Minister’s September Message
September 01, 2016
This morning I visited Williamwood High School for the first time in this new session. This year I am the 4th year chaplain and our chaplaincy team have chosen the theme of “Better Together” for our series of Religions Observances in the school this year. At the morning assembly I spoke about the excitement and inspiration of the Rio Olympic Games in the last few weeks and how, apart from the medal winning performances, I had been drawn to the team spirit exemplified by many of the participating athletes. The examples I used were the Great Britain rowing, synchronised diving and hockey teams who all won medals by coming together to support and encourage one another to do their best. However, I also pointed out how one athlete, who best captured the essence of the Olympic spirit in a single act of selfless support and encouragement, was rewarded for it.
Her name was Nikki Hamblin from New Zealand’s who stopped to help Abbey D’Agostino after the American athlete fell in agony when they tangled in their 5,000m race. Hamblin’s compassion for her fellow athlete was praised around the world because she gave up the chance of a medal to stay with the stricken runner. D’Agostino urged to Hamblin to continue racing but she refused to leave the American’s side until a wheelchair came to take her away.
The International Olympic Committee decided to give the New Zealander the prestigious Pierre de Coubertin medal, otherwise known as the International Fair Play Committee Award, which has only been awarded 17 times in Olympic history. Hamblin later said, “Everyone comes here to compete but there are a lot of people who don’t achieve that and their journey is really important too. That was one of those journeys and it has gone on to be one of the most important moments of my life.”
I reminded the 4th year pupils that coming together to offer one another words of encouragement is how they will get through this year because everyone needs other people to encourage them to be all that they possibly can be. In their diaries, in a date set for April next year, I asked the pupils to write down at least one way they might encourage someone else this year. We will revisit those entries at the end of the year. What would you have written?
After today’s school assembly I began to wonder, “Who I was encouraging? Who loves to get my call or text because they know I want to see how they’re doing? Who looks forward to getting together because they know they will be encouraged?”
Many inspiring moments in life result from one person encouraging someone else. We all face those moments, hours or even days when it’s hard to see the way ahead. Words of encouragement like “I am here for you” or “I believe in you” or “You’re doing ok” have made a difference in my life and I believe it is the same with everyone.
Writing to the church in Thessalonica the Apostle Paul said “encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” [ 1 Thessalonians 5:11]. As we journey on through this new session of our church year, may the Lord help us create the important moments of our lives by doing more than we can all imagine through a little encouragement.
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