I've just filled in the feedback form for the 'Youthwork Summit' and am still reflecting on a great day with nearly 600 of my Youthwork sisterin and bretherin. The rationale for the day was this:
'a new kind of youth work event... breaking down old ways of doing things, and finding new ones; listening to a wider range of voices than ever before, from parts of the church - and the world outside it - that normally we wouldn't stop to engage with.'
Was it achieved? Yes I think it was (.... and it very much laid a foundation that can be built on to push the boundaries further and the conversation on.)
The format was for everyone to gather together alternating between two different rooms, either the basement for coffee and conversation, or upstairs in the main auditorium where we'd hear a number of ten minute presentations before we'd break and discuss once again.
The inputs were thusly kept fairly fast paced and diverse ... and therefore provoking agreement, disagreement, new-thinking, inspiration, challenge or uncertainty to promote reflective thinking and conversation. All of this framed by the worship led by the Rend Collective Experiment.
I tried to keep notes but failed miserably, thankfully Ricky did a sterling job of this (you'll find them here) and I'm using his record to re-visit the input. Highlights for me were the Young people from Tower Hamlets, Christopher Pilkington (TV Exec) with some astoundingly useful input of how to frame and tell a story that grips and communicates, and Yanah Nightingale (an undergrad at Cambridge) with a great piece of theological reflection on leadership.
The input was quite massively varied in content and style and some of the speakers could have helped us enormously by defining at the start what, in one sentence, was their pitch to the summit. (I sometimes didn't understand the 'why' in terms of what was offered)
My congratulations to Martin and the team though for what was a REALLY important day, establishing as it did a gathering where denominationalism should be left at the door and where the input was not designed to be tailored to the views of everyone present. Faith and practice development through reflection and conversation.