Friday, November 30, 2012

YWC2012 - Part 2 and Part 3

Just a quick 10 min blog, before I go into school about Friday evening.

It's hard to believe that it was a week ago that we went from being a small number to something much larger. Nearly 1000 youth workers, I am told, gathered on Friday in anticipation of a weekend of teaching, hearing form God and general banter about the profession we have all been called to (though there are some people that don't know it yet!).

Big stage worship was just awesome, we were sat at the back of the auditorium, so could see all that was going on. A good view!

Sadly, from Friday night, I didn't write much down. My tweets talk of prayers - for the second time, we were asked to pray for the people either side of us, which is good if you have a real heart for that, sadly, I go very quiet when I am asked to pray for people I know and those I don't. When it spills out of me, that is a different matter.

Right, still haven't even started, and I have got to go to school, I need to learn to type quicker!

Part 3 to Part n coming shortly!

Part 3

School was a bit of a whirlwind! But I'm back in the office contemplating my next move (heading out to buy ingredients for Brownies that I forgot to bring from home!) as well as getting warm again after being stood in the cold for 2 hours!

The rest of Friday was all about what Rachel Gardner had to say to us. She was talking about blazing with a light that is contagious - that's the one tweet I have from her talk, and I think it is a rather important point for our world to know, that we have the Holy Spirit inside of us and we should let Him shine.

We watched a video by Emile Sande, who is the darling of the British music scene at the moment.

A brilliant video, which I will be showing my young people/facebooking.

We are full of wonder... do you live like that is true? We often talk about being scientific miracles. We are complex. We are known by God. We are loved by God and we are fearfully and wonderfully created. How often do you live like that, full in that knowledge?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

YWC2012 part 1 - The Retreat!

Whilst I do some important Christmas work... I have a little bit of time to reflect on the weekend that has just been... Youthwork: The Conference. We're still in the early days after the event, trying to figure out exactly what God wants to do with all of the information and ideas that has been piled into my brain since Thursday afternoon! It is always good to reflect on the epic and significant moments in life, if anything to help you move on, and at least in a years time, be able to say 'look what has happened'. Anyway, less about that.

Retreat day is always a treat for me, as a youth worker. I remember a few years ago, when I really didn't get the idea of retreating, I found myself panicking about it instead. This time was totally different - I have learnt a little bit about how I can get the most out of retreating, and that does not include sleeping!!It means writing, praying and reading for me. Which I did loads of. Plenty of structured time to do all three and to chat too. I had a question that sprung into my mind and I really feel that God gave me an idea about how I can fulfil that! So if I ask you a question in the next few weeks, be prepared!

The second half of the retreat was about communication, which I really liked. I take on information about communicating effectively really well, probably because I think I still have loads to learn about communicating the Gospel. So now I have a structure for writing talks, I feel a little bit better about the task!

Right, that's a little bit on Retreating, I will do part 2 next week!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

From Becca to everyone

Yesterday hurt a lot, finding out that my church, the church that I grew up in, could not agree about a process to help those who disagree to be included as the church moves forward, it felt like a massive step backwards.

I hope that whatever happens over the next few years will show how the church can grow, and communicate about what they really want: for everyone to know God and Jesus and the sacrifice that was made 2000-odd years ago.

In the meantime though, I will continue to lead my young people with love (we've got an Alpha course starting in January :D) and with vulnerability.

We are not perfect, Christ is. We are not God, but He loves us all the same, and we can't pretend to know what He is thinking right now, just trust in Him for the future of His church.

I woke up this morning, thankful that I can worship, wherever and whenever I want, thankful that I have a set of friends who understand my frustrations and concerns, grateful that we all come from different church backgrounds, but we're all heading in the same direction.

I was thankful for Becca's eloquent words to young women in the church. Please have a read! Becca is Learning • Synod: A letter to young women.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


'Sometimes, you just need to be quiet'

At the very end of Skyfall, I was jumping out of my seat... I called it! I won't share what happened, that would be entirely unfair, considering I managed to stay away from hearing anything about it for two weeks, I have still been on Twitter and Facebook the entire time, and even spoken to young people about it, but I got the ending spot on!

The one thing that made it a worth while experience was who I was in the cinema with. It's unusual nowadays for me to go to the cinema, let alone with 12 other people. I went back to being 15 again, when we used to hand out at the same cinema for hours and hours every Friday evening. We were that cool.

It was wonderful to eat together, in a restaurant, and although we had a bit of a rush to get to the cinema, we made a lot of noise and laughed a lot in the process! The strange thing for me is, just a year ago, I didn't know the people I was eating with. In the last year, I have grown to know a lot of people who I my generation - we're all in our 20's and 30's and we are the 'missing generation' of the church. If the rest of my generation are like the lads and ladies I have grown to love, we would have an awesome church!!

Long may going to the cinema with a lot of people continue!

Monday, November 05, 2012

Being Single

Songs of Praise is one of the programmes in England that is like marmite - you love it or you hate it. It doesn't have a particular appeal for me, but because it is an institution in this country, I watch it when I'm feeling like I need a bit of church without being at church. This week, twitter and a few of my tweety friends took a bit of an exception to it, because it was about something that is close to a lot of us - being single. I wanted to respond fully to it, as I feel that I needed to. Please feel free, if you have seen it, to add your comments about what it means to be single in the church or any faith group.

For some, the first stumbling block is the presenter - God Bless Anne Widdecome for laying out her feelings about being single and being willing to talk about it on camera, she too is like marmite though, I feel she did a good job, though her choice of songs were a bit dire for me. The second stumbling block is (quite often for me) the 'congregation', there are a lot of women, and a lot of older men. I have been known to play 'spot the 20 year old'. If you want to celebrate singleness, why have you got married people all over the place?

Ok, so the content (because in a weeks time you won't be able to watch it) - it starts with Anne talking to Fr Christopher Jamison, who is famous in his own right for being a monk who engages with non-Christians on national tv. He lays out 4 vocations of the Christian community

Ordained Ministry
Single Lay Person

Pretty basic to get to grips with. He is a monk and he's honest about it, particularly his struggle with celibacy. Anne goes on to say 'it doesn't supply the intimacy, but you have people around you all the time, the single lay person doesn't have that'. People think she's mad because she doesn't feel the need for intimacy and is happy as a single person. I hope that no-one thinks I am mad because I live on my own, and I want to be single... I disagree with the final bit of her statement. As a single person I am fortunate to have a depth of friendship with those in my Christian community (church, twitter!, work etc) that allows me to share my struggles. I am not alone because I am single. I do always have someone to talk to because I have build my friendships like that.

Christ was single, and that is significant, both Anne and Christopher recognise that. Lots of other people in the Bible chose to be single for God, but they had community around them... can you see a theme starting to develop?

Anne goes on to say she's content and talks about spinsters. Anne then speaks to someone who is 40 and is still single. Well done Julie Dunlop for being a well rounded single woman, who lives in community, with a strong church. Shame that you do still feel the need to be looking for a partner. She says it is about quality of relationship. I agree. It's about having a content and peaceful feeling and a strong relationship with God, the Bible doesn't say women should have a relationship with God through a man, it's quite the opposite in fact.

We then get a very pretty lady, who is married, singing about God's love. Great. Irony at it's best.

David McCabe is then interviewed by Anne. He has gone through some tragic things, and come through having a child with cerebral palsy, losing his ex-wife to cancer, finding Jesus and then getting married for the second time. Good for him, he found someone after 4 years to share his life with and got married again. Cue a whole load of photo's of him and his wife at their wedding. Slow clap for a programme that I am losing faith in. Please can you speak to someone else?

Finally we meet Fiona Castle, Roy Castle's wife, who sadly lost her husband to cancer and has been a widow for 18 years. An older lady talking about a wonderful marriage and how she coped with being on her own after a long period of being married. She tells us that she learnt a lot and God keeps her going. Her theology, in my opinion, is a little off. Anne asks her if she'll see Roy in heaven and she says that she'll get a new body so she doesn't know if she's recognise him. I believe that in heaven our spirit, the thing that makes me 'me' will be the same, so I will recognise other people. I think that this part of the programme will speak to the demographic of Songs of Praise the most.  Being widowed must be a horrible thing. I have seen how my Nan has struggled with it, in the last 6 and a half years.

Anne's final prayer is interesting - 'Father, show us how to fill our lives' (there's more to it than that, but I don't want to transcribe it all!), I would suggest that serving the church you worship with or the international church might be a way of filling your life.

Songs of Praise did an 'o.k.' job of sharing the idea about singleness with the church who watches, but it didn't really challenge any ideas about churches who do point out and treat single people (and married couples without children) differently from their community.

As a recently single person, I have felt less pressure since becoming single to get married, although other people are 'marrying me off', I am actually really happy with who I am and where I am at the moment. I have learnt so much in the last year and a (very little) bit about who I am and what I feel God wants from me. I do hope I will get married, because I don't think I am called to being single - although I am like Julia Dunlop a little bit... being unsure about which way God is calling me.

I love the community I work with, I love the friends I have made from creating new communities. Keep in community, please, all you single people.

What do you think about being single? What pressures do you feel, if any?