Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Jubilee plus 10

I remember well my mum and a group of ladies from church heading off to Birmingham 10 years ago with their banners and whistles as part of the Jubilee 2000 Drop the Debt campaign. So in honour of my radical social justice hearted mum, especially as she's no longer with us so can't go herself, I invite you all to join the campaign and march in Birmingham on 18th May. Didn't we sort that debt thing??? No. We managed to drop some debt but not all. Take a look at this video and then check out their site.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Me on Breathe, Breath of God

I had the great pleasure of going along to see BREATHE in action at a school last week. This is a FABULOUS opportunity for schools to get young people thinking about spirituality. It's very gentle and yet powerful. I watched two different age groups engaging with it and it was amazing to see them really getting into it very quickly. There are twelve stations some of which deal with the idea of self, the world, others and God. Most of the stations are reallt tactile or visual and others invite some really good personal reflection.

If you're looking for something spiritual rather than "religious" for some schools work I recommend this highly. You can hire it for a day with a host (or several days - at discounted rate for additional days) and timetable it into the school day and if you like it you can even buy in to the package. It takes slightly longer than a standard school period to do all the stations but the experience is not too adversely affected by doing only some. On Friday several of the pupils came back in their break and lunch hour to do some of the stations they hadn't managed. I think that's a pretty good recommendation.

If you want to know more, have a look at the site and you can even download a flier or listen to one of the tracks.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Room to Breathe

Had a fantastic if hectic two days at the cathedral with children from primary schools from across the diocese. I was leading the singing during the services and running a drama workshop which led to a dramatic presentation of a Gospel reading (Feeding of the 5,000). It was fabulous to see the cathedral buzzing with children dancing, drumming, making banners, singing and acting. I also had time to spend a short while in St Wulfstan's crypt which is an amazingly spiritual place. I do love the exciting times but those quiet times are pretty special too.

Tomorrow I should have even more time for some quiet as I'm visiting Jenny Baker's BREATHE session at one of the Church of England secondaries in Worcester. I'm really looking forward to it as it will be cool to catch up with Jenny as well as get the chance to explore this wonderful resource which the diocese is considering using more in future.

Monday, April 21, 2008

The Circle of Life

How strange it is that sometimes we get the strangest coincidences. I'm just looking at sorting some things for a trip to Taize (see new funky banner and feed in the sidebar) and it turns out that one of the people in the new diocese who's running a Taize service is a person who was in my small group the first time I went to Taize. I remember the small group very well. It was a really amazing group of people and we had some fabulous discussions. What I remember most was the great loving encouragement in the faith and in our individual vocations. Just thinking about that group makes me smile.

Groups can often have their problems - trials and tribulations, character clashes, disasters, fallings-out etc etc but when they work WELL, especially, I think, when they're a group of Christians meeting for spiritual/vocational/reflective purposes, they can be INCREDIBLE.

How are the groups you're working with at the moment? Is there tension or is the a beautiful flow to them? What might be causing tension or flatness? Is your group missing something?

I've recently left a group of youth workers that worked so amazingly well together despite being VERY different. It contrasted greatly with a previous incarnation of the same group which just didn't work. It wasn't that the people didn't like each other or get on. It was just that working together never worked. I remember using the Belbin model of group roles in trying to work out how we could make it work better and it turned out we were lacking in quite a few really vital areas like completer finisher and monitor evaluator! Of course the question we faced was how to resolve that.

In a group that isn't functioning do we re-form the group with additional (or fewer!) members or do we seek to change the way we work as a team, asking individuals to work not just from their natural strengths but developing their weaknesses?

Friday, April 18, 2008

Landing in the Midlands

Ok so it has been a LONG time since the last post but I have been on the move and we're still not online at home. I'm now the Diocesan Youth Officer for Worcester Diocese as of last Monday. We've moved to a new house in Kidderminster and I'm still occasionally humming "I'm living in a box" as the place seems to contain more cardboard than any other material. We are settling in gradually though. I think the biggest shocker after being offline for about a week was to discover that I had accumulated several hundred blog posts on my bloglines. The quickest solution was to clear them all so... Did you blog something I should have read in the last week? Let me know in the comments section.

Normal service should resume shortly.