Note to you
This assembly isn't as interactive as some. It does contain a powerpoint presentation with some images from the web of the characters involved. So you'd need to use a laptop / projector. Or download some images yourself!
Links to the Powerpoint show... (both files are 308kb)
Here for a zip file download of a powerpoint show file (.pps). This plays back, you won't be able to edit it. Double click to 'extract' the pps file.
Here for a zip file download of a powerpoint file (.ppt). You will be able to edit this one. Double click to extract the 'ppt' file.
There are a lot of characters and info below and in the files, so you may need to choose which ones you show, or zoom through them quickly with a one-line summary of each individual.
We already have a section on this within the assembly on politics. But we wanted to put together a specific section here.
There was a letter in a newspaper recently complaining about religion. According to the writer, religion was responsible for many of the world's problems. As a Christian, I'm here to tell you there is another side, another truth that isn't heard.
So my question is what difference have these strange people called Christians made in the world?
If you do want to show a video clip, then something from Hotel Rwanda may be good. This movie reflects much of what Christians believe and should be doing, a kind of modern day Good Samaritan story.
Bible - Matthew 25.34-36
"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'
- The Cast and their roles -
Sir Isaac Newton is one of Britain's great scientists. According to many people, Christianity and science don't mix. But there are hundreds of Christians today, who are scientists and at the forefront of technology and biology among other areas. As one biochemist said to me, 'The more I get to know about biology, the more I know that there must be a God because everything is so perfectly complex.' Isaac Newton was a scientist and a Christian. He made many discoveries - gravity (famously seeing the apple fall to the ground), helped in the invention of the calculus, light being composed of particles, law of cooling, studied the speed of sound and much, much more.
The Bible is the world's best selling book. Many people leave their Bible on a shelf. But the Bible has played a major part in forming the law in this country and around the world. Did you know the Bible is full of good advice to do with crime, punishment and helping sort out people who commit crime. The Bible tells us about honesty, about love, about forgiving others and about having responsibilities, not just rights. It's an incredibly practical book.
Hospitals & Nursing
The name that people associate with this, is Florence Nightingale, the so-called 'Lady of the Lamp' who led a team to care for injured soldiers in the Crimean War, which Britain, France and Turkey fought against Russia in 1854. She set new standards of care for the troops, wrote home for them, and looked after a team of nurses. She introduced a nurses training college in England and was responsible for many changes in hospital and health care across the nation.
Elizabeth Fry did great work, first with women prisoners and their children, initiating prison reform for them, and then also for male prisoners. She also set up District Visiting Societies to work with the poor, libraries for coastguards, a training school for nurses and help for homeless women and children.
George Mueller rescued and taught 10,000 orphans off the streets of Bristol in schools, providing shelter for them. He set up and maintained the great orphanages in Bristol. He also acquired funds to teach 122,000 in schools and do much more. In all this, he did so without any of his own money, relying on prayer and gifts. In all the time, not one child went without a meal. He hadn't always been a saint, however. He had led a very colourful life and even been imprisoned, before finding God and developing a heart to help those who were not privileged.
Factory and Social Reform - and Schools
Lord Shaftesbury will always be associated with factory reform in the UK. Also legislation to help women and stop under 13s working in factories. Lord Shaftesbury also helped Florence Nightingale on army and nursing reforms, and set up schools in inner cities to help poor children.
The issue of slavery was first raised and questioned by Society of Friends (Quakers / Methodists, who are Christians). The cause was then helped by a Christian with influence, called William Wilberforce. In 1787, he formed the Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade. He overcame disappointment and setbacks to finally see the Abolition of the Slave Trade Bill pass on 25th March 1807.
A famous lady, who died within the same week that the famous Princess Diana died. She received far less attention, but her work was equally if not far more valuable. From 1931 to 1948 Mother Teresa taught at St. Mary's High School in Calcutta. However, she saw such suffering and poverty outside the convent walls that in 1948 she received permission to leave the convent school. She went outside the walls of the convent and devoted herself to working among the poorest of the poor in the slums of Calcutta. She had no money, relying instead on God to provide. She started an open-air school for slum children. Soon she was joined by volunteers and missionaries and more financial support came along.
Canon Andrew White and his team have a modern day incredible influence with the leaders across the Middle East, mainly Iraq, Israel, and Palestine. He has access to most of the leaders and has some incredible stories to tell. He is a contemporary Christian - making (and trying to make) a great difference for peace.
Dedication of America
On many occasions, the founding fathers and those who set up governments and states were motivated very directly, even solely, because of their faith in God.
One of the most famous early Presidents of the USA (1861-65) had faith in God, prayed, and included God in many of his statements and things that he did.
Christians are in some of the toughest communities in Britain working when everyone else goes home. In parts of Manchester, the police have said crime has fallen directly as a result of the involvement of Christians.
On weekend nights, in many towns and cities, Street Pastors are out on high streets and in clubland areas seeking to serve others. The police see this as a vital role and have asked Christians to do more like this.
Christian youth workers massively outnumber youth workers in the voluntary sector in the UK.
Across the world, Christians work in the poorest, most risky and desprate communities seeking to bring change, peace, relieve suffering and poverty.
Christians contribute over £1 billion to the Welsh economy for free every year according to a professional audit done in Wales.
Christians are at the heart of the Fair Trade movement, of Stop the Traffik to bring an end to people trafficking and the sex slavery trade.
Across this world today, there are many Christians fighting to make a difference in people's lives. Before you jump to conclusions that Christians are irrelevant, think again!