Monday, 28 November 2011

Blog for November

I realise that it’s been a month since I contributed to the blog; where has time gone? At the beginning of the month I spent time in the Wolverhampton and Shrewsbury District; a morning with ministers looking at the challenge of doing things differently (a challenge based very much on my trip with MRDF) and then a visit to Meeting Point House in Telford. This is the focal point for Telford Christian Council, which generates and supports a number of ecumenical projects around the Telford area. The building itself is impressive, incorporating a chapel which is used separately by a number of denominations; a café, and a number of offices for voluntary organisations. What a wonderful facility! I spent time with ‘Stay’. Stay exists in order to respond effectively to the accommodation and housing related support needs of vulnerable and homeless young people as a part of the mission of churches in the Borough of Telford & Wrekin. Here is truly love in action. “Lord, when did we see you?”

On from there (through a cloudburst) to spend time with an enthusiastic group of young people whom the church is serving in a different way. 3Generate –the Children and Youth Assembly - was nearly 48 hours of intense activity for about 200 of the under 25s in the Methodist Church. Held at Cleobury Mortimer Pioneer Centre. It gave the opportunity for craft, discussion, worship, fun, and challenge of growing faith and daring physical activity. (I managed to avoid the latter!)

I was, however, asked to give my testimony based on ‘the time I felt like Noah’ (getting there had been a bit like that)! What’s more, I had to give it at 11.30 pm, a time when I am normally fast asleep. And then facilitate a conversation in a small group. Oh to be young again!

What a hugely impressive group of people we have in the OPP scheme. They organised, facilitated, took part themselves, and generally were indispensable to the weekend. This is just what the church needs, and should value and prioritise with resources. I cannot speak too highly of them, nor the Regional Participation Project Managers, nor the staff of the Children and Youth Team based at MCH. Sam Taylor, the Youth President, shows remarkable leadership skills and did a brilliant job. They all deserve our support in whatever way we can give it for what they do to enable the faith life of children and young people.

A very different function was a reception given at the British Academy by Roehampton University, which incorporates Southlands College. All Universities are facing challenging times; Roehampton is taking a number of initiatives to respond to the challenge and grow its share of the student population. I heard some very articulate presentations, though was amazed that it seems to be common for such events to have only 1 dozen chairs available for the most infirm! The rest of us stood for an hour and a half. I must get used to London life.

Since then I have indulged in some non- VP life, including some paid work, an afternoon at Old Trafford (cricket) for Awards by the Princes Trust, in which a friend won in the category in which she had been shortlisted, and a day in Coventry for the Graduation of our ‘Kenyan son’ Linus. Plus three family birthdays. A number of celebrations, much enjoyed.

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