Empowering Children as Ministers

Empowering Children as Ministers was a day conference organised by Gill Ambrose and Ally Barrett (Reverendally), with help from the Praxis East Committee.

The notes from the day show it to have been a rich and thought provoking day with a diverse group of ministers and church representatives reflecting together on how they might empower our churches’ children and young people as ministers, and the impact that this may have on the children and young people themselves (both now and into adulthood) and on the church itself.

At a time when the Church of England is actively promoting the nurturing of young vocations, why not start in childhood?  Click here to read a full report on the day, including the full text of the speech given by 11 year old Joanna about her own experiences as a minister.

Talking to children who are bereaved

Support Around Death have recently launched a animated video for professionals on how to talk to children when they are about to be bereaved or have just experienced a death.

Talking to children who are bereaved from NES on Vimeo.

Talking to children when they are about to be bereaved or have just experienced a death may feel daunting. Knowing how children of different ages may react can help. As a professional there are many ways one can help families, friends, schools and communities do and say things before and after someone dies that can help children to cope with their loss. This NHS Education for Scotland video aims to enable professionals to facilitate such discussions through an enhanced understanding from the perspective of children who have been bereaved.

For more information on this video and other resources please visit sad.scot.nhs.uk.  This website was designed for health care professionals supporting patients at the end of life or  with bereavement care.

Children in care need long-term support

 writing from his own personal experience argues that, too often, young in care are simply contained and criminalised. If a permanent home can’t be found, then having a mentor would make a huge difference to young people’s lives.

Lord Laming’s review for the Prison Reform Trust has found that children in care are six times more likely to be cautioned by police or convicted of a crime than others of the same age. It is a national shame that we allow these young people to fill young offender institutions and prisons after spending so much money “taking care” of them throughout their childhoods.

Unlike in your average family home, kids in care are regularly criminalised by those caring for them: police are called out for incidents that happen to many teenagers but especially those who are harbouring pain and hurt from family breakdown, and exposure to violence and abuse. As a result children and teenagers are getting criminal records for throwing plates and smashing up their rooms, and other actions often regarded as domestic by the police called out to help manage such behaviour. But to the child in care, it’s often their first contact with the criminal justice system.

In my children’s home the police were regular visitors. I had police called on me for breaking windows, getting caught sniffing glue and fighting with other kids. By the time I was living independently at 15, I was well known to both probation and the police.

My argument has always been that if we got care right more often, lots of money could be saved – and lives too. But the problem with care is that too often it feels like we are just containing these kids. With so many moving between foster families, they often have no consistent positive adult in their lives. I have met kids who have had three social workers and eight foster placements, which often include school moves too. They have no one to walk alongside them as they navigate their life over a long period, no one to take a real interest in their long-term wellbeing.

Go check out the full article.

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.

Exam tips for young people

Here’s some tips we’ve put together for young people and parents for dealing with revision and exams.  You can download a pdf version here.

Revision

As Benjamin Franklin said: “By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail.”

 

  • Have a revision timetable but make sure it is realistic!
  • You need a balance of revision and relaxation. Always take one day off a week from school work, no matter how much pressure you feel, God     designed us to have one day’s rest per week.
  • Split the day into three: morning, afternoon and evening – use two of the three for focussed study and revision – the other is for relaxing and exercise.
  • Revise for an hour and then stop. Have a break, have a kit kat!  Then come back to it.  Take time to switch off and do something completely different.

 

  • Organise your place of revision – make sure you have your notes, text books, writing implements, computer, drink and nibbles etc. all in easy reach.
  • Create a playlist of motivational music to get you going.

 

  • Ensure that you have regular food and drink, and exercise breaks – exercise helps to release endorphins – the feel good feeling and is an important stress factor.

 

Different ways to learn include:

  • Going through past papers (and model answers) is often very helpful.
  • Read it, doodle it, hear it, write it, speak it, etc, the more different ways you find to express it the more you will remember – also be aware that your teacher’s favourite teaching style may not be your best learning style.
  • Use different colours so you can quickly scan the really important stuff.
  • Make short notes, revise them the following day, then a week later. Repetition transfers info from short to longer term memory.       Cramming is not productive.

 

  • Stop all electronics at least half hour before bed.
  • Make sure you still make time for the one thing you love, the thing that fuels your energy rather than just saps it.
  • Get your parents to chill a bit!

 

The Exam

  • Get a good night’s sleep, set your alarm, have a good breakfast and give yourself plenty of time, allowing for traffic hold ups, etc.
  • Check you have all your necessary stationary and equipment, including a watch!

 

  • Know exactly where the exam is going to be held – I still have nightmares about not being able to find the right room and I left school a long time ago!
  • Go to the toilet before the exam.
  • Avoid talking to people about the exam, what you have revised etc., while waiting to go in as it can make you feel nervous that you haven’t revised enough – instead make plans for fun things to do after the exams or chat about last night’s TV!

 

  • Listen carefully to any instructions, read the top sheet and complete it properly.
  • Know your candidate number.

 

  • Always take a deep breath before you start and know that people are praying for you
  • Go for it – if you don’t know the answer go onto the next one – don’t sit there panicking.
  • Read all the questions and make sure you know what you are being asked. Possibly start with stuff you are comfortable with, which may not necessarily be the first question.
  • Know how much time to spend on each question. Time is crucial in exams – don’t waste it.  If a question is only worth a few marks don’t spend ages on it.  Always answer multiple choice questions even if it’s only a guess.
  • If something is not clear then ask (just not the person sat next to you!)
  • Check all sides of the paper – don’t miss a back page!
  • Label all answers clearly and be as neat as you can. Show all working out and attach any notes made on questions you fail to complete.
  • Leave 5 minutes at the end to go through and tidy up.