Happy Easter

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Well dear Reader, I wish you a great EASTER!
Every blessing for this seasonal epi-centre of Hope, Life, possibility, and well .... chocolate

I'm now off for two weeks so the blog is in stasis. I shall be busy family-ing, cycling, V-Dubbing, oh and writing 6000 words on Ecclesiology (eek)



The blog will return on the morning of April 28th. Past usefulness is no guarantee of future content. This blog and all therin is the personal opinion of Ian Macdonald and does not reflect the views of the Diocese of Oxford, the Church of England or Youth workers anywhere. Any similarity to people, animals or entities (living, dead or notional) is purely coincidental. The work is copyright but hey you can use stuff if you ask. This blog is run by a professionally trained blogger who is conversant with html and spam filterage; you are not advised to try this at home!

April Mailing

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Just sent out the April mailing to churches which started something like this:

"This is a great season for us! (I'm not talking about chocolate here, although that is, I admit, good too). It is because it is at the centre of who were are; we are Easter people. It is the core of our hope for now, and our hope in the 'not yet'. It is the heart of the 'life to the full' in Christ that we live and share with young people.

How do young people 'get' this idea of being Easter people though? It is not through teaching (although this might play a part), it doesn't automatically happen just through being in Church or through being in the Youth group (though these help). Forgive the long words but as people, and especially young people, we are imitative and mimetic, that is to say it is in copying, imitating, trying and doing that we work things out, and take them on as our own.

How do the young people encounter the adults of the Church, see what (and why) it means to follow Jesus; then where can they be invited into the business of making a difference, living to a different set of values, sharing stories, encountering worship, silence and action (and crucially, beyond Church and Sunday)?

I think I'm reflecting here on the Cycle Club I belonged to as a teenager (with several friends), and what I gained from being welcomed into that group of adults. They loved that young people were part of the club. We saw a passion for cycling modeled, and we saw skill and experience in action. They would invite us out on rides, push us to sign up for challenges like the 'time trials,' and be happy to chat about any aspect of what it meant to ride further or faster. Importantly too we were not kept at the margins as a junior group confined to a junior room, we experienced being a full part of the life of the club.

Reflecting on the Cycling Club, what might church look and feel like, where apprenticing young people into the life and activity of Jesus's Easter people was the focus? Are they welcomed into a community where there is opportunity to mimic and imitate?

I reckon this is a whole lot more fun than the focus being constantly on what do we need to teach?"

In depth irony

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Training Days at Church House London

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Wednesday 7 May - SOCIAL MEDIA FOR THE SCARED: If you don't know your 'likes' from your 'favourites' this is the course for you. You'll learn how to use the main social media platforms and see how it can support your mission effectively.
Tutor: Bex Lewis, Research Fellow in Social Media and Online Learning at Durham University.

Tuesday 13 May - SOCIAL MEDIA TRAINING FOR YOUTH LEADERS: Developed from her new book - Raising Children in a Digital Age - this one-day course will include a discussion around privacy, permanency, identity, values and relationships in a digital age, as well as how to use social media successfully with youth.
Tutor: Bex Lewis, Research Fellow in Social Media and Online Learning at Durham University.

Thursday 15 May - PRESENTATION SKILLS: Presenting to an audience of one or 100 can be a challenge. This course will help you get your message across in a clear and concise way. A practical and analytical workshop that will encourage you to explore and develop public speaking skills that inspire, motivate and involve an audience.
Tutor: Ged Clapson, an experienced writer and broadcaster with the BBC and ILR, specialising in media and communications training for church and charitable groups.

Tuesday 20 May - POWERPOINT & PREZI: Master the essentials of PowerPoint in this half day course and avoid the pitfalls. Plus, an introductory look at the 'new kid on the block', Prezi.
Tutor: Nick Clarke, an experienced Church Communications professional, design tutor, media consultant and former BBC producer.

The days cost £60 and you'll find details here

Youth Work Job Opportunity

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The Thrive project run by Innovista are looking for a Director in Oxford to move the Thrive team forward in their work along side young people on labelled estates. Details here

Living the Dream

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Early start this morning but there was Shepherds Pie left over from last night! Breakfasted like a king, oh yes! (further enhanced with a little HP Brown Sauce!)


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Bishop John is retiring

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The announcement was made this morning that Bishop John Pritchard is retiring at the end of October. I'm delighted for Bishop John .... but I will miss him being at the helm, it has been a real honour to work for him, exciting, focused, and a lot of fun.


I guess we are in the market for another Bishop! (I'd like another one like Bishop John please, that SO gets mission, discipleship, and engagement with young people)

In answer to, "What is it you do Ian?"

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I engender and facilitate synergy across the faith community to leverage forward momentum in engagement with communities.. The key focus being local (3rd sector) volunteer enablement which maximizes high quality measurable outcomes for the pre-adult demograph.

A Challenge

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ht to Christian memes

A Stereo Me-ie

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I guess these pics are not selfies as I didn't take them, more of a Me-ie (and in Stereo). They are shots of me as Compere at 'Ye Olde Pig and Whistle' Comedy Evening.


Engaging with young adults

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Beth Keith has spent the last 12 months researching churches that are bucking the trend of decline in attendance among young adults. She has identified five types of churches that are successfully reaching and discipling the "missing generation" of people in their 20s and 30s. Her report, Authentic Faith: Fresh expressions of church amongst young adults, found that these churches are largely in towns and cities, and especially in London.

The study does not consider all churches with young adults (identified in the report as those aged 20 to35) but only those churches with growing numbers of young adults.

This section on values is a useful insight/summary:

"Although the churches differ in style, practice and emphasis, Keith sees some common characteristics:

Community - food, socials and hospitality are all "key components of church life rather than additional activities"
Authenticity - church is understood as journeying together and working out faith together
Doubt - there is openness to express doubt, question, or deconstruct
Spirituality - the spiritual encounter with God as something "felt"
Change - the continuous transition of people in and out of the community"

You'll find a summary here
ht to @Benmiz


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