Important Dates

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Here’s some dates for you to look at for growth, development, Networking and Coffee!
(N = National D = Diocesan)
N: IASYM international conference Jan 3rd – 6th (Cambridge)
N: Showing and Telling: POSTPONED Missional Chruch among young people 24th,25th Jan (Reading)
D: Retreat for Employed Youth and Employed Childrens Ministers 29th – 30/31st (Douai)
N: Soulnet, Soul Survivor Youth Leader retreat 1st – 3rd February (Nottingham)
N: Inspiring Faith in Schools March 9th (Reading)
N: Supporting young people with depression 14th March (Watford) e-mail for details
N: Youth Work Summit 18th May (Midlands)
N: Youthwork the Conference November 23rd-25th (Eastbourne)

The Diluvian thwart to perambulation

When I’m at Church Office I usually enjoy a stroll at some point for some fresh air and musing. My amble normally involves crossing a small stream that trickles right to left sedately on the other side of the tree, via a footbridge (the handrail of which you can just see above the water) and then straight across a lovely series of fields via the gate you can just see the top of. The route involves a straightish line to the Pylon you see in the distance before I stroll through the Retail Park and back through a now similarly flooded park.
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Even with Oxford as is (temporarily twinned with Venice) some drivers remain sceptical about advice given. I was amused by the useful home-made addition to the warning sign.
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The Theoretical become Possible

For those blog readers that know Haddon you’ll be pleased to know that he passed his theory driving test today and is feeling rather chuffed (as am I).
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It’s been a tough challenge for him as no allowance has been made for his Cerebral Palsy hence the additional challenge of not only knowing the theory and understanding hazard awareness, but being able to click the mouse each time at exactly the right moment (not easy when the part of your brain that handles fine-motor moment is so damaged).
Long time reader(s) will know the battle I had to get him a drive in a Go-Kart! This feels like a great vindication of that confidence in him. He’s back on the road now to complete his driving lessons and work towards the practical test.
Hoping that 2013 will see him as a Solo Micra Pilot!

Just the Ticket

A curious comment that is made to me across a variety of churchmanships is that “Young People see Confirmation as a ticket out of the Church” … in fact there is even a joke about it; the scenario being that a Vicar is worried about an infestation of bats in the bell tower, the vicar is advised to Confirm them, with the promise he/she will never see them again.
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I am staggered that this actually exists as a bit of ‘thinking’ as it is of course, nonsense. Occasionally it can be about meeting family pressure but the most common scenario in my experience is that young people are hoping confirmation will be a chance to discuss, doubt, explore …. to hear about how faith really works, what it means to be a follower of Jesus; a chance to really ask the difficult, painful, challenging and confusing questions.
In reality they encounter quite a bit of information and doctrine, and all too often don’t either experience what being a Disciple could be, to be drawn into spiritual practice and adventure or get to ask their questions. Thus they leave!
I love it when I see Churches for whom Confirmation is part of discipleship and journeying, who explore confirmation in adolescence not childhood, who are comfortable being present to God and to young people, un-fazed by doubt, question and struggle.
I’ve updated the entry reflecting the young peoples thoughts on Confirmation during the ID Weekend. I would have loved to have had time for one more plenary session to really build on what they were saying, and to glean more of their wisdom given that their letters to the Church were relatively short and didn’t convey all that they had talked about.
Even allowing for that though there are regular themes:

  • Not ‘classes’ but chance to explore (with food) in a place safe with questions and doubts
  • Don’t co-erce and think about what age is appropriate
  • We need follow-up and chance to explore what/where now

Ung, man och spiritualitet

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Very chuffed to make it as a Page 5 model in a Swedish Newspaper. It’s a picture of some of the conversation at the ‘Male Spirituality’ symposium in our link Diocese.
(A bit concerned about how the light in Sweden has made my hair look grey!?!!!)

Up the Canal without a Gondola

I was REALLY low on fuel for my trusty camping-gas powered Astra yesterday and needed to duck into the M4 service for a Butane/Propane refill. It was though a staggering 83 pence a litre! A quick mental calculation later and I’d worked out the implication that it would be £9 more expensive to fill up there than it would in Oxford, eeek! A further taxing of the Brain Cells and I calculated the ABSOLUTE minimum I’d need to put in as a ‘splash n dash’ to get me to Oxford on the Morrow. Genius!
That plan is now looking a little pear shaped as Oxford today is twinned with Venice (flooding abounds and the nice clear distinction betwixt road and river have become blurred) and getting to the LPG merchant is a no-no. My car is running on fumes (well, I guess it always does, but now it’s running on fume fumes) and the £9 potential saving is now looking like a missed investment. Doh!
Hoping I’ve got enough petrol aboard to get me the twenty miles South before encountering a garage.

Christian Aid Oxford Abseil

This sounds fun.
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If members of your Youth Group would love to support Christian Aid and would ‘enjoy’ abseiling from a Church Tower in the centre of Oxford then contact Christian Aid and put March 9th on the Youth Club programme.

Trinity Lightship

I thought I was familiar with all the potential venues for youth residentials but I was recommended this one today …. and I really like the sound of a Lightship as a base.
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So, if Essex is within minibus range of your group, have a look at the FACT website.