Herds of clergy roaming majestically across the dales

I am at Swanwick Conference Centre this week as part of the team running the Oxford Diocese Clergy conference. Blogging, on the whole, is not happening given that a conference for 350 people is absorbing quite a bit of focus and time. I’m in charge of the Resources area (as well as manning one of the stands promoting Youth Ministry), I’m leading the afternoon walks … and hosting the comedy night (which I’m hoping will be a bit of a laugh, literally!) and generally being a useful bod for that which needs doing.
I’ve just looked at the sign up sheets and the walks are hugely popular. I think it’s going to feel a little bit Monty-Python-esque leading a procession of seventy clergy through the Derbyshire countryside and the sections of post industrial wasteland. (It would be lovely visually if I could persuade them all to robe …. can you imagine! *laughing*)
I’m slightly tired (having been here on the advance party since Sunday afternoon) but loving the chance to spend time with an amazing bunch of people. It’s great to have time to swap stories, and to chat ministry, theology, young people …. and more.
I’m here until Thursday, so plenty more opportunities to learn, talk, reflect and pray yet. Am delighted that my boss has declared Friday a “Don’t come to the office” day, which is a relief as I think I’ll be a complete space cadet by then.
* I’ve just looked it up and the correct collective noun is an assembly of clergy! who knew?

Still don’t know

thumbuph.jpgThose of you who know me and more importantly know Haddon will have been following our efforts over the last few months with all sorts of paper work, visits and assessments towards our hoped for place at a Residential College. He’s had offers from two different but wonderful colleges than will allow his education to develop alongside work skills, but importantly too, in conjunction with his Physio, OT and speech therapy needs, and all in the context of developing socially. It is this wrap-around and interconnected nature of what college can offer that is so exciting, giving Haddon the best chance of learning and growing into work. A University-esque transition from home and into the wider world.
We’ve heard today from the panel that they have instead recommended local provision rather than the residential option BUT have included a small ray of hope that means there is still a chance that he might go. They have said that they might agree to part funding the opportunity, if Adult Care Services also agreed to part fund the fees. It is still ‘wait and see’ then but not definitely a no. Will keep you posted!
My enormous thanks though to Treloars College and to National Star College for the enormous support and help they have been in this process, and what a blessing they have been to Haddon through the assessments and trial visits and stays. I’m still hoping he will get to attend one of these colleges.

Centre for Youth Ministry Oxford

CYM are a key friend and partner in my work encouraging and enabling ministry among young people, it’s great to have them in the Diocese.
On the 3rd April they’ll be hosting a chance to talk about the range of support and training they offer; from one offs, through to their Engage programme for volunteers … and if required, on to academic qualifications. It’s at an Ice Cream Parlour and there will be dessert. I’ll be there and it would be great to see YOU (yes you!).
open evening at Oxford CYM.jpg
This is the Facebook link, e-mail contacts and phone on the invite card above!

Youth work summit humorous promo:

The Youthwork Summit are nearly as good as the VW Marketing department. Loved this promotional e-mail encouraging youth workers to book:
“We’d like you to book your tickets for the Youth Work Summit now please. But we understand – you are the Princes and Princesses of the Kingdom of Last Minute. It’s in your DNA; part of the entry exam for youth ministry. The pull to leave it late, just in case a wedding, or a gig, or a party at Julie’s house comes up at the last minute, is intense and strong.
So we want to help. We’ve invented something to relieve you of that inbuilt need to book late. It’s the glorious YWS lucky dip spectacular.
Starting on Monday (24th March), we’ll be drawing a name out of our metaphorical hat every weekday until Friday 4th April, and sending that person a fabulous prize. How do you get your name into that (let’s be honest imaginary) hat? By buying your ticket to YWS14 of course!”

The Shift

This quote from an article in the Telegraph has made me really happy! As a follower of Jesus, an Ecclesiologist and a minister ….. this recognition of the church and its activism for Justice is heartening:
“The Anglican Church, once categorised as the Conservative Party at prayer, now more resembles the Labour Party at war
Mary Riddell from this article

Harry Bird and the Rubber Wellies

31st May Dorchester on Thames (Oxfordshire) in the Abbey. Going to be the foot-stomping, sing-a-long, feel-good gig of Life Affirming Epicness. Highly recommended. The tribe are definitely going! See you there? If you are not familiar with Harry Bird and the Rubber Wellies then have a look here or check them out on Spotify.
Should be a lot of fun for youth groups. Let me know if you’d like to know more.e

Stirring my military interest

spoons3reich.jpgGiven that my engagement with AMAZON extends across stuff for youth work, academic learning, purchases for the offspring … and onto V-dubs, cycling, languages and more, their “Amazon recommends” can be somewhat weird. Never more so than this morning when my e-mail from the gargantuan e-tailer suggested I might wish to avail myself of:
Collectible spoons of the Third Reich
I don’t think I’ve ever had such a specific recommendation before! Why spoons? Why from the Third Reich? I feel I might lean more towards place-mats from the Weimar Republic or perhaps Prussian dessert forks, as an area of focused collection.
I am trying to prioritize the High Street over using Amazon, I have to say though that Amazon still win hands down for eclecticism and humour.
Supplemental: A quick search did unearth this definitive work on British Spoons from 1650 to 2000! Got to love the scope of this!