Dear Youthblog

I love it when we do a ‘question box’ session on a youth residential. The way I play it is to not open the box until the session itself as it breeds much greater authenticity, trust and discussion. I also love the fact that the questions are a mix of quirky, serious, odd, amazing and sometimes hilarious.
askyouthblog.jpgMusing about the blog and whether it still justifies its’ space on the internet as useful for youth work/ministry I thought I’d love to experiment with the merit of responding to some ‘Dear Youthblog’ type questions. Not because I’m setting myself up as some sort of Guru, but because I think it could be a creatively and useful way to know what I might explore or play with.
The full spectrum from absurd to profound is acceptable and although it may crash and burn, I thought it fun to try! And unlike the first edition of magazines that mysteriously have questions already submitted ….. I will not fabricate them!
So e-mail, comment, tweet (@youthblogoxford) or leave notes under the windscreen wipers of my car! Over to you ….

Bunny Church

Chatting with one of my chalet comrades and discussing our churches I thought I’d misheard when the information arriving at my brain sounded exactly like ‘Bunny Church!’
Turns out that I hadn’t misheard and this was in fact the reality.
bunny church.jpg
Admittedly though my initial search did produce some confusion … given that even a broad church like the Anglican communion would struggle to absorb this Church that google offered me in response to bunny + church.


soulnet snow 380.jpg
It’s a good few years since I was last at Soulnet and it was good to be back. The last time I was supposed to attend the snow rendered getting there impossible. This time the snow held off until we were there and was rather wonderful … a Narniaesque setting for the retreat, adding to the feeling of being away from ‘normal’ life.
soulnet worship.jpgA Major theme of this year was the idea of ‘family’ as a way of thinking about relationship, community and belonging …. both for ourselves, but more importantly for what it is that we offer to young people. This theme was explored by Rich Atkinson as he reflected on the work that his team were doing in Sheffield, but also by Mike as he explored the ‘values’ that are core to Soul Survivor (and indeed will provide the matrix for the input and discussion this summer at the festivals).

“You can’t belong to a service but you can belong to a family”

Rich Atkinson
soulnet snow.jpgThe idea of relationship and of community is lived out well at Soulnet, in the welcome and in the fact that you are billeted in a Chalet where there is a good chance that you don’t know your fellow villa dwellers. I was doubly blessed by being absorbed into the Guildford posse and also welcomed by the Nottinghamshire party who were in part sharing with me and the remainder occupying the villa next door. Enormous thanks to all for the welcome, food, conversation and conviviality.
“Anointing rests on Obediance”
Mike Pilivachi
I’ve enjoyed so many great conversations as well as loving the humour and silliness. Being part of tangle of human beings being plunged together down the rapids… is still making me smile now.
I’m definitely thinking about #soulnet13 being carved into the diary (this hashtag is already active in the twitterverse)
So back to normality: refreshed, encouraged and reminded. To God be the Glory


I am looking forward to Soulnet muchly, (especially as last time I was due to go the snow rendered it impossible and I never got there). Oh and very cooly also, a co-dweller of the Chalet I am billeted in got in touch via FB to say Hi!
I just have to retrieve the cycle trailer from Shed 2, prep it and put the linkage on one of the old bikes. The reason for this is I am not a big fan of queuing. The funereal procession of cars around the one way system of Centre Parcs to drop your stuff off is, in my mind, a duff start to the stay. So I just abandon the car at the first available Car Park space, attach the trailer to the bike, throw everything onboard and cycle to ‘key collection’ and onto the chalet. (Maybe I’ll make a Youthblog flag for the trailer today)
See you there 🙂
* I have a a new trailer now with a waterproof cover so an upgrade from the Plywood deck above