Children’s and Young People writing

Key findings about children and young people writing in 2015 from the Literacy Trust, based on a survey of 32,569 children and young people aged 8 to 18, include:

  • Fewer children and young people enjoyed writing in 2015 compared with the previous year, with enjoyment levels dropping from 49.3% in 2014 to 44.8% in 2015.
  • Fewer children and young people wrote something daily outside class in 2015 than in 2014, with daily writing levels decreasing from 27.2% in 2014 to 20.7% in 2015. Daily writing levels also continue to be in stark contrast to daily reading levels, which have increased dramatically over the past couple of years.
  • When asked whether they ever write something that they don’t share with anyone else, nearly half (46.8%) of children and young people said they did.
  • Technology-based formats, such as text messages (68.6%), messages on social networking sites (44.3%) and instant messages (46.2%) continue to dominate the writing that children and young people engaged in outside class in 2015. Notes (3%), letters (25.8%) and lyrics (24.6%) are the most frequently written non-technology formats. With the exception of poems, most formats of writing have again decreased in 2015.
  • Attitudes towards writing have remained unchanged in 2015.

Read the full findings here.

It leaves me reflecting on how we encourage journaling with teenagers in the church.

It’s encouraging to see that 46.8% of children and young people write things that they don’t share with anyone else, but with daily writing outside the classroom dropping substantially from 27.2% in 2014 to 20.7% in 2015 I think we need to look at how we recommend technology-based formats of journaling.

Children’s & youth work links

Links from around the world of children’s and youth work:

What happened when 9 teens gave up their mobile phones for a week: anyone who has worked with teenagers for more than 5 minutes know how connected to their mobiles they are.  So what happens if they were separated from their mobile lifelines for a full week?

The Smart Talk is a website that helps parents and kids come up with a set of mobile phone rules together, and creates a handy agreement you can print out.  This tool is more than a simple checklist; it’s meant to start conversations between parents and their child.

What I Teach My Students About Alcohol: Austin McCann shares what he taught his young people about drinking alcohol from the Bible.

Teens Tell All: Your Guide To Teen Slang, From Bae To Woke: As part of TODAY’s “Teens Tell All” series, they asked teenagers to enlighten adults about all those mysterious terms they throw out when they talk or message.

Jesus was a Youth Minister: Jesus’ disciples were mainly young men.  This makes Peter the perfect, Biblical example of what it looks like to mentor a teenager!

 

Millennials believe Britain is no longer a Christian country

The Daily Express reports that British millennials, born between 1980 and 2000, believe they no longer live in a Christian country despite thinking religion plays an important role in people’s lives.

A total of 41 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds said Britain has “no specific religious identity” in a ComRes poll published to launch the new Faith Research Centre in Westminster.  In contrast, of those aged 65 and over, 74 per cent believe Britain is a Christian country while only 20 per cent think the country has no specific religious identity.

Katie Harrison, director of the new Faith Research Centre at ComRes, the public policy research consultancy, said:

“In some of the questions we asked, adults aged between 18-24 and adults aged 65 plus answered at opposite ends of the scale, indicating marked differences between generations in perceptions of religion and belief.

“This is consistent with some of the projects we’ve recently been commissioned to carry out.

“We’re seeing a strong interest in understanding the attitudes and needs of people in their 20s, especially in our faith research work.”

 

Live in Hampshire? Make your church or village hall warmer!

Does your building cost a lot to keep it warm?  Are you struggling to make it a welcoming, comfortable place for everyone in your community to use?  Read about Action Hampshire’s new energy audits project!

We are looking for six community halls to have an energy audit, carry out improvements identified by the audit, and then to share the results with other organisations in our area.  You will get a professional energy audit, which normally costs around £500, for just £50.  The audit will identify many things you can do to make your building more energy efficient, so reducing your energy use and saving you money.  Even better – plenty of these actions will have little or no cost.

Take a look at our website for all the details, including the application form and guidance notes – click here.  Our project partners, Winchester Action on Climate Change, are offering a free talk on fuel poverty to all applications that apply for a low cost energy audit.  Information about this offer is in the guidance notes at the bottom of this page.

Do you qualify?  Our grant funding from Hampshire County Council means this project is only open to community buildings in Hampshire villages or towns with less than 10,000 residents.  The funding is also only available to buildings managed by a not-for-profit sector organisation, like a village hall committee or community association.

We need your application back by midday on Tuesday 7 February, or Tuesday 24 January if you are ready.  Don’t rush, though – we will save some funds for the later deadline.

Long-serving priest gives thanks for 100 years

Britain’s longest serving priest has celebrated his 100th birthday, having ministered to his flock for 75 years.  What a brilliant example of faithful ministry.

The Rev William Tavernor was ordained at Ledbury parish church in December 1941 and has been a village vicar across the diocese of Hereford ever since.  He chuckles when he considers the choirboys who sang at his ordination would now be getting on for 90.

Mr Tavernor, a father of four, celebrated his birthday on New Year’s Eve surrounded by friends and family, including his seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.  There was also a special service in his parish church, St Michael and All Angels in Ledbury.

His first curacy was spent in Ledbury, then a parish near Kidderminster, before moving back to the Hereford diocese. He spent seven years as vicar at Upton Bishop, eight years at Aymestrey, 23 in Canon Pyon, in each case happily provided with glebe. He has since enjoyed 25 years of “working retirement” helping at Kingsland. “I packed up taking services two years ago,” he said.

However, 18 months ago at the venerable age of 98, Mr Tavernor returned to his old parish in south Shropshire, Bettws-y-Crwyn, to conduct a marriage service for grandson, Jack Tavernor and bride, Becky Floate assisted by her grandfather, the Rev Herbert Floate. The story was reported in the Church Times, complete with cartoon reflecting the two clerics’ joint age of 188 years with 124 collective years of ministry between them.

Children’s and youth work links

Here are some links from around the world of children’s and youth ministry:

Five Myths that Perpetuate Burnout Across Nonprofits: There is a pervasive fear in the nonprofit field that focusing inwardly—on our staff, our leadership, even our own salaries—will take away from achieving our organizational missions. That needs to change.

5 New Years resolutions for discipling young people: James writes on the buzz theme of discipleship and suggests five resolutions that would enable discipleship that might be authentic, life and world transforming.

We’ve all been the new kid: When we teach young people to value each person as God does, their perspective changes.  How much better would it be for our first time visitors if we took away some of the guesswork at a first session and ensured experienced young people helped them.

Creating student leaders in youth ministry: Nick Steinloski writes on the purpose of the Young Leaders and the annual rhythm for their group.

What does discipleship look like on a council estate?  Living a life of faith can look quite different outside the bastion of middle-class Christianity.

Church in Chichester looking for Youth Minister

If you’re a youth minister, thinking about where God might be calling you to, check out this advert from St Pancras Church.
 
It’s an Anglican evangelical church in the centre of Chichester on the south coast who have grown and are now looking to recruit an experienced evangelical Youth Minister to join their team.
 
With a starting salary of £18-22k plus housing it’s a very decent package.

Church accidentally prints 2Pac lyrics in carol service booklet!

Someone probably should have told this church that there’s more than a few ‘Hail Mary’ carols.

Sadly they choose rapper 2Pac’s version.  Not the most suitable lyrics!

The Church in Colombo were hosting their carol service ‘Joy To The World’ on 11th December when this mistake happened.  They were meant to be singing a Catholic prayer, also called ‘Hail Mary’, when they spotted the wrong lyrics.

Pictures have since spread on social media, with people sharing those 2Pac’s lyrics.  Here’s just a little snippet:

‘I ain’t a killer but don’t push me
Revenge is like the sweetest joy next to getting p*ssy
Picture paragraphs unloaded, wise words being quoted
Peeped the weakness in the rap game and sewed it
Bow down, pray to God hoping that he’s listening
Seeing niggas coming for me, to my diamonds, when they glistening
Now pay attention, rest in peace father
I’m a ghost in these killing fields’

It makes me feel a lot more relaxed about any mistakes we might have made over the Christmas services.

Christmas video 19: Jesus: Truth or Fairytale

“Jesus: Truth or Fairytale?” a Christmas video resource aimed at 16-19 year olds. For many young people Christmas is a fairytale, a nice story we repeat each year. This video asks the question, what if God really came to town?

The video features Meg Cannon reciting a spoken word piece that brings back the grit, humanity and truth into the nativity story, and then questions what that might change. If Jesus’ birth was a real event, what does that mean for me and what does that mean for you?

 

Christmas video 18: What happened to the love?

ITN and the Jerusalem Productions have created two powerful videos reminding people about the Christian meaning of Christmas as an antidote to all the commercialisation, tinsel and drunken partying!

This is the second of the two clips.  It’s been a rough year for many of us. At Christmas we ask, where is the love? And where is the light and the hope?