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Phoenix Primary School ‘Where We Rise to the Challenge’


October 12th


Picture 1

In the early 1800s a child could be hanged for stealing. Society’s attitude to those committing crimes was very harsh.

Elizabeth Fry set out to visit the women in Newgate Prison in London. The gover- nor of the prison told her that the women were wild. He himself never entered ex- cept with soldiers to guard him, but she was determined to go to them. There she found 300 women living in filthy condi- tions, and without heat or light or fresh air. There were no places for washing, and no beds - just straw on the floor. Perhaps worst of all, the women’s children lived with them in the prison.

“Together we can make this prison a better place,” Elizabeth Fry said to the women. “Let us work together and ask for God’s help,” she said. Others volunteered to visit the prison and help improve conditions there, along with the prisoners themselves. Medicines, clothes and food were brought in. Elizabeth showed the women how to sew and knit, and they began to make clothes for themselves and their children. One of the prisoners became a teacher for the children there.

Elizabeth Fry approached Members of Parliament, newspaper editors and other influential people, to help in reforming prison life. “Prisons are not just places for punishing people,” she said. “We must help them to lead better lives. Kindness will do far more than cruelty.”

Elizabeth told of the need to provide work materials for the prisoners. She brought about so many changes for the better that she was asked to visit prisons throughout Britain and other European countries.

Elizabeth Fry shared with the women her great faith in God’s love and she prayed with them. She died on this day in 1845, having influenced many people to change their attitude towards prisoners.

God our Father,

one of the greatest yearnings

of the human spirit

is to be free,

and we know

that there are many kinds

of restriction

that limit and confine us.

Inspire us today to help others

to grow in freedom

through the respect

and understanding

and kindness

that we can offer.

October 11th



A British nurse called Edith Cavell was working at a nurses' training centre in Brussels, Belgium at the outbreak of the First World War in 1914. During the German Occupation, she treated German soldiers sent there and also nursed captured British, French and Belgian soldiers.


Meanwhile, over a period of months, Edith gave shelter in her house to some 200 British, French and Belgian soldiers and then arranged for them to escape from Occupied Belgium. She was found out and arrested by the Germans. On this day in 1915, Nurse Edith Cavell was sentenced to death by the German authorities. She was executed by firing squad at 2.00am the following morning, aged 50.


Edith Cavell said: 

“I realise that patriotism is not enough.

I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone.”


Lord our God,

we pray that,

no matter what happens to us,

we may grow
as people who are generous enough

to hold no hatred or bitterness

towards anyone.

October 9th




On this day in 1997, newspapers reported that the Hubble Telescope had detected a star that is brighter than 10 million suns, giving out as much energy in 6 seconds as our sun does in a year.

It has been called ‘the Pistol Star’ and it is in our own galaxy. It is about 25,000 light-years away from us – in other words it takes light 25,000 years to reach us from there. We therefore see it as it was 25,000 years ago!!!


God our Father,

may the vastness of your creation

that we can begin to see

through a telescope,

remind us of the abundance

of your love.

May our vision each day

of the world around us

remind us that you so loved the world

that you sent Jesus, your Son,

to be one of us.

In all that we observe,

open our eyes

so that we may really see

and grow in wonder and appreciation.


October 4th


We learnt about how St Francis of Assisi turned his life around and spent his life leading people to “open themselves” to God’s Spirit working in their lives. Many people followed Francis and returned to the simplicity of the Gospel.


St Francis tells us:

“While you are proclaiming

peace with your lips,

be careful to have it even more fully

in your heart.”


Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:

where there is hatred, let me sow love;

where there is injury, pardon;

where there is doubt, faith;

where there is despair, hope;

where there is darkness, light;

and where there is sadness, joy.


September 23rd



Yesterday marked the anniversary in 1775 of Number 10 Downing Street becoming the residence for British Prime Ministers.

A German prince from Hanover became King George I. He could speak little English and so came to rely more and more on his chief minister of the government who, in George’s time, became known as the ”Prime Minister”. Hence, from that time on, power began to change hands from the king to the elected Prime Minister.


God our Father,

we pray for all

who are in positions of leadership

in our country,

that they may be inspired

by the values of the Gospel.

We pray that they may live

as people of integrity and honesty,

growing in a sense

of duty and responsibility,

always being aware of the needy,

and ready to be of service of others.


September 20th



We learnt about Charlie Chaplin, who was very popular in his day. His popularity resulted in ‘Charlie Chaplin look-a-like competitions’ where a few people would line up and be judged on who looked most like Charlie Chaplin, walking like him and doing tricks like him.


One day, just for fun, he himself entered on of these competitions. He didn’t win – he came third!


So we talked about when ‘God’ looks at us with love how close we might be to the true “look-a-like” he calls us to be, having been made in his own image and likeness?


What changes do we need to make in our lives that we may succeed in the REAL “look-alike” competition?


Inspire me Lord,

so that I may reflect

your image and likeness

a little more clearly

each day.


September 19th



Today saw the birth of George Cadbury in 1939, renowned for starting to produce the Cadbury’s chocolate that we now know.


Next to his factory, he built a 250-acre village of good, spacious houses for all his workers. Each house had a garden and the village had wide open spaces – remarkable conditions for workers of the 1800s. He sold the houses to the workers at cost price on very reasonable loans.


The money spent on such excellent facilities reflected the value that George Cadbury placed in each of his workers and their families. He was a committed Christian and a member of the ’Quakers’.


Lord God,

may others respect and value me

as much as I do them.

September 12th



We learnt about a yatchsman named Tony Bullimore whose boat 'Exhide Challenger' capsized during horrendous sea conditions between Australia and the Antarctic whilst he was taking part in the Whitbread round the world yacth race. He was eventually rescued by the Australian Navy and Air Force who were praised for their skills and courage and determination in the rescue...


We pray, Lord, for all

who will need strength and courage

in the day ahead:

-for those who face danger;

-for those who risk themselves for others;

-for those who must make an important decision today;

-for people who are seriously ill;

-for those facing persecution or torture.

We ask you Lord,

to give them

the power of your Spirit.

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Half term Monday 22nd - Friday 26th October 2018