Privacy and the media

I have just heard on the news that Ruth Kelly has lost her case against the Daily Mirror over its coverage of her decision to educate her son, who has learning difficulties, privately. While I understand that we have a right to know certain bits of information about a public figure – but I do feel in this case it was harsh.
She said she had removed her son from a state school after advice from her local education authority recommended he be placed in a school “able to meet his particular needs”. So the local education authority tells her that it is best for her son to be educated privately so that his needs can be met. She happens to be in a job where she is able to afford it, she passionately cares for her son and does it, even though it goes against her political views. Her 3 other children are still educated in state schools. I struggle at this point to see why this intrusion is necessary – it seems to be making a story out of nothing.

Staying for the long term

I have recently been dipping in and out of Paul Beasley-Murray’s book Transform your church. The book has fifty short pieces on different areas of the church. Topics include: evangelism, pastoral care, prayer, church discipline, hospitality, celebrating special events.

The last few days I keep rereading section 6: Stay for the long term – and keep fresh. It is a great challenge. Beasley-Murray writes about when you stay for six or more years in one place you begin to see growth, and yet he believes that, on average, Baptist ministers stay at one church for six years before moving on, so they miss that key time for growth. This is an even bigger challenge in youth work where workers are often on a contract for two years and then move on.

And yet the rewards of long term ministry can be huge. For example, a key reward, is the way in which with a longer pastorate, you can develop relationships with whole families over the course of several years, which you can’t do in twelve months. Equally, there is an opportunity for the worker to gain deeper and more meaningful friendships which if you are having to regularly move every two to three years doesn’t allow.

To do this though we have to do two things: not view our work as a ‘career’ looking for promotion to a bigger or ‘better’ church; and to constantly ensure we are developing and staying creative so that we don’t become boring and stale.

Some great challenges for children’s and youth work: are churches willing to invest in long term contracts, are workers prepared to stay for the long term, to put down roots, and commit to a particular church and families in the community.

To blog or to sleep

What an exciting day! Today has included doing some preparation for tonight, ordering some new equipment using our funding money, planning an Easter assembly for year 7 at a local seconday school, helping to lead at a local secondary school’s lunch games club, then on to a local primary school to do some one-on-one work with a needy pupil, followed by a Governors meeting, and then straight into two youth groups, including organising transport for 8 young people to club, and 13 young people back home. Really exciting stuff going on, but you’ll have to wait till another day for more information.

Bethlehemian Rhapsody

I’ve been posting lots of videos recently so wasn’t going to post this, but I’ve not watched it twice through and couldn’t resist as it is absolutely amazing – possibly the best Christian video out there at the moment.

Bible joke

Was reading Johnny Douglas’ blog this afternoon and saw he had the following bad joke:
A man and his wife were having an argument about who should brew the coffee each morning. The wife said, “You should do it, because you get up first, and then we don’t have to wait as long to get our coffee.” The husband said, ” You are in charge of cooking around here and you should do it, because that is your job, and I can just wait for my coffee.” Wife replies, “No, you should do it, and besides, it is in the Bible that the man should do the coffee.” Husband replies, “I can’t believe that, show me.” So she fetched the Bible, and opened the New Testament and showed him at the top of several pages, that it does say……..”HEBREWS”

Religious clothing in schools

It has been on the news this morning that schools will be able to ban pupils from wearing full-face veils on security, safety or learning grounds under new uniforms guidance issued by the government. This has had mixed response, mostly positive, although some Muslim groups are obviously unhappy. Whilst I can understand this type of action, I do fear that we are developing into a society where religious symbols and items will be banned completely. I can imagine that soon we will be banning the wearing of crosses and crucifixes.

Taking action

At the moment our church is in coming to the end of a month where we are looking at some issues of justice and taking action in God’s world. Sometimes when we talk about these issues we can get daunted at the size of the challenge, e.g. how can we stop modern day slavery, enable all trade to be fairer, share the gospel in a deep level with 20,000 young people in our town. And at the point we often just don’t really do anything, so it was with interest I saw the daily quote sent through on email by Heartlight for Saturday was the following:
“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.” (Mother Theresa)

Memory issues

On Friday I went into London to catch up with a friend, and promptly managed to leave my helmet, ankle clips, and cycle jacket on the train. This is really frustrating as although the helmet and cycle clips both needed replacing, the altura jacket was brand new.

I have since gone and bought a new helmet (Giro Monza from Halfords) and ankle clips. But does anyone have any suggestions as to where I could get hold of a cheap grey Altura Nevis, medium size, cycle jacket, or would like to suggest a different make a cycle jacket?

BBC and Slave Trade

Great to see an article on the BBC News website about modern day slavery. People really seem to be getting behind the idea that the 200th anniversary of the Parliamentary Act to abolish the slave trade, slavery goes on in another form. The article goes into some depth – including some positive comments on the various different organisations and projects involved in campaigning and working against modern slavery. Well worth a read, especially if you are doing something for Freedom Day next Sunday.

Influx of young people

At the moment we suddenly seem to have a group of young people who are keen to come to church on a Sunday morning, and even though everything is very foreign to them, get involved and participate.
It has led to some interesting issues: firstly, we need to work out how we can transport at least 9 different children. I think we are going to look into whether we can hire a minibus for the young people, as the older ladies use the church minibus, so I’m going to need to do some work on costings and finding drivers. Secondly, we are going to need to constantly evaluate how we make Sunday’s contemporary but Bible based.
Anyone have any thoughts on what to do when a big crowd come in like this?

Cricket World Cup

As I mentioned in a previous post South Africa’s Herchelle Gibbs created world cup cricket history by striking six stunning sixes off a hapless Netherlands bowler Dan van Bunge in the Cricket world cup 2007! Even in a small ground it was still incredible batting.

Other highlights/lowlights include

Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer has died after being found unconscious in his hotel room in Jamaica. It all seems very unclear as to what happened. Let’s hope that it wasn’t too linked with the poor six months he has had. Pakistan were eliminated from the World Cup on Saturday after losing by three wickets to Ireland.

Following the infamous forfeited Test against England at The Oval last summer, two of their leading fast bowlers Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif, were suspended after failing doping tests.

The pair later saw those bans rescinded but missed the World Cup because of injury, something Woolmer admitted had hindered the team.

Andrew Flintoff’s off the wall behaviour has landed him in trouble, being dropped for the match against Canada, and being fired as Vice-Captain. It is sad when a star of his magnitude doesn’t seem to take seriously representing your country, something that so many young people would love to do.

Their have been some great matches for the smaller teams. With Ireland beating Pakistan, and Bangladesh (my new team, after Phil, Hannah’s brother came back for Bangladesh and gave me a their cricket shirt as a present!) beating India the World Cup isn’t looking quite as straightforward.