John Calvins news round

calvin small.JPG It’s Monday and here is the splurge of news, info and clergy gossip (not really) that has been sucked into the Black Hole of Youth Adviserdom and is now available in your galaxy:
First of all. VERTIGO 4 is this coming Saturday (14th) and it’s looking GOOD. I reckon there’ll be around 500 teenagers there and once again I’m heading up the cafe team, actually that’s only partially true: I would be heading up a Cafe team if they hadn’t all gone off to university and short term mission agencies. SO if you are within a Lightweek of Oxford and would love to join the team, be in touch!
Marlborough are looking for an employed person to join the team. You’ll have to be very versatile AND have large pockets to put business cards in because the the job title is long and all encompasssing. If you feel called to be a:

“Part-time Children and Families Worker/Office Manager for Christchurch Methodist/URC Marlborough”

then let me know and I’ll put you in touch!
Matrix publicity is out now, e-mail for details. Youthwork the conference is imminent. I hope all the female youth workers who will be at “More than Surviving” this week have a blast (and don’t dis’ us blokey workers too much). Greenbelt have announced their theme for 2007, Heaven in Ordinary. I can’t find it on the Soul Survivor web site but the Soulnet conference is running March 2-4th 2007.
A couple of people asked about how I (legally) do wi-fi when I’m out and about? I pay £11 a month to BTopenzone and can log onto shed loads of hot spots around the place. They are offering me some ‘carrots’ if I can persuade anyone else, so if you want to know more, let me know eh 😉
And finally, if you need a reminder that risk assesment and planiing are a good idea. then learn from this less than uplifting scenario! Download file
(Caution, 600k Powerpoint show)

[email protected]

live@6.jpg I was in Wheatley last night for the launch of a new ‘Youth Service’ called [email protected] It was a great evening that a good number of Tweens and Teens participated in.
[email protected] was the vision of the curate, she’d networked and communicated the event well and drawn in lots of people from other churches, organisations and the local theological training college. The result was a good team who were enthusiastic about the event, it also meant there was a critical mass of young people.
The format was a good balance of the relaxed and the structured with a clear idea of what was happening. The church enviroment was welcoming, both because of the team and the funky warm lighting/candles. A couple of fun icebreakers were followed by doughnuts and then everyone assembled on the carpetted area at the front of the Nave. There was a good explanation as to what [email protected] was and how it would work. The worship was explained and worked well. A fun shared activity led into the discussion/learning on values and what Jesus had to say, followed by some time at various prayer stations that had been put together. This was all drawn together with a particpatory version of the Lords prayer and some final worship.
There was then hot chocolate and discussion about where the young people could be involved in [email protected]

Keys to successful typing

Regular readers of the blog (Hi both) will know that my laptop keyboard started to lose letters faster than the Post Office. Despite an attempted repair it was never quite right and it was pot luck at whether the “w” appeared or not (if you’ve wondered why ‘ho’ has featured a lot in the blog recently, it’s not an RNB lyric, it’s a ‘How’ or a ‘Who’ without the ‘W!’ ). Anyway those nice people at Dell ‘Exploding Batteries’ Computers have sent me a new keyboard!
new keyboard.jpg
Captains log supplemental: I.T have just told me that they’ve forwarded this post onto our DELL account manager, Doh! (I love my DELL Laptop, honestly).
Oh and if you want to see the disected guts of my laptop and aren’t squeamish about the sight of silicone, read on!

Continue reading “Keys to successful typing”

Could you confirm that

confirm1.jpg I’m trying to do a whole bunch of reflecting on the meaning of Confirmation at the moment! (Baptists are excused from reading this post). I want to explore a theology of confirmation* and then look at what that might mean for the way we approach confirmation preparation as well as how confirmation fits into the life of the church.
I see quite a lot of stuff around confirmation that is done badly (imho) There is good stuff happening too BUT here’s the not so good stuff that I see and want to explore:
1.Young People are often confirmed too young.
Now I know that young people vary enormously in their spiritual maturity and I do hold to the “stage not age” philosophy BUT it seems to me that young people going forward for confirmation before adolescence is not a good thing. During adolescence EVERYTHING is re-evaluated, the process of exploring, owning or rejecting happens at this stage, confiming young people before this therefore means that faith can be assigned to childhood. I also find that groups that have run confirmation preperation with younger tweens have not devloped the discussion and exploration in the same way.
2. Confirmation groups often focus on ‘knowing about’
For some preparation groups the focus is “Teaching about” christianity rather than exploring faith together. A ‘what you should know’ approach is not a shared journey of spirituality, learning and action. Confirmation prep’ is an enormously exciting opportunity to experience christianity in action, worship and in understanding. It’s vital to understand what Christians believe but it must be linked to experiencing and living faith. I guess I’m saying there needs to be acts not just facts (wow I can be cheesy sometimes).
Young people have also told me that there was little about the connection between faith and their everyday lives.
3. Confirmation automatically follows confirmation preperation.
I think confirmation prep’ should be a place to reflect, think, explore, pray and to find whether it is the right time for a young person to confirm their faith. In other words the group should be a place to discern a ‘not yet’ or a ‘no’ as well as the place to discover that it’s the right time to confirm a real and owned faith. I’ve had lots of conversations with young people who felt that their confirmation was a process they were put through and that actually, it had little value to them at that time.
*I said you were excused from reading this if you were a Baptist so don’t be arguing with me about the idea of ‘a theology of confirmation’ 😉


I’ve noticed a weird phenomena whereby the moment I blog-roll someone they stop posting. I’m sure this is some sort of bizarre coincidence rather than any sinister blog limiting power, well reasonably sure?
So, an experiment: I’ve blog-rolled the following people and I hope their blogs will go from strength tio strength, if not I could find myself in the weird position where people specifically ask me NOT to link to them.
Chris’ random thoughts
Every little thing
Random voice in the wilderness
Rethinking youth ministry
Oh and welcome back Andy, who was one of several bods who stopped posting immediately after I listed him BUT seems to be back 🙂

Slightly boring Notice(y) post

Jam12.jpgAll sorts of stuff lands on the slightly untidy desk of the Diocesan Youth Adviser and here it is AND without negatively impacting the surface of your workstation 🙂 Don’t say I didn’t tell you!
National Stuff
JAM 12 is now out, great magazine to give to the youth group.
Alton Towers 2007 will be on May 5th. More details from Ultimate Events
Life. Live it Campaign from the Red Cross, get young people First Aid prepared.
Diocesan Stuff

Engage Youth Leader Training
: Core Values 4th Nov,Understanding Learning 24th Feb, Management of work and self 19th May, Models of Youth work 14th July. Details here
Hope 2008: Open meeting that Roy Crowne will be at, looking at how Churches across Oxfordshire can make HOPE 2008 happen in their community. 23rd October 10:30 at the Kings Centre, RSVP or questions to OYW please.

A good session with MayBE

At our staff residential yesterday we had a really good session with Ian Adams from the MayBE community in Oxford.
What I really liked about MayBe is that around their focus of Christ Centred Community they have identified core values, each of which has a guardian entrusted to protect and nuture these elements of their community and worshipping life. These values are:
I really like this list and what it represents, I’ve found that Grit, Wonder and Play have really stuck with me since our time talking yesterday, I especially love the fact that a ‘Church’ holds Play as a core value.
I’m left reflecting on underlying values in the ministry I have through the Diocese, both the consciously communicated values and the ones that are implied through actions and attitudes.

Windmill Conference Centre

wwnd.jpg Having been in Ministry for a lot of years I reckon I’ve stayed in nearly all the christian conference centres in England. There’s a huge variety, although they do all have in common the edict, “Thou Shall strip the bed and placeth the sheets outsideth thine door!”
At the moment however I’m at one I have not stayed at before, it’s Windmill Farm Conference Centre. I’m really impressed with the place, it’s well laid out, friendly, has good food and a great location ….. oh and Wi-fi!
Excuse me though ….. I’ve got to go and strip the bed!
Via comments today, bad habits of christian conference centres? (without naming and shaming the individual centres)