It seems strange to be wishing you a Happy New Year, especially in light of 2021 not looking a whole lot different that 2020! I like many parents prepared to send my children back to school on Monday and spent the first few minutes having dropped them off, savouring the peace and quiet that their onsite education brought. It also meant I was able to spend a couple of hours tidying my office space which had become overwhelmed with the children’s books, pens, paperwork and accumulated junk over the previous months of home learning and quarantine. Then Monday evening happened! Regardless of when or how this decision was made, another round of lockdown makes total sense, especially given the infection and mortality rates and the impact being felt by the NHS and other health care providers.
It left me asking the question – when this type of thing happens, when all our plans are overthrown and we’re once again cast into the spin of uncertainty and mental health turmoil, what remains? Hope! Hope remains… at present our hope seems to be within the contents of a vial created by brilliant scientists across the world. In reality, our Hope is found in the One who remains constant in all this inconsistency, who is solid ground in the ongoing storms of life and who shines like a beacon in all the darkness of this world.
So as we, once again, batten down the hatches, and prepare for the sequel of the sequel we didn’t want or need, Lockdown 3, can I continue to encourage and challenge you to dig deeper into your faith, for no other reason than, it’s where our Hope truly comes from.
Given that it now feels as though we’re heading into a different and difficult season, we’ve decided to make a couple of small changes to wePRAY moving forward. You’ll still be able to access our thoughts on Lencioni’s Motives, but these will be available at www.easttowest.org.uk/blog rather than on this page. This month, that blog is looking at:
5 Omissions of Reward Centred Leaders
1: Developing the Leadership Team
2: Managing Subordinates (and making them manage theirs)
3: Having Difficult and Uncomfortable Conversations
4: Running Great Team Meetings
5: Communicating Constantly and Repetitively to Employees
We recognise that prayer is really important at times like these and as such, we’ll be using wePRAY in a much more prayer focused way over the coming months. We’ll be sharing with you what we’re doing and areas we’d like your prayer for. We’re also committed to praying for you and if there are things you’d like prayer for, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll commit to praying for you during our daily prayer time.
Dan and the east to west Team
This month we’re praying for Philippa, who is the east to west’s Relational Counsellor at Hoe Valley Secondary School in Woking. Having joined us in September, Philippa has settled well into her new role and is playing a vital role as part of the schools pastoral and COVID-19 response with young people.
Give thanks that my first term as a Relational Counsellor in Hoe Valley School was largely unaffected by coronavirus measures, which has allowed me to build good links with the school and my students and has made the move to virtual work much easier. Please pray that these relationships continue to strengthen.
Thank you that the majority of my students are willing to give remote counselling a go. Please pray that they continue to engage throughout lockdown, and when we eventually return to school.
Please pray against worry and anxiety in our students, as they adjust to another lockdown and all that means for them - being apart from friends, not knowing when they will return to school, being isolated at home.
Please especially pray for our year 11's who are unsure how their GCSE's will be assessed and the impact on their future.
Please pray for the Senior Leadership Team and teachers as they try to navigate the continual changes to schooling.
Thank you that all students at Hoe Valley have a school computer. We pray for those children across the country who are not so fortunate, that they can find ways to access lessons and support.
Finally, please pray for protection for our most vulnerable students. Lord, we ask that you keep them safe and that they know your love and comfort, especially at this difficult time.
Please pray for peace and energy for me as I juggle the changes to my jobs in this season, that I can continue to be there for those in need and also find a good balance in my life.
Please pray for my MA dissertation, as I research the subject of working with teens with suicidal thoughts. I pray that this will help us understand this issue better to help those who are struggling with these thoughts.
Please pray for my sister who is due to go and work on the COVID wards, and for my other sister who is feeling homesick living alone in the Middle East. Please pray for my family and all those families who have been separated for large parts of the last year.