On my doorstep

On my estate!
The Community Police Team turned up in numbers last nigt with the mobile Police Station. They held a bit of a consultation and filled us in with stuff that was happening on the estate, as did the Neighbourhood wardens and the like. BUT the big news is that one of the Community police team has managed to scrounge a large porta-cabin and got various businesses to donate some resources. If all goes to plan we’ll have a youth centre on the Baseball diamond. This is awesome as there is virtually nothing on the estate apart from the Church in one corner, a skateboard ramp and the dis-used baseball pitch left over from when the airbase was here, we don’t even have a shop or a phone box!
I guess this is where I might be investing some energy as unless there is real ownership from the Estate VERY quickly it’ll get vandalised/torched. Very cool step forward for the estate IF everyone can work together.

Teenage sexuality

Yesterday I was day-offing and went on a coach trip, with the tribe called Macdonald, to Bournemouth. We had a fab day with all the important elements of a British seaside day i.e Loads of fun, sandwiches that actually had sand in them, chips, swim in the sea (brrrrrrrrr), getting buired in the sand and the constant smell of sun tan cream.
I was at one stage thinking about some discussion that had happened on and off the blog regarding youth work and teenage sexuality. This sign therefore made me laugh! With a change of spelling it could be the slogan for a new sexual health campaign.

Teenage Pregnancy

Mostly today oive been thinkin bout Teenage Pregancy! I ended up at the Governments strategic plan and it set me thinking, so for what it’s worth I copy it here and I’ve added to it (the yellow bits) with my thoughts.
It’s really a societal issue (it seems to me) that seems to have de-valued sex to an on demand recreational pursuit rather than a highly valued bond and expression of love, trust and commitment. I think many young people suffer enormous emotional hurt (and worse) because of a sex obsessed society that also lacks the ability to explore and COMMUNICATE to young people what sex isn’t and very importantly what sex is.
Anyway, here’s my yellow grafitti on the governemt plan. Not claiming to have all the answers or to have got it right BUT firmly believing that youth ministers can have a prophetic voice in the area of sexuality …. as well as having the frankness and humour needed to help young people explore their attitude to themselves and sex.

The government’s Teenage Pregnancy Strategy represents the first coordinated attempt to tackle both the causes and consequences of teenage pregnancy. It has two targets:
To halve the under-18 conception rate by 2010, and establish a firm downward trend in the under-16 rate.
To increase the participation of teenage parents in education, training or employment, to reduce their risk of long-term social exclusion. (note it is often exclusion that leads to teenage pregnancy as well as the stated vica versa)
The strategy is focused on four broad themes:
Joined-up action
Local teenage pregnancy coordinators in each local authority coordinate the delivery of local strategies, drawing on support from a wide range of local partner agencies and MUST include the voluntary/faith sector
A national media campaign/ media assessment
Targeted on independent radio and teenage magazines, backed up by a dedicated ‘Sexwise’ helpline and RUThinking website. 1. Media campaign aimed at Parents backed with resources/training that help parents to be able to discuss sex with their children.
2. A serious look at media potrayals of casual sex relationships
3. Promoting a higher view of sex not inadvertently promoting the idea to young people that sex is for every relationship and that losing virginity is a rite of passage out of childhood.
Improving sex and relationships education, and access to contraception and sexual health advice services. 1. More work on self esteem that enables young people to value themselves as spiritual, emotional, valued people and allows them the strength/space to make decisions (in advance).
2. More youth work/informal education in schools and investment in young people not being excluded but included in the school community.
Support for teenage parents
Including tailored maternity services, advice and support from Connexions personal advisers and (in the 35 local authority areas with highest conception rates) Sure Start Plus advisers, financial support for childcare for those in education and training, and help to access supported accommodation. 1. Set in place a mentoring support scheme for teenage parents. 2. Recognise there are teenage mums who do an incredible job and have battled and achieved for themselves/their children against so many barriers and judgments

Charity Technology Exchange

This site allows you as a registered charity to buy current software for the charities use at massively significant discounts. You’ll need to read the criteria but it doesn’t rule out religious organisations providing their aims are to benefit the whole community. CTX can be found here


gb2.jpg I am SOOOOO looking forward to Greenbelt this year. Having reflected on the various conferences I find myself eating christian lasagne at, the events where I participate (or struggle to participate) in worship, the seminars where I debate with Youth Minesterial bretherin and sisterin, the VERY limited number of gigs I get to and the churches I find myself adrift in …… I have decided that Greenbelt is the most fulfilling and enriching thing I go to by far. It’s the event where worship, gigs, debate, church, faith and learning all combine and I feel at home, my faith and my soul part of something bigger. It’s a funny thing as Greenbelt is a massive bunch of imperfect people (I include myself) who don’t all agree BUT somehow it’s a taste of the kingdom that’s really real. There’s fun and faith, doubts and longings, hopes and dreams, creativity and dance, tears and laughter, a search for shalom, the mystery of Christ, the passion of the Spirit, the father heart of God …….. oh and the Tiny tea tent!
Interestingly I probably bump into more youth ministers I know at Greenbelt than anywhere else (Soul Survivor included) so I’m not the only one who finds it pivotal in terms of what events they commit to.
See you there 🙂

Shed some light

shed light small.jpg The internet is a bizarre place! I was just looking at who was hot-linking (tut tut) to stuff on my blog and I found a photo of my shed? Strange but true, this piece on new semi-conductor legislation features my workshop!
Rather than being illustrative of “shedding some light” it was originally about “lighting some shed!”
Hey Ho

‘More than survival’ Conference

Thought this was worth flagging up (oh and obviously I need a female volunteer to a) go and b) let me know what it was like!). Details as follows …..
More than survival
A conference for women in youth ministry
Are you a woman who is working in youth ministry? Do you sometimes wish you felt you were doing more than ‘just surviving’ in what can be very much a man’s world?
Well, if so, CPAS is running a small-scale, two-day conference that may be right up your street.
The conference is designed for women serving in youth ministry who would like to do more than survive:
in their spiritual lives
in their working relationships with the males in their groups and work teams
in keeping their identity as women.
10-11 October, 2006
Windmill Farm Conference Centre, near Cheltenham
Led by: Ruth Hassall, Emma Sargeant and the Rev Penny Frank
The cost of the conference is £95, including all meals and overnight accommodation.
Interested? Please contact Becky Ward via [email protected] or on 01926 458452″

Isolate and fix

Great post from Lev looking at how Church percieved problems with the young people are indicative of the actual problems which affect the whole church. I also thought this quote was helpful ………..
mechanicwrench.jpg “When leaders in churches began to see teenager’s growing disinterest with the church they responded like a good mechanic: isolate and fix…but the Christian community is not a machine. In fact the “solution” of isolation created a much worse problem. Because teenagers are an integral part of the body of Christ, perhaps we would be better off to approach this problem less as a mechanic would and more as a physician would” (Family Based Youth Ministry, p43).
This effect that Lev highlights not only affects Churches but is equally true at a societal level AND goes equally un-grasped.