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!

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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Sorry for such a long post!

Please feel free to ask me any questions you want!

6 comments:

  1. No wonder you haven't posted for a while Sarah - you have been SO busy. I'm glad that you've brought us up to date now and fascinated to hear about what you've been doing, especially attending a Jehovah's Witness service - now that is interesting!

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  2. Thank you for sgharing your experiences, Sarah. You can be assured of our prayers in this year of your being our Youth President and aslo for you both as your husband, Bobby, prepares to candidate for the Ministry.

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  3. Sarah,

    if you are employed full time why do you need to work over Christmas too?

    really like what you wrote about the urdu service. That sweet sounded delicious too :)

    but am a bit confused about what you said about the JW in Calver. yes we want to build bridges and yes we can learn by their giving away literature BUT what is not clear in your post (at least to me) is that JWs are not just another protestant denomination. They do not accept that Jesus is the son of God - so cannot, by any stretch of the imagination, be called followers of Christ (i.e. Christians). The truth sets us free and of course we need to give it in love, but I think your comments here were a bit confusing. Why were you there? (bridge building? evangelising?) and what did you learn about how their faith does not match up with what Jesus taught, lived and died for. I think that's very much needed

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  4. The youth president post finishes for me in September, I am continuing to work at my old job because it means that after i finish being president, I have a job to go back too, as I cant afford not to!

    I am sorry if i was confusing, i agree that the JWs are not christians, I honestly dont know a whole lot about them. We were not there to look at their theology or their teaching really, but to see how and why they did things.

    As part of my husbands candidating, we are visiting different demoninations and religions to see what, why and how they do things, and what we can learn from them.

    As i mentioned, they spoke very little of their theology so we learnt very little of it at all.

    However, if anyone can add to this, Id be very grateful.

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  5. The JW's came out of the Bible Student Movement in the late 19th century in America. They were formed by a guy called Charles Russel.

    They believe the Bible is the word of God and ignore human speculations and creeds. This said they only use there own translation of the bible known as the New World Translation which is a questionable translation at best. The watchtower (the publishing wing of the JW's) have never released the names of the people who translated this version, which in my opinion shows that they probably weren't very reliable in the first place. A comparison of John 1:1 shows this very well:

    "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. KJV"

    "In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god. NWT"

    the last part of this verse fundamentally changes the nature of the Word and God.

    The JW's have also predicted the end of the world a number of times, (sounds like human speculation to me). A number of these predictions have been altered or scrapped when it became apparent that they had not been fulfilled.

    There is lots more surrounding the JW's that could be written relating to some of their less controversial beliefs or some more on their major differences like rejection of the trinity.

    The biggest thing i have against the JW's is there use of deceit when speaking to people. i have had many a conversation with JW's and they constantly tell me that they belive the same thing as me when i know they don't.

    in my conversations they have started a conversation claiming christian principals and then slowly moved the conversation to a JW principals which direclty oppose Christian faith.

    For me to align Christianity and JW's to closely is to get into muddy water that taints the fundamentals of what it is to believe in Jesus as Lord and Saviour.

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  6. What a blessing to keep bumping into you Sarah you and Bobby looked so good together when I saw you at the Central Hall
    I am standing with you both in prayer as you seek the Lords will for the future and all you are doing now
    God bless
    Steve Wild

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