Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Mental health manifesto

Keeping his word, Nick Clegg has put mental health at the top of the agenda for the LibDems election campaign. Today they published a short manifesto on mental health, the first (as far as I know) manifesto document from any of the parties so far.

It's tempting to look askew at the promises made today, given the poor record of the Coalition in mental health funding and practice. But I hope they keep banging on about it. Instead of the usual bidding wars about immigration, cuts and borrowing, it would be great if the parties got into a bidding war about who would secure the best provision for mental illness.

If there are any Libdems reading this, one thing Manifesto for the Mind missed: the NHS needs to stop using the same discharge model that it applies to people with physical aches and breaks. A broken leg heals, a broken mind can recover but remains susceptible. Mental illness is more like cancer, it is a chronic condition more than it is an acute one, discharging patients and then re-assessing them from scratch each time they re-enter the system is bad for the patient and a waste of resources for the system. Mental illness needs to be treated properly, not on models borrowed from clinical practice elsewhere.

Now all we need is a proper debate about family breakdown, which is both a significant cause of mental illness, and a serious problem in its own right. Dave? Ed? Nigel?

Monday, March 23, 2015

Chocolate Easter Talk

A retelling of the Christmas story through chocolate bars was quite popular on this blog a few years back, so here's an Easter version, using a mixture of brands of chocolate Easter egg and other sweets. There is even a Marmite flavoured chocolate Easter egg this year, and that's found its way into the talk. All the choccies and sweets are in red, as are the dreadful egg-related puns. Trial run with a couple of school assemblies tomorrow.....

Feel free to plagiarise, if you can stand it! Any improvements gratefully recieved.

Chocolate Easter
What do Easter eggs, have to do with the very first Easter?
What does all this chocolate have to do with the very first Easter?
Listen, and you will hear. It’s quite eggstraordinary.

There was a man called Jesus.
A Kinder man you couldn’t wish to meet
He loved everyone, welcomed everyone, helped everyone

HobNobbed with the very rich and the very poor and everyone in between
He did amazing things: made sick people better, helped blind people see, made storms into calm
And he said amazing things: if you want to know the God who made the Galaxy, get to know me, said Jesus. I can show you what he’s like better than anyone.
If God and God’s love are the Topic, then I can tell you everything you need to know.

The ripples from Jesus went far and wide, thousands of people came to see him, hear him, touch him, be near him, learn from him

But some people didn’t like him. The crème de la crème, the top priests and the top politicians, realised they couldn’t Eggnore Jesus, they couldn’t outfox him, so they Clubbed together and hatched a nasty plan. In the middle of the night they arrested Jesus, Eggsamined him and put him on trial. The leaders didn’t believe in him, and decided he should die.

They put Jesus on a wooden cross and left him there to die. But even on the cross, Jesus love was so Extra Strong, that they heard him Whispa ‘Father God, forgive them’.  You can chocolate (chuck a lot) of nasty stuff at Jesus but he will go on loving you, forgiving you.

Jesus friends looked for somewhere they Cadbury him, and put him in a cave in a rock face with a huge stone rolled across the entrance, then they went away to cry and comfort each other.

On Easter morning, Jesus friends came to the place he was Lion buried. But the grave was open, the great rock across the entrance had been moved, and they wondered who on earth would Rolo way the stone.

Suddenly, there was an Angel. Delight filled them as he told them ‘Jesus isn’t dead any more, he’s alive!’ Then there Jesus was, standing with them. His friends were so Eggcited that they started telling everyone, and soon lots and lots of people heard that Jesus was alive. 2000 years later the story is still spreading, and people are still meeting Jesus. Some people love it, some people hate it, but Easter shows us that Jesus is Marmighty than death.

And the Eggs still Eggsplain the Easter story.   
  •          The shape of the egg reminds us of the stone which rolled away from Jesus tomb.
  •        The hollow inside the egg reminds us that the tomb was empty because Jesus was alive.
  •        And an egg is a place where a new life begins, and at Easter Jesus was given new life, and he promises new life to everyone who comes to  him and trust him and asks for his help.

And that’s a great thing to chew on this Easter. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Evidence to Action website - worth breaking a fast for

I'm still off blogging for Lent, honest, just a brief interruption to commend the new Evidence to Action website. It's a set of resources for the main themes identified by the CofE's research into church growth 'From Anecdote to Evidence', to help churches reflect on how they rate on each factor, and then to identify what to do about it. It won't do the work for you, but it's a cracking site, not too cluttered, and very very helpful.

It would have saved me a lot of work as Deanery Missioner to have had something like this to point people to, but I'm glad it's there now!

Drat, have to restart the 40 days now.