Showing the love

LOVE will be in the air next Wednesday as Valentine’s Day is celebrated with cards, gifts and evenings out. But it’s not only happy couples who are being encouraged to show the love.

Environmental group the Climate Coalition is urging people to make green love hearts to show their concern for the planet in the face of the threat of global warming. Over the past three years thousands of people have joined the campaign, including British astronaut Tim Peake, who sent a green heart back to Earth from the International Space Station.

Shrove Tuesday

Shrove Tuesday is the day before Lent starts. Shrove, or shrive means to be forgiven for sins. In the past, people would go to church to be shriven, to confess their sins and receive forgiveness. People ate simply or fasted during lent to reflect the 40 days Jesus spent fasting in the desert before entering public ministry and also as a reminder of others less fortunate than themselves. So pancakes were a way of using up all the luxury ingredients they had left such as flour, eggs and milk to prepare for lent.

Christianity takes a foothold in China

‘KNICK knack, paddywhack, give a dog a bone.’ This catchy song is sung by a hundred children as English parlourmaid Gladys Aylward (played by Ingrid Bergman) walks them to safety across mountains of war-torn China in the film The Inn of the Sixth Happiness.

After becoming a Christian, the real Gladys was inspired by a book about China. She wanted to go to the country and preach the gospel. The China Inland Mission turned her down, but she decided to go anyway.

A century of votes – but we have a long way to go

Why are this year’s anniversaries significant?

They are important because some people don’t realise that it was just 90 years ago that women’s voting rights came to be the same as men’s. We know people who are 100 years old, so we can look at them and realise that there was a time in their lifetime when women didn’t have equal rights with men. It shows how far we’ve come, but it also reminds us just how far we have to go.

Growing pains

ADOLESCENCE, that period of time when young people are developing into adults, now runs from the ages of 10 to 24, rather than just the teenage years. That’s according to scientists writing in the Lancet Child and Adolescent Health journal.

They have identified that the physical changes of puberty, which used to begin about the age of 14, now start to take place in children as young as 10 years old.

Their report also notes that a person’s brain continues to develop and mature when they are in their twenties.

Salvation Army Poll

Childhood experiences led to a life of caring

WHEN Mitch Menagh was 11 years old and living in the Redheugh Salvation Army Boys’ Home in Kilbirnie, little did he imagine that one day he would return there as a key worker and then go on to become The Savation Army’s director for homelessness services in the UK and Republic of Ireland. But that’s what happened.

Before we talk about his 40 years of working for The Salvation Army, Mitch takes me back even further, to his childhood, where he grew up in ‘a very dysfunctional family’.

Record-breaker put faith first

 A MISSIONARY zeal and an intense talent for sport shaped the destiny of Eric Liddell, whose memorable athletic achievements are portrayed in the 1982 Oscar-winning film Chariots of Fire.

He was born in China to British mis­sionary parents, but in 1920 he went to Edinburgh University, where athletics and rugby played a large part in his life. Between 1921 and 1923 he won seven international caps and several Scottish athletic titles.

With insufficient time for both sports, he chose running but also remained committed to his faith.

There's no place like home

TOMORROW (28 January) is recognised as Homelessness Sunday in churches across the country. It is intended to be an opportunity for Christians to pray, reflect and plan practical action to support people experiencing homelessness.

The number of people needing such practical action and support is growing. According to the Commons public accounts committee, in England alone there are more than 78,000 households that are homeless and living in temporary accommodation, including 120,000 children.