District Youth Enablers Training Weekend

A picture that was put up by the scouts, but we felt should really apply to us too!

On the 23rd Jan at Felden Lodge, there was a joint meeting of the new connexional DYEs and the Youth Participation Strategy Reference group.

The purpose of the meeting for the DYEs was for them to attend a training session led by Meg Prowting of the Childrens and Youth Team. The training consisted of good communication practice, basic Methodist knowledge, presentation skills and understanding the role of a connexional DYE.

The Youth Participation Strategy Reference group consisted of 4 people under 25 (Not including myself) and 5 people over 25. They discussed issues and concerns that affected the YPS and the direction of it.

Both meetings went very well and was combined with a 20 minute joint worship.

Newcastle part 2

We went to see Action Station in South Sheilds, and they took us on a tour round the building which consisted of a credit union and debt counselling service, a drop in cafe, a workers education association, a detached Youth worker, courses for local people in computing and various skills and a charity to support people with cancer.
It was wonderful to see so many christ inspired projects under one roof! I had a lovely chat with one of the ministers there about the Youth Participation Strategy and a converstaion with an anglican vicar about how we have set a fantastic standard, and they really ought to follow!

We then went to Morpeth to meet some of the flood victims. Hearing the stories of their last year was really informative for me. (Plus the chocolate caramel slices were lovely!)

Newcastle part 1

On the 15th of January, I got on a train to Newcastle! The idea of the trip was to shadow the President and Vice-President Stephen and David, to see how they 'did the president thing' to learn from them.

I arrived in Newcastle, was picked up by my friend Fiona, taken to her house for tea, and then we went shopping!

The next day was very busy;

We started out at the main methodist church in Newcastle - Brunswick. Where we saw a presention about 'Scarpa' http://www.childrenssociety.org.uk/all_about_us/how_we_do_it/commissioning_our_services/what/find_services/pro_SCARPA/SCARPA_2225.html

SCARPA has been established to provide an intensive support service for young people who are experiencing, or are at risk of, running away, sexual exploitation or trafficking.

Also there were representives from a charity who help women sex workers in Newcastle and a charity who help refugees and immigrants who arrive in Newcastle.

Then we went to visit the Traidcraft office in Gateshead, which was brilliant! I've been pratically brought up on traidcraft, thanks to my Granny, and to be invited into the office and be shown round the warehouse was amazing. We also stopped to chat to the ladies who work on the non-food trading. They were showing us about the work they were doing with Monsoon to get fairly traded christmas decorations into their shops!

Next we visited a project called 'Aquilla Way' which was a charity that aims to 'see people and communities restored.' They run several projects including;

58:12 - providing homes for previously homeless people.

Naomi - providing 24 hour support for homeless young women

Elizabeth House - providing 24 hour support for homeless young women and their children

Karis - providing support to young men, women & children who are affected by drug abuse.

The chief executive is a woman called Jo Grant. Watching explain the work of Aquilla way and the clear passion and vision that inspired her to create and support all these projects truly inspired me. Infact, the whole thing really inspired me! It was crystal clear that it was totally focused on the will of God and helping those who needed them most.


The post Christmas update!

22 Dec - I attended a meeting in Wolverhampton which employed their first District Youth Enabler. (Small print = This DYE is not technically part of the Youth Participation Strategy because we are still in the process of employing people to support the DYEs)
We had four great candidates, and the successful one I'm sure will be very successful in her work to come!
If you would like to get in contact with the Shrewsbury & Wolverhampton DYE, please email me and I will happily pass you on!


My first christmas with my husband was really quiet. Due to the nature of this appointment and the situation with job losses, i have found it necessary to continue working for my local care home over the holidays. This meant that I worked christmas eve day, christmas eve overnight, christmas day, boxing day etc . ..

However, what little time I did have at home, I spent with my husband which was lovely.


4 Jan - My husband was preaching at St. Andrews church in Slough, at the afternoon Urdu congregation. It was definitely an experience for me because I didnt understand what was being said, or what I was trying to sing. (trying very hard!) The 'tea and coffee' afterwards was lovely. It was in a small room at the back of the church which was promptly filled with all ages of people. From the very little cute children to the elderly, all of who wanted to talk to everybody! The biscuits were no ordinary biscuits, but gorgeous fudge like confectionery (Which I made my husband buy me some to take home!). It was a proper community in that room, and even when we went back a week later, they were just as pleased to see us!


5 Jan - New Years Service in westminster methodist hall

I took my husband (Bobby) along for this one! It consisted of a collection of people from around the connexion - so people from Methodist Church House, from the Manchester base etc. The first part was a social meal, where the idea was to wander around, chatting to various people to create networks and establish contacts etc. Im afraid that Bobby was doing this far better than I was!
The meal was very posh and dainty . . . the sort of thing you would expect! With prawns on sticks and canapes etc. They even had these funny plastic glass holders which clipped onto your plate, which was quite a novelty for me!

The service was lovely, very full as more and more people turned up. I was asked to read a prayer in the service which was nice. It wasnt particularly challenging, or different, it was in essence a service just to be together and say 'we are methodist'. I enjoyed Davids sermon (Vice president of Conference) as it was quite funny and very relevant.

Over all, it was a lovely day, and I got to catch up with a few people i hadn't seen for quite a while!


6-7 - The Connexional Leadership Forum

When I arrived, I asked several people what the purpose of this event was, and they all said that it was primarily a meeting where they (Chairs of district and all the really important people) could all meet and discuss relevant issues. Its not a decision making body, but a discussion and networking forum.

Good points - I got to put faces to names, I could talk face to face with people and they could ask me questions that they actually wanted to ask! (Which also gained me an invite to the Shetlands, which I am very excited about!)

bad points - I truthfully had no idea what they were talking about in the business. I didnt expect to understand a whole lot because in reality these are senior people in the church who have spent decades learning what they now know! However, as i talked about this and explored it, a fair few commented that they actually felt the same way!

I aim to write some kind of report on how a young person can actually engage with a forum of this type, because I certainly felt like I couldnt.


9 - 10

This was a very exciting weekend as we began a process to employ our first round of DYEs!

The role of these initial District Youth Enablers will differ from appointments that will be made after 31st August 2009. It will focus less on local responsibilities and projects. Key projects are expected to include assisting with:

- Selection process for the Regional Participation Workers
- Selection processes for future District Youth Enablers
- Researching and developing networks within Districts and Regions
- Planning Youth Assembly 2009
- Planning Breakout 2010
- Development of the Children and Youth Team of the Methodist Church
- Presentations to Methodist Conference

Eight very talented, passionate young people turned up and proved themselves to be worthy of such a great and important task, so we employed all of them.

Some are very new to the methodist church, some are seasoned to it, some are loud, some are quiet. Some creative, others logical . . . We have a new, very diverse team and we expect great things from them!


11 Jan

My husband, Bobby, is applying for the ministry in 2010, so we have started the process of doing everything he needs to do before he candidates.
This meant that I found myself in a Jehovas Witness congregation in Calver, Derbyshire on sunday morning. I must say, I was full of misconceptions when I arrived, and full of praise when I left.

It was very similar to a traditional protestant set up with very little decoration, simply a board that hung at the front with a verse from Acts. The service was basically a sermon, a few hymns (Which all reminded me of lullabys) and then an hours bible study. They worked through a book called the 'watch tower' which seemed very simple to me. There was no theology or deeper meaning, or encouragement to think creatively or individually. It reminded me of a GCSE english lesson where you all read the text, then answer questions on the text. However, I loved the fact that Bible study, in any form, was part of the service! I think that's something many ministers could learn from.

At the end of the service, everyone wanted to know who were were, why we were here etc. Also, the giving of resources was a pleasure for them. Even though they knew we werent Jehovas Witnesses, and were never going to be, they gave us a copy of EVERYTHING they used, from the watch tower to their Bible. That's also something we can learn from!


14 Jan

The Children and Youth team away day.

We all went to a Quaker center in Birmingham which was gorgeous. After lunch we all went down to the massive pond, which was frozen, to skim rocks over the ice (Which makes a fantastic sound!).

The purpose of the meeting was to get to know each other (Because I and two others were new to the team) and discuss important pieces of work that we needed to.


Sorry for such a long post!

Please feel free to ask me any questions you want!