National Prayer Breakfast for Scotland

Theme: Christians at Work

Celebrating the social action of today’s followers of Jesus Christ

Christians in Scotland, and around the world, are involved in caring for and supporting huge numbers of people in our communities. Following the commission of the Founder of the Christian church to care for those in need - to feed the hungry, to house the homeless, to comfort the sick, support children and the elderly and to look after the oppressed, the refugees and the persecuted - the followers of Jesus are active in all these areas today.

Millions of hours are given by church members every year. The lives of countless millions of people are impacted by their love and generosity. All of which goes on largely un-noticed and under reported.

This year, as the theme of the National Prayer Breakfast for Scotland, we seek to acknowledge and celebrate the social action and compassion of the followers of Jesus Christ.

Introducing Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow OBE

Magnus is founder and CEO of Mary’s Meals, a global hunger charity, which in 2015 reached the milestone of providing a daily meal in a place of education for more than one million of the world’s poorest children. The daily meal attracts children to the classroom, where they can gain a basic education which provides an escape route from poverty.

In 2010, Magnus was praised as a CNN hero for his role in founding and running Mary’s Meals, and in April 2015, he was named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world. Magnus’ book, The Shed That Fed A Million Children, reached the UK’s prestigious Times and Sunday Times bestseller list immediately after its release.

Magnus started his career as a fish farmer in Argyll, Scotland. In 1992 during the Balkan conflict, he and his brother Fergus were so moved by scenes of the conflict on television that they took a week’s leave from their jobs, loaded a jeep with aid and joined a convoy travelling to Medjugorje, in Bosnia, to distribute it. On their return, donations continued to flood in resulting in Magnus eventually driving from Scotland to Bosnia a total of 23 times to deliver vital supplies. Magnus never returned to his old job and instead set up a registered charity, named Scottish International Relief (SIR).

During a trip to Malawi in 2002, Magnus met with a family whose predicament was to spark a change in not only his own life, but in the lives of thousands of others. Lying on the floor of a hut was a mother named Emma, who was dying of AIDS. Her six children were gathered around her and Magnus asked the eldest son, Edward, what it was that he hoped for from life. “To have enough to eat and to go to school one day,” was his answer. Edward’s words inspired a mission to attract girls and boys to school by providing Mary’s Meals. One step at a time, through Mary’s Meals, Magnus has let children all over the world know they matter.

From feeding just 200 children in southern Malawi in 2002, the charity now works with communities in 12 different countries around the world, proving a meal for 1,187,104 children every school day.

Introducing John Kirkby

With a small donation and big faith, John Kirkby started Christians Against Poverty in 1996. He believed God was calling him to sacrifice his career in finance and use his knowledge of the industry to help the poor.

In his hometown of Bradford, John set off on the incredible journey of CAP. His faith adventure led him to people crippled by debt; parents who couldn’t feed their children, families facing eviction and desperate people living in fear and without hope. He used his expertise to negotiate with creditors, set up budgeting systems and offer a lifeline to those trapped in debt.

John knew that people all over the country were struggling in the same way and he began looking to replicate the work across the UK. With the vital ingredients of a church to partner with, a passionate person to be trained as a debt counsellor and the faith that God would provide, four new CAP centres were opened at the end of 1998.

Since then, CAP has rapidly grown its debt centre network and expanded its services to tackle the causes of debt and poverty too. As well as CAP Debt Help, we now help people step into employment through CAP Job Clubs, help people get control of their addictions through CAP Release Groups and a brand new service, CAP Life Skills, to equip people to live well on a low income. Our vision is to bring freedom and good news to the poor in every community through 1,000 CAP projects by 2021.

Introducing the London Community Gospel Choir

LCGC now celebrating their 35th anniversary, the choir is now more active than ever. From humble beginnings in 1982 they have gone on to become Europe’s In-demand Gospel choir and the most sort after choir globally for recording performances. Creating a unique wall of soulful sound that is soothing, memorable and inspirational to the listening ear. LCGC regularly grace many of the UK’s greatest stages such as Wembley Stadium (FA Cup Final), the Royal Albert Hall, most arenas and are regulars at Glastonbury Festival.

Being tagged with the title ‘The nation’s favourite choir’ they are the first point of call for the film industry and a verity of “A-list” recording artists and including Madonna, Kylie, Sting, Paul McCartney, Sam Smith, Damon Alban, Luther Vandross, Tina Turner and George Michael… World record attempts, film premieres, television and radio appearances as well as theatre collaborations illustrate the choir’s intention to break boundaries and display true versatility.

An eclectic mix of culture, age, background, voices and personalities endorses the choirs rear brand. Special collaborations include Damon Albarn National Theatre show, Gregory Porter BBC TV ‘x mass’ special, Madonna at the 57th Grammy and Brit Awards shows and recently part of the David Bowie 70th Birthday Celebration tour.

They gave a critically acclaimed performance at the British premiere of Martin Luther King’s biopic ‘Selma’ and performed for Her Majesty The Queen at the Patron’s Lunch for her 90th Birthday which was again shown on The Queen Speech 2016. Choir leader Bazil Meade’s vision of fusing together his two passions ‘music and faith’ have served tens of thousands of fans well so far. The future looks bright.