Listening ear

We are continually seeing opportunities to develop our schools work in the local 5 schools that our church partners with. Today was a start of a new activitiy that we are hoping to develop in one of the local primary schools – a listening ear service. Basically I will provide a listening ear for children who want someone to share issues from their life with, and to target a few children who need more support than the school staff can realistically provide. We tried a taster today with three very needy boys and they seemed to really enjoy the session. It is something I think will be a real challenge for me.

Gaining feedback from young people

There is a great post over at youthideas about gaining feedback from young people about what they want from their group. Nigel’s questionnaire is definitely something I might well be adapting and using in the next week as we plan what we will be doing next term.

What wacky games or trips have you done with your young people that were a huge success? Put a comment sharing any suggestions. about the direction of our group.

Networking

Today I have mainly been … networking.
Following an early morning secondary school assembly on the true meaning of Christmas I spent the morning in our staff team meeting and then trying to come up with a plan with Tessa (a retired lady who volunteers her time to try and organise the paper that goes in and out of my office – possibly one of the hardest jobs in the world) as to how we could restructure one or two aspects of the filing system. Sounds quite boring, but really I am getting excited by it as it could make a huge difference in the amount of admin I have to do.
This afternoon I have spent a great time chilling out with a whole load of the statutory youth workers in the town. I went to the Young Peoples Counselling Service AGM at lunch time which was good – although they are in desperate need of funding and the re-hash of the NHS has certainly not helped them. Following that I met with one of the youth workers to chat through the funding opportunities available to our youth groups at the moment – there are so many opportunities we just need to make sure we come up with wise ideas and then put some effort in to our applications and we could have some more funding come the middle of January. What was interesting was the way that the youth workers seem open to partnering in new projects together which could be really exciting.
After that I went and sorted out one or two bits in preparation for our film night at the two youth clubs tonight. Should be quite a relaxed evening with some opportunity to do some admin – winner!

The weekend

It is amazing how easy it is to miss a couple of days of blogging, the disciplines of spending time with God and others similarly can be so quickly pushed to the side in the busyness of everything else.

The last few days have been fairly hectic with some exciting things and some less exciting things going on. Hannah and I have started thinking about trying to buy a house jointly with her parents, to help both of us on to the property market (David gets a house with his job so as soon as he retires they won’t have anywhere to go.). So Friday and Saturday saw us viewing various different properties and having a couple of meetings with mortgage advisors. It is all looking very complex but positive at the same time. Hopefully things will keep progressing and in the next few months we will be the proud owners of our first ever house.

When we weren’t doing house stuff we spent some time trying to get stuff sorted for Christmas, doing on bits of work here and there, and going to a dance. Hannah and I do dance classes on a Tuesday night, and the posh Christmas dance was on Saturday night. It was quite a fun night trying out different moves. Unfortunately it was quite full so you didn’t always have much space to do anything but it was a good evening.

Church over the weekend was good. David seemed to lead the service really well on Sunday morning, all looking at the start of advent which is always an exciting time, but difficult to make exciting if you know what I mean. It has been great to see how so many of the people who have joined the church in the last year are ‘young’ (i.e. under 50!) which is slowly changing the atmosphere. In the evening I took a couple of our young people to Doubt your Doubts, the town-wide monthly youth service which was a good evening, and then chips and nuggets afterwards while chilling with Steve who promises he is going to start a blog.

When things go wrong …

However much you prepare things can still go wrong in youth work. Tonight, at our Rock Solid group, we were playing a game entitled Mousse in the Dark. The idea was that two volunteers would feed each other mousse or yoghurt while blindfolded.
We put plastic sheeting down on the floor, put big plastic aprons on them, tied their hair back, put the blindfolds on, thinking that we had done a reasonable amount to protect them and their clothing. But when blindfolded yoghurt can get everywhere, on the sheet, on their clothes, all over the blindfolds.
It was hilarious and the kids loved it but what a mess. We managed to clean up fairly well and luckily the parents didn’t seem to stressed but I think we might invest in some boiler suits before we do that again!

More hoody victimisation

Great post over at Sunday Papers, by Richard Passmore, linking to an experiment the Salford Star. Armed with camera phones and a tape recorder, the Salford Star team sent a group of lads to the Lowry centre. “We won’t last two minutes,” was the teens’ prediction. Very interesting results. Check out the results here here.

Holbein in England

I had the day off yesterday. After the busyness of the weekend it was a real joy. I went into London and spent a good chunk of the day with my dad. We went to Tate Britain to the Holbein exhibition . It wouldn’t necessarily be my cup of tea normally but it had had some rave reviews and I did enjoy it. Some of the portraits are just so realistic they look like they could walk off the page. Inparticular I thought this picture was amazing:


If you get the chance well worth a visit.

Finally proved – women talk more than men!

This article in the Daily Mail confirms it all, (thanks to Josh for publicising it):

It is something one half of the population has long suspected – and the other half always vocally denied. Women really do talk more than men. In fact, women talk almost three times as much as men, with the average woman chalking up 20,000 words in a day – 13,000 more than the average man.

Models of Mission: Community involvement

This seminar was led by Malcolm Duncan of Faithworks and Paul Sanderson of The Wire Project. The session started with a Biblical basis of why we should be involved in our community – points included the need to protect human dignity, our prophetic role, the need to have a Kingdom mentality, holiness and worship, being salt, light and yeast, and the example of St. Francis of Assisi.

Paul then shared his experiences of starting the Wire project which were really helpful in the different ways that the work has developed and the way that inter-church work can be really successful. Something to continue to mull over and come back to me thinks.