Faith Schools – Are they providing a clear picture?

By Jennifer Valentine-Miller

Jennifer at her school’s retreat (1978)

I attended senior school (Comprehensive) during the 1970’s to early 1980’s. Many conversations at school-reunions constantly feedback the same message “our school let us down”, and Faith school students are also saying the same thing.

At school I also obtained attainment/pass certificates in for example Religious Studies and Social Ethics. In the long term those studies were not relevant when applying for jobs – unless I wanted to enter a vocation like social work. There were, to my happiness, theater studies and sports activities which I was encouraged to partake in because it was part of my school’s curriculum. I attended drama classes and obtained O/A level pass rates plus there were netball tournaments and tennis matches – my Head of School would only exclaim that outside activities were a “distraction” and affecting my other exams. Especially Mathematics and biology (so that I could get a job in a bank or as a nurse). Distractions also included my Duke of Edinburgh awards (in Gymnastics)!

That is why I aimed to salvage a BA Hons degree and other Higher Education qualifications as a mature student. However, I always felt a sense of disapproval at interviews. Should I blame my school for my disillusionment?

Campaign groups like “No More Faith School .org uk” are asking for public funding towards religious groups in order for them to evangelize to children who are disillusioned when they leave school having completed their time as Lower 6 or Upper 6 students.

It seems, according to reports, that Faith schools are having a “negative impact on social cohesion, foster segregation of children on social, ethnic and religious lines, and undermine choice and equality” ( In other words, the report is saying if you attended a faith school it does not look good on your CV to the “outside world”. The anti report goes on to say that, “children living in England deserve the best – the law expects schools to demonstrate that they are encouraging pupils to take a respectful and tolerant stance towards those who hold values different from their own. Ofsted acts robustly and impartially to ensure all children in England receive a good education.”

Following on from ongoing claims of sexual exploitation within schools – leaders “have not ensured that safeguarding procedures have been sufficiently robust to keep pupils safe at all times,” inspectors found.  Also, school’s leaders have not ensured that all staff employed at the school has routinely undergone the necessary vetting checks, which compromises pupils’ welfare.“  ( 2019).

The charity Child Net insists that the importance of Faith Schools lies in it being able to opt-out of teaching subjects contrary to their religious beliefs, such as information on homosexuality and contraception. The compulsory parts of sex and relationship education from Year 7 (primary school) teach children about reproduction, sexuality and sexual health – including decisions around abortion.

Campaigners insist that pupils from faith schools fail to develop their own beliefs independently. I have no qualms with that. My argument is to support their pupils with after care, especially those who like religious studies, social ethics, theatre, and… Physical- Sciences or in my era it was called P.E. (physical education).

Today, senior leaders preclude the teaching of certain protected characteristics of students leaving school could be defined in the Equality Act. According to the Equality Act 2010, protected characteristics are aspects of a person’s identity that make them who they are. It’s worth noting, while this legislation doesn’t offer protection for revealing protected characteristic e.g. religious beliefs.  Moreover, it’s  unlawful to treat an employee or apprentice differently if they reveal they attended a Faith school – alas, it still happens.

Jennifer (2nd right) at school with her successful team mates as Essex champions.

Success, Love, & All – The Theatrical audio 🎁

Audio production (11 mins 30 secs)
Ravenpheat Productions

Success, Love and All written by Jennifer Valentine-Miller is listed under the short play category. The play has a sports theme with an inspirational message. The voice actors performing are Alexandria Stevens, Shane Stevens, Norma-Jean Strickland and Eric Bond.

Awesound have helped release the production onto its platform and it is now available for audio play and download ($5.50). 🎁 The discount code DEUCE40 allows for a 10% discount. This offer also applies outside of the US territory.

Also available in paperback (£4.50)

Arsenal defy the odds and revive a dismal season

Photo Copyright

 Arsenal beat London rivals Chelsea to win the FA Cup inside an almost empty Wembley Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Mikel Arteta’s side came from a goal down to win 2 – 1 and lift the trophy for a record 14 times. Prior to the showdown, Arsenal were positioned 9th, their lowest position since the 1990s.

Fans who gathered at the Box Park outside Wembley stadium said, “at our best the club are Invincible and at our worse we win the FA Cup.” The fans know that their team have a long way to go to match Manchester City and and Liverpool – however will in the meantime, enjoy the August 1st weekend.

Was Book of Exodus the beginning of Brutality?

Many of today’s generation have disowned the Book of Exodus

Edited by Jennifer Valentine-Miller

The journal “Letting Moses Go: Hurston and Reed Disowning Exodus” by Joshua Pederson rework Moses as the Israelite saviour of the Israelites who when reworked is a foreigner who leaves his adopted people in the desert and wanders off to write new stories. The author, Reed, however goes further by saying Moses “wreaks havoc”, and was very violent, and his legend bears little resemblance to the Biblical myth. The book itself says that the Israelite history to the African-American history can no longer serve as a positive model for blacks. It goes on to question the worthiness of the Hebrews and their leader; and the integrity and importance of the Israelite God. The Book of Laws are seen by many as savagery and the Book of Covenant (Exodus 21: 1-23:33) has kept foreigners under the bondage of slavery and, Moses himself was forceful with his law(s) of brutality.

One Evangelical evangelist has responded by saying: “I assume the person in question is referring about the children of Israel when Moses freed them from Egypt? If yes, the children of Israel became rebellious and started to complain, they wanted to go backwards to Egypt to being Slaves again instead of being free. This is after the first sign of hardship in the wilderness! The Israelites were so accustomed to being slaves they failed to understand and appreciate that God through His servant Moses had set them free. They preferred and missed the garlic and onions. Food. Instead of forming a true relationship with God. They also insulted God and built idols and performed many abominations in the sight of God. Just like today people fail to comprehend Jesus came to set them free.
God instructed Moses to let the Israelites know that they could chose life of death? God gives everyone to opportunity to exercise their own free will to chose to serve him, worship Him or not too. Was Moses brutal to the Israelites? I think not. No, the children of Israel were brutal to God.”

A Statista Research Report for the USA

The trend of fatal police shootings in the United States seems to only be increasing, with a total 429 civilians having been shot, 88 of whom were Black, as of June 4, 2020. In 2018, there were 996 fatal police shootings, and in 2019 this figure increased to 1,004. Additionally, the rate of fatal police shootings among Black Americans was much higher than that for any other ethnicity, standing at 30 fatal shootings per million of the population as of June 2020.

Police brutality in the U.S. since the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014, police brutality has become a hot button issue in the United States. The number of homicides committed by police in the United States is often compared to those in countries such as England, where the number is significantly lower.

Black Lives Matter is a movement formed in 2013, has been a vocal part of the movement against police brutality in the U.S. and will always respond to the killings of black men and women by police. On another note, Heart disease remains to be the highest cause of death amongst both Black and White people in the United States of America.

(Statistics published by Statista Research Department, Jun 5, 2020.

Millie Small: Pioneer and Icon


Millie Small (6 October 1947 – 5 May 2020) wax a great revelation to the WindRush’s 1st generation, during a time when the dancehall and music was the rage around London. Her music lives on through their children; like me. (Jennifer Valentine-Miller)

The journey of Millie Small was steered initially by Coxone Dodd’s label, then Chris Blackwell’s Island Records. “My Boy Lollipop” put Island Records on course to become an influential record label with an excellent musical reputation. In 1964 it was the fuse for Jamaican SKA music, her track went Global making history & developed the foundational structures of Jamaican Reggae Music. The Record Collector Magazine reported that the no. 1 hit singe was “equivalent of Elvis’ Heartbreak Hotel or the Sex Pistols’ God Save The Queen. The song popularised a sound previously considered to be on the margins of mainstream consciousness”.

After leaving Island Records in 1970, she recorded for legendary reggae label Trojan Records, where her first single was a cover of Nick Drake’s “Mayfair”. However, it was the b-side that attracted greater attention “Enoch Power”, it was a defiant response to Enoch Powell’s inflammatory, anti-immigration “Rivers of Blood” speech. Small’s lyrics captured the mood of the UK’s Caribbean population, and also received a rapturous response when she played the song at the Caribbean Music Festival at Wembley Arena, a month after its release. Her iconic “Millie and Boyfriends” album, Small was never able to replicate the success of “My Boy Lollipop”, scoring only one further chart hit with “Oh, Henry”. Despite, she continued to tour and record, and appeared frequently on pop shows like Juke Box Jury and Ready Steady Go. Chris Blackwell from Island Records is quoted to have said, “She was such a sweet person, really a sweet person. Very funny, great sense of humour. She was really special,”.

Who is looking after the lamb?

Jennifer Valentine-Miller Who is looking after the lamb
by Jennifer Valentine-Miller (for radio ministry)

“It is well known that a vegetarians main concern and cause for campaign is the slaughtering of an animal and not necessarily the preservatives in foods”.

Vegetarian’s cannot understand why Christians or religions see the slaughtering of lambs for sacrificial purposes, despite being capable of living to the age of 15. The life of lambs is cut short and they are often slaughtered at around four months old, although some are killed as young as 10 weeks old while others are kept for up to 15 months for man’s consumption. Modern Christians generally take a much more pro-animal line. They think that any unnecessary “mistreatment” of animals is both sinful and morally wrong. The advice given to me and other women during weekly gatherings is, “If your preparing a lamb dish for Sunday and you use a marinade, keep an eye on the clock and don’t go over the recommended time or else you will ruin the recipe!”

God allowed man to have dominion over the animals with the understanding that we are not to eat meat containing blood therefore it should be cooked. In biblical times and they were also hunted animals for their fur to use as clothing. Abstaining from meat, for example, during Lent and during times of fasting is an acceptable observation. Moreover, vegetarians believe in Genesis 1:29 which states, “behold, I have given you every plant yielding and every seed that is on the face of the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food”. Because of this, we were never allowed to consume meat? There is of course sufficient evidence that Christ was not a vegetarian because he ate fish.

On the day when John the Baptist saw Jesus he exclaimed, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” It appears again in John 1:36. Christian doctrine holds that a divine Jesus chose to suffer crucifixion at Calvary as a sign of his full obedience to the will of his divine Father, as an “agent and servant of God” in carrying away the sins of the world. In Christian theology the Lamb of God is viewed as the foundation and also integral to the message of Christianity.

One morning, I decided to visit my local animal farm on a day of inclement weather! And yes, I expected to see lambs and sheep running around, “not today.” said the farm help. I continued to walk around, determined to capture photographs. And instead, I found myself admiring in separate pens the Drakes, Geese, Hens, and Turkeys together in all their splendour. Is it the same in the local church? – whereby we see the shepherd looking after and feeding his or her flock during sermons, forgetting that there are young lambs or new converts in their midst. And if it so happens to be a church with a large congregation, then you will find birds of the same feather sticking together, because lambs cannot withstand the different seasons.

[“Birds of a feather flock together” Drakes and Geese at the Wellgate Community Farm. Picture taken by Jennifer Valentine-Miller]

What is the meaning of the Parable of the “Sheeps and Goats”?
Answer: This can be found in Matthew 25:31-46. A parable is a short, simple story of comparison. Jesus used parables to teach spiritual truths by means of earthly situations.

Jesus begins the parable by saying it concerns His return in glory to set up His kingdom (Matthew Chapter 25:). Therefore, the setting of this event was expected during the beginning of the millennium, “the time of tribulation”. It was expected that all those on earth at that time will be brought before the Lord, and He will separate them “as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats”. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left” (verses 32–33). The sheep are those who were saved during the tribulation; the goats are the unsaved who survived the tribulation.

The sheep on Jesus’ right hand were blessed by God the Father and given an inheritance. The reason is stated: “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” (verses 35-36) and, “whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me”(verses 39-40).

In the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats, we are looking at man redeemed and saved from life’s detriments, and man condemned and lost. This sees the case for salvation being the result of good works. The “sheep” acted charitably, giving food, drink, and clothing to the needy. The “goats” showed no charity. This seems to result in salvation for the sheep and damnation for the goats.

Scripture does not contradict itself, and the Bible clearly and repeatedly teaches that salvation is by faith through the grace of God and not by our good works as in John 1:12. In fact, Christ Himself makes it clear in the parable that the salvation of the “sheep” is not based on their works—their inheritance was theirs “since the creation of the world” (Matthew 25:34)

The good works mentioned in the parable are not the cause of salvation but the effect of salvation – which is the preservation from harm, ruin, loss. As Christians we become like Christ. Good works in a Christian’s life are the direct overflow of the traits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. These are only acceptable because of the relationship that exists between sheep and Shepherd.

The core message of the Parable of the Sheep and Goats is that God’s people will love others. Followers of Christ will treat others with kindness. The unregenerate, who are the “goats” can indeed perform acts of kindness and charity, you will find one’s heart is not right with God, and their actions are not for the right purpose which is to honour and worship God. So, where is the lamb in all of this? The lamb is God that takes away the sin of the world. Whose sacrifice according to scripture is the will of the Father “who art in Heaven”. This is the foundation upon which Christianity is built.