Blog Break

Dear Readers, Happy Easter to you both. Just a quick note to say that I am on two weeks annual leave and will be busy with two dominant tasks, procrastinating, and writing my dissertation. (I’m happy to report that thus far the dissertation has in no way limited my joyous, total and commendably focused procrastination).
The blog is therefore resting for this time. I’m ‘back’ to my desk (new desk, new office) on April 4th.
(If there are any words you’d like to challenge me to include in my dissertation then please post them in the comments).

End of an era

Weird day for me as this is the last day I shall be coming to work at Diocesan Church House in North Hinksey. For the last 13 years I have been in the loft of this extended and converted Rectory. When I return to work it will be to an industrial unit in Kidlington. All very exciting and I’m looking forward to it BUT I shall miss this place.
* Photograph by Melanie J Hawgood

A to Z Youthwork ‘P’

P: Power

Empowerment, Power dynamics and Powerlessness

Youth Work rightly is interested in dynamics of power, recognizing where power lies in any given situation and then working creatively to enable equality and participation. For example in a School situation the Teacher may well stand at the front (The adult has power, the standing adds to that Power) by his/her large desk, they are working from Power. Youth workers typically would sit with the young people … aiming as much as possible to limit the effect of power. A key value of youth work is ‘Voluntary Participation’ (see V), again working from a non-power model, young people chose to, or not to particpate.
Furthermore Youthwork aims to give power away. It is not what the adults do for the young people, it is the process of working in a way that encourages young people to work, to challenge, to create. This is what we mean by empowerment.
Captains Log Supplemental:
Interesting query via the Twittersphere
Great comment from a muchly respected peer who is now a teacher. I admit to making a juxtaposition to explore a point but I think it holds true. Youth work recognizes that power is always present and as such needs acknowledging. This is not about whether power is chosen, or used. It is about its presence by way of history, institution, rules, age etc
Young People have to be in school, the discipline structure of the school stands with the teacher in their statutory role (and the challenging job that they are employed to do).
They are an adult authority figure working on behalf of the establishment. This is not a criticism, just a recognition. I am absolutely sure that good teachers do not wield power or abuse it (and this is in no way my point), but it is a fact that in that role there is a clear power dynamic, inescapably …. and of course there will be too in a youth work situation but it is part of the M.O of youth work to actively try to reduce this differential.

Hate, scapegoating, no substance and a wig

“I love the old days”
“You know what they used to do (to protesters) like that when they got out of line?
They’d be carried out on a stretcher folks”
Donald Trump 2016
It is bewildering to see that Donald Trump i s still a contender for president. As far as I can see a campaign that hasn’t said much other than scapegoat all the non-supporters and/or other ethnicities as being the problem with ‘MERICA! This the call to hate/blame … and the encouragement of violent response to anyone who is in disagreement with Trump-ism (implied is that those not for Trump are politically correct liberals/foreigners who are to blame for Americas problems …. ergo non Trumpites hate America.
For my generation in Europe we have struggled to understand how Hitler rose to power. Watching Trump and his supporters at the moment looks like a case study that makes perfect sense of how the Third Reich came to establish itself.

The fact that some prominent ‘Christians’ and ‘Churches’ are supporters makes me sad and angry in equal measure. How can you align Jesus and the scriptures with a consumerist, violent, hating, pro-rich, judgmental white supremacist movement?

Next level

I had the privilege of being at The Next level Event at the Hexagon Theatre in Reading on Saturday. It was a day to gather Youth Ministries from the area with Kerith Community Church in Bracknell being the main driver. Four hundred young people and leaders were gathered to attend a very upbeat, loud and great day of worship and message.
The day ran from 1pm until 9pm in three sections, I could only attend the first so didn’t get to experience all of the day. But from what I saw, I loved the energy, loved the passion; I especially loved the fact that young people were so involved in every aspect. So great to hear three 17 year olds not only sharing a bit of their faith but bringing challenge and wisdom to the day in what they said.