Meanwhile at the desk

I’m just entering the quieter phase of my work as Parishes do not want to see me whilst Carol mayhem and mince pie provision is at it’s height. This means rather more time at the desk than I would like … HOWEVER I’ve got plenty of planning and sorting that I need to be getting on with so confinement is probably a good thing.
We (the Department of Mission) are having to submit formal work plans and targets for the first time which is proving to be a useful focus, we’ve never tried to put numbers around what we do before. It’s been good to articulate more fully what it is we do/achieve and look at how that needs to be developed. Long but useful meeting yesterday!
So, I am a Desk Pilot for the moment BUT very happy to respond to theological, pastoral or practice crises if the need arises! That is I’m more than glad for the opportunity to leave the desk *laughing* but for now I’d better get on with my homework (with only my USB Snowman for company as everyone else is, well …… elsewhere!)

New Phase

Today is a whole new phase in my life as the first of my children embrace adulthood. Haddon is eighteen today and we are marking the transition that he is making into the rights, but more importantly the responsibilities, of being the man that he is. It’s been a week of long chats (and a great party) preparing for today and all that follows.
Haddon, you are a man of faith, thankfulness and joy. Happy Birthday son
*the top photo must be from around New Years day 1995 when he came out of Neonatal Intensive care but was still confined to the hospital

Crusaders Motto Cards

A friend of mine has just written a blog post which I like on the great verse from 1 Samuel
“But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart”
I rather like what he has done contrasting the Hippopotamus (from a poster with this verse on) and the Hippocampus, part of the brain dealing with emotions, feelings and the like.
Although it would be fun to look at the neuro science thinking around the mind and spirituality, what I was even more struck by was the reference to Crusaders (now Urban Saints) and the poster that attendees were given each year on Motto Sunday.
I had the privilege of growing up with an ‘old school’ Crusader group being a key part of my development. By ‘old school’ I mean 100 plus lads on a Sunday afternoon and a bunch of leaders for whom their faith was their adventure, calling and life. I remember well each year getting a new poster, with a key Bible verse for the year on* BUT apart from the ‘hippopotamus’ one and a great picture of a helicopter rescue, I cannot now remember the themes (though I greatly suspect I still remember the Bible verses used). Even worse though …. I can’t find any examples on Google.
Calling any old Crusaders, please scan your old Motto Cards and put them online, or e-mail them and I will 🙂
* I want to be clear that these were not akin to the fluffy, soppy, cheesy Christian posters that you are probably more familiar with.

Useful Christmas Stuff

(Very grateful to Ali Campbell who is way ahead of me in the trawling for resources stakes this year, and who is the compiler of the list)
Simply Youth Ministry – 12 Days of Freebies!
Life Changer – A Graphic Guide to the life of Jesus. Written and illustrated by Sussex based teacher Jason Ramasami, this is a great gift you a young person (say 13 upwards) who doesn’t like reading, but thinks cartoons and graphic novels are pretty cool.
BONUS! “The Jesus Comic Nativity,” is FREE to download as an APP – check it out on iTunes: Search for “saamvisualapps” and you will see all of Jason’s visual stuff, most of it is FREE to download.
Get in the Picture! A great opportunity for churches to share the story of the most generous gift given by God to all people. This innovative idea could create a stir in your community and help you connect with those on the fringe our outside church . . . check out the website and see what you need to do to sign up and join in:
Messy Nativity. A book in the “Messy Church” series, that gives you a whole load of ideas for running a messy nativity advent project . . . Check out the book here
Pilgrim Paths. If prayer and reflection is your thing, and you love labyrinths, journalling, or you know young people who do – these guys are great and have some great gift ideas.
Nativity 2 – Danger in the manger! There are free community resources that tie in with the film “Nativity 2” from Damaris.
With Love from Uganda. This is a free Christmas resource from Christian Charity Tearfund:
The Christmas Scale. If you are doing anything over Christmas with a piano or keyboard, you just have to play this! You might spot the ending before you get to it, but it is pretty cool! “Igniter Media” have other great resources too, check out their “Social Network Christmas”; “Christmas in 50 Words” etc. Here is the link to The Christmas Scale.
Heartfelt Christmas. These resources and ideas come from GenOn Ministries, check them out here.
Christmas in a Nutshell. There are loads of videos and sermon ideas on “sermon spice”
Here is an example.
Catholic Culture. Via the Catholic Culture website, there are a load of Christmas and Advent ideas here
EA – List of Christmas Resources. The Evangelical Alliance has produced a substantial list of resources for Christmas. Check it out here:
Bible Society. Christmas Resources

Can these bones Live

A number of organisations including 24/7 and Urban Saints are working towards a year of prayer in 2013, recruiting groups, towns and the like to take on a week. What is really impressive is that up until March is already taken up … and some after that. It’s all connected in with a big vision involving young people in Mission in their communities.
You’ll find more here.

Goodbye CRB hello DBS

The Disclosure and Barring Service is now the new name for CRB (whilst also incorporating ISA). You’ll find more details here
“December 2012 sees the launch of the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), a merger between the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA).
The merger brings together the skills, knowledge and experience of both organisations in helping employers to make safer recruitment decisions and in preventing unsuitable people from working with vulnerable groups including children.
Customers and stakeholders will still use the same contact details as they have always done – whether it’s applying for criminal record checks or referring people for safeguarding decisions. Importantly the staff who process the applications and make the safeguarding and barring decisions also remain the same; so there will be no disruption to the high quality service previously delivered by the CRB and ISA”

Snow and go Christmassy Bus

Charlie Bus has gotten a little blinged up for Christmas. It’s difficult to tell from the photo but you’ll have to trust me that the lights along the top of the windscreen spell out “Merry Christmas” whilst the tinsel merely underlines that. (I may have also bough a Santa Hat with flashing bauble to wear whilst piloting said Van.
You’ll also see on the dashboard* a little model of a T2 painted in the same colours as Charlie, kind of a little statuette of Charlies’ Ancestor.
The only other mod’ is that I also have a set of snow chains, bought after the great snow adventure a couple of years back when we failed to make it through the blizzard to our destination.
Let it Snow, oh Yes!
*(Always amused that this bit of the car is called the dashboard, so named after the actual dash board on a horse and cart that stopped the mud and associated road crud that was flung up by the horse in the direction of the driver!)

So Long and thanks for all the tuck

The Diocesan Youth Advisers of the South East region are charged with putting together the national conference for 2013, the annual gathering of all Youth Advisers.
After much prayer, discussion, musing and some energetic debate we felt it was right to use the conference to ‘step back’ and look with fresh eyes at the changing landscape of culture, missiology and practice in terms of Church engagement with young people. We want to be honest about the level of disengagement by churches from young people and ask why, then look at what needs to be challenged, changed, (dropped) or championed.
We’ve called the conference:
The Death of Youth Ministry?
So long and thanks for all the tuck
We’ve had some knocks about the negative title but we want to provoke thought with a view to looking in a fresh a way as possible at what the God given opportunities are and how we respond to them ….. as well as asking ourselves painful questions about where we are supporting models of engagement that have little or no effect.
I’m expecting some lively conversation when we gather together for this event in May!