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Phoenix Primary School ‘Where We Rise to the Challenge’

OuR Time in Y5

November 22nd

 

The President of Egypt in the 1970s was Anwar Sadat. Egypt and other Arab countries had been at war with their neighbour, Israel, for many years.

With great courage (and risking hostility from people on both sides), President Sadat flew on a mission of peace from his capital city of Cairo, to Jerusalem.

It was the 18th of November, 1977.

All the countries involved in the on-going hostilities had suffered. Whilst in Israel, President Sadat spoke to the Israeli Parliament, quoting from the Jewish scriptures and from the Islamic Koran, stating that it is not possible to build happiness on the misery of others.

He said:

“I speak to you the bewailing mother,

you the widowed wife,

you the child who lost a brother or a father –

you, the victims of all wars.”

President Sadat’s initiative was courageous and generous. He wanted to consign the past to the past, and promote understanding and peace. The name “Jerusalem” means “city of peace”, and it is a place that is holy to followers of Judaism and Islam (as well as to Christians).

Happy are those, Lord

who long in their hearts

to walk the roads

that lead to Jerusalem, the City of Peace.

Now that I stand in Jerusalem,

I pray:

“Peace be upon everyone.”

I know that in your presence, Lord,

justice and peace

will come about.

November 15th

      

 

On the night of 14th November 1940, the city of Coventry in the Midlands suf- fered the longest air-raid of any British city during the Second World War. High explosive bombs were dropped by the German Air Force (the Luftwaffe). On other parts of the city, fire bombs fell, gutting many buildings, including the beautiful medieval cathedral.

The following day, some of the debris was cleared from the ruins of the cathedral. With only its stone walls left standing (and the stained glass destroyed) Coventry simply had an ‘open-air’ cathedral. From the ruins were taken two charred wooden beams that had held up the roof. These were bound with wire and made into a large cross, and set up in a bin of sand near the ruined high altar.

16 years after the cathedral’s destruction, the first stone of a new cathedral was laid. It is linked to the old ruined church whose walls still stand.

Every day at midday a brief service of reconciliation is held. On Fridays, the service is held at the high altar of the ruined cathedral. The cross of charred beams re- mains there, with the words “Father, forgive” inscribed on the altar.

If we think about “forgiveness”, we may remember that there is only one condition in the prayer of Jesus that we call the “Our Father”. The condition is that we are forgiven as we set out to forgive those who have hurt us.

 

October 29th

In October 1997, some newspapers reported that an investment bank had given all its employees a day off to do charity work. From the secretaries to the chairman there were over 1,250 volunteers from the London office of Goldman Sachs. They said that they were determined to give something to local communities and at the same time, help to build up the company’s strong team spirit.

Some charity work involved being with young people. One group worked in an adventure playground, making as much noise as the children themselves. It was a new experience for some of the children, finding adults who were willing to spend quality time with them and play games with them. One bank employee later said that he was glad of the opportunity: “My work is quite intense, with long hours and lots of travelling. You lose focus on things like this. It’s good to get a proper balance on the real world.”

Lord,

let us never be so tied up or occupied

only with our own concerns


that we lose focus on the real world.

Inspire us to live in such a way

that we live


balanced and unselfish lives,

having quality time for others

in which we are genuine

in our attention


and compassion and care,

knowing that we are all

brothers and sisters

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