #TheQCShow at the newly refurbished GenStudios. ANU OMIDEYI Anu Omideyi is the award-winning choir director and manager of the award-winning The Reapers Choir, a gospel choir that was a finalist in BBC1’s

www.keepthefaith.co.uk


12 GOSPEL MUSIC

Gospel Choir of the Year 2014, and has performed in venues including 10 Downing Street for the Prime Minister, Kensington Palace, the Royal Albert Hall, the Royal Festival Hall and the London African Music Festival 2015. Anu was an off-screen judge for BBC Songs of Praise Gospel Choir of the Year 2019, and has been an official vocal coach for the University Gospel Choir of the Year UK since 2018, having been a UGCY judge two years prior. The pleasant surprise is that Anu is a professionally qualified lawyer, and was highly successful before following her inner conviction of dedicating her life work to music and gospel music in particular. Her quick wit, style and friendly manner draw people in, and her practical but charismatic approach enables her to communicate effectively in any environment. Anu now runs her own business, through www.anuomideyi.com, in which she provides musical services, such as song writing, producing and choir directing, alongside services comprising chairing, hosting, public/motivational speaking and broadcasting. JANET SIMPSON Janet Simpson is a solid church girl, having her full foundation and growth in her pastoral parents’ Light & Life Full Gospel Fellowship, a Windrush Generation legacy. Of the eight children Janet is the eldest of four girls who make up the harmonic Simpson Sisters, who are renown for their foot-stomping grooves with an emphatic style of their own.

KEVIN TOMLIN For the last thirty plus years, Kevin Tomlin has been studying music with a signature sound based around soul and r’n’b music originated from America, especially music from America’s inter-cities and urban areas, such as New Orleans, Chicago, Memphis, Muscle Shoals, Detroit and Philadelphia. While he was living in America, he began teaching music history in the area of ‘Music of Black Origin’ and visual arts in South Florida, USA, through the ‘Arts in Education’ programme. During this period, Kevin was involved in the creation of special training programmes and workshops for music teachers in South Florida schools and other settings, using music history as the foundation, to build exciting programmes of study and support for education professionals. In recognition of his work as a music historian, Kevin was appointed in 2015 onto the Executive Board of the UK-based GMIA, serving and representing British gospel music in its relationship to gospel music sectors in other territories across the world.

JULIET FLETCHER Founder of GMIA - alongside the late Linton Beckles and co-organiser Caroline Hughes - Juliet has made promoting British gospel music her life’s work, especially to see an organisation that expresses and demonstrates united working in the sector, from a professional, arts, cultural and spiritual approach. She has created numerous ‘first time’ events, including: Oasis Gospel Music Awards (1983); ‘We’re Gonna Sing’ - first documentary on British Gospel, televised on Channel 4 (1981); BBC Gospel Train first ‘live broadcast’ show, touring Black churches in the UK and USA (1993 - 1997); series of Gospel Summit Business Industry events (2003 - 2016), and Windrush Church & Music - a one-day three-cities LIVE simultaneous broadcast from Manchester, Birmingham and London, marking 70th Anniversary Celebrations.

It has been an amazing journey to this stage. There is a roll call of individuals who have made all the difference to where we are today. We need to call upon other individuals in every region to build this new vision on how to advance our scene. The Board’s job is to start the ball rolling, but only together as a united sector can we keep it rolling.

If you would like to participate in the development of what the GMIA is hoping to achieve, please get in touch by emailing info@gmia.org.uk or calling 020 3086 8348.

Amidst all her church experience as a music minister, over many years Janet has invested in her own musical journey by attending courses run by the prestigious Berklee School of Music in the USA, the Gospel Music Workshop of America and The Gospel Heritage Foundation, founded by the legendary publisher and entrepreneur, Dr Teresa Hairston. Janet runs her own business - J Simbet Accountancy Services Limited - managing the day-to-day financial accountability for various large international companies. The company has been operating since 2012, specialising in payroll consultancy, and currently manages accounts exceeding £3 million. She is qualified in BTech Management and is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals. Find us on Twitter and Facebook: @KeepTheFaithmag


... ENDS OF OFTHE THEEARTH... EARTH...EVERY FROM EVERY ... TO TO THE THE ENDS NATION, TRIBE PEOPLE JOIN NATION, TRIBE & & PEOPLE JOININ INPRAISE... PRAISE... London CommunityGospel GospelChoir Choirleading leadingeclectic eclectic line-up the 2020 London Community line-up forfor the 2020 Prom at the the Royal RoyalAlbert AlbertHall Hallto tocelebrate celebratethe theseason seasonofofPentecost Pentecost Prom Praise Praise at We’re what’s the interest We’reintrigued… intrigued… what’s the big big interest these choirs joining joining with with thesedays daysin inGospel gospel choirs orchestras? Just last last month orchestras? Just month the the London London Adventist AdventistChorale Chorale joined joined the the London London Symphony Symphony Orchestra Orchestra at at London’s London’s Barbican Barbican Concert Last year, year, Karen Karen Gibson Gibson and and Concert Hall. Hall. Last the theKingdom Kingdom Choir Choir gave gave aa surprise surprise guest guest appearance appearance at at the theRoyal Royal Albert Albert Hall Hall with withthe the All What’s going on? AllSouls SoulsOrchestra. Orchestra. What’s going on? New Newconductor conductor of of the the All All Souls Souls Orchestra, Orchestra, Michael MichaelAndrews, Andrews,isis himself himselfkeen keenon on the the idea ideaas ashe hehas hasinvited invitedLCGC LCGC to to join join him him with with aa100-piece 100-piece All All Souls Souls Orchestra Orchestra at at the the Royal Royal Albert We asked him why: AlbertHall Hallin inMay. May. We asked him why: ‘There ‘Thereisisnothing nothingto tobeat beatthe thesound soundof ofaaspirited spirited gospel Thereisisnothing nothingquite quitelike likethe the gospel choir. choir. There sound soundof ofaalarge largeand and dynamic dynamic symphony symphony orchestra. Nothing compares orchestra. comparesto to hearing hearing the the soundof ofpeople people praising praising God God with with passion, passion, sound energyand andhearts heartson onfire. fire. Fuse Fuse these energy these three three togetherand andyou youhave havesomething somethingspecial, special, together uniqueand andextremely extremelyrare, rare,and andthat thatisisexactly exactly unique whatwe weare aredoing doingat atthis thisyear’s year’sProm PromPraise Praise what concert at atthe thenation’s nation’sfavourite favouriteconcert concert hall.’ hall.’ concert TheAll AllSouls Souls Orchestra Orchestra has has built built aa The considerable reputation reputation worldwide worldwide for for aa considerable uniquevoice voice in in music music because, because, unlike unique unlike most most orchestras,they they are are motivated motivated not not just just by by orchestras, love of of music music but but above above all all by by aa desire desire to to lift lift love voices of of many many to to praise. praise. voices Over the the years years they they have have enjoyed enjoyed many many Over partnershipswith withunexpected unexpected guests, guests, not not partnerships onlythe theKingdom Kingdom Choir, Choir, but but also also Reaper’s Reaper’s only Choir,Tracey Tracey Campbell, Campbell, Beverley Choir, Beverley Trotman Trotman and have particularly developed a longstanding and, particularly developed a long-standing friendshipwith withNoel NoelRobinson, Robinson, who’s who’s been been aa friendship greatsupporter supporter of of theirs great theirs over over many manyyears. years.

So why why have have these these partnerships partnerships worked…? worked…? So 100 classical classical instrumentalists instrumentalists playing 100 playing Elgar Elgar and Handel Handel one one minute, minute, then then getting getting their their and chops around aroundaa gospel Gospelgroove groovethe thenext! next! chops Michael has has an an idea idea he he knows: knows: Michael ‘The All All Souls ‘The Souls Orchestra Orchestra share share aa passion passion for for praising God God from from the praising the quietest quietestwhisper whispertotothe the loudest cry, conveying the the soulful loudest cry, conveying soulful heartache heartache of a a psalmist of psalmist to to the theeuphonic euphonicjoy joyofoflively livelyand and Spirit-infused worship. Spirit-infused worship. Having been been passed the baton Having passed the baton by by my my predecessor, Noël Tredinnick, I’m aiming to to predecessor, Noël Tredinnick, I’m aiming continue to bring an eclectic palette of great continue to bring an eclectic palette of great music in inworship worshipand andpraise praisetotothe theProm PromPraise Praise music concert, from symphonic gospel sounds to concert, from symphonic gospel sounds to works by by great works great concert concert and and film filmcomposers. composers. am really II am really looking looking forward forwardto topartnering partnering with LCGC and their director with LCGC and their directorand andpioneer, pioneer, Bazil Meades Meade - -he’s Bazil he’saalegend! legend!We Weknow knowthat that Bazil’s vision Bazil’s vision for for the theChoir Choirisis‘Out ‘Outof ofmany, many,one one voice’ and and he he has has always always made voice’ made aa point point that that the choir the choir represents represents an an eclectic eclectic mix mixof ofunited united nations and and ages ages from nations from diverse diverse backgrounds. backgrounds. This is is something This something that thatreally reallyresonates resonateswith with us at at All us All Souls Souls -- that thatvision visioncould couldalmost almostbe be description of of an aa description an orchestra! orchestra! The The range rangeof of colours and and sounds sounds all all coming colours coming together together in inone one voice praising praising one one Lord.’ Lord.’ voice We We also also asked asked Bazil Bazil why why he he agreed agreed to to this this collaboration collaboration with with the the All All Souls Souls Orchestra: Orchestra:

have had term desire ‘I‘I have had a a long long-term desirefor forLCGC LCGCtoto collaborate with with an collaborate an orchestra. orchestra. We We have have included LFO LFO at at our our RAH included RAH christmas Christmasspecial, special, but ASO but ASO will will be be aa much muchlarger largerorchestra orchestra--I might Ifind findthis thisvery veryexciting. exciting.Hopefully Hopefullyit it might kickstart other other opportunities kickstart opportunities for forboth bothunits unitstoto

Bazil Meade with members of London Community Gospel Choir

combinetalents talentsfor for combine theKingdom kingdommore more the thanonce. once.ASO ASOhave have than veryimpressive impressive aavery reputation in in the reputation the Christianmusic music Christian arena.’ arena.’

New conductor of new conductor of All Souls Orchestra, All Souls Orchestra, Michael Andrews Michael Andrews

Inspired Inspiredby bythis this season of season ofPentecost, Pentecost, the theOrchestra’s Orchestra’s2020 2020evening eveningof ofworship worship and and praise at the Royal Albert Hall - ‘...concert to praise at London’s world renowned the ends- ‘.of - will venue .. tothe theearth…’ ends of the celebrate earth…’ - the will spread of the cornerto ofevery the celebrate theGospel spreadto ofevery the gospel earth, the thanks way that cornergiving of thethanks earth, for giving forGod’s the Spirit has propelled the good news ofthe Jesus way that God's Spirit has propelled good to every and tongue. news oftribe, Jesusnation to every tribe, nation and

tongue. This is something that also attracted Bazil: ‘LCGC most at peace God’s gift with This isissomething thatsharing also attracted Bazil: those who will not go to the church event or ‘LCGC is most at peace sharing Gods gift with building we are prepared to take the Gospel those who will not go to the church event or to the people Ends OftoThe Earth’ building - we at arethe prepared take the gospel to the people at the Ends Of The Earth’ Michael concluded: ‘We’re celebrating the spread of the Gospel Michael concluded: throughout the world the way that only ‘We’re celebrating the in spread of the gospel LCGC and the All Souls Orchestra could. throughout the world in the way that only Leading 5,000 concertgoers and worshippers LCGC and the All Souls Orchestra could. coming from acrossand theworshippers UK singing Leadingtogether 5,000 concertgoers praise at together the Albert Hallacross is suchthe a great coming from UK singing honour. When I was speaking with Bazilhonour. the praise at the Albert Hall is such a great other week he said: ‘‘I am looking forward When I was speaking with Bazil the other week to a fabulous London Community heshaping said ‘'I am looking forward to shaping a Gospel Choir praiseCommunity session with a gospel fabulous London Gospel Choir ‘groove’ for Prom Praise 2020! It’s going to be praise session with a gospel 'groove' for Prom memorable!’ Praise 2020! It's going to be memorable!' I agree - come and join us!’ I agree - come and join us!’

Tickets for Prom Praise on Saturday 2 May 2020 now available from www.royalalberthall.com also on the line-up London-based worshipper, Lucy Grimble Also on the line-up London-based worshipper, Lucy Grimble

Bazil Meade with members of London Community Gospel Choir


14 GOSPEL MUSIC

Todd Dulaney’s ‘Back To The Book’

THE AFRICA WORSHIP EXPERIENCE PART TWO BY MILTON B. ALLEN, GLOBAL MUSIC LINK

“Experiencing worship in both Africa and the UK continues to expand my thinking and possibilities of how to express myself to God in praise. With this project in particular, I knew we’d all be able to speak one language - and that’s the Word of God. So Back To The Book is my way of singing in the language that no matter where you’re from, the Book unites us all.” - Todd Dulaney Todd Dulaney’s latest release, Back To The Book, is a powerful testimony of faith. The three-song EP is literally the Word of God in song: singing Scripture over the ever-evolving, soul-stirring sound that is distinctly that of Todd Dulaney Ministries. Released by eOne Nashville, the tracks are ‘Proverbs 3 (Tablet of Your Heart)’, ‘Psalms 18 (I Will Call On The Name)’ and ‘Psalms 23 (He’s A Strong Tower)’. When asked by The Christian Post how God has breathed on this project differently from the others, Todd emphatically said he has been in

a whole new “dimension” since he has been obedient to the prophetic word and recorded his new project. Todd attributes much of his spiritual growth in music to his music ministry travels abroad. Specifically, Todd points to the spiritual and transformative Africa Worship Experience. When this writer asked Todd what he takes home from Africa, this is how he expressed the experience:

Music Matters A COLUMN BY BENJAMIN HARRELL GLOBAL MUSIC LINK EDITORIAL TEAM

Tracking the impact of your brand

T

he UK Gospel Sound is truly unique in the world of gospel music and is, by definition, an export commodity. Once your music is available to the world, how do you determine how fans and followers are reacting to your brand? Next Big Sound is the answer. Next Big Sound provides analytics for online music. This platform is able to perform an analysis on the popularity of an artist by reviewing social networks and streaming services. Next Big Sound tracks mentions of an artist/band across several music websites. Users have the ability to associate multiple sources that will drive analytics. Just in case you are thinking that you could view how well each post is doing directly from your social network, consider this: Next Big Sound behaves like a repository that not only captures all the data from its connected sources, but is also able to display your impact with its user-friendly platform. Not only that, you will receive weekly updates on how interactions change. Find us on Twitter and Facebook: @KeepTheFaithmag

“I take the power of ‘no impossibilities’ in the Africa Worship Experience. I bring that back home. Not just me, but my whole band. We come back home, knowing that we’ve seen some things that you don’t see on a regular basis in America. We come back home with what is a new perspective of what’s possible in the presence of God. There are no impossibilities. When you bring that type of faith back home with you, people can tell that something’s different about the way you are pressing into worship. Being in Africa caused us to evolve as worshippers. It shifted our sound. It caused us to have a little bit more grit to get what we need in the presence of God.” Since the EP release, all three songs have rocketed to the top of Billboard’s Hot Gospel Songs and Gospel Digital Sales charts. It is expected they will be sitting there for quite a while. The full live album, entitled Anthems and Glory, will be released in the fourth quarter of this year. “I am prouder of this musical work than anything I’ve ever done in my life,” says Todd. “To be able to put melody to the Book that has changed my life and those of so many others is a complete honour.”

Here are a few examples of sources you can connect: • Facebook • Pandora • Twitter • Wikipedia • Bandcamp • Songkick You can use the metrics to strategise how to engage your fans or connect with new ones. You may find that you need to direct your fans to listen to your music on multiple platforms to strengthen engagement. Standard procedure is to ensure that all your followers know where to find your music. Spend time focusing on the social sites that feed into Next Big Sound. You have to think beyond making good music. You advertise your music and brand on multiple sites, because you understand that it increases your visibility. Now it is time to ensure that these analytics are available to the industry professionals in and outside of the UK. Music Matters is a column designed to give you the tools to help you execute your plan. Through interviews, research, data and input from USA industry pros, we will help you think like an indie artist to address the USA, Africa and other international territories. Find out more on how to prepare yourself before you release your music, by visiting benjharrell.com.


GOSPEL MUSIC 15 11

2020 is turning out to be a good year for Kingdom choir member, Sharlene-Monique, who is also carving out a successful career for herself as a singer/songwriter. Britain’s leading gospel station, Premier Gospel, made ‘Stay’, the debut single from her second EP, Perspectives, their Single of the Week, prior to its release in February. And last month, 90s pop star, Gabrielle, announced that Sharlene-Monique would be the support act on her UK tour, which kicks off in November this year. As you can imagine, Sharlene is excited about these developments, particularly being support for Gabrielle. Sharlene recalled how she got the gig: “I did a show last year, where I co-headlined with Stephanie Sounds and Phebe Edwards. Gabrielle was there. After the show, she looked me up on Instagram and expressed that she really enjoyed my music, my songs, my set and performance, and that she wanted to buy my CD. Fast forward a couple of months, I bumped into Gabrielle at a petrol station and we got talking. She shared she had a tour coming up, and I just asked: “Do you have a support act?” She said she didn’t and that I should contact her manager. I contacted her manager, and the rest is history. I can’t wait!” During the tour, Sharlene-Monique will be performing songs from her second EP, Perspectives, and hopes to win new fans. The concept behind her new EP is self-explanatory. She explained: “I’m passionate about sharing my perspective. We live in a time where it almost feels like if you don’t have a certain perspective on how things should be in society, it’s almost like you are ridiculed for it. I think that it is wrong. God has given us free will, and I do think that we should all be able to share our perspective. We may not agree, and that’s fine, but for me, personally, I can show you love yet we don’t have to agree on the same things. It’s just an expression of me sharing my views.” She added: “My songs have to have a message. I’m here to impact people’s lives; it’s something I take very seriously. I’ll do the fun, I’ll do the encouragement to bring people in, but I really do want to impact people’s lives as well. That’s what I’ve been called to do.” Alongside pursuing her solo career, Sharlene has been a member of the Kingdom Choir for over 10 years, and has travelled with founder, Karen Gibson, when she has conducted workshops across the UK and abroad. Sharlene described performing at the Royal wedding as “an experience of a lifetime”. She remains blown over by how the world responded to the choir’s performance of ‘Stand By Me’. She said: “It was also amazing to have such an impact on so many people’s lives through that song, and proves that God can really use anything. It doesn’t have to look how you think it should. He’ll use any song, He’ll put His anointing on it, and that’s that.”

Sharlene-Monique is here to ‘Stay’ As a member of the Kingdom Choir, Sharlene was part of their tour across the UK, the US and Canada, where they did over 30 live shows and performed on platforms like The Today Show, The Kelly Clarkson Show, The Hollywood Bowl and Access Hollywood, to name but a few. One abiding lesson she has learnt from working so closely to Karen is to be consistent and caring. She said: “What I really took from Karen is the way she cared for the people. It’s something I will never forget, and it’s something that has inspired me as an artist.” Sharlene, a PK (Pastor’s Kid), has always loved singing, so being an artist is a dream job for her. Ever since she branched out in 2018 with her debut EP, Destiny, she has been making waves. The songs have been streamed 850,000 times, across the world. Her single, ‘Diamond Woman’,

released in 2019, was on rotation on Jazz FM. Sharlene’s music video, ‘You’, won Best Solo, Best Inspirational and Music Video of the Year at the Jump Music Video Awards 2017. And in 2019, she was awarded for Best Performing Artist and Originality/Inspirational Music by the women’s organisation, Voice & Hope. She has also conducted a successful mini-solo tour of Norway, Ireland and London. Sharlene-Monique is hopeful that her forthcoming music release - and being support on Gabrielle’s tour - will broaden her fan base and let everyone know she’s here for the long haul. She’s an artist who aims to be around for a long time. For more information, visit www.sharlenemonique.com. www.keepthefaith.co.uk


16 GOSPEL MUSIC

10 YEARS OF MUSIC MINISTRY! 2020 is Ministry of Music’s 10th Anniversary. During this time, they have supported 600 events, and seen God impact hundreds of lives through the ministry of music! “Ministry of Music’s vision is to support and bring together UK Christian artists and event organisers, in order to resource the Church in its worship and outreach to the community, equip more Christian events with quality music, and use the ministry of music to bring people closer to God.”

In 2001, Mike Maidment, founder and CEO of Ministry of Music (MOM), had a vision for a music ministry to help support and develop Christian bands and artists resource the Church in its worship and outreach to the community. Since then, God has taken Mike on a journey where he has played in and managed Christian bands; managed the Christian youth charity, Eden’s Project, and managed a wide range of music projects at Christian charity, New Generation Music. But, at the beginning of 2010, God made it very clear to Mike that the time was right to pursue the vision He had given him to establish MOM. Understanding that music can be a powerful and culturally relevant way to spread the Christian message in today’s society, particularly when reaching out to the younger generation, Mike wanted to see more Christian events taking place, and wanted to provide a ministry to help facilitate this. From experience, Christian artists often find it difficult to find Christian events to play at, and Christian event organisers struggle

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to find the right artists to resource their events at prices they can afford. MOM aims to improve this position by building up a UK network of Christian artists - from new acts through to established performers - and making them available to Christian event organisers across the UK. In 2013 Mike set up an Advisory team, which eventually led to MOM becoming a registered charity in 2015. It is anticipated that this charitable status will enable MOM to have a long-term legacy. MOM currently works with over 35 high quality Christian artists, including singers, bands and worship leaders, catering for a wide variety of music styles and covering most of the UK. Other services offered for events include PA/lighting equipment and sound/lighting engineers. The wide range of events MOM works on includes community outreach events, youth events, school missions, church services, café church, conferences, festivals and training workshops/ seminars. Events range in size from a solo acoustic singer performing at a small café style event, through to a band working in schools for

a whole week with a large end-of-week concert. The events can require the artists to perform a set of songs, lead worship, and often provide a spoken Christian message. At some events the artists also provide training, such as music workshops, RE lessons in schools or worship seminars at churches. To date, MOM has supported 600 Christian events; received positive feedback from many event organisers; established partnerships with other Christian organisations, and seen the demand for their services grow. But most importantly, the vision of drawing people closer to God has been evident at many events, where people have become Christians and lives have been impacted by God! “Echo reinforced the evangelistic thrust of the Festival, lifting up the Name and Person of Jesus. At least 80 people responded positively to the Gospel.” “We saw loads of young people respond to Jesus, which was amazing! God was truly moving; over 40 people responded to Dave’s talk!” “We thought the week had a very positive effect, and we managed to make contact with about 1,700 young people in the schools and 250 at the concert.” To celebrate their 10th Anniversary, Ministry of Music are promoting a special 10th Anniversary Tour, between 1st February and 31st May, featuring the ever-popular Bean Baker Band and other special guest artists. Further details are available on their website, www.ministryofmusic.co.uk.


Foster with Islington. You may have more to offer than you think.

Foster carers play a vital role in looking after children and can change lives with their love and support. Being a foster carer can be challenging but brings great rewards. Your care and support really makes a difference and helps young people achieve their best. Don’t be put off by myths. People hold back from enquiring, thinking they need to own their home, must have a partner, or that their faith may hold them back, which are all incorrect. There is no ‘standard foster carer’ and, just like the young people in their care, Islington carers come from a range of ethnicities, backgrounds and beliefs.

On May 16th SI-UK will be hosting its second UK University Fair of 2020 at the Royal Lancaster London hotel. 100 exhibitors are expected to attend the event, including institutions such as King’s College London, University of Bath and University of Exeter, as well as a wide range of foundation and pathway providers. The Fair is completely free by registering before the event and international students who attend can also take part in special seminars and lectures on topics related to studying in the UK, such as writing a personal statement, English language entry requirements and how to finance correctly. The UK University Fair is the largest UK university fair designed only for international students applying to UK universities. SI-UK’s expert team of international consultants and university specialists will also be available throughout the day to help answer questions on entry requirements, what to study and where and the application process.

If you’ve had children or have worked with young people, you will have life skills you can use. You don’t need formal qualifications but must be good with children and be able to keep them healthy and safe. You will also need to have a spare bedroom. In mainstream fostering children may stay for a short or long time but there are also other types of care. Family-based short breaks are overnight stays for children with disabilities, while supportive lodgings help 16 to 21 year olds prepare for independent living. Respite care is for shorter stays overnight or of a few weeks, and may suit those who are not currently able to foster full-time. Whatever scheme suits you best, your care and support will help young people achieve their best, whether through education, sports or special interests, or by preparing them for independent living and future relationships. Some things will be big, some will be small, but all count. Fostering is increasingly considered a career choice, with generous allowances and a wide selection of training available to help build your skills. Islington carers receive 24-hour support from the service and benefit from strong peer support from the Islington Foster Carers Association.

SI-UK is a provider of free and independent advice to international students applying to study in the UK. We believe international students should have access to trusted, expert advice about UK universities and courses, and to be supported by professional and experienced advisers throughout their whole journey. Since opening its first office in Tokyo in 2006, the company has grown to 53 offices in 23 countries, all helping take away the stress of applying to study in the UK. There are over 400 university visits to SI-UK’s global offices every year and the Fair continues a busy calendar of events that gives students the opportunity to meet leading universities from across the UK in one location. UK University Fair London 16 May, 2020 Royal Lancaster London www.ukunifair.co.uk Free entry for international and EU students by registering online.

If you are interested in making the difference, please call us on 020 7527 7933; email fostering@islington.gov.uk, or have a look at our website fostering.islington.gov.uk.

www.keepthefaith.co.uk


18 FEATURE

Pastor Penny Francis Keep The Faith (KTF): You serve in ministry with your family - husband, Bishop John Francis and daughter, Elder Juanita Francis. How do you manage to balance family and ministry to ensure the pressures of ministry don’t spill over into your family time? Pastor Penny Francis (PPF): Mmm... How do I manage to balance... The short answer is: with great difficulty and having an attitude that’s flexible! As I look back, I think one of the things we did as a couple very early on was to talk about how we would manage ourselves. This was before we had the girls. I was aware of the demands of the ministry, and we had decided that we would make sure we had personal time, family time, and that we would ensure the children had a proper routine when they came along. As time passed and the ministry grew - and the responsibilities of the church became more demanding - it was harder to stick to what we had said, but we still worked at it. Over the years, the balance could have been better, and there were some times when the pressures of ministry spilled over into family life, but we were always aware and worked hard not to make it a habit. KTF: Having been in ministry for over twenty years, what would you say are some of the secrets to your longevity? PPF: I suppose that top of my list would be loads of prayer! Next would be having a mindset that is open to change. One of the things I have noticed over the years is that, in ministry life, things don’t always stay the same, so you must be adaptable and flexible in how you do church, but without compromising. The other thing that comes to mind is being happy with who you are, and being true to yourself. You may not be everyone’s cup of tea, so to speak, but you will be happier and more content as you serve and, as a result, you’ll be willing to continue in ministry with a rounded perspective and a sense of fulfilment. KTF: At Ruach’s 2019/2020 Crossover Service, you preached a message entitled ‘The year of divine clarity’. What do you believe God is saying to His people this year? PPF: My husband, Bishop John Francis, had spoken to me and shared what the focus for this year would be for our church. So, the word I preached was based on what the Lord had laid on my husband’s heart concerning 2020. We believe that this year the Lord will give us insight Find us on Twitter and Facebook: @KeepTheFaithmag

BY AKOSUA DWOMO-FOKUO Penny Francis is the co-pastor and joint founder of Ruach City Church, UK, alongside her husband Bishop John Francis. Ruach Ministries is based in five locations: Brixton, Walthamstow and Kilburn in London, Birmingham (West Midlands), and Philadelphia, USA. Pastor Penny is a preacher, teacher and author, and runs seminars in various topics, including couples contemplating marriage. Keep The Faith managed to catch up with Pastor Penny to chat about ministry, family and her new books.

and clarity of vision, so that when we speak, decree and declare in any given situation, our utterance will be based on what we can clearly see and understand. We won’t be speaking generally or acting vaguely. The Holy Spirit will show or reveal God’s specific will and purpose concerning us with such clarity that we will not doubt or wonder what God is saying or doing – we will know. There is more to this but that’s it in a nutshell! KTF: You are a preacher, teacher and author. Do you have any new books in the works? PPF: Yes, in addition to my first two books, ‘My Affliction Has A Sound’ and ‘Your First Steps’, I do have a couple more that will be published this year. One is my poetry book; I’ve been promising my church to publish this one for years, and I’ve finally compiled my poems in my book entitled ‘From Pen’. The other book, which will most probably be published in the latter part of the year, is entitled ‘Shame Is Not Your Portion’. I think the title speaks for itself. It’s birthed out of a message I preached some years ago, and I felt inspired to write the book. I’ve been getting great feedback and testimonies from my first two books, so I believe the next two will also be a great blessing.

For more information about Pastor Penny and Ruach City Church UK, visit www.https:/ruachcitychurch.org/


FEATURE 19

THE BRIDGE BY TINA BOYLE-WHYTE

Global Music Link Editorial Team

T

he United Kingdom has just entered into a major shift in the year 2020. BREXIT! So many layers to think about and its impact on the country. But, more importantly, it is the impact that it has on you as an individual. So much uncertainty! The trickle-down impact of your individual lives as citizens of the UK is yet to be revealed. When speaking to friends and family in London, there are many mixed feelings and uncertainty. I understand! Has BREXIT caused you to face a crossroad in your life? Moreover, have you found yourself in a place of uncertainty, wondering what to do and where to go? Similar to the children of Israel in the Bible, they were confronted by the Jordan River. Any large body of water can be truly confrontational. How many Jordans are there in your life? The children of Israel needed a miracle. Have you found yourself needing a miracle? I certainly have. They needed a bridge (metaphorically) to get over to the other side, as we often do. I assure you that you are not alone at the crossroads of your life. Some people have a bridge to traverse, while others find themselves stuck waiting to get to the other side. Today, I encourage you to KEEP THE FAITH and cross over that bridge!

Thus, I am excited to introduce ‘The Bridge’, a new column in Keep The Faith magazine. I am committed to propelling you to think beyond your limitations, to reach for new heights beyond your circumstances, and to receive all that God has designed for your life before the beginning of time. As Philippians 1:6 (KJV) states: “being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ”. It is God’s plan for you to have all that He has designed for your life. Why ‘The Bridge’? As your international host of ‘The Bridge’, I will bring you an encouraging, inspirational and thought-provoking word that will propel you to move from where you are to where you want and need to be. My love for London is very deep; it truly has a special place in my heart. It was in London where the Lord led me to a conference at Fairfield Hall in Croydon, where I met my husband in 2007. We have been married now for 10 years. We have a son who is a phenomenal percussionist, who lives and travels around London and throughout Europe, making a difference in people’s lives musically. I come to London frequently. When we visit London, we visit two churches that my husband was affiliated with: New Testament Assembly Tooting Church with Bishop Delroy Powell and First Lady Marcelle Powell, and Wesleyan Holiness Church in Harrow Green with Overseer Ruth Lowe. I have been the host of the Bridge Broadcast

Show on WYTV7 Christian Broadcast Network (www.wytv7.org) for the past three seasons. The Bridge Broadcast Show provides a Christian perspective on transformation on three different levels: Spirit, Soul, and Body. Our primary focus is on true transformation. Ultimately, it is our desire to see people reach their God-given potential on every level. Since starting my show, I have created the Journey Conference. This conference is designed to help people acknowledge and appreciate their journey from past, present to future perspective. The Journey Conference will be in London in May 2020. Please follow me at Tina Boyle Whyte on social media to learn more. As the host of ‘The Bridge’ column, I look forward to walking and growing with you in your journey of life.

Tina Boyle-Whyte is a Transformation Coach. She develops interactive reflective experiences that prompt individuals to unearth areas that have been dormant and unresolved. She uses multiple tools to help people to become unstuck and tap into their potential. Tina Boyle-Whyte can be found at www.tinaboylewhyte.com and at www.wytv7.org/the-bridge.

www.keepthefaith.co.uk


20 FEATURE

ENLARGING ITS ECUMENICAL TENT Celebrating 50 years of United Ecumenical Theological Training

The Queen’s Foundation for Ecumenical Theological Education is celebrating 50 years as a united ecumenical theological college. The anniversary is being marked by a series of commemorative events throughout the year, which offers a good opportunity to reflect on ecumenism, particularly what it means for Black-majority churches. Ecumenism includes the pursuit of unity among churches, though succeeds only when Christian diversity and unity are affirmed by the inclusion of shared practices and faith. As Queen’s celebrates its 50th Anniversary, and increasingly engages more with leaders and congregants of Black-majority churches, what does Christian unity mean, especially from the viewpoint of Black-majority churches? More broadly, what is God calling all churches to do together? As a theological college, Queen’s is increasingly attracting students from Black Pentecostal congregations, who want to enhance their ministries through advanced theological studies and reflective practice. Black students (from Pentecostal and mainstream churches) studying at Queen’s enhance diversity, and their much-needed presence in a White-majority space symbolises a small corrective for the wrong imparted to fore-parents and founding members of Black-majority churches, who were not given a warm welcome by mainstream churches in the post-war years. Founding members of Pentecostal congregations had a vision of ‘unity in spirit’ though, fifty years ago, when Queen’s became an ecumenical college, Christian unity between host churches and the newly formed Black-majority churches was not on the agenda. Thus, events of the past are called to attention today, with Bishop Dr Jonathon Jackson (NTCG) preaching in Chapel at Queen’s

Tutors and Postgraduate students of Black Theology at Queens

questions around the progress of Christian unity amongst churches, and - by extension theological education. In 1970, the Anglican Queen’s College and the Methodist Handsworth College, with the parent churches, took the bold decision to unite their training institutions to form a single theological college. They did so, confident in the hope of a new union between the churches, and of the now united Queen’s College being the forerunner of a new institution for learning and formation for a new united Church. Even though the churches have not united in the way that was hoped, Queen’s celebrates 50 years of pioneering ecumenical life, not only looking back with thanks, but looking forward to re-imagine and practice what ecumenism and unity means for the next 50 years. “Enlarge the site of your tent, and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out; do not hold back; lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes.” (Isaiah 54:2) Queen’s takes inspiration from the prophet Isaiah’s vision of hope for an exiled people, and asks how its hope and vision for unity might be enlarged; how its ecclesial tent - our habitations can be stretched and lengthened, so that they may hear afresh God’s call and command to unity. Black Pentecostal churches are an essential part of that vision. December 2018 saw the inauguration of the new Centre for Black Theology (CBT) that has built on an earlier generation that had pursued Christian unity through theological education. The CBT, led by Dr Dulcie Dixon McKenzie and

Professor Robert Beckford, is playing a vital role in bringing together current and future leaders from different churches to learn, think and pray together, and the Centre takes forward the commitment of Queen’s over 50 years to ‘enlarge’ its ecumenical tent and, in the commemorative events planned for the year, this features prominently. One of the first anniversary events took place at Queen’s on 26th February, when students and staff listened to church leaders from the Church of Pakistan and the churches of Bangladesh and of South and North India share their experience of uniting and being united. They also heard their challenge: “We have united. Why do you not follow our lead?” Future planned events take place on May 4th, when Dr David Chapman, a Methodist historian, will reflect on 50 years of covenanting talks between the Church of England and the Methodist Church, helping us to ask, What can we learn and what next? In June, Professor David Ford will bring his wisdom and insight to bear on Jesus’ teaching on unity in John 17. On Friday 10th and Saturday 11th July, the Centre will host a two-day conference that will bring together for the first time, scholars of Black British gospel music and Black Pentecostalism worldwide. Also, in the autumn, on Monday 12th October, it will host the annual Sam Sharpe Lecture. For more information about Queen’s and its 50th Anniversary, visit www.queens.ac.uk. Article by The Rev Canon Dr David Hewlett, Principal and Dr Dulcie Dixon McKenzie, Director, Centre for Black Theology.


As a Regional Adoption Agency, Adoption Counts brings together the professional expertise and specialist skills of five local councils in Greater Manchester & Cheshire. At Adoption Counts, children and families are the sole focus. The agency works hard to match children with the right family for them, at the right time, by approving adopters that can meet their needs.

MEET THE

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The agency is currently appealing for the Black African and Caribbean community to come forward and consider adoption. All children deserve to have a safe and secure home and the right to prosper in their own community; unfortunately, it has been increasingly difficult to find adopters within BME communities and Adoption Counts aims to raise awareness with the view to secure potential adopters for children with a Black African and Caribbean background. Adoption Counts wants to hear from anyone who feels they could offer a child a warm and loving home, and the Black African and Caribbean community are well known for their family values, compassion and strong community networks. Enquiries from mixed couples as well as single people are welcome and treated with respect, and it does not matter if you are co-habiting, divorced or widowed, regardless of your sexual orientation. Find out more on: adoptioncounts.org.uk

ary who bers of the judici em m r ee nt lu vo urts. We are inal and family co im cr in s on si ci make de ry people. We’re all ordina tween 18-70 Anyone aged be trate and you can sit as a magis s mal qualification for y an don’t need . ed vid pro is g as full trainin

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22 FEATURE

ADF Symposium hears of horrific false blasphemy attacks By Shirin Aguiar FREELANCEJOURNALIST

A human rights lawyer from Pakistan broke down as she told of the release of a 16-year-old mentally ill Christian boy, who had been imprisoned on false blasphemy charges. Christians in Pakistan suffer horrifically for doing nothing wrong, but, thanks to organisations like ADF International and their partners, there is hope even in the worst darkness. Speaking at a symposium on human rights and freedom of conscience and religion, organised by ADF in Vienna on 6 March 2020, Aneeqa Anthony, Chief Executive of The Voice Society - a human rights organisation in Pakistan, said that Asif Stephen, who has mental health problems, had been picking up bottles from the rubbish to sell when he was accused. This was just to get him out of the way, so that his accuser could collect more bottles. Ms Anthony broke down as she announced that he was released the previous day against “threats and problems”, including his family losing their home. LEGAL TEAM’S MIRACULOUS ESCAPE After the court verdict, Ms Anthony, her husband and her legal team found themselves in a dangerous situation, with an angry crowd awaiting them in the court car park. At great risk, her husband went to get their car and, through what Ms Anthony described as a miracle, her party was able to drive away from the large crowd, unharmed and unnoticed. Other blasphemy-related cases she is dealing with include the unimaginable burning alive of a Christian couple in a brick kiln, on an

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unproven charge; the case of Nabeel Masih, a teenager accused of cyber blasphemy, who is in prison with his trial ongoing, and Patras Masih, another youngster, is also accused of cyber blasphemy. Saleem Masih was tortured to death, because he bathed in a tube well and ‘polluted the water of Muslims’. Sajid Masih was a victim of sexual assault because he was a relative of a blasphemer. Two hundred houses in a Christian colony were burned down - based on an allegation. Sharoon Masih, yet another teenager, was killed by his classmates in school, after he touched their glass. She told the 60 lawyers and journalists, who were visibly moved by a series of photographs of victims of blasphemy she presented, that it was easy to make an accusation of blasphemy; an accuser merely needed to state that he had heard someone committing blasphemy. She said: “That’s it. I can gather a mob of 4,000; burn down the whole colony and, if you (the victim) are caught, you will be arrested.” “BLASPHEMERS MUST BE KILLED” And if someone is accused of blasphemy, “his life is finished, because it is Islamic, and people regard it as their duty to kill that person if he is convicted. His family must be killed. Unofficially, I’m also a blasphemer.” Felix Boellmann, ADF’s Europe legal counsel, prayed along with those gathered for Ms Anthony, who received a standing ovation after her talk. Andreas Thonhauser, ADF Director of External Relations, said: “It is exactly these kinds of stories that we want you the journalists and the lawyers to take with you, and to remember and also tell at home in your countries. The A in ADF International stands for alliance. I hope that all of you consider yourselves as part of this alliance. Aneeqa is part of this alliance, and she is fighting the good fight in very difficult terrain.” PIC CAP Aneeqa Anthony: “It is better to

light a candle than to curse the darkness” ADF not only advocates for prisoners of conscience but, as part of its Affirm Dignity multinational advocacy campaign, also seeks to protect the vulnerable, and is currently representing Tom Mortier in a landmark case on euthanasia, which is before the European Court of Human Rights. Mr Mortier’s mother, who suffered from chronic depression, was euthanised by Belgian doctors, and her son was only informed the next day. Earlier at the Symposium, Dr Johannes Hartl, founder of the House of Prayer in Augsburg, Germany, and author of 15 books, delivered an apt keynote speech entitled ‘Say No to Discouragement’. Just as athletes have to fight discouragement, in spiritual life personal private victory often precedes public victory. Christianity is not for pacifists (Ephesians 6:12). Discouragement blurs your capacity to see in the spirit, and as a leader/ thought leader, this ability makes you distinct. You are called to evaluate from a higher standard, and the devil will do all he can to stop this. He will blur your capacity to receive vision and perspective from God. Discouragement is an enemy. Citing Nehemiah 2:17, he said leadership is evaluating the situation and calling on others to change. Advice on saying No to discouragement includes declaring war on it, and saying No to the mentality that tries to put you down. He urged: “Sing a song, go to your room and say No. Say prayers of affirmation and of saying No. Do your thing and stay with it, spend time alone with God, which keeps your spirit healthy, both daily and once a year. “You need friends,” he continued, “as well as inviting the Holy Spirit to wash away the enemy of discouragement, and to direct every spirit and negative mentality to go in Jesus’ Name, because our God is the God of hope.” For more information, visit adfinternational.org.


FEATURE 23

The new Roaring Twenties A decade when Christians can be a voice for change for the elderly LOUISE MORSE

is an author, a cognitive behavioural therapist, and a media and external relations manager.

2

020–2030 has been designated the Decade of Healthy Ageing by the World Health Organisation (WHO), who are involving governments and organisations to improve the lives of older people, their families and the communities in which they live. According to the WHO, ‘all stakeholders pledged that no one will be left behind, and are determined to ensure that every human being can fulfil their potential in dignity and equality and in a healthy environment.’ When we read ‘healthy ageing’ and ‘older people’ we instinctively tend not to include ourselves, seeing ‘older’ as ten years older than we are today. Yet every person on the planet is ageing, so we are all stakeholders. The lives of millions of older people in the UK fall far short of ‘fulfilling their potential in a healthy environment.’ Our social care system is broken, and thousands of older people feel their lives are not worth living (Age UK research).

Elderly women have the highest rate of suicide throughout their lifespan, and males aged 75 and over have the highest rate of suicide in nearly all industrialised countries. This includes Christians. The saddest thing to hear is a 100-year-old woman saying she is still here because God has forgotten her, and another that death was preferable to the pain of loneliness. Many churches are doing great work in reaching the lonely in their local communities. But to see real change, we need to be heard at national level. There needs to be a loud Christian voice in the narrative that emerges over the next ten years – a roar of protest. It’s part of what we are called to do. ‘Speak out on behalf of the voiceless, and for the rights of all who are vulnerable. Speak out

in order to judge with righteousness, and to defend the needy and the poor’ (Proverbs 31:8-9). Thinking of our ageing population and older people, here’s my list of what I’d like to see in ten years’ time: 1. A well-thought-out, planned and funded social care programme that supports older people and their families, so that no one dies alone and unsupported while waiting for their care package to begin. One that also supports family caregivers, so that their health isn’t broken; they can give their best, and live fulfilled lives themselves. One that takes away the fear of growing old, so we don’t hear things like: “I don’t want to be a burden” and “It would be better if I weren’t here.” 2. An appreciation of good residential care, and how living in a care home blesses relatives as much as it does the resident. Relationships can deepen when trained carers are doing the ‘heavy lifting’. We need to see the perception of care homes that has resulted from the slew of media stories portraying them in a poor light, corrected. There also needs to be an awareness of the value care homes bring to their communities, in terms of employment, buying in local goods and services, and more. 3. Laws that make ‘ageism’ not only illegal, but as abhorrent as racism and other ‘isms’. Already wording on some cosmetic packaging is being altered from promising to ‘end the signs of ageing’ to ‘making the most of you…’ and ‘enhancing your glow’ and suchlike. People didn’t fasten their seatbelts until it was made law, and the same restraint needs to apply to ageism. 4. Education in all forms should be so effective that everyone recognises ageism in themselves as well as in others - and deals with it. Being ageist has been described as self-harm, because it leads to poor health in old age and even early death. It shapes our expectations and only leads downhill.

5. Older people recognising their role and their worth, including those who are frail and with physical disabilities. I’ve met people in their late 90s and 100s, totally bedbound, who encourage and pray for others, some for the whole nation. 6. Christians and church leaders acknowledging that God designed life to include old age, that it is not an evolutionary wasteland, and that valuing the attributes God has honed within all of us throughout our lifetimes. (See Psalm 92 and Galatians 5:22-23.)

‘Many churches are doing great work in reaching the lonely in their local communities. But to see real change, we need to be heard at national level.’ It would be good to be able to read, in ten years’ time, how the Church’s voice has been an influence for change. As individuals, we can begin in a small but effective way, by emailing or writing to our MPs, wishing them a productive time in the new Parliament, adding that we hope they will raise the issue of social funding again and again, until a good Plan is in place. -----------------------------------------------------------Louise Morse is an external relations manager with 212-year-old Christian charity, the Pilgrims’ Friend Society, which supports older people.


24 FEATURE

Celebrating 40 years of the Pentecostal Credit Union Ever since it was founded by Rev Carmel Jones back in 1980, the Pentecostal Credit Union (PCU) has been providing much needed financial services to the Pentecostal Church community, and is now about to celebrate its 40th Anniversary. “In 1955, a 17-year-old boy arrived in the UK from Jamaica. One Sunday, he attended his local Anglican church service. At the end of the service, the vicar thanked him for coming, but asked him not to return. Thirty years later he was returning to Anglican churches - this time to buy their buildings.” That young man was Carmel Jones. Rev Jones recalled: “I had looked forward to coming to live in the UK. I had believed, because I was a Christian, I would be welcomed by the Anglican Church, as I had served as an altar boy in my hometown in Jamaica. I was therefore shocked when I visited an Anglican church here in Britain, and was told not to come back.” His experience did not put him off his faith or attending church, however, and he joined the Calvary Church of God in Christ, a Pentecostal church in South London, where he was later appointed a minister. He read an article in The Sun newspaper about credit unions, and believed it could be the vehicle to provide the Pentecostal Church and its community with financial services that weren’t readily available to them from established sources. “The article resonated with me strongly,” he explained. “I believed a credit union would be the perfect type of organisation for the church. I shared my vision to set up a credit union with some of my fellow Christians and church leaders and, in 1980, the Pentecostal Credit Union was founded.” The PCU is now one of the financially strongest credit unions in Britain, with an asset base of £11m. It is also an enduring legacy of the Windrush Generation and the UK Black Church. 2020 is a landmark year for the PCU, and its CEO, Shane Bowes, will be spearheading celebrations for its 40th Anniversary, which will include: • a free Thanksgiving Service at St Martin-in- the-Field, where the Bishop of Southwark will speak; there will be an ensemble from Europe’s first BAME Orchestra, Chineke! and singing by the London Adventist Chorale; • a gala banquet to be hosted by the BBC’s Clive Myrie, with a fine dining menu prepared by celebrity chef James Cochrane, and after-dinner reflections from Dame Floella Benjamin. Find us on Twitter and Facebook: @KeepTheFaithmag

A beautiful and passionate woman for God, Iveline Jones in 1956

Shane said: “The PCU is proud of its many achievements over the past 40 years. We have come a long way since Rev Carmel Jones launched the PCU in 1980, opening the first account with just a pound.” The history of the PCU straddles two great and noble heritages: the history of the Black-majority Pentecostal church movement in the UK, and the history of community banking that finds its roots in the African tradition of Esusu. Esusu describes traditional forms of co-operation in African societies, whereby groups of individuals contribute to informal savings and credit associations for their mutual benefit. People helping people. These practices migrated to the Caribbean at the time of the transatlantic slave trade. In Jamaica, the practice is called ‘pardner’, while in other Caribbean islands it is called ‘syndicate’, ‘box hand’ or ‘susu’. These community banking systems operate outside of the formal legal and financial systems, and function solely on allegiance, mutual trust and the integrity of the participants. Windrush migrants brought the practice of Esusu to the UK, and it flourished here as a result of the financial exclusion they experienced through the discriminatory practices of the UK banks at that time. Esusu (and its variations) assisted many people of the Windrush era with making major purchases, such as funding mortgages and paying the travel and other costs of family members joining them here, but it wasn’t the only community banking system that Caribbean

Windrush migrants brought here. The first recorded British credit union was the Hornsey Cooperative (now the London Capital Credit Union), which was established in 1964 in North London by Caribbean families. Credit unions then (and today) are one of the most popular forms of banking in the Caribbean. According to the World Council of Credit Unions, the countries with the highest percentage of credit union members in the economically active population were: Barbados (82%), Ireland (75%), Grenada (72%),


FEATURE 25

Shane Bowes

Trinidad & Tobago (68%), Belize (67%), St Lucia (67%), St Kitts & Nevis (58%), Jamaica (53%), Antigua and Barbuda (49%)… The Caribbean representation here is overwhelming. At the same time that pardner was flourishing, so too was the growth of the Black-majority Pentecostal church. The Caribbeans, who came to the UK in the 1950s and 60s, were people of faith. Many had attended the traditional denominations (Anglican, Methodists, Baptist, URC) in their native islands, and were surprised when they were not embraced in those same churches over here. Although turned away by traditional churches, the new migrants were welcomed by the Pentecostal churches that were springing up in people’s homes across London, and in any town or city where there was a sizeable Black population. They offered lively worship, support, and a community of like-minded people of similar background, providing Christian inspiration and sustenance to those West Indians creating a new life in Britain. This 40th Anniversary year gives the PCU an opportunity to reflect on its many successes, which include providing finance to enable ministers to buy buildings. Churches purchased with a PCU loan include the flagship Ruach City Church in Brixton, south London; New Life Assembly in East Dulwich, south London, and the Church of God in Christ Headquarters in Luton. The PCU provides loans for business and personal use and, since Shane Bowes took over the PCU in 2015, it has extended its reach and impact within its target audience, the Black Pentecostal community.

Levi Roots

Not only is the PCU now one of the strongest credit unions in the country, it also runs numerous initiatives to empower its membership and the wider community and to increase financial awareness. These include free financial capability workshops for Pentecostal churches and church groups throughout the UK; a leadership and personal development programme for members of their Youth Shadow Board, and a business development course for member business start-ups and entrepreneurs, who want to take their business to the next level.

‘Without doubt, the PCU is an organisation that fosters deep respect and pride for its role and accomplishments.’ It has also hosted a number of events, including Solomon’s Room, which was held at the Royal Society in 2018, where Dragon’s Den winner Levi Roots was the guest speaker. The event gave students on the PCU business development course the opportunity to make a pitch to established business owners for funding and support. Without doubt, the PCU is an organisation that fosters deep respect and pride for its role and accomplishments. Influencers within the Black community have nothing but admiration for the PCU. Bishop Delroy Powell, current leader of the New Testament Assembly in the UK, stated: “I am proud of the long association that my organisation has had with the PCU, dating back to its inception. I know first-hand of the relentless efforts and personal sacrifice made by Rev Carmel and the founders to meet the needs of our people when no other help was there. It was the PCU that placed the NTA on the first rung of the ladder of success that today we can own

properties and assets to the value of several million pounds.” Antonia Burrell is founder and CEO of Antonia Burrell Holistic Skincare. She fully welcomes the ethos of the PCU. She explained: “I just believe it’s really healthy to keep money within our community, because it builds strength, gives us leverage and makes us realise we have what we need to move forward. I find the PCU to be a forward-thinking organisation, innovative and professional. It sets a good benchmark of business practice that more of us could follow. I love that they listen and give back.” Mark McIver runs Slider Cuts, a barber shop, whose clients include world champion boxer Anthony Joshua; Brit award-winner Stormzy, and TV presenter Reggie Yates. He was able to get a PCU loan to build his business. He said: “I struggled to get a loan, but the PCU were very helpful and gave me the loan I needed. What I liked is that they are like a corporate company, which has the community at heart.” The PCU’s 40th Anniversary celebrations are taking place at an opportune time. Shane shared: “The PCU has a lot to celebrate. The planned events will give the public the opportunity to hear how the PCU has contributed to the development of the Black community over the years; get insight into our plans for the future, and simply enjoy and applaud an organisation that can be considered a Black business success story.” Visit www.pcuuk.com for more details. Visit http://bit.ly/PCU40th to get tickets for PCU 40th anniversary events.

www.keepthefaith.co.uk


26 FEATURE

5 misconceptions about

introverted leaders T

here are many misconceptions about introversion and, as a result, there is an unfavourable bias towards introverts in our society. In the corporate environment, it is often the case that those who are more vocal are the ones who get recognition and get ahead. The quieter ones often get overlooked. The same can be said in some churches. Here are five misconceptions about introversion that can shape a person’s bias unfavourably towards someone who is introverted. 1. They lack confidence Many people associate introversion with a lack of confidence. A woman told me how her manager had concerns about her, and wanted to have a word about her confidence. Because she is introverted, her manager assumed it meant she lacked confidence, but this woman didn’t have an issue with confidence at all. Many people automatically assume that someone who lacks confidence must be introverted, however extroverts can lack confidence too. And, just because someone is introverted, it doesn’t automatically mean they lack confidence. 2. They are shy Many people mistake introversion and shyness as being the same thing, but to be shy means that someone is nervous or timid in the company of other people. Some introverts are shy, but some extroverts are too. Introversion on the other hand means that someone has more of a focus on things that are internal to their mind, and draw energy from being alone and going inwards. Extroverts focus on things that are external to their mind, and draw energy externally, ie. being around other people. Extroverts can be shy and, in a social setting, if there is a shy extrovert, they’re probably feeling anxious, whereas an introvert in the same environment could just be overstimulated. 3. They are indecisive in meetings In the book, Introverts in the Church by Adam McHugh, there is a quote that says ‘Introverts think to speak, whereas extroverts speak to think’, which sums up how what happens in meetings. The way many meetings are conducted requires on-the-spot responses to questions, but introverts, who prefer to think and reflect before speaking, may come across as indecisive to those who aren’t aware. You may not necessarily see introverts being forthright with their views at meetings, but the voice of reason is often required along with spontaneity when decisions are being made. Both introverts and extroverts have something valuable to contribute, and playing to both strengths at the table makes for a powerful dynamic.

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4. They are fearful of networking Spending lengthy periods in large, noisy social environments is not the best place where introverts want to spend their time. Being in those sorts of situations for too long can be draining for them. Not ones for working the room and making small talk, they prefer deeper, meaningful conversations. Extroverts on the other hand are more likely to be energised by such environments, and by being around people. They often like to ‘work the room’, speaking to as many people as possible. Both introverts and extroverts can be fearful of networking. Being fearful is not the same as finding the environment draining. 5. They are not good at leading others Some people wrongly assume that because introverts are quieter and reserved, they won’t be good at leading others. But this is far from true. Because of their reflective style, introverts are likely to listen carefully to the people they lead, giving them autonomy to develop their own ideas, allowing them to grow and develop. This makes for engaged, motivated team members. Their calm persona doesn’t invoke panic in times of crisis, and can project a reassuring confidence during challenging circumstances. Along with their good listening skills, introverts can be good at building empathy within the teams they lead. This is a critical skill for effective leadership because it helps to build trust.

6. They don’t like public speaking Because introverts don’t want to hog the limelight and are not loud and brash, some people assume they are not going to like public speaking. However, many introverts love public speaking, particularly if it’s a topic they are passionate about. Their introverted, reflective nature makes it easier to develop an awareness of how engaged their audience is, and because introverts prefer not to put the attention on themselves, their delivery focuses on the message and on their audience, and how what they have to say benefits them.

‘Many people automatically assume that someone who lacks confidence must be introverted, however extroverts can lack confidence too.’ There is a need for both introverted and extroverted leaders. Challenging the misconceptions and the perception we have of others will help us to challenge the biases that cause others to be treated less favourably. God created us in His image and, whether introvert, extrovert or in between, He made us different for a reason, because we are all one in Christ Jesus. Carol Stewart is an Executive and Career Coach, who helps introverted women to excel as leaders. She is the author of Quietly Visible: Leading with Influence and Impact as an Introverted Woman, which is available at https://amzn.to/2Zeqty2


FEATURE 27

BY M. JASMYN ALLEN, MSc

A MEASURE OF FAITH

“Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen!” Luke 24:5-6 (NKJV)

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his is a great time of year to measure whether your words and actions are aligned with your beliefs. We stand on the Scripture in Hebrews 11:1 - “Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.” To achieve the vision, we must first believe. Every great act starts with a thought. Proverbs 23:7 teaches that as a man thinks, then so is he. Our thoughts are like the acorn that, when planted in the right environment, will grow into a mighty oak tree. Growing up we used to mimic each other on the playground with the song, ‘Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.’ I believed that no matter what anyone said, there was no harm being done. As I got older, however, I learned that this was untrue.

The Bible teaches that words are powerful. In Genesis, we learn that God spoke and things came into being. In the book of Mark, Jesus spoke and the very elements stood still. In Matthew, He spoke, and demonic spirits took flight and the fig tree shrivelled to its demise. The things we see, hear and experience create a library of concepts that are used to shape our thoughts, which drive our speech, our behaviour and determine our results. Proverbs 18:21 teaches that we have the power of life and death in our tongue. To operate in faith, we must speak beyond what we see. One of the scriptural examples of stepping out in faith can be found in Matthew 14:22-23, when Peter stepped out of the boat in the midst of a storm, and walked on water towards Jesus. It’s an amazing thought: if he can do it, then so can I. Like Peter, it is easy for many of us to exercise what I refer to as ‘second-generation faith’, where we are only required to muster up enough courage to follow something seen. Leading up to His crucifixion, Jesus told His disciples that after three days He would rise from the dead. We read in Luke 24 that immediately after the Sabbath, the women – Mary Magdalene, Johanna, Mary the mother of James and a few other women - went to Jesus’ tomb with spices to continue the burial rituals in line with the Jewish custom. Upon arriving at the tomb, they were surprised to be greeted by two angels where Jesus’ body once laid. The angels turned to the women and asked: “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen!” Luke 24:5-6 (NKJV). For these women, there was no blueprint to follow. They found themselves in a live test environment that required them to

draw from what they had previously heard and experienced, in order to respond to a new series of events that would create one of the greatest paradigm shifts known to man.

‘The things we see, hear and experience create a library of concepts that are used to shape our thoughts,which drive our speech, our behaviour and determine our results.’ Abraham Lincoln once said: “Actions speaks louder than words.” The women coming to the tomb with spices demonstrated they did not expect to find a resurrected Jesus. If they were hoping to find Jesus alive, they would have walked with items to present to a living Jesus - rather than the spices to dress His corpse. Our actions are the telltale of what we truly believe. Hoping and declaring for things to shift is one piece of the faith puzzle. As James 22:14 teaches, faith also requires action. Our words and actions must align with our beliefs. God is not slack concerning His promises (2 Peter 3:9) so, as you continue through 2020, expect God to keep His Word. He is risen! M. JASMYN ALLEN Founder of SOIL: Step Out In Leadership Author of SOIL: Step Out in Leadership Vision Journal (ISBN: 9780368063404) www.soilconference.com Email: soilconference@gmail.com

www.keepthefaith.co.uk


28 COMMENT

How do you handle doubts and self-condemnation? REV STEPHEN BROOKS New Jerusalem Church, Birmingham

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know all too well how easy it is to be hard on yourself. I’m regularly my own worst critic. Whether it’s after writing an article or delivering a sermon, I wonder if it was good enough. The fear of failure and external criticism is one of the biggest hindrances humans face, causing stunted personal growth and missed opportunities. On one side, we are confronted with the reality of self-condemnation and, on the other, the hope we now have in Christ. Jesus began His ministry with a message different from the message of the religious leaders of His day. He proclaimed that He came to “set the captives free” (Luke 4:18). This message is still relevant today. How do you handle doubts regarding your salvation, or how do you handle self-condemnation when your heart keeps telling you “You are no good and you don’t belong to God”? The Apostle Paul, in Romans 4 and 5, explains the idea of ‘justification’, which means because Jesus, who was totally innocent and sinless, pleaded guilty in our place, we are forgiven, declared not guilty, and are set free. In 1 John 3, John was dealing with the problem of believers who doubted their salvation. We are going to see two reasons why someone would doubt their salvation. John’s primary purpose is outlined in 1 John 5:13: “These things I have written to you who believe in the Name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.” Here were people who said: “I believe in Jesus Christ”, and yet they were still having doubts about their salvation. Why? Someone was telling the believers a lie that they really weren’t saved and were able to deceive them. 1 John 2:26 says: “These things I have written to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you.” In John’s day, there was a group of people in the church who were saying: “You really don’t know God; you really don’t have salvation because you don’t have superior knowledge like we have.” They were saying: • if you want to have salvation, you have to have a special revelation, a special knowledge and superior intelligence. • all flesh is evil, and it doesn’t matter what you do with your bodies; they are evil anyway. (They were talking about a separation of the physical and the spiritual.) Find us on Twitter and Facebook: @KeepTheFaithmag

But John is saying: “No, don’t listen to them, they are trying to deceive you. If you believe in Jesus Christ, you do have eternal life because the Holy Spirit is in you.” They had doubts because: • they were hearing teaching that was different to the truth. This is one thing that will cause you to doubt your salvation. Someone may say: “If you plait your hair, you are not saved.” Then you begin to doubt. This is a doctrinal doubt; it stems from a teaching that tells you that if you do not believe a certain way, behave a certain way or do a certain thing, then you are not saved. • they were having problems - not only externally with what they were hearing, but internally as well. They believed they were not saved; their heart condemned them. When self-condemnation or doubt comes, how do you handle it? How have you behaved since the day you accepted Jesus Christ and were born again? You may have failed now, but have you always failed in the past? Has there been a change in your behaviour? Now, when your heart condemns you, look at your past track record; don’t look at one single incident. If you do, it will distress you. You need to look at God’s completed work at Calvary. Trust Him that it is over, finished, forgotten, no longer there, ended … You get the message! 1 John 3:18-20 says “Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth. We will know by this that we are of the truth, and will assure our hearts before Him, in whatever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts and knows all things.” If God is not condemning you, you look past your heart to God. 2 Peter 3:9: “God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” Did you come to repentance? God is a God of truth, a God of mercy, a God of love, a God of compassion. He is not willing that any should perish. Is your heart condemning you? The Bible is the answer. • ‘The Lord redeems the life of His servants, and no one who takes refuge in Him will be condemned’ (Psalm 34:22). • ‘He blots out our sins and does not think of them’ (Isaiah 43:25). • ‘He does not punish us for all

our sins or deal with us harshly as we deserve’ (Psalm 103:10). • ‘There is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus’ (Romans 8:1). • ‘If we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness’ (1 John 1:9). It’s important to note that there is a difference between condemnation and conviction. The Holy Spirit will let us know when we’ve sinned by convicting us. The Holy Spirit doesn’t aim to make us feel ashamed, unworthy or fearful, but leads us to repentance. Condemnation, on the other hand, is brought on by the devil, and he wants to make you feel unworthy, afraid and guilty. He will often invade your thoughts or use people to undertake his assignment. The Gospel is good news for all who have made mistakes, and it’s the best news in the world for people who struggle with feelings of self-condemnation.


. y a d y r e v e t s r i h t Rose fights . s i s i r c e t a m i l c r This is he Drought is pushing Rose and her family to the brink. You could help her community build an earth dam, providing the water she needs to live.

Get involved this Christian Aid Week at caweek.org Christian Aid is a key member of ACT Alliance. Eng and Wales charity no. 1105851 Scot charity no. SC039150 Company no. 5171525 Christian Aid Ireland: NI charity no. NIC101631 Company no. NI059154 and ROI charity no. 20014162 Company no. 426928. The Christian Aid name and logo are trademarks of Christian Aid. Printed exclusively on material sourced from responsibility managed forests Š Christian Aid February 2020 J168432


30 COMMENT

FOOD 4

THOUGHT marciadixonpr.co.uk

marciadixonpr

BY

MARCIA DIXON

A leading PR specialist and journalist

The insidious problem of racism

Marcia-Dixon-Public-Relations

Sharing the Greatest Easter Love Story

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he story of Easter is one of the greatest love stories the world has ever heard. John 3:16 succinctly explains it like this: ‘For God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son, so that whosever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” The story is a well-known one. God hates sin so much that He sent His Son to be the atonement for human wrongdoing. Jesus Christ willingly died on the cross - enduring great pain and brutality in the process - so that He could be the ultimate sacrifice and, in doing so, paved the way for humanity to experience God’s salvation, forgiveness of sin and eternal life. This Easter story is a powerful one, because it shows the strength of God’s love for humanity and the lengths to which He was prepared to go in order to be in relationship with us.

Christians must not be scared of sharing, telling or preaching this story, especially so in our current environment, when so many other stories about how our lives and characters can be transformed compete for our attention. However, if we are not careful, other stories will not only get our attention, but surpass the attention we give to the Easter story. We live in an age where storytelling is in vogue. Everybody wants to tell their story - so much so that when some people are invited to preach, they spend more time talking about their own story rather than telling God’s story. Whilst nothing is wrong with an individual sharing their testimony of God’s grace and mercy in their lives, there is something wrong when the storyteller allows the relating of their personal experience to supersede telling God’s story, which recounts His love for humanity and the lengths He went to - and will continue to go to - in order to have a relationship with His creation. The epistles of John have a major focus on God and love. The two words are inseparable. In fact, 1 John 4 constantly states ‘God is love’. And the story of that love must be constantly told via the sharing of the Easter story. And, whilst the death of Christ on the cross is a key focus, His glorious resurrection should be also. As this special time of year approaches, we’ll get ample opportunities to not only hear this fantastic story of God’s love for us, but to share it too. Let’s make sure when we tell this story we do so honestly and authentically – all the while letting people know that they are loved and that God is love.

Supporting Men’s Mental WHOLEness In recent months, there has been a growing number of events and initiatives which focus on men. Whether prayer services, seminars on mental or physical health or therapy sessions, there is a move to see men experience wholeness. I see this as a positive development. God has called men to be leaders in their homes, communities and in wider society. Whenever they are in pain, have unresolved personal issues, or are behaving out of character, it impacts on their ability to be the leaders God has called them to be. The ‘man up’ advice - usually given to men when they act up or ask for help – just doesn’t cut it anymore, and the Black community (and the men themselves) are realising they need more support, encouragement and help in order to be victorious men of God. It’s imperative for the church to support initiatives aimed at men; firstly, because it has a major role to play in helping people fulfil their purpose, and secondly, our churches need men. Full stop. The end.

Find us on Twitter and Facebook: @KeepTheFaithmag

There has been a lot of talk in the media about racism lately, following the decision of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to make a life abroad in Canada. It’s a decision partly inspired by the negative media coverage Meghan has received since she married into the royal family. The ensuing discussion about their decision brought to the fore the issue of racism. It was discussed throughout mainstream TV and press media – and what a discussion it was. There were occasions where it got extremely heated. Those discussions begged the question of how should the Black community respond to racism in general. It’s an aspect of life we’ve had to deal with ever since we came to live in the UK en masse. A talk with an academic helped to work out in my own mind the strategy we could employ to deal with the insidious problem of racism. Firstly, we need the campaigners/ agitators who call out racism unequivocally when they see it, and challenge the perpetrators of it to make the changes needed to eradicate racism from their structures. Secondly, we need individuals who will work to build the capacity, skill, strength and knowledge of the Black community. Thirdly, we need those in the Black community to fearlessly pursue their educational, career and business aspirations, as well as become part of British institutions. The church has and should continue to work alongside those who champion racial justice. We must do so, not only because it’s a good thing to do, but also because our faith demands it. We are all made in God’s image, and when someone is treated badly because of their race, it’s an attack on a greatly valued member of God’s creation.


COMMENT 31

Easter, Eostre, Passover or Pesach? I

t’s interesting that, of the two major Christian festivals in the UK – Christmas and Easter – Easter is the only one that’s actually biblical, though its name is not. Christmas (‘Christ’s Mass’), the traditional celebration of Christ’s birth in the West, was held on a date that originally celebrated the birth of Mithras (the pagan ‘god’ of light) and the Roman deity, Sol Invictus, thanks to the influence of the Roman Emperor Constantine and the Roman Catholic Church. The Jewish Seder service, commemorated by Jesus and His disciples before His betrayal and arrest, is kept by observant Jews throughout the world, Jewish believers in Jesus and Gentile Christians interested in the Hebraic roots of their faith. It recalls the escape from slavery in Egypt more than 3,000 years ago, as indicated in Deuteronomy, Exodus, Ezekiel, Leviticus and Numbers. Among the evocative symbols used today, the meal contains bitter herbs that recall the bitterness of slavery, and a mix of apples, nuts, cinnamon and wine that represent the mortar used to make bricks (Exodus 5). Salt water symbolises the tears of slavery, a roasted lamb shank bone commemorates the paschal sacrifice made on the night God’s chosen people fled from Egypt, and unleavened bread represents the haste in which God’s people left, without having time for their bread to rise (Deuteronomy 16:3). Another symbol, a roasted egg, represents the sacrificial offerings made in the temple. But, with eggs having been coloured and decorated by ancient pagan communities, it’s not surprising that, thanks to the eventual influence of pagan converts to Christianity, they eventually became a prominent part of the Easter festival. This may well explain the season’s excessive emphasis on chocolate eggs. Easter, for many, thanks to materialistic imperatives and our love of sugar and spice and all things nice, tends to have more to do with chocaholic consumption than spiritual contemplation. But why do people celebrate the festival on a different date from that of the Jewish Passover

known and celebrated by Jesus in Matthew 26, Mark 14 and Luke 22? The early Christians, both Jewish and Gentile, were aware of the Hebrew calendar, and marked Jesus’ death and resurrection by continuing to hold their commemorative meal at the same time as the Jewish Passover. In 325, however, the First Council of Nicaea formally established independence from the Jewish calendar, and imposed worldwide uniformity, bringing the much-debated issue of when to celebrate the festival to an end. Sadly, the Council stated that, ‘it is unbecoming beyond measure that on this holiest of festivals we should follow the customs of the Jews. Henceforth, let us have nothing in common with this odious people.’ So, while Christians in the West celebrate Easter on one date, Jews celebrate Passover on another – despite the obvious connection between the two. It’s unfortunate too that the name which UK Christians use for the festival commemorating Jesus’ death and resurrection – like the egg and Easter bunny symbols that threaten to supplant it – may also have pagan roots. The name is said to originate from that of the Saxon goddess of fertility, Eostre. So, because

GARY CLAYTON

is Copywriter and Editor at Mission Aviation Fellowship: www.maf-uk.org

dawn signifies the rebirth of the day, Eostre’s festival was apparently associated with the rebirth of spring. When the Saxons reached Britain in the 5th century, the fertility rituals involving eggs, chicks and hares came with them. Later, when they converted to Christianity, the Saxons commemorated Jesus’ sacrificial death and miraculous return to life instead. However, because the date mandated by the Council of Nicaea sometimes coincided with the month of Eostre’s feast (said by the 8th century monk Bede to have been held in April), the church in Britain called the festival ‘Easter’. Easter, some say, is also connected with the name of the Norse goddess Ostara, whose ‘sacred animal’ was said to be a hare – although there’s little actual evidence for me to pull this particular rabbit out of the hat! It is however interesting that, although the festival is called Easter in the UK and USA, and in Germany is referred to as Ostern, in other countries Easter is referred to as Påske (Danish and Norwegian), Pasen (Dutch), Pääsiänen (Finnish), Pâques (French), Pascha (Greek, Latin and Polish), Paskah (Indonesian), Pasqua (Italian), Paskha (Russian), Pascua (Spanish) and Påsk (Swedish). The names, unlike Easter or Ostern, are all derived from the Jewish word Pesach – Passover! How wonderful it is, this side of the Cross, that Jesus’ sacrificial death not only brings eternal life and provides forgiveness of sin but – throughout the ages – has inspired believers to fight poverty, slavery, illiteracy, poor living conditions and political injustice. Let’s pray that, this Easter, people will feast on the true meaning of what the festival is really about, rather than totally missing the point and concentrating on the calorific content of expensively overpriced chocolate. Gary Clayton is married to Julie, and father of Christopher (16) and Emma (13). He is Copywriter and Editor at Mission Aviation Fellowship. To learn how MAF’s fleet of 131 light aircraft bring the love of the resurrected Christ to Africa and the Asia-Pacific region, visit www.maf-uk.org www.keepthefaith.co.uk


32 COMMENT

The dangerous collusion of DIONNE GRAVESANDE

Global Ecumenical Relations at Christian Aid

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he idea that some of the behaviours we see in churches could drive some women and men over the edge, is an idea seldom contemplated. After all, abuse of any sort is seen as wrongdoing, right? Therefore, any message that follows should make the church’s stance and conscience clear, right? In recent times, I have had to state and restate this message and, in all honesty, it troubles me. I have found that when considering theology and any sort of emotional abuse, we have to realise that religious or spiritual factors are central to a victim’s understanding and response. As we unpack and explore, we find either his/her own faith and the support of Church can be vital in helping the healing process, while a lack of understanding regarding the biblical perspective on abusive relationships by the victim - or those he/she turns to for spiritual guidance and support - can add to the emotional, physical and financial hurdles already faced. In a further attempt to unpack this a bit more, it seems very few (beyond those interested in research projects) are interested in examining just how churches contribute to creating a perfect storm of complicit behaviours. These behaviours often have tragic results for those suffering abuse. Those in the fold are unlikely to find topics such as abuse whether domestic, physical or emotional - palatable, especially when presented in combination.

silence

The lived experience of people (women, in particular) is a collusion of silence and a denial of this powerful influence. Ironically, many churches have created programmes for ostracised and marginalised victims with messages of care and support. They are a safe space away from the harm and the aggression of overt bullies. So, an expectation is set up that churches can play a constructive role in healing. Hope is offered. Connections are made. Relationships are forged. Time is spent… but here I offer a word of caution. If the main presenting issue is not dealt with, then hope is dashed. As any psychologist will tell you, hopelessness is a very dangerous state to be in for too long. There are still a few churches that will advocate the idea of “praying the problem away” with a belief “nothing is impossible for God”. And while I too believe this, we cannot ignore the research and experience of care professionals, which tell us the behaviours of systematic abusers do not change without structured intervention.

‘As caring and restorative spaces, our churches need to realise the dynamics we are helping to create within our congregations’

Additionally, in many churches we teach that what happens away from Church is your ‘private business’, meaning that desperate women and men may start to see other actions as a viable and reasonable way out of their misery. This should start alarm bells ringing within the sphere of leadership. But having conversations about these kinds of taboo issues is almost nonexistent in many churches, and so both women and men are left to struggle, meditate and fend for themselves - without any support. As caring and restorative spaces, our churches need to realise the dynamics we are helping to create within our congregations. Together, we need to sort out our contradictions, own up to our deficits, and realise that mercy and justice are the fingerprints of God’s DNA. It is time to sing a different tune to those who are wounded among us. If churches cannot offer hope then we need to change, lest our witness is ineffective. So, as we prepare for Easter, let us remember the act of the Last Supper, and that after Jesus’ death, there is the life in the resurrection. Jesus continually reminds the disciples to be prepared. More importantly, He said He was preparing a place for them. This “large furnished room” of the Gospel is also our spacious and vast home here below. It is called the Church, where there is - and must be - room for everyone, particularly those who are suffering, marginalised and treated unjustly. As Christians, we declare God alone is sovereign. It was true then and remains true today. Therefore, the Old Testament prophets, whom we draw inspiration from, can be seen as women and men speaking out, and they were anything but silent. Instead, they spoke about tough issues in public, with an emphasis on doing what is right and just. These messages must remain at the heart of the Gospel message. The Easter message is a message for everyone. It is here we see and hear the real perspective of God, found in acts of reconciliation and restoration - none of which can come about without justice, kindness and humility for all peoples everywhere. Happy Easter to all!

Find us on Twitter and Facebook: @KeepTheFaithmag


COMMENT 33

Endings are actually new beginnings ESTHER KUKU Journalist and Communications Professional. Love God, love life, love people Twitter: @mew36

No one plans a wedding, thinking they will be planning a divorce ten years down the line. Neither do they invest all their life savings into a business, expecting to lose everything they have years later. But our God lets nothing go to waste. No disappointment large or small can destabilise His purpose for our lives. Setback maybe... Cancel out, no. Not unless we allow that to happen. It isn’t wrong to feel disappointed - it’s a feeling – but, as with most things, it’s how we respond to that feeling and the ensuing actions that are important. Identify the difficulties that have come your way, and be honest about how they can be used to transform you into a better version of yourself. As I look back over my life, I have to recognise that some of the greatest things that have happened stem from a seed of difficulty and disappointment. There’s a real opportunity to reset and start afresh when things don’t go the way we want them to.

My favourite Christian holiday is Easter. It’s all about resurrection power and newness of life. Because Christ rose from the grave, the dreams we thought were dead can rise again. We are Easter people. Look at what you are going through today - the areas that hurt, that bring fearful thoughts - and ask, How is this leading me towards a new beginning? How is this bringing me to a higher place? Psalm 34:10 says: ‘The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.’ God promises that those who seek Him will lack no good thing, which means, if something is good - and it’s His will for your life to have it - He will give it to you. Now that’s a difficult message if you’re reading this, and you truly believe God called you to married, parents or employed, and right now you’re not. God is in the business of making all things new. His healing brings restoration beyond our natural understanding - no matter where you are, who you are or what you’ve done.

His mercies are new every morning, and great is His faithfulness (Lamentations 3:22-24). Another verse says: “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland” (Isaiah 43:18-19). God calls us to let go of former hurts and disappointments, so we can cling to the new bright tomorrow He has for each of us. His plan of renewal means you can have peace in the midst of turbulent times, that whatever happens you win, and always remember that “every ending is a new beginning. Through the grace of God, we can always start again” (Marianne Williamson).

www.keepthefaith.co.uk


34 LIFESTYLE

Help give new hope this Easter

JAMES

James had been waiting for seven years for a kidney transplant, and had started to lose hope in ever finding a match. However, he held on to his faith in God healing him. In March 2018, during the Easter season, James received that ever-important call. James enthuses: “To get the call just made me feel on top of the world. I thought to myself, God has finally answered my prayers.” As a kidney patient on the donor transplant list, there is one phone call every patient wants to receive - the call from the hospital saying: “We might have a compatible donor kidney for you. Can you get here as soon as possible?” That call is simply life-changing. Easter 2018 was that life-changing moment for James.

BISHOP DEXTER EDMUND

James received the gift of hope from a very special person. He received something very precious that Easter: a donated kidney that transformed his life. “I feel the stranger who donated their kidney to me must have been an angel sent by God. He (or she) must have a large heart full of human kindness. I am eternally grateful to this person.” Right now, around 600 Black people across the UK are waiting for an organ transplant. The vast majority are waiting for a kidney transplant and for many the best match will come from someone with the same ethnic background. However, the shortage of donors from the Black community means that some patients will die waiting. Bishop Dexter Edmund, Head of Bethel Churches UK, said: “We serve a Saviour who gave His life for the world, and so our very relationship with Jesus is based upon giving. He died so that we could live. By donating our organs, we also have a great opportunity to give the gift of life. I encourage

you to do so.” James said: “Joining the NHS Organ Donor Register is so important; you are not only helping the recipient and saving their life, but you are also making a difference to their family. My family and I pray for my donor every day.”

‘By donating our organs, we also have a great opportunity to give the gift of life.’ This Easter, James is especially keen to encourage more people from Black African and Caribbean communities to consider organ donation, and to sign up as donors on the NHS Organ Donor Register. Easter is a time for sharing love and giving - just like Jesus did. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should

not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). From spring 2020, the law around organ donation in England is changing, to help more people pass on more organs to save and improve more lives like James’s. Unless you’ve recorded a decision not to donate, or are in one of the excluded groups, it will be considered that you have agreed to be an organ donor when you die. You still have a choice whether you want to be an organ donor or not when you die, and families will still be involved before organ donation goes ahead. So, this Easter, take the time to make your decision about organ donation. Record it on the NHS Organ Donor Register, and share the decision with your family. One day you could give a fantastic gift. Geraldine-Parker Smith

To find out more about organ donation and to record your choice, visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk Find us on Twitter and Facebook: @KeepTheFaithmag


From 20th May 2020

the law around organ donation in England is changing Unless you choose to opt out, you will be considered to have agreed to be an organ donor when you die. To find out more about your choices, including how to opt out: visit organdonation.nhs.uk or call 0300 303 2094

PASS IT ON


36 LIFESTYLE

ESSENTIALS FOR ENTREPRENEURS

THE VALUE QUESTION KENO OGBO

‘Coffee shops offer immense value to their customers, not just by selling coffee and cakes.’

is a Digital Consultant, Writer and Entrepreneur www.iamkeno.co.uk

T

Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash

he recent global outbreak of the COVID-19 virus brought a halt to many people’s plans and business activities. Most countries in Asia, Europe, the Americas and Australia had reported cases of the virus at the time of writing. Air travel has reduced significantly; tourism and businesses in affected areas have suffered loss and uncertainty. In less than six weeks, the world as we know it has ceased to exist: huge sectors in some countries have been quarantined; movements restricted; guidelines are advertised across all media; governments have rallied to face this new threat - a potential epidemic in the 21st century. In the UK, supermarkets ran out of toilet roll paper and hand sanitiser, as people indulged in panic- induced buying. A coffee shop sells various types of coffee drinks and snacks to its customers - frappucinos, lattes, hot chocolates, sandwiches, cakes and more. You would identify these as their products, and the benefits of the products are several. They: • give you a boost of energy • satisfy your hunger • provide a place for lunch break

Not business as usual For small businesses in affected areas, this was a new threat, but it is not the only threat to businesses. The ease of global travel, as well as the establishment of digital technology, the potential of digital advancements such as AI and blockchain, as well as the ‘changed’ habits of millennials… These are all threats to traditional small businesses. But that is not altogether true; they are mostly opportunities. The COVID-19 outbreak presents opportunities to grow your business - no matter which business sector you belong to. The key issues businesses face is how to define and frame these opportunities in the light of your current business products and services. There is one key question you should ask to help you identify the opportunities, and that is the value question. What value is my business bringing to my customers? It is easy to illustrate this question with an example. Find us on Twitter and Facebook: @KeepTheFaithmag

All this is valid, but the value proposition of a coffee shop is much more than this. It adds value to your life, as it also provides a comfortable secure place for you to meet friends, chill or relax. It enables you to communicate more naturally with the people you meet; it may improve your mental health; it could also ease loneliness for some people, and it could add value to the ‘laptop generation.’ It supports mothers, by providing a safe place to meet other mums and tots. Coffee shops offer immense value to their customers, not just by selling coffee and cakes. To identify a business’s value proposition, it needs to look beyond its products or services to its customers, and beyond its direct customers.

So, whilst employees benefit from a coffee shop, employers benefit as well by not having to provide a cafe. Whilst universities offer value to students by training them, businesses also benefit by having a ‘trained’ workforce. That leads us to the second question - not ‘Who are my customers?’ but ‘Who benefits from the value my business brings?’ Mapping out your customer segments by the value your business brings expands the reach of your business, and further identifies the role your business plays in the lives of your customers. What is the future role of your business to your customers? Customer behaviour is changing, and there are emerging customer cultures. A quick example is ladies shoes. Partying millennials are opting for more comfortable shoes, such as fashion trainers, as opposed to high heels. Climateconscious young people are drinking more water than fizzy drinks, and making healthy choices. Mapping out these changes, as well as emerging threats and new technologies, will identify new ways of delivering services to customers. Our world is no longer predictable; the new buzzword is still ‘disruption’, so it is important that entrepreneurs recognise the value they bring, and take an informed decision on whether it is sustainable.

Did you find this useful? Be part of a growing community of entrepreneurs by connecting with Keno: @spiralwebs @keno_ogbo


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38 LIFESTYLE

God, all I wanted to do was make

cakes! SHANA DAWN LEWIS

a qualified chef for over 25 years, and winner of the Wise Women Award 2020 in the Life Turnaround category

G

rowing up in my West Indian household at Easter and Christmas time, there were certain ‘must-haves’ and ‘must-do’s’. Some to me were a bit odd and, I have to be honest, I’ve not kept up with some of them. For example, a must-do: buy new net curtains EVERY Christmas... I mean REALLY. Who does that? Apparently quite a few people... My mum would start to panic if anything was missing, and I would say to her: “Mum, it’s OK. We’ve got all of the must-haves: sorrel, sweetbread, ginger beer, smoked ham and, of course, the CAKE!” Black, rum, fruit… the name varies according to the season or the island. Today, I’m calling this one ‘Shana’s Easter Fruitcake’, which seems to be my customers’ favourite - and mine too.

Recipe for a 10-inch cake What you will need: · 10” cake tin (round or square) · Electric mixer · Blender · Food scales · Sieve · Plastic spatula · Large serving spoon · Greaseproof paper · Foil

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INGREDIENTS · 10oz of soaked mixed fruit · 10oz self-raising flour · 10oz of softened margarine and some extra on the side, separate · 10oz of brown caster sugar · 5 eggs · Gravy browning · 1 tbsp of vanilla essence · 1 level tbsp of mixed spices · 2 teacups of dark rum, brandy or sherry

METHOD Pre-heat your oven to 160c / Gas 3. Grease your tin with the extra margarine, and line the bottom only with greaseproof paper. Crack your eggs into a small bowl with the vanilla essence. Blend your soaked fruit in the blender, and

sieve your flour into a bowl with the mixed spices. Leave all this to one side for now. Mix the margarine and sugar until well blended together and a little light in texture - not fluffy, as this is a heavier cake than a sponge. Once mixed, turn your mixer off and scrape any mixture from the sides into the centre of the bowl. Turn the mixer back on - on a medium speed - and add your eggs bit by bit until you have all your eggs in. The mixture may look curdled at this point, but don’t worry, this is perfectly normal. Now add your flour, again bit by bit, using the large serving spoon. When all the flour is fully mixed in, add your fruit. You can do this all in one go on a medium speed. Now add your gravy browning; this is what gives the cake it’s deep, rich ‘black’ colour (which is actually brown). About 1/3 of the bottle will be enough. It really depends how dark you want your cake. No need to caramelise the sugar anymore (to get the black cake look) - nor filling your kitchen with smoke!


LIFESTYLE 39

Put the mixture into the tin, and into the preheated oven. Set the timer for 1hr 20mins. When the timer goes off, check cake is cooked by placing a butter knife directly into the centre of the cake. If it comes out ‘wet’ the mixture is still uncooked, so slide the cake back into the oven for a further 15mins. Repeat the knife test if needed until the knife comes out dry. Cool for 20mins before turning out onto a cooling rack. Once cooled right down, start to add your alcohol. This can be done from over a couple hours to a couple of days. The choice is yours. Keep the cake wrapped in greaseproof paper and foil, in a container with a lid. It will keep moist and fresh for weeks… if it lasts that long, lol.

DECORATING THE CAKE (OPTIONAL) · Ready-made icing (1kg packet) · Marzipan · Apricot jam (or any smooth jam you have in the house) · Icing sugar · Rolling pin · Pastry brush Brush jam thinly and evenly over the top of the cake. Lightly dust your work surface with icing sugar and roll out the marzipan. Using the base of the cake tin, cut around it to get the exact size of marzipan to cover the cake, repeat this for the icing also. Add Easter decorations for a festive touch. Enjoy and happy baking! Happy Easter from Shana of Christlike Creations: the maker of all things bright and beautiful.

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Shana Dawn Lewis is mum to two amazing kids, Talia-Jordan (23) and Corban-Jeremiah (17). She lives in Hackney, east London, and works from home, creating and baking bespoke celebration cakes, as well as ‘homely’ traditional all-time favourites. Shana is writing her first book called ‘God, all I wanted to do was make cakes’, which centres around how she has bounced back from having had five brain operations, and how she had to learn to walk, talk and use her hands again properly to make cakes for celebrities. Her faith was tested to the limit, but never doubted God would bring her through it all.

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40 LIFESTYLE

DR T. AYODELE AJAYI is a Consultant Psychiatrist, a radio host, author and is on the pastoral team of his church

Mindset Makeover The science of cultivating a winning mindset

“Mindset is everything!” You have heard that before, haven’t you? But is it, really? Science appears to concur with Scripture on this view: that life flows out of thoughts. Research shows that mindset heavily impacts performance across all spheres of life - from health to relationships, ministry and career. Simply put, mindset can impose a lid on or enhance peak performance.

What is mindset? It is one of those words that are thrown around, but each person has their personal meaning. Mindset is a set of powerful beliefs - how you have set up your mind to think - and determines how we are programmed to respond to life’s circumstances. According to Carol Dweck, a global mindset thought leader, there are two major types of mindset. The fixed mindset believes talent and intelligence are fixed states that you can do little to improve or change. It is a core belief that only talent and intelligence lead to success, but they cannot be improved upon. Fixed mindset deems effort to be of no benefit to influencing results. An avoidance of challenges is therefore common, in order to avert failure. The fixed mindset tends to personalise setbacks and failures. It takes constructive criticism hard, and gets upset by it. Conversely, the growth mindset acknowledges that, with the right processes and efforts, and applied long enough, expertise in any field can be achieved. It takes personal accountability for outcomes. It holds that learning and intelligence can grow with time and experience. Those with a growth mindset understand the importance of effort on success, and are willing to put in the hard work required. They believe basic abilities, such as talents and intelligence, are a starting point for what can be achieved in life. Research shows that most world changers Find us on Twitter and Facebook: @KeepTheFaithmag

hold a growth mindset. In fact, so crucial is the link of this trait to optimal performance that it is one of those that large corporate employers, like NASA, seek in recruitment of space engineers.

Brain is Adaptable The good news is you can change your mindset. Many years ago, neuroscience taught that the brain was fixed. Now we know that the brain is adaptable, and can grow in size, speed of function, and also in complexity of its connections. In effect, the brain is able to transmit signals quicker and with greater efficiency, resulting in better performance.

Cultivating a Growth Mindset Recognition of areas of fixed mindset is key to breaking their limiting holds. Begin to pay attention to your self-talk and inner dialogue, looking for features of a fixed mindset. The next step is to recognise and reclaim the power of choice. When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change (Max Planck, Quantum theorist and Nobel Prize winner). How you interpret setbacks, challenges and detours is your choice, and yours alone. It is entirely within your control. Viewing challenges as opportunities to be embraced for growth rather than insurmountable hurdles to be avoided - is crucial to a winning mindset.

Rethink Learning To cultivate a growth mindset, prioritise learning over seeking approval. Shift your focus from what others think about you, to bettering yourself. Rather than focusing on results or outcomes, place emphasis on enjoying the learning process. Part of that pleasure is to choose learning well over learning fast. That includes seeing mistakes as opportunities for reversed learning. Learning can result both from knowing how to, but also how not to. Making mistakes does not make one a failure until one personalises the experience. The mistake doesn’t have to be yours. You can learn so much from those who have arrived where you are headed. Mentoring from world-class captains of any industry is now easily accessible from books and online resources. Embracing constructive criticism is another powerful way of learning. Instead of taking feedback personally, focus on what you can take away. Grit, the ability to stay the course on a long haul goal - and remain committed when faced with obstacles - is another feature of the growth mindset. The good thing is that grit can be cultivated. Putting the ‘why’ for your journey on a vision board, in a place that you can see it daily, is one way to develop grit. Finally, to cultivate the growth mindset, allow yourself time. The notion that it takes 21 days to form a new habit is a myth. It apparently originated from a 1960s article, when a plastic surgeon noted it took that long for patients to get used to face transplants. Recent research from University College London concludes that habit formation is variable from 18 to 254 days, based on the complexity of the task. Remember, new habits require rewiring brain connections, so be gentle on yourself during your journey to cultivating a winning mindset.


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42 LIFESTYLE

KNOW YOUR CUSTOMER RIGHTS BY AMANDA HAMILTON,

CEO OF NALP

I

f you sell directly to consumers, you are very likely to experience customers who want to return a purchase. Perhaps they don’t like the product you supplied, or it turns out to be faulty. From a purely legal standpoint, without a receipt you are not obliged to give them a refund, but of course you may feel that doing so is worth it for the goodwill. In fact, without a receipt, there’s not a lot a customer can do. But, if they do have a receipt, it’s a totally different story. Whether the gift was bought in-store or online, there are some pretty strong and clear consumer rights relating to returns: the 2015 Consumer Rights Act. This Act was updated to provide clearer shopping rights, especially when returning items bought online, including digital downloads. QUALITY As with previous legislation, under the Consumer Rights Act all products must be of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose and as described. The rules also include digital content in this definition. So, all products - whether physical or digital - must meet the following standards: • As described. The goods supplied must match any description given, or any models or samples shown at the time of purchase. • Fit for purpose. The goods should be fit for the purpose they are supplied for, as well as any specific purpose you made known to the customer before they agreed to buy the goods. • Satisfactory quality. Goods shouldn’t be faulty or damaged when received. You should ask what a reasonable person would consider satisfactory for the goods in question. For example, bargain-bucket products won’t be held to as high standards as luxury goods. If what your customer has bought doesn’t satisfy any one of the three criteria outlined above, they have a claim under the Consumer Rights Act against the retailer (seller) as opposed to the manufacturer. What your customer can claim depends on how much time has passed since they physically took ownership of the goods. 30-DAY RIGHT TO REJECT Under the Consumer Rights Act, a consumer has an absolute legal right to reject goods that are of unsatisfactory quality, unfit for purpose or not Find us on Twitter and Facebook: @KeepTheFaithmag

as described, and get a full refund - as long as they do this quickly, within 30 days of taking ownership. One takes ownership of the goods when one pays for them in a store and takes them away, or when the goods are delivered to a person who has paid online. OUTSIDE OF THE 30 DAYS If a customer is outside the 30-day right to reject, they have to give you, as a retailer, one opportunity to repair or replace any goods or digital content which are of unsatisfactory quality, unfit for purpose or not as described. If the attempt at a repair or replacement is unsuccessful, the customer can then claim a refund, or a price reduction if they still wish to keep the product. LESS THAN SIX MONTHS If your customer discovers a fault within the first six months of having the product, it is presumed to have been there since the time they took ownership of it - unless you can prove otherwise. If they would prefer to keep the goods in question, they can request an appropriate price reduction. SIX MONTHS OR MORE If a fault develops after the first six months, the burden is on the customer to prove that the product was faulty at the time they took ownership of it. In practice, this may require some form of expert report, opinion or evidence of similar problems across the product range. A customer has six years to take a claim to the small claims court for faulty goods in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. DIGITAL CONTENT The Consumer Rights Act defines digital content as ‘data which are produced and supplied in digital form.’ Just like goods, digital content must be: • fit for a particular purpose • as described by the seller • of satisfactory quality

If digital content does not conform to these criteria, a customer has the right to a repair or replacement of the digital content they’ve bought. So, effectively, the 2015 statute is a very useful piece of legislation to protect consumer rights - not only relating to purchased items but also in respect of the supply of services as well. However, what if the item is not faulty, but they simply don’t like it? Can they ask for a refund or exchange? Most stores, online or otherwise, will give customers a period of time to get a refund in such circumstances. Some offer such a high level of customer service that they will give a refund on returned goods after a ‘reasonable’ period of time, provided the returned item is as new and a receipt is produced. But beware, you do not have to legally do so outside of your specified deadline. If you do end up in a stalemate with a customer, and feel you need additional help, then engaging a suitably qualified and licenced paralegal can be a much cheaper option than using a solicitor. Paralegals can do most of the same work as solicitors (with a few exceptions, known as reserved activities), and charge considerably less. Ensure your paralegal is licenced and registered with a membership body, such as NALP (National Association of Licenced Paralegals).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Amanda Hamilton is Chief Executive of the National Association of Licenced Paralegals (NALP), a non-profit membership body, and the only paralegal body that is recognised as an awarding organisation by Ofqual (the regulator of qualifications in England). Through its training arm, NALP Training (trading as National Paralegal College), accredited recognised professional paralegal qualifications are offered for a career as a paralegal professional.

For more information visit www.nationalparalegals.co.uk and www.nalptraining.co.uk


LIFESTYLE 43

Get your head back in the game by Marnita Coleman, ‘Faith For The Family’ Global Music Link Editorial Team

MARNITA COLEMAN is an author and host of The Marnita Show, a parenting show aired daily across the globe

H

ave you ever self-examined your heart? No, not your physical heart that pumps blood throughout your body, but your spiritual heart, where thoughts are produced and habits are developed. As you probably know, self-examinations and annual check-ups are highly recommended as a preventative health maintenance approach for the physical heart. However, what is the application for self-examination of your spiritual heart, and of your mind? Since mental concerns are on the rise, let’s learn how to self-examine what is truly going on in our minds. First, the mind is a critical component of one’s life; a person’s life flows in the direction of their thoughts. King Solomon determined, “For as a [man] thinks in his heart [mind], so is he” (Proverbs 23:7). When a person chooses to consistently think negatively, the brain rewires itself to skip past the neurons that transmit positive, happy-go-lucky thoughts, and hones in on the negative ones. Second, a mind check-up is vital to our family life because we share much of the same space. Those neurons are transmitted to the people you associate with most frequently. In short, your children will develop the same mindedness as you. In our culture, we say “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”, to mean that children resemble their parents. In order to self-examine and detect what is going on in your mind, the spiritual and moral compass of the Word of God is recommended. Hebrews 4:12 says: “For the Word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the [mind].” The Word of God will help you locate where you really are, by what comes out of your mouth. Years ago, Dr Cindy Trimm stated that everybody has “issues”. Oftentimes, folk in church assemblies act as though they are flawless, which is very misleading. The truth is, we all have some form of ‘stinking thinking’ that needs to be adjusted. Our heavenly Father’s desire is for us to have an abundant, overflowing, enjoyable-to-the-last-drop kind of life. But there is a formula, and every self-help guru knows the importance of aligning mind, words and actions to get the desired outcome. If you are

oblivious to your own funk, however, spotting your flaws will be a real task. That is why the Word of God works so well to initiate the process, because it pierces even the most deceived soul with truth and love. Why is this important? Can’t a person just be who they are without self-examining the deep recesses of their mind? Sure. The funny thing is, you don’t always notice dysfunctional behaviour in yourself, because you have camouflaged it for so long, but when you see it in your children, it will horrify you.

When we seek the Lord to help us shine a light on ourselves, He addresses it. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden, nor do people light a candle and place it underneath anything to conceal it. Instead, they put it on a lampstand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. The light represents the positive behaviour having a positive effect on the environment of the home (Matthew 5:13-15).

When your mind is healthy, your whole body is filled with light, but when your mind is unhealthy, your whole body is filled with darkness. If, in fact, the light you think that you have is actually darkness, how deceived are you? (Matthew 6:23). Therefore, the goal is to be transformed by meditating on God’s Word day and night, to retrain the neurons in your brain to attract positive neurons. With determination and persistence, old patterns can be broken, and new behaviour can emerge. A self-examination of the mind is a holistic approach to living a more fulfilling and prosperous family life. It’s up to you. The question is: “How bad do you want it?”

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44 LIFESTYLE

For the Love of The Gambia MARTINS AGBONLAHOR is a freelance journalist and author of Killing Them Softly: The Struggle for Women’s Rights in Nigeria

“Jotna!” they shouted vehemently. But for those not familiar with the Gambian politics of today, the phrase means ‘It’s time’ in the language of Wolof. Put succinctly, the rioting people are telling their embattled president, Mr Adama Barrow, that it’s time to vacate the throne or face a showdown. But how did The Gambia’s nascent democracy come to this? Adama Barrow

It all began after the former president, Yahya Jammeh, was defeated in an election held in 2016 and he refused to concede defeat to the victorious amalgam of parties. He breathed fire and brimstone, threatening to “deal mercilessly” with opposing politicians who were trying to “steal” his political mandate. To resolve this impasse, a relatively unknown Adama Barrow, a member of the victorious parties, who had become head, made a pledge that he would govern for a transitional period of three years, after which he would organise a fresh election

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which he himself would not be part of. But tempus fugit (as they say in Latin), and President Barrow, still enjoying the trappings of power, had forgotten to tick off the given years on his fingers, as THREE YEARS suddenly showed its face like a lurking vampire. Therein lies the conundrum. While he believes he has the constitutional right to remain in office for five years - even though that standpoint flies in the face of the agreement reached in 2016 - the Gambian people believe he is spinning a web of tangled lies in the mode of Yahya Jammeh, that intensively corrupt and high-handed ex head of state who, in his coup speech, promised to “stabilise the country within months and return to the barracks”, only for him to install a reign of terror that destroyed every facet of the Gambian economy. At the same time, he was assuming megalomania in his crass deception of being able to “cure HIV-AIDS”, in the face of his country and its people wallowing in abject poverty, filth and degeneracy. That man will, without doubt, make a fascinating case study for a psychiatrist. The current impasse appears to be in defining the line of demarcation between what is morally binding – as per the agreement reached verbally in 2016 – and what is legally binding, as per the provision of the constitution. This is the crux of the matter. But ordinary Gambians, not wanting to be carried away by legalese, believe it is time for President Adama Barrow to vacate the throne. They know better, having previously fallen prey to the sugar-coated promises of their past leader. Only last week, the streets and alleyways of Serrekunda and Fajara were like a beehive, with people shouting themselves hoarse, and armed with machetes, frying pans and cooking spoons in an apocalyptic clatter. Some held stones and rocks with rough edges. “We will pull the president down,” they threatened. This writer implores the rioting Gambians to give peace a chance. It is barely a month since the country recorded the death of 62 citizens, whose boat had capsized off the coast of Mauritania on their way to Europe. The agony is still fresh in our minds, and the pain, excruciating. Of course, they were fleeing the lack of jobs

and the unavailability of basic infrastructures; that is why the politicians, who are currently at daggers drawn with the president, should resort to constructive dialogue, which I think, is more effective than the present diatribe in resolving the country’s problem and moving her forward.

More so, The Gambia is a small country, which thrives chiefly on tourism. We do not need a stargazer, therefore, to tell us the after-effects of these disturbances: a ripple which may snowball into a tidal wave if not well managed, forcing the teeming yearly tourists – the source of the country’s main revenue – to a staycation. This will spell doom and have deleterious effects on The Gambia and its people. The Yellow Vests Movement in France, the Hong Kong’s student protest, the Bolivian skirmish, as well as the Venezuelan uprising, should serve as a silent reminder that anarchy looms around a country that cannot resolve their problems amicably. President Barrow is still sitting tight, assuring the intransigent opposition parties and the disaffected populace that he would hold a general election in 2021, after his ‘political mandate’ (that word again!) has expired. This appeared to have further infuriated the people, who saw his statement like adding insult to injury. It is desperate times in The Gambia, and whether the people would wait another two years amid the various accusations of constitutional jiggery-pokery levied against the president, remains the million-dollar question. Until then – and as events unfold for good or bad - let’s keep The Gambia in our prayers.


MERCY SHIPS UK

PUTTING

Making waves in West Africa

Meet Rosa Whitaker, the President of the pioneering medical charity Mercy Ships. She is a champion of Africa who has been recognised for her work for the continent numerous times. She is passionate about empowering the peoples and nations of Africa to shape their continent’s rise on the global stage. “My dream is that when historians come to tell the story of the 21st Century, Africa’s emergence as a dynamic engine of global growth and prosperity will be one of their major themes. Many interlocking pieces have to fall into place for that dream to be realised. One of those pieces, a critically important one, is health.” Mercy Ships works to address the surgery crisis in Africa. They operate the world’s largest charity-run hospital ship, delivering free, safe medical care to some of the world’s leastdeveloped countries. This floating hospital is staffed almost entirely by volunteers, who give their expertise for free to help treat dental and eye problems, cleft lips and palates, tumours, club feet, childbirth injuries, burns and various other conditions. But it goes deeper than that. “Mercy Ships is doing more than providing much-needed health treatment and life-saving surgeries, we are providing medical training, establishing health partnerships, catalysing health infrastructure development – leaving a legacy and a culture of care when we disembark. We understand that the value of a human life is incalculable. We bring that awareness with us everywhere we go.” One of the biggest challenges that Mercy Ships faces is the level of need in the nations where they operate. “Mercy Ships never leaves a port without all of us wishing we could have done more, reached more patients, and changed more lives. The challenge is to leave behind the knowledge, skills, inspiration and tools that enable our partners to keep doing the more we wished we had done.” “If you want to put a number on the value of the services and materials Mercy Ships has donated over the years, our accountants say it is in the order of £1.2 billion, impacting www.mercyships.org.uk

Above: Rosa Whitaker. Top: Mohammed, Maxillofacial patient with his mother.

more than 2.7 million direct beneficiaries… But… You cannot put a price on hope and healing. You cannot put a price on the joy that a mother experiences when her baby girl’s cleft palate is repaired, enabling the child to be breastfed and sparing her from a lifetime of humiliation. You cannot put a price on what a young boy feels when bandages are removed from his eyes and he finds sight restored.” So, what inspires Rosa in her work with Mercy Ships? “I am inspired by my faith, by the faith, generosity, love and energy of our amazing volunteers and supporters, and by the extraordinary grace, courage and resilience of the people of the continent that calls me. None of this work would be possible without people like you. Mercy Ships exists because of its supporters and volunteers who work to tackle the surgery crisis. If you would like to find out more and how you can help make a difference, go to www.mercyships.org.uk


46 LIFESTYLE

Finding Rest VICTORIA FAGG is the Prayer Communications Leader at MAF UK. A mum, wife and sister, Victoria is currently training to be a minister within Elim and serves as Assistant Pastor at her local church. Extract from ‘Rooted’ – MAF’s prayer journal and devotional Picture the scene. The school bell sounds and, as the heavy-laden students hurry down the long corridor, the headteacher bellows, ‘Walk, don’t run!’ A few years ago, God spoke the same words to me. I saw a picture of me walking through a garden, amazed at the rainbow of colour exhibited in the flowers - the symphony of birdsong dancing around me as I let the fresh breeze of a summer’s day catch my breath. God explained that, when we run through life, we miss the fragrance of the flowers around us. We tune out the song of His creation. Like many of us, I didn’t pay heed to this wisdom. I continued to rush through life from one task to another - finding my value in what I did and missing the truth of who I am as a child of God. That was until recently.

In May last year, I had an accident. A fall down the stairs resulted in a fractured leg and an enforced time of rest. I couldn’t walk let alone run for nearly seven weeks. Healing was slow as I navigated a heavy black boot during the summer months. The first couple of weeks passed in a haze of intolerable pain, frustration and painkillers. I couldn’t sleep properly, and I missed being in the MAF UK office. But I discovered a sense of stillness that I hadn’t experienced before, together with the realisation that it is okay to just ‘be’. Psalm 131:2 captures it like this: ‘I am humbled and quieted in Your presence. Like a contented child who rests on its mother’s lap, I’m Your resting child and my soul is content in You’ (TPT). As I worked from home with the doors open, I would notice the different voices of bird song. I learnt to tell the difference between a pigeon, a blackbird, a sparrow and a parakeet.

Eventually, I was able to navigate the stairs on crutches. My progress was laboured and slow going as I purposefully fixed my attention on every step. Through this, I’ve learned to be truly present. Watching the cat sleep peacefully beside me, I would thank God for my little companion. I now read the Bible with new insight, pondering on the words and the message, and giving thanks for the Holy Spirit who brings life and revelation. I’ve discovered that the sun doesn’t go away just because it’s behind a cloud, that vulnerability is powerful as we admit our weaknesses and allow God and others to step in, and that you can be in a room with someone and miss them completely when you’re busy or distracted. I realise afresh that God made me for Himself. Any ‘works’ I do in His name, although important, are only effective if they’re based on my intimacy with Him. If I don’t have time for that, then I am getting it all wrong. Psalm 46:10 tells us, ‘Be still and know I am God’ and I thank God for how He has revealed Himself again to me in this season of rest and that what He has done in me is becoming rooted and strong even as life gets busy again. For 75 years, Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) has been flying medical relief and life-transforming help to vulnerable people in hard-to-reach places. Serving in 26 developing countries, each flight carries practical help, spiritual hope and physical healing to thousands for whom flying is not a luxury but a lifeline.


Profile for Keep The Faith magazine

Keep The Faith Issue 113  

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