Campaign aims to open up jobs to young people without degrees

Open to All logoTwo major children’s charities have launched a campaign urging employers, particularly those in the voluntary sector, to make more job opportunities available to young people without degrees.

The Open To All campaign, started by Children England and the National Children’s Bureau, aims to encourage more inclusive recruitment practices among employers so that candidates’ suitability for a role is judged on their skills and experience rather than whether they have a degree. It has been launched to counter the growing trend in the charity sector of entry-level positions being taken by graduates. Find out more on the Children England website.

Church of England Communications Update March 2016


InReview - Mar 2016March’s edition of InReview, including details about February General Synod, Just Pray’s Psalm 22 projectand more, is available here.


InFocus - Mar 2016March edition of InFocus, including an update on Renewal & Reform, the Archbishop of York’s Pilgrimage and more, is available here (a 4-page version is available here).

Teenagers abandoning Facebook and Twitter for more intimate social media apps

Social media icons

Fascinating to read this article on how teenagers are abandoning Facebook and Twitter for more intimate social media apps – it’s certainly something I’ve been seeing a lot more of over the last few months in our youth work:

When my digital media students are sitting, waiting for class to start, and staring at their phones, they are not checking Facebook. They’re not checking Instagram or Pinterest or Twitter. No, they’re catching up on the news of the day by checking out their friends’ Stories on Snapchat, chatting in Facebook Messenger or checking in with their friends in a group text. If the time drags, they might switch to Instagram to see what the brands they love are posting, or check in with Twitter for a laugh at some celebrity tweets. But, they tell me, most of the time they eschew the public square of social media for more intimate options.

For example, in a study published in August last year, the Pew Research Center reported that 49% of smartphone owners between 18 and 29 use messaging apps like Kik, Whatsapp, or iMessage, and 41% use apps that automatically delete sent messages, like Snapchat. For context, note that according to another Pew study, only 37% of people in that age range use Pinterest, only 22% use LinkedIn, and only 32% use Twitter. Messaging clearly trumps these more publicly accessible forms of social media.

Well worth having a read and reflecting on how you communicate with young people.

Smart map for homeless people in Berlin

I love the concept of this map – it’s beautiful and yet also incredibly helpful.


Adapting the London Underground map, the Berliner Stadtmission, raises the issue of homeless people in the winter.

The map highlights places for help and shelter in the German capital – places where clothing and food can be collected, and where homeless people can find shelter in cold winter days.

The map is map by creative collective Hektik, also from Berlin. See their website for more work for the Stadtmission and examples how the underground map is used. The campaign is titled with the hashtag #WasHeißtFrieren which supposedly means something like ‘what is actually freezing?

Young Women: Your Call – Vocations Day

Young Women - Your Call

Young Women: Your Call is a national day conference running on Saturday 23rd April at Coventry Cathedral and hosted by the Diocese of Coventry. It aims to be a creative day of teaching, listening, exploring, praying and working out more of a sense of God’s call for young women.  It is aimed at women aged roughly 16-35 and is suitable for women at all stages of discernment – be that the first dip of a toe in the water, or further along the more formal vocations channels.

They would love to welcome young women from across the country – it is free to register and attend the day which includes lunch and refreshments and hopefully lots to take away.

Participants can register directly by using this link or look out in the coming weeks for a facebook page and twitter handle #YWYourCall.

If you want to know more visit

Help Chris get to the Lausanne Young Leaders Gathering in Jakarta

As many of you will already know, this summer I will be representing the UK at the Lausanne Younger Leaders’ Gathering in Jakarta.  
YLG 2016
For this trip I need to raise a total of £1,500.  Hannah has contributed £450 through the selling of her Christmas earrings and I’ve already received a couple of other generous donations so I have a further £900 left to raise.
Over the next few weeks I have signed up to do two cycling events and I would love it if any of you felt able to sponsor me.  This first event is tomorrow when I will be cycling 42 miles around rural Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Northampton.  Then, on 9th April, I will be cycling 69 miles around the New Forest.  
If you would like to sponsor me, then please let me know.  You can either give me the money in person or I can give you the bank details to transfer money across.

Exciting news: Mark Yaconelli appointed Missioner to the Diocese of St Asaph


Brilliant to hear the news that Mark Yaconelli has been appointed a Missioner in Residence by the Diocese of St. Asaph:

Churches across North and Mid Wales are being invited to work with an internationally renowned author, teacher and community activist as part of a strategy for growth across the Church in Wales.

Mark Yaconelli, based in America, has been appointed as the Diocese of St Asaph’s first ever Missioner in Residence.  He will be living and working in North Wales for six months, focusing on youth work, community engagement and spiritual growth.

The Bishop of St Asaph, the Rt Revd Gregory Cameron said:

“The invitation to Mark to undertake a residency here in North Wales is a bold move to assist us to reconnect the church with its local communities and spiritual roots.

“Mark brings years of experience and innovations in helping communities rebuild relationships and re-engage.  He’s a well-known Christian youth worker, teacher, community innovator and story-teller and we are delighted and excited that he agreed to be our first Missioner in Residence.”

Mark Yaconelli, who is accompanied in Wales by his wife and daughter, will work on three main projects during his six months:

  • Training youth workers and youth ambassadors across the diocese
  • Training teams to run community story-telling events called “The Hearth Project”
  • Training church leaders in spiritual discipline

Mark first came to North Wales in February 2015 at the invitation of the Diocese of St Asaph where he undertook a short series of workshops.  His style and impact so impressed Bishop Gregory that he was invited to return, this time for six months.

Mark said:

“I am so looking forward to working with people and communities across North and Mid Wales.  I loved Wales and its people when I visited last year and I’m excited to be asked to bring my skills and experience with churches and communities from around the world to this beautiful area.”

The funding for this six-month residency has come from the £1 million Transformation Fund set up by the Church in Wales to help congregations better meet the needs of local communities.


Baby Falls Asleep as Daddy Plays Brahm’s Lullaby

I remember those nightmare evenings when your little one doesn’t want to sleep – you try anything to help them go to sleep.

5-month old Sam had an ear infection and was struggling to fall asleep. So his father, David Motola, turned on his electric piano and began playing Johannes Brahm’s classic lullaby. It was very effective. Within a few seconds, Sam yawned broadly, then faded into sleep.

What makes this performance even more impressive is that Motola didn’t have any sheet music. He was playing by ear and arranging the piece on the go.

Storytelling with under-fives…


Children’s work magazine has written a really helpful article on storytelling with under 5s.


Some of their top tips include:

  • Keep it short
  • Using all the senses
  • Reflecting on the emotions
  • Involve the audience
  • Use of repetition
  • Sound effects
  • Practise makes perfect
  • Props
  • Starting well


Go read the full article to inspire you on story telling with toddlers.

Why religious people are happier


Reports that the latest Office for National Statistics survey seems to confirm what similar ones have already shown: religious people are happier.


Over four years, religious people scored their life satisfaction at 7.53 out of 10 and their happiness at 7.38. People with no religion scored their happiness at only 7.22. Compared with other faiths, Christians are mid-table at 7.47; Muslims are only 7.33, while Hindus are a cheerful 7.57.


There is a word of caution with interpreting this data though:

The temptation is to argue this proves religion makes you happy and satisfied with life. It’s not so, of course. For one thing, it might not be the content of faith – which all religious adherents would say is pretty important – that matters, but being part of a supportive community, which religions often provide. Another is that it might be happy, cheerful people who naturally like going to the church, or mosque, or gurdwara; if you’re naturally miserable, you’re more likely to stay at home.