Goodwill to men?

I need some of the collective blog wisdom please. The question broadly is, am I being a curmudgeon?
The statutory Youth Centre (I am on the team at) is hired by a Church on Sunday mornings. This means that the main room is often be-decked with Church and Christian posters (and all the posters about sexual health are covered over by the church). The presence of Church posters and the lack of sexual health ones continues into the week.
Anyway yesterday was the Christmas lunch for all the statutory youth team who work at the centre! On the wall the Church had put a large poster that proclaimed,
“Peace on Earth
Goodwill to all men”

peace.jpg Am I being a curmudgeon for finding this sexist and non inclusive? (I know that MEN in this sense is meant to be in the mankind sense). What do you think? Is it alienating for a Church to be putting posters up that imply (especially to the young people) that women are off less value (Is this my interpretation?). Is ‘professional’ youth work messing with my objectivity?
So question 1. am I being a curmudgeon? “Need Input?”
oh ….. and question 2. which I guess flows on was I wrong to cross out the word “men” and change it to “people?”

Young People yesterday

“Seven Hundred years ago London had a real yob problem. The city was full of teenage apprentices, who hung out in gangs in and around old St. Paul’s, which in the days before shopping malls was the only covered public area in the city. These medieval ‘hoodies’ shot birds with arrows, broke windows and vandalised statues. Bishop Braybroke was so cross, he tried to excommunicate the boys for their ‘insolence, idleness and evil minds”
Source: The Metro via Barrie

Spirituality is ….. important to talk about

I’m really glad that I invested a couple of days in going to the Spirituality Is conference in Salisbury. Having said that however I am unable yet to crystalise a definitive list of things that I gained. I absorbed the research, encountered some methodology, recognised an ethos BUT if these were the metaphoric jelly, blancmange and cream … they have not settled, in my mind, into a recognisable Trifle yet!
The conference billed itself as,
“Young people’s spirituality in the UK: Conference on the findings of the Spirituality of Young People research project at Sarum College”
buried spirituality.jpg It also saw the launch of these findings as a book, Buried Spirituality. It was fantastic to hear the result of Phil Rankin’s research and just how willing young people were to talk about spirituality when given the opportunity. His research, findings and proposals were worth every penny to hear.
Where it got complicated was that the majority of the conference was, ‘over to you’ and collective looks at where next. For some reason the discussion really touched some frustrations in youth workers and much pain-from &criticism-of the church emerged. Kind of messy and I wish I could claim to be an objective observer rather than a contributor to this, sadly I can’t.
The conference was also partly delivered by four 18-24 year olds from the four segments of the UK. It was great to have their input. They added a great dynamic to the conference but all was not straight forward given all that was being discussed and opened up.
For me the conference caught me by surprise I think. I was just expecting to absorb the research and to hear Phil Rankin speak more fully on his research. Instead an excitement about what Phil was saying that we were trying to earth into a Church we care passionately about but in which we see huge hurdles to moving forward, created a messy and slightly bewlidering mix. None of which detracts from the opportunity the learning from this report affords us. I guess we just ran out of time!
I am so glad I went though. I have learnt an enormous amount and encountered an opportunity that could benefit young people significantly. Spending time with Phil Rankin was a real privilege, as was spending time with the other delegates.
Active Phil has written more coherently on this than I

Blog introductions

I spy.jpg In a couple of hours New Zealand blogger, Michael ( Theobloby ) arrives here. I only know him through his blog and vica versa. I’m not sure how you greet someone you know a bit but have never met? Maybe we’ll have to type rather than talk for the the first few minutes of our conversation!
I really enjoyed the SPIRITUALITY IS conference and will write up some stuff soon. Sarum College lacked Wi-fi but the food was awesome 🙂 as was the company!
Gotta dash …….

The urge to Splurge

A formal welcome to the business of Monday! Grant has published a list of useful stuff that New Youth Pastors should know, its a highly subjective approach but there is wisdom among the rubber chickens! Meanwhile the whole of Christendom seems to have gone Alpha loopy over Narnia, Dan Kimball reflects that the Da Vinci code may be a more honest point of engagement. Andy also expresses reservations.
12 days.gif “Free Stuff!” Words beaten only by “pay rise” in the mind of youth workers. Check out Simply Youth Ministry who are giving away Christmasssy type useful downloadable stuff!
Advent wise I’m still logging on religiously (if you see what I mean) each day to Dave’s blog
Anyway I’m at the Spirituality Is conference in Salisbury, so see you there or catch you here when I report back in on Tuesday. Talking of contemporary spirituality, please come up with a caption for this ……
kneeling santa jesus.JPG

today Youthblog is expected to ….

blair.jpg Among the things that annoy me at the moment (I’ll spare you the list) is for the BBC News in the morning to contain an item that says,
In a speech today, Tony Blair will say … etc etc etc
Why is what someone is going to say, NEWS! Especially when the news covers what he does say and then the evening news covers what he has said! It’s not just Tony Blair obviously but you see what I mean.
(Plus how boring must it be to have to attend a speech when the BBC have told you what is going to be said?)
Anyway: Tomorrow Youthblog is expected to deliver another splurge in which he’ll blather on about stuff, include a couple of useful links & illustrate it with a funny picture!

Wooosh went the weekend

flashing antlers.bmp At Lunch time on Friday we had the ‘official’ turning on of the Christmas Lights in my department at Church House! I work in an open plan office of about 14 people and among our collective idiosyncrasies is the tendency to go a tad over the top at Christmas. We have two christmas trees, Streamers, tinsle and the like EVERYWHERE and all manner of illuminations. I’d also built some wooden frames so that some areas of the office became Grotto’s and had been decorated and lit accordingly. The total effect produced by all the decorations is awesome. We invited everyone else in Church house, put on a buffett for Charity AND the piece de resistance was getting Bishop Richard to officially turn the lights on! Cool huh?
Anyway before I knew it the afternoon had gone and I was on duty at the drop-in, had an OK session with the teenagers and all though still not achieving much there were a lot less incidents to deal with. From there I met up with Newbury Youth Council (GREAT bunch of teenagers) and we headed down to Avon Tyrell in the New Forest for a residential training event we were doing with them. Had a blast but I headed back early as on Sunday my eldest boy has his birthday ….. Church, birthday cake, jelly and games. Fab!
What have I learnt this weekend? Not to stay up with teenagers watching a Peter Kay DVD until the small hours of the morning! Very funny though!

Nice one FYT!

FYT have produced a couple of promotional pictures in their campaign against the pervading ‘populist anti-youth dogma’ In their words:
“Frontier Youth Trust (FYT) has recently launched a post card campaign to challenge the plethora of negative images about young people in UK society. A survey by the magazine Young People Now (13-19 October 2004) found that 71% of press articles concerning young people had a negative tone, only 14% were positive. This impression that every young person in the country is out to attack, mug or vandalise property is far from the truth”

Calling all Oxford(ish) youth bods

weeme.JPG On Wednesday Michael Treston is visiting me from New Zealand. We’ll be in Oxford and around for the day and he’s interested in seeing UK youth ministries, rural stuff (Hello Simon) and any emerging/youth church type stuff that’s happening. If anyone is free on Wednesday and fancies a meet up for coffee, lunch etc then please shout! .. actually that won’t work as I won’t hear you from Newbury, maybe you could e-mail?