Children’s & Youth Work links

Here’s some links from the last few weeks that are worth taking a few minutes to read if you’re involved in children’s and youth work:

3 Ways to Use Student Leaders in Your Ministry: Austin McCann gives three great ways you can use young leaders in your youth ministry.

Gertrude Ederle’s Channel swim: an inspiring story of how at the age of 19, she crossed the 21-mile Channel in 14 hours and 45 minutes, beating the male record holder by more than two hours.

7 Ways To Cultivate Spiritual Curiosity: if we want our young people to ask questions about their faith, we have to cultivate spiritual curiosity argues Jen Bradbury.

Game – Full Speed Dictionary: an old classic for that moment when you need a game and have limited time to plan and nothing but paper and pen.

Helping young people take action on social justice issues: Latasha Morrison shares how we can help students create conversations about social justice issues in their communities.

Welcoming people to church

Ben and the team over at the Diocese of Portsmouth have shared some brilliant resources by Margaret Pritchard Houston from St. Albans Diocese that your church can use to help welcome people:

Newcomers who aren’t familiar with what happens at church may be nervous and feel unsettled and conspicuous. I’ve made some simple handouts that you can make available when people come to church.

There’s a version for younger children, with very simple language, and a version for older children and adults, with some more detail. The explanations in the version for older children and adults are designed to be autism-friendly.

There’s also a sheet you can fill in with details about your specific church – where the toilets are, what happens after the service, etc. – to help people feel at home in your building. This is included in the PDF file, but there’s an editable Word version as well, so you can type your explanations in, instead of having to handwrite them!

Please note: when filling in the “Our Church” sheet, avoid jargon!  For example, here are two ways to answer the question “what books or leaflets will I need for the service?”

  • WRONG: The hymnal will be used for the processional, gradual, offertory, and recessional hymns – the insert will be used for the Psalm. Today’s lectionary readings are found on the insert, while the rest of the congregation’s words for the Eucharist may be found in the seasonal service sheet for Epiphany.
  • RIGHT: The green book has the words for the songs in it. We call these songs “hymns.” The vicar will tell you what number to turn to for every hymn.  The words we all say together are found in the leaflet with the coloured cover – we use different colours at different times of year.  When there’s a Bible reading, the words for that are on the sheet with the red top that’s stuck inside the leaflet with the coloured cover. One of these readings is a song from the Bible called a Psalm, which we all sing together. If you get confused, feel free look over someone’s shoulder to see what they’re doing, or ask someone sitting near you.

Resources

Teen carries brother for a whopping 111 miles to raise awareness of Cerebral Palsy

16-year-old Hunter Gandee and his brother, Braden, walked 111 miles — from his hometown of Temperance, Michigan, to the steps of the state capitol.  Hunter carried Braden almost all the way.

The feat was part of the Cerebral Palsy Swagger, an annual walk designed to raise awareness for the disorder. It’s been happening since 2014, when Hunter carried Braden for 40 miles. This trip took the pair five days. They left on April 20 and arrived April 25.

“Our goal is to get the attention of our up and coming leaders, doctors, engineers and entrepreneurs and show them the face of cerebral palsy,” reads the event’s Facebook page.

Organisers hope that increased attention on cerebral palsy will lead to increased focus and innovation when it comes to treating the condition.

This year, Hunter and his companions walked through numerous Michigan towns, stopping every few miles to rest and refuel.  They finally arrived at Lansing’s capitol building on Monday evening.

Acne and exam stress key factors that lead young people to suicide

Exam stress, acne and asthma are among the anxieties affecting children and young people who kill themselves, according to the first ever detailed national investigation of these cases.

Between January 2014 and April 2015, there were 145 suicides in England by children and young people aged 10 to 19. An inquiry looking at 130 of the cases has found some common factors, or “antecedents”, which the researchers hope may help families, friends, teachers or others to become aware that a child is struggling.

More than half (54%) of the 130 had self-harmed and 27% had expressed suicidal ideas in the week before they died, while in 16 cases (12%), they had searched online for information on it. But 43% had not been in contact with the health service or any other agency.

More than a third (36%) had sought help for some sort of medical condition, the most common being acne and asthma, while 27% were dealing with academic pressures, says the report.  Of the 20 young people facing current or pending exams or awaiting results, 11 were known to be stressed by their exams and four died on the day of an exam or the day after.

More than a quarter of the young people (28%) had recently experienced the death of somebody close to them, and six had lost more than one. Nine had lost a parent, while 17 (13%) had experienced the suicide of either somebody in their family or a friend.

More than a fifth (22%) had been bullied in previous months, mostly face to face (93%). Eight had been targeted by online bullying – as well as face to face or instead of it. Mostly the bullying had occurred more than three months before the person died, but in eight cases it was more recent.

The findings come from the National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness, a collaboration of academics and other experts, who have collected data from Coroners’ inquests, official investigations and other case reviews.

The report, summarised in a paper in the Lancet Psychiatry journal, is the first of its kind.  Prof Louis Appleby, director of the inquiry at the University of Manchester said

“There haven’t been very systematic studies of a very young group.  Suicide is one of the main causes of death but it is not at all common. What is happening in their lives? That is the question we started with.”

The suicide rate is very low among the youngest children – there were 11 cases under the age of 15 in the year. But Appleby said: “Something happens to them in that five-year period from 15 to 20.”  At each age after 15, there is a significant jump in the numbers, reaching 49 at the age of 19. Most – 70% – are male.

Do read the rest of the Guardian article to understand the reason for this significant jump.

A learning opportunity from Tearfund

Our vision of God’s Kingdom coming here on earth includes a fair and sustainable world where all people can flourish, and creation is cared for.

To get there, we need a prophetic movement of people working for transformation in the way we live our daily lives, as well as political change on poverty, the environment and inequality. We believe the church is a crucial part of this movement, and so at Tearfund we’re working to enable more Christians to be part of this change.

Does this idea excite you? Would you like to come together with others to develop and hone your change-making skills?

We’re working together with Christian Aid, the URC and CAFOD to take a group of people on a year-long learning journey. It’ll start with a weekend retreat (in Manchester) on 16-17th July where we’ll be learning about community organising from the Centre for Theology and Community. Going forward from the retreat there will be support, coaching and regular input from Tearfund and from each other.

If you are interested in this, please email us (campaigns@tearfund.org) ASAP for more details. Please do also forward this email onto others you think might be interested.

Thanks,

Billie Anderson
Tearfund Campaigns

PS We’d also love to hear your stories of how you or your church are already part of this prophetic movement for change, do email them to us!

Liverpool FC sign Loris Karius from FSV Mainz

Liverpool today officially completed the signing of FSV Mainz goalkeeper Loris Karius in a bargain £4.7M deal.

Having already secured the services of Joel Matip and Marko Grujic for next season, Liverpool have today completed the signing of Loris Karius after the club triggered his £4.7M release clause. The goalkeeper will officially become a Liverpool player at the start of next month, and the club have officially announced his signing today.

With Matip a free transfer and Grujic signed in Janaury before being loaned straight back to Red Star Belgrade, Karius is the first paid transfer of the summer for Liverpool, and given his low release clause it’s quite the bargain for a player voted second best goalkeeper in the Bundesliga last season by his peers. The only shot stopper rated higher was Manuel Neuer.

Loris Karius

Karius will arrive at Liverpool expecting to become the starting goalkeeper, and he will look to use that as a platform to succeed Neuer as Germany’s goalkeeper following the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The only question is how long it takes him to become Liverpool’s starter, which could be complicated by rumours he will be called up to Germany’s Olympic squad.

If so, it would mean he will miss his first pre-season with the Reds, potentially allowing Mignolet to hold on to the number one job for at least a little while longer. Karius spent two and a half seasons with Manchester City, leaving him six months shy of being eligible to count as homegrown. He started 36 games for FSV Mainz last season and recorded ten clean sheets.

In total, the 22-year-old has made 96 senior appearances for Mainz since he moved there from City in January of 2013. Though he has yet to make a single senior appearance for the German team, he has represented his country at every youth level, and getting him signed quickly was a priority for Jürgen Klopp and Liverpool’s staff following the end of the season.

Jürgen Klopp said:

“I am really pleased that we were able to move so quickly to get him and that Loris has shown such a desire to come to Liverpool with a lot of other clubs interested in him.  I know he will add to the quality we have in this position and I look forward to working with him and all our players when we return for pre-season.”

Teenage pregnancy rate halved in Hampshire

Teenage pregnancy rates across Hampshire have more than halved over the last 16 years according to figures from the Office of National Statistics, thanks to a sustained and successful multi-agency focus.

Councillor Keith Mans, Hampshire County Council’s Executive Lead Member for Children’s Services, said:

“This is really good news and shows that the County Council’s investment in education programmes targeting young people over the years is paying off.

“Working to reduce the rate of teenage conceptions among girls aged 15-17 is a priority in the Hampshire Children and Young People’s Plan (CYPP 2015-18). The focus, commitment and hard work of all the partner agencies has seen the teenage conception rate reduce year on year since 2009. For young people who go on to become young parents, support is available to ensure positive outcomes for them and their children.

“Data over the years has shown that teenage parents tend to do less well at school and are more likely to become NEETs (not in education, employment or training). This means that they often face a future of low paid jobs or unemployment. In turn, the children of teenage parents are more likely to live in poverty and are more likely to become teenage parents themselves. Reducing the number of teenage conceptions has been a priority for the Council for many years and a lot of work has gone into identifying the most vulnerable teenagers in the county and supporting them with information so that they are able to make informed safer sex and lifestyle choices.”

In Hampshire free multi agency SRE training is provided for all practitioners working with young people. ‘Girl Talk, Boy Talk’ is a single gender SRE programme delivered in small groups. This programme is aimed at supporting young people make positive choices around relationships and sexual health.

Sexual health information, advice and contraception services are provided by the specialist integrated sexual health service and access to free condoms is available from a number of trained advisors across Hampshire. Young women can access free emergency hormonal contraception from many accredited pharmacies in Hampshire. The ‘Get It On‘ website has full details of available local services.

Overall Hampshire has seen a 55.7 per cent reduction in teenage conception rates since 1998 to 2014, with rates steadily declining in all 11 districts in Hampshire. This is above the national reduction of 51.1 per cent and South East region reduction of 50.3 per cent.

The Hampshire annual 2014 provisional teenage conception rate was 15.9 per 1,000 female population aged 15 to 17. This is an 18.5 per cent reduction from 2013 when there were 465 conceptions compared to 377 conceptions in 2014.