Saturday, 18 May 2013

DYO Conference

Spent part of this week at the National DYO Conference, with colleagues from other Dioceses doing similar jobs to me. Having said that, sometimes the only similarity is the word 'youth' in the job title but so great to hear about the ways churches, communities, projects and workers are drawing alongside young people and impacting school particularly. Some excellent, thought provoking presentations from Graeme Codrington from Tomorrow Today around generational theory and predicting future trends in technology, demographics, environments, culture and relationships which will massively effect the way we understand young people and the way we do youth work. Great stuff.

Late last week, one of our friends from the Friday Mums group had given birth to her third baby, a boy, at home, 9lb 1oz. On Sunday night, before I went away I heard that he had been admitted to hospital with suspected meningitis and was very poorly. Thank God he is now out of hospital, on the mend, having had millions of tests, lumbar punctures, drips of antibiotics and glucose and much trauma. 
Since I've been back, I've been thinking a lot about community...what that means for us as a family in the here and now. Its different to what we have experienced before. Being back with a bunch of DYO's again was lovely, made me realise that I am properly back at work, 11 months in. But really, aside from a few of the people who I see most often from my region and some others who I have spent time with in previous years, it's a community of acquaintances, brought together because of a similar role. I enjoy my time with them, respect hugely the influence and experience they bring but it's not a community.
Contrasting that with a sense of being very much 'away' from my community here at home while there was a crisis going on. Personally, I discovered the huge comfort and power of prayer when words just don't make sense or cover the need. I also had a realisation of primacy of Gods call to make disciples and live alongside people. My calling is much wider than just youth ministry although that is where my passion lies. But I think I'm gaining a greater understanding of the Temple and Home continuum that Mike Breen and others have taught on. For me at the moment, my Temple base is our church worshiping venue, the place where we do youth work and those we are working with while Andy is training. And wonderful they are too. Home is where we have ended up living, where the kids are building community with friends and families and we're seeing people asking questions about our faith, people who don't care what our role is and who we can eat, talk, cry and pray with vulnerability. 
With Pentecost being celebrated this week, the scriptures in Acts 2 seem to hold this continuum in focus - the disciples gathering together, under the apostles teaching, sharing everything, praying and supporting. It's been amazing to see that happening, amongst mature Christian, new believers, those on the fringes this week. In a situation where there was pain, panic, uncertainty, fear, people rallied round and prayer became a dynamic conversation.The chapel nights we have started doing recently had a massive attendance on Tuesday. The light of the Kingdom, right there...

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