An Introduction to William Barclay

William Barclay was born on December 5th 1907 in Wick, Scotland, and passed away on January 24th 1978 in Glasgow, Scotland.

Barclay was a Church of Scotland Minister and a Professor of Divinity and Biblical criticism at the University of Glasgow.

He was very well known for the many radio and television programmes in which he participated.

He specialised in the New Testament and wrote numerous books containing easily understood commentaries on all the chapters within the New Testament.

And today, a large number of preachers regularly use his commentaries when preparing their sermons.

Here are just a few of his quotes:-

* Religion fails if it cannot speak to men as they are.

* A man may well be condemned, not for doing something but for doing nothing.

* The tragedy of life and of the world is not that men do not know God; the tragedy is that, knowing Him, they still insist on going their own way.

* Endurance is not just the ability to bear a hard thing, but to turn it into glory.

* The word grace emphasizes at one and the same time the helpless poverty of man and the limitless kindness of God

* We will often find compensation if we think more of what life has given us and less about what life has taken away.

WISE words, indeed!

Have a wonderful day, wherever you are and whatever you may be doing.

With many blessings of loving abundance

Geoffrey

 

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Mental Health, Sanctions and the Department of Works and Pensions

New data released today has revealed that benefits claimants judged as unfit to work due to mental health problems are more likely to have their benefits stopped by sanctions than those suffering from other conditions.

Policy advisers for the Methodist Church obtained the data using Freedom of Information Requests to the Department of Work and Pensions. It shows that people who receive the sickness and disability benefit Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) because of a long-term mental health problem are being sanctioned at a rate of more than 100 per day. In March 2014 – the last month for which data is available – approximately 4,500 people with mental health problems who receive ESA because of mental health problems were sanctioned.

Paul Morrison, Public Issues Policy Adviser for the Methodist Church, said: “We believe that the number of people with mental health problems who have their benefit stopped due to being sanctioned is in fact a great deal higher than 100 a day. Not included in these figures are people who receive ESA due to a physical illness, but who have a higher risk of mental health difficulties.”

According to the DWP data, the most common reason for being sanctioned is that a person has been late or not turned up for a Work Programme appointment.

“Sanctioning someone with a mental health problem for being late for a meeting is like sanctioning someone with a broken leg for limping. The fact that this system punishes people for the symptoms of their illness is a clear and worrying sign that it is fundamentally flawed,” said Mr Morrison, who is also the author of an upcoming report on the sanctions regime. “Churches have increasingly seen people in desperate need because they have been sanctioned. The suffering and injustice we have seen caused by the sanctions system deserves serious scrutiny.”

Paul Farmer, CEO of mental health charity Mind, said: “We’re very concerned about the number of people having their benefits stopped. This causes not just financial problems but added emotional distress. It’s unjustifiable that people with mental health problems are being sanctioned disproportionately compared to those who have another health problem.

“Stopping benefits does not help people with mental health problems back into work. In fact, it often results in people becoming more anxious and unwell and this makes a return to work less likely. Sanctions are based on a false assumption that individuals lack motivation and willingness to work, but it’s the impact of their illness and the environment in which they are expected to work which actually present the toughest challenges. That’s why they should only be used as a last resort, when someone simply refuses to engage.”

These figures – and other new data on the sanctions regime – will feature in a report that is due to be launched in the spring by a coalition of major Churches, including the Methodist Church, the Church of Scotland and the Church in Wales.

The Revd Sally Foster-Fulton, Convener of the Church and Society Council of the Church of Scotland, said: “With others in the Scottish Leaders’ Group on Welfare, we are, sadly, well aware of the negative impact of sanctions on vulnerable people, often left with no income and no security and no way out of the deeper hole they have fallen through. We welcome the publication of the upcoming report. It is important that we highlight these facts and begin to counter this troubling trend.  We will use the new data in our 28 February conference looking ‘Beyond Food Banks’, for which sanctions are a key trigger.”

 

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Please pray that the UK Government realise the great harm that they are doing to people suffering from Mental Health problems by sanctioning them unnecessarily.

By sanctioning people suffering from Mental Health problems they are causing these people tremendous additional stress and anxieties as, in my many cases, sanctioning their benefits leave them without monies for food, heating, rent etc.

Let us pray that David Cameron, and his Government, become more caring and understanding to people who have mental health issues.

Amen

With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey