Youth Groups and the Tuck Shop

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This look at what is happening in your body when you have a can of coke is REALLY interesting Scary. Have a read if you dare.

We no longer sell fizzy drinks or sweets at the camps I run and tend to run with drinks of water/squash and homemade snacks and cakes. It had such a positive effect on the experience of hospitality, and on having a much more level and engaged group of young people with out the hyperactivity then sugar crash.

(BTW The trendy thick milkshake bottles have even more sugar in than coke!)

Generosity

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Tear Fund have produced a devotional series on Generosity that you could use individually or as a group. Details here

Yellow Braces 2016

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I can confirm that Yellow Braces 2016 will be on July 8th - 10th at Oakwood Youth Challenge in the South of the Diocese.

Sadly Hill End where we have been for 13 years have become so much busier and didn't hold our slot as they have in the past ... we also explored the new A+ Adventure Base as a possibility but it is still very early days for the site yet and we couldn't find a plan that could work. Oakwood is FANTASTIC though, I just mention the other stuff as I realize that for some groups it is much more of a journey.

YB 2016: New Location, same Kingdom values ... always a wonderful team. See you there

Discipleship

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I had an interesting experience recently listening to a Discipleship strategy running across a large group of churches being presented. There was some good and interesting joined-up thinking but at no point was there an agreed understanding or framework of what 'discipleship' is.

The challenge is that without a wrestle with the question, the model tends to be informational not formational, flowing from a theology over-dominated by cultural influences of Rationality and Chistendom. Teaching and knowledge acquisition being the assumed drivers, with more about programme than process.

I'm interested to see where approaches are being fostered that include experience, practice and collective learning ... for individual churches, and groups/denominations etc


Disciplekit

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CPAS have put together a web page called Disciplekit which is a database/guide to all of the Discipleship resources available.

Letting Go and Letting Be

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"Meister Eckhart taught the simple power of letting go and letting be. To let go is no easy task. But in any loving relationship, as we see in the Trinity, it is the source of true joy. Matthew Fox writes that "laughter may well be the ultimate act of letting go and letting be: the music of the divine cosmos"

Open Doors

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It is sixty years since Brother Andrew started smuggling Bibles into Eastern Bloc countries and supporting persecuted Christians. That gave birth to 'Open Doors'
This video explores Brother Andrews story as well as the lives of Christians in the Middle East today. Powerful stuff:

The Budget and Young People

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National Children's Bureau on the Impact of the Budget on Young People
PDF report: 150708 Summer Budget 2015.pdf

"The decision to abolish the automatic entitlement to housing benefits risks pulling the rug from under young people as they struggle to move into independence. It is vital that care leavers and other vulnerable groups are exempted from these cuts otherwise those who are in most need of help will be unfairly penalised"

The Children's Society have gathered some theological writing on the subject:

"Adolescence wasn't a recognised stage of life in the Ancient World but these essays put paid to any notion that the Bible has little to contribute on the subject. Instead they provide a rich theological reflection on how we might better care for adolescents in our community"

Link to the work is here

Comedy

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I'm a bit sleepy this morning after being at a comedy gig in South London last night. Forest Hill Church put together a great comedy evening as part of the Sydenham Arts Festival. The venue was their shop/community centre called "Here for Good" which they had set up brilliantly for a comedy evening.

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I wasn't performing (although I got roped into an improvised sketch, so I can now tick the "Have you ever played King Arthur in a piece of theatre that the audience demands encompasses Opera and Ballet" box on comedy resumes!). I'd gone to see Rob Thomas and Tony Vino in action. It was a cracking evening with a lot of laughter. Best of all though was the chance to chat to Tony and to Rob who shared a lot of wisdom with me. (It's Rob who is heading up the 'Clean as Possible Comedy Show' where I have my slots at Edinburgh).

I love comedy!

Yellow Braces

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It's the Diocesan Camp this weekend. Really excited about spending the weekend with 50 teenagers in the company of a wonderful team. Community, conversation and food.
Mode today: Lists, equipment, stuff, lists, lists and packing.

Ecclesiocentricity

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Wise article from the Journal of Missional Practice.

"The default shaping missional conversations for the past two decades has been ecclesiocentric. The basic, underlying current shaping Christian imagination appears to be one in which the church (in its multiple forms and iterations) is assumed to be the primary subject and object of the challenge Newbigin placed before us. The language of missional is an adjectival modifier of 'church', as in 'missional church' or 'mission-shaped church'. This starting point lays bare a default deeply rooted in the imagination and practice of many Western church leaders and it fails to grasp what is at stake."

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