Giving...

I guess I couldn’t have missed out this advert from my advent blogs...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pSLOnR1s74o

What’s your favourite part of your Christmas?

For me, food comes pretty high on the list, all the TV Christmas specials, spending time with friends and family. I wonder how many of us are like the little kid in this advert.

How many of us can’t wait to get up on Christmas morning to get our presents?

How many of us can’t wait to get up on Christmas morning to give our presents to other people?


“Where is the baby born to be the king of the Jews? We saw his star when it cam up in the east, and we have come to worship Him.”


Matthew 2:2

The wise men can’t wait to see Jesus, to give the gifts they brought for Him; not only did they bring material gifts for Jesus; they gave their time and energy.

How will you give of your time and energy this Christmas?

How will you make sure this Christmas is as much about giving of your time, energy and money as it is receiving?

Ordinary people...extraordinary things!

I can’t even comprehend what it would have been like for Mary. One day, she’s making plans for your new life with her husband to be, the next she’s trying to work out how on earth she’s going to possibly be able to articulate to the aforementioned husband to be that you’re going to have a baby that isn’t actually his!

We often gloss over the significance of each character in this story. Without Mary accepting God’s call, without Joseph not disgracing Mary, without the wise men not going to Herod on their return; imagine how different the story would have been! There wouldn’t even have been the story as we so fondly know it.

http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=2011+british+airways+advert&docid=1365078181284&mid=37D54822476B67CD061837D54822476B67CD0618&FORM=VIRE5#

God calls each of us to serve in exciting ways, ways that we can’t even imagine; none more so than Mary’s! These people that God calls are just ordinary people, but God uses them for extraordinary things!

Imagine how those pioneers in the advert must have felt...how does that compare with Mary’s emotions? How does that compare to when God calls us?

What extraordinary role does God have for you this Christmas?

Short-term Christmas?

How many of you watched the X Factor final yesterday? I’m sorry, but surely those two hours of television would have been better filled by just Coldplay than all the rest of them?! I think that’s enough of my misery on that subject for now...!

My house has always been a Strictly household (I’d just like to make it clear that this is forced upon me, you’ll be surprised to know that I don’t actually enjoy watching Russell Grant in a lycra sequin suit...!), but X Factor is on most Saturday nights too.

Those of you who do watch it, I wonder how many of the contestants from last year you can remember?

Struggling? I bet most of you won’t be able to name all of this year’s either...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XYCToHQk6nc

Fame for all these people is almost certain to be a short-term thing. There might be the odd couple that last a few years, but I expect that in a month’s time we’ll have forgotten about most of them.


‘The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favour with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; His kingdom will never end.”’

Luke 1:30-33


The angel appears to Mary, and shares what God has in store for her. Mary isn’t just in for the short-term fame thing, she’s part of a story that will last forever!


The most exciting thing...we’re part of that story that never ends! We are the people of God, who are to proclaim the good news of Christ this Christmas!


So...


How will you encourage people to see the birth of Jesus as significant in the long-term?


How will you ensure your Christmas celebrations are not just short-term?

Prayer


I don’t know about you, but I find prayer really difficult.


I’ve never been one for kneeling by my bed each night and doing all that shebang, I much prefer it being more like an ongoing conversation with God throughout my day...but that’s turned out to work about as well as the kneeling by my bed thing!


I think this is a problem a lot of Christians have as well. So I thought I’d share a way of praying I find really helpful, I find it’s great for trains :)


I carry this little card around in my wallet all the time...



I love this as a structure for prayer. Before anything, reminding yourself of how completely awesome God is! Why we love Him, why we worship Him. Then you bring all those things that you’re not proud of, that you need to ask for forgiveness for. Then thank God for all those amazing gifts that he pours out on us each day. Finally, ask God for some help!

I think a lot of us are guilty of just using our prayer times to plead with God for some help, we forget about how awesome God is, how much we need God to purify us, and the incredible number of things that God gives us that we should be thankful for.


I really challenge you to make one of these cards for yourself, maybe with some bible passages you find more helpful, or you might just want to print one of these ones off. Put it in your wallet, or your purse, and take 5 minutes each day just to go through it and spend some time with God.

Prayer scares me...a lot! But when I remind myself that it’s not actually about all those fancy words that no-one understands; instead, it’s just you talking to you father, your friend, I feel a lot better!

Christmas is coming!

What, for you means Christmas is coming?



The start of December? Your advent calendar? Christmas decorations go up? Advent candles in church?



What about this...?


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ogetBqMgau0


How many people, on Facebook & Twitter, posted about the start of Christmas being when that advert came on the TV?!



In the Bible, its John the Baptist who heralds the coming of Christmas, the coming of Jesus.



'And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.'


Luke 1:76-79



Elizabeth was barren, but God blesses her and Zechariah with a child. That child was to be the one to prepare the way for the birth of Jesus.



How will you prepare the way for Jesus this Christmas? How are your preparations going to ensure that the centre of your Christmas lies with the birth of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Leicester

I was privileged, on Saturday, to go to a church in Leicester to lead a worship event at a church there. We had a really good night or worship, fellowship & prayer, with about 30 young people.

I got to go over and lead the event with some people I worked with as an OPP last year, we developed the same thing in Wellingborough and to be invited to do the same somewhere else was really exciting!

Hopefully, through what happened on Saturday night, those young people from Leicester will be able to run their own events from now on. We talk about this word empower a lot, but I think that’s what we were doing last night; showing other young people that actually if you have something you want to do or change, and God’s grace to carry you through and guide you in the right paths, then there’s no reason why you can’t do it!

I love God’s response to Jeremiah in Jeremiah 1...


‘“Alas, Sovereign LORD,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.” But the LORD said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. 8 Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the LORD.’

Jeremiah 1:6-8

God promises to be with all of us, if we have the confidence to respond to something that God has put inside of us; whether that’s a vision, or something along the lines of the holy discontent I talked about in my last blog.

Hopefully that’s what we achieved last night; not only did we encounter God, but we also managed to give people the confidence to step out, say ‘I’m not too young’, and go forward knowing that they’re backed by God’s unending promise to be with us.

Holy Discontent

I started reading a book this morning, called ‘Holy Discontent’ by Bill Hybels.



He says that God is restoring our world; bringing it from its current broken state to its ‘original beauty and purpose’.




As God is restoring His world, the books talks about God placing this idea of holy discontent within us as something that motivates us to make a difference. When we have this feeling of holy discontent inside of us, we almost become like Popeye! When we get that feeling, or eat that spinach, we become this unstoppable foce that wants to make a difference, and do God’s work in restoring our world to its ‘original beauty and purpose’.






So, I’m interested to know, what is it that gives you that feeling of holy discontent? What is it that you can’t stand? What makes you want to make a difference?

3Generate

Well, what a fantastic weekend! I left last Sunday, feeling completely exhausted yet very proud to be a Methodist and really excited about the future of this church.

I’ll be blogging over the next week or so about all that happened at 3Generate, but I want to start with the worship. Partly because, this was my contribution to the weekend(!), and also because for me it was the most powerful thing about the whole weekend.

We kicked off looking at CALLING, and I spoke on the story of Samuel and how he was called by God. Three verses stuck out for me (annoyingly as I was trying REALLY hard not to make it a 3 point sermon!)...

‘...the word of the Lord was rare...’

I often look at the world, and my own situation and just think, where on earth is God in all this. That was true for Samuel, and is probably true for pretty much everyone at some time in their life. But actually, you don’t have to look that hard to see where God actually is!

I challenge you to make a list of all the places you can see God working through (e.g. creation, friends & family), and see how many pieces of paper you can fill...I guarantee it’ll be at least 2!

‘...Samuel did not yet know the Lord...’

We often think that we have to be this perfect Christian to be called by God. Actually, if you look through the Bible, the people God called were the last people you’d expect to be called by God.

'By Him, you are called into relationship with His Son, Jesus Christ' – 1 Corinthians 1:9

Each and every one of us is called by God; primarily to have a relationship with Him. God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called.

‘...stood before Him exactly as before...’

God stood right in front of Samuel to call him, but still didn’t notice until after Eli pointed out it was God! I think a lot of us have a very set image as to what God’s call will end up looking like, and unless the call fits in with that set image we have in our head we often miss it.

I challenge you to open your eyes and your hearts to what God’s call might be, and prepare yourself to be blown away by the incredible and surprising way that God reveals that to us.

The Saturday looked at our RESPONSE to God’s call, looking at the story of Noah. I doubt whether many people have received such a specific call as Noah did (I doubt He’s ever given many the exact measurements for the boat that He wants them to build!), but all credit to the guy; he did as God called Him to. How often do we just have that blind obedience to God’s call? How easy is it for us to do that? Can we actually just go in with blind obedience, or are there too many external factors for us ever to be completely sure that its God calling us?

I hope you realise I ask all these questions because I don’t actually have the answers myself...if any of you could enlighten me that would be great!

We spent the evening sharing a Love Feast. Ruth Pickles shared her testimony about when she felt like Noah and we all had a really good discussion. I was amazed at how everyone took part and responded. God definitely richly blessed us in our worship at 3Generate.

I challenge you to consider the questions we discussed for yourself, or maybe in a group with people from your youth group, housegroup or church...

  • When did you last feel like Noah?
  • When did you last feel like you were sinking – what happened?
  • What is the oddest thing God has called you to do?
  • Where have you seen God this week?
  • Do you feel God calling you? What will your response be?

On the Sunday morning, we spent some time reflecting on God’s PROMISE to be with us, using the story of Jeremiah as a focus. God calls Jeremiah, but he’s scared and says he’s too young. But God says to him, ‘Do not be afraid, for I am with you’ (Jer 1:8).

This is God’s promise for EVERYONE! I think sometimes as a church, we’re afraid to take risks. I’m not saying we should start doing all this irrational stuff, but sometimes the way forward is to step out, and to take that risk. Certainly, that risk, for me, becomes much less scary when I remember that God is with me in all that I do. I’m never too young to respond to God’s call, because God is with me all the time, whatever age.

God CALLS us into relationship with Him, that demands a RESPONSE, and through all that God’s PROMISE is to be with us.

Cliff College

I spent last week up at Cliff College, taking part in the Christian Life & Mission Course. This is two weeks of intensive study, then four assignments that I have complete throughout the year. There are ten of us on the course, the other 9 are interns from Scripture Union, 3 of whom are working at Re:Generation church, which is a Methodist fresh expression in Romford which has twice as many young people as adults in the congregation! I was really challenged by the whole week, so thought I’d share some of what I’d learnt :)

The first day we looked at Jesus through the whole Bible. All through the Old Testament there is the mention of this Messiah figure coming, the birth of Jesus is the fulfilment of the Christ that is prophesied about throughout the Old Testament in Isaiah, the Psalms & Deuteronomy to name a few. I think this is one of those things that you know of, but certainly I had never made any sort of connection between in my head; and it really challenged me!

We were looking particularly at Luke’s gospel throughout the week, and it really surprised me how much each of the four gospels differed. I was aware that John just kinda does his own thing, but the differences between the three synoptic gospels were staggering. Matthew was written to try and keep the Jews happy, whereas Luke was written without that care, instead it show the passionate and inclusive side of Jesus.

Stories like; The Good Samaritan, The Lost Son & Zacchaeus only appear in Luke. These are stories where Jesus talks about reaching out to those who are lost, that no one else would want to talk to, showing Jesus on the side of the marginalised. How much of our view of Jesus would be changed if these stories weren’t there? How much of our view of Jesus is based on what these stories portray? I’d just assumed that these were pretty common to the gospels, definitely not that they only appeared in one of them.

In Matthew’s gospel (Matt 1:20-21), the angel appears to Joseph to foretell the birth of Jesus. In Luke (Lk 1:28), the angel appears to Mary. The angel appearing to Joseph would have been acceptable for the Jews, some would say that was why Matthew told it that way; however, can you imagine how the Jews would have reacted to the angel appearing to Mary?!

It struck me, that Luke’s gospel, and how he portrays Jesus, is very Methodist. The compassionate side of Jesus, is what I believe Wesley wanted to emphasise when he came away from the Church of England and went out to share the gospel with those that no one else wanted to touch.

How much of the compassionate side of Jesus do we portray today, as Methodists?

What would Wesley think of the Methodist Church today?

More importantly, what would Jesus think of the Methodist Church today?

Leicester, Newport Pagnell & Methodist Council

After a really good, but very busy week in London, I spent last weekend working with some awesome young people, on Saturday in Leicester and on Sunday in Newport Pagnell.

One of the projects I worked on as an OPP was Relate, a youth worship event that was really successful, and some people from Methodist churches in Leicester have invited the group from Wellingborough to go and run one over there! I met with four awesome young people on Saturday afternoon who were really keen on the prospect of a church filled with young people on a Saturday evening in November.

I’m sure you’ll hear lots more from me about it, but make sure you put Saturday 26th November in your diary if you live anywhere near Leicester!

Sunday evening, I spoke at a youth service in Newport Pagnell. Again, what an awesome bunch of young people! They were all so passionate and led the service themselves with amazing confidence and passion for Jesus! I spoke on the theme of Evangelism and used the Tell. Show. Be. video as a focus. All the young people there were really engaged (if not the talk then the preacher bingo!), and I think really took something away.

That is the real joy of this job, going out and seeing young people, who are so passionate about sharing this amazing and incomparable love that Jesus has for us, and them having the chance to be creative and try and make a difference in their communities.

Monday and Tuesday I spent at Methodist Council. It was good to share with some really interesting people in some very interesting topics that I’m sure will come up at Conference later this year.
This weekend I’m in Leeds with this years OPPs and the YPS Reference Group. Then the next couple of weeks for me will be spent at Cliff College doing two weeks of study up there. Please keep me in your prayers as I go up there and try and learn more about what it means to be a follower of Jesus and do His work.

Finally...

Don’t forget to book onto this year’s Children & Youth Assembly. God’s definitely pitching up...how can it not be completely and utterly awesome?!!

Shore Foundation & EMYC

Sorry it’s been a while, but my very exciting blog is back!! :D



A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of joining a group of youth workers and young people for the Bristol District Youth Weekend in Portishead. The weekend was all based around the scripture in Matthew 7:24-27 where it talks about the wise and the foolish man. It was really good to be challenged, and to see the young people be challenged on making Jesus the foundation that their lives are built upon.



Thank you so much to all of those people that worked so hard to make the weekend happen, and all of the young people who came and made it an awesome weekend!




This time last week I had just got back from Vienna for EMYC. It was a really interesting experience with some great people. There are some really exciting things going on all over Europe; from youth weekends in Ireland, to mission projects in Germany to the European Methodist Festival in Krakow, Poland next year.



So far this year, its been fantastic to feel a part of something bigger just in terms of this country, but to have the sense that God is working in the Methodist church all over the Europe is incredible!



Please keep all those involved in Children’s & Youth work across Europe in your prayers.


Worship

Last week, I had to clear out the past two years of Worship@Infuse resources from Infuse. Looking back, it seems really strange looking at how we used to do things there, and also what my attitude to it all was.

We started out with the attitude that it was very much for the church kids in the town, then they stopped coming, then we spent ages going back and forth between whether this was a discipleship thing, or a way for us to evangelise. That was a question we never really found the answer to ourselves, but God clearly showed us through the people that He brought to that place on a Sunday evening what the purpose of that event was.

For a lot of the people that came, Worship@Infuse is their only ever experience of church, and God gave us the task of trying to engage with those kids as well as we possibly could, and God provided a fantastically committed team of volunteers who made it happen every month.
Looking back over the emails that were sent after most sessions, each one says don’t be disheartened about this, don’t be disheartened about that. I used to lead some worship during the session, and although we tried so many different styles it seemed like no one ever engaged, or made an effort to connect with God. Its really difficult to continually build yourself up to do omething like this, when nothing seems to go in.

Looking back now, I see that it was a very gradual thing. Looking back now I am not disheartened at all, I’m completely amazed by the way in which God works...it surprises me every time!

There are people that, when we started this journey of Worship@Infuse, would just play pool all night, and look like they weren’t at all interested in what was going on, but something must have gone in. I have no idea what it was that moved them from the pool table to listening to the worship, or to the speaker, or that then moved them to get into a cell group, that then got them to come to church!

It just amazes and humbles me every time I think about it; that a small team of people in a small little town, can be used by God in such incredible ways. For those few people that we manage to transform in a whole range of different ways, all the Sunday afternoons & evenings, all the frustration, all the anger that Go had put me into something that seemed to be achieving nothing all becomes worthwhile.

I know lots of people who are running these types of events, and I know the frustrations that you are almost definitely going through. God is working through you, you have no idea where the spark will emerge from that will really make that guy or that girl really sit up and take notice of how amazing a life with Jesus really would be for them. Stick with it, don’t feel like its wasted time, even just one life being transformed in the smallest of ways makes it all worth it.

King, High Priest, Saviour...

In my Cell Group yesterday, we were talking about the wise men and their encounter with Jesus. As I’m sure you all know, when the wise men meet Jesus, they all give him gifts; gold, frankincense & myrrh. These weren’t random gifts with no thought behind them; they had a strong significance both in terms of who Jesus is and how He is still impacting on our lives.

The first gift described is gold. Gold is something very royal, worn by a King or a Queen. This gift was to symbolise Jesus being our King. Jesus is often described as the King of the Jews, but He is also King over our lives. He is our ruler, He guides us, and He leads us in every part of our lives. There isn’t a part of our lives that Jesus doesn’t want to be a part of; He’s in every single decision we make, whether we recognise it or not.

The second gift was Frankincense. This was a perfumed that is said to have carried people's prayers to heaven. The High Priests in the temple would have used incense, and were also seen by some as the link between the regular temple-goers and God. In the temple, there was a huge curtain going from floor to ceiling. This separated the rest of the temple from what was known as the most holy place. The most holy place was somewhere only the high priest was permitted to go into because no one else was deemed ‘holy’ enough.

When Jesus died, ‘the temple curtain was ripped in two, top to bottom’ (Matt 27:51). What does this mean for us? It means that now nothing can separate us from God, because we have Jesus.

‘So, friends, we can now – without hesitation – walk right up to God into “the Holy place.” Jesus has cleared the way by the blood of His sacrifice, acting as our priest before God. The “curtain” into God’s presence is His body’
Hebrews 10:19-21

The final gift was myrrh. This was a substance used, in those times, for embalming dead bodies. Possibly the most significant part of our faith is that Jesus died and then rose again. He showed that not even death could hold Him, His power far surpasses the devil, and the sheer act of dying for each and every one of our sins shows that His love for us surpasses any love that we feel for someone else, or they feel for us.

By dying on the cross, Jesus saved us from sin, Jesus is our Saviour. Through Him we have salvation, we have eternal life in a place that doesn’t even compete with the best bits of the world we currently live in, we have freedom from the life of sin that we once led.

Jesus is our King. Jesus is our High Priest. Jesus is our Saviour.

Another busy weekend...

So, almost two weeks into the job already! I can't believe how quickyl the time is going.

I discovered that Saturday was affectionately known as Synod Saturday, and for the first time I took part in Synod Saturday!

Me and Huw Hides, an OPP from last year who worked in Sedgley, went to the Birmingham District Synod held in Stratford-upon-Avon. It was a really good opportunity to meet people, and chat to them about Youth Assembly, the ONE Programme and the YPS. Part of this job that I love, is the opportunities that I get to meet people, and I met some lovely people on Saturday who were really supportive and encouraging in what they said. Thank you to all those that were there on Saturday, it was really good to be with you all.

Sunday was spent in Birmingham, with multiple train related disasters...but aside from that we had some training and planning for Youth Assembly. The whole event is looking really exciting! In all aspects, from the worship to the fun, to the workshops, to the drinking coffee...God is going to be there, God is really going to be at the centre of all that is done at Youth Assembly this year.



If you haven't signed up yet, or want some more information about Youth Assembly and what it's about, go to www.methodistyouthassembly.org.uk, or email youthassembly@methodistchurch.org.uk.

New OPPs...


Wow...almost a week into the job already! I've already met and worked with some fantastic people, I feel so privileged to have this opportunity!








The celebration event last Friday was brilliant. All of the OPPs from last year worked so hard and we all really felt like it was an awesome way to end the year!


I spent the weekend with the new OPPs which was really interesting. The range of projects they're working in is massive, and almost all of them sound really interesting as I'd love to go and see them all in their projects at some point over the next year.

I think everyone who has been a part of the ONE Programme would say that it was probably one of the best years of their life. Not only does it help your personal development, but the amount of young people you work with that you see a change in , that you see God's love working in, only helps the development ofyour relationship with God too.

So to all the new OPPs, I know many many peopel are praying for you over the next year. I pray that your work does not only benefit your local communities and the Methodist church as a whole, but it also helps you in your relationship with God.

If you're around at Birmingham Synod on Saturday, or the Youth Assembly Planning Day on Sunday, please come and say hello. I want to be able to meet as many people as I can this year and find out whats goign on in the church all around the country, so I may as well start as I mean to go on!!

Hi!

Hey everyone!

My name is Sam Taylor and, as of today, I am the new Youth President of the Methodist Church!

I go to my local Methodist Church, Great Park Street, and have been involved there for many years; both in leading the worship, and other parts of the Sunday morning, but also outside of that time in helping to run the church's youth project which is based right in the town centre.

For the past year I've been an OPP, working in the youth project. The project runs a youth cafe which opens 4 drop in sessions a week, and one of the things that I was doing as part of the year was helping to run one of these evening a week. I've also set up a cell group for those on the fringes of church, and a ministry for all the churches in my local town; going right back to Acts 2 and the early church, and trying to replicate the kind of church that they had then.

The past year has been amazing, I've seen God's never ending love so much in other people, in the world around me, and working through me! It has been incredible to see the change in other people, how God is continually impacting on their lives, and how God always makes strengths out of our weaknesses. I pray that the passion and enthusiasm I finish this year with, continues throughout next year in all the work I do.

Probably the biggest thing that I've learnt over the past year is that worship and being a Christian is far more than just about a couple of hours of a Sunday morning. Its the building of relationships in the youth cafe, its the discipleship we do in small groups, its the fellowship that we have with other Christians throughout the week, its our whole lives. There isn't a part of our lives where God isn't there, there isn't a part of our lives that God doesn't care about!

This is something that I want to challenge the church with over the next year. If the church as a whole is to move forward, then it has to focus on fellowship, and emphasise the importance of building relationships. In our society especially, we need that encouragement from each other otherwise we get so disheartened at the world around us that we lose sight of God. But with those people to encourage and support, we can do incredible things, we can make a difference in our local communities, the world, and everywhere in between.

We believe in a God that goes way beyond our comprehension, there are no words that do any kind of justice to his power, his love and his grace. If we have faith, if we believe that through God's strength we can do incredible things, the he will do those things.

I'm so excited for this next year, I want to thank all those people who have encouraged me and been so supportive, and of course I want to thank the amazing OPPs that I had the privilege of spending the last year with. Please remember me in your prayers as I go into next year serving our incredible God and His church.

That's all folks...

Wow. What an amazing year. I can't begin to express everything that I have gotten out of the previous 12 months as the Methodist Youth President, but some of my highlights have included;

* Hosting Youth Assembly 2011
* Visiting the Shetland District
* Comparing in the Big Top at Greenbelt Festival
* Going to 10 Downing Street twice- once to launch Church Action on Poverty's Close the Gap campaign and once to the Prime Ministers Easter Reception
* World Methodist Council/Conference in South Africa where I was appointed chair of the youth and young adult committee of the World Methodist Council

This year has confirmed for me all the best things about being Methodist. I've met so many fantastic people and have made friendships that I'm sure will last a lifetime.

Please pray for Sam as he takes over from me and for all the work he will be doing over the coming year.

Christy-Anna

Matthew 17:20
Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.”

Conference 2011!

I should really start this post with an apology. Somehow the months have flown by and I didn’t even realise that I haven’t blogged since March. So I thought what better time to catch up than while I’m at Methodist Conference!

Over the next few days of conference I will be updating my blog ad including snippets from my travels since my last post so hopefully by the end of the week we’ll be all up to date!

I arrived in Southport on Thursday lunchtime. The sun was shining and there was a sense of anticipation for what Conference 2011 will hold. Since arriving I’ve spent time with different people including the other Youth Assembly reps and numerous young people who have come as District reps (which is very exciting!) as well as having 2 meals with my District (Southampton). The first one was at Pizza Hut where we decorated hats and befriended a local waitress called Beth (although I’m not sure whether she was pleased about this or not!). The second was at Nando’s where I was asked to explain to the older people how to order from the confusing menu! Although afterwards I did establish (by talking to the other youth reps) that their menu is confusing for any age.

Yesterday was a great day ending with an imaginative time of worship to celebrate BibleFresh and the new hymnbook “Singing the Faith”. I loved the 8-minute Bible sketch interwoven with different hymns and songs. In the evening I had dinner with the other youth reps and members of the children and youth team so we could have a catch up.

This morning I was up early to practise the prayer I was going to read for the worship at 11. I had a fab breakfast with Fiona Holmes before locking myself out of my room (for the third time!) and nearly being late- but it was all fine in the end and the reading went well! The worship overall was really enjoyable and I was happy that due to my small part I had a seat reserved on the front row so I could see everything going on.

I think I’d better leave it there for now as I’m off to the Ordination Service at Leyland Road Methodist Church soon. Below you can read about some of the things I did earlier this year.

Travels around the Connexion- April Part 1

Back at the beginning of April, I visited the Wellingborough Youth Project to see some of the work they do there (this also happens to be where Youth President Designate Sam Taylor is working as an OPP- so we had a chance to catch up and chat about Youth Presidenty things!).

The evening started with Cell group which was planned by the young people. I was amazed to find out afterwards that it was the first time that they had done it as it was a really powerful and enjoyable session. At the end of the session we spent some time praying together for different things and again I was amazed to find out that a few months previously they wouldn’t pray out loud. Each of the young people seemed completely at ease with praying and the atmosphere was really good.


After the cell group, everyone started getting ready for Infuse which is a drop in cafe. Young people are free to come in or go as they please but must sign in and out as they go. The leaders take turns doing this, serving the food and drinks and chatting with the young people who come along.

I really enjoyed my time at Infuse. To me it is a real success story. For the Church to have a presence in the centre of Wellingborough that is obviously such an integral part of the local young people’s evenings is brilliant.


Matthew 18:20
"Take this most seriously: A yes on earth is yes in heaven; a no on earth is no in heaven. What you say to one another is eternal. I mean this. When two of you get together on anything at all on earth and make a prayer of it, my Father in heaven goes into action. And when two or three of you are together because of me, you can be sure that I'll be there."

Kindness of Strangers

Well I’ve been pretty rubbish at updating this blog (and after promising weekly updates!) as everything as been so busy. Here is an update of some of the things I’ve been up to in the last month;

*Spoken at a Connexional Team lunch along with other members of the Children and Youth team to give an idea of some of the things we did at Youth Assembly –Sam Taylor, Youth President Designate was there so I roped him in as well and thought he did a good job as we pretty much adlibbed our way through!

*Organised a District children’s fun day as part of my OPP role

*Met with the Youth President review group which I felt was very productive. We did some thinking about what the role should involve and how the role can be flexible to suit the gifts of the elected person each year among other things. A paper is being written from that group which will go to the next Methodist Council Meeting in March.

*Been in Contact with Church Action on Poverty about possible partnerships with Generous. (Also been in more talks about how we can improve the Generous website. Any suggestions please let me know!)

Random Acts of Kindness and “Pro-Social” Young People!

At the beginning of this week I attended my last meeting of the Connexional Leaders Forum. It was enjoyable as usual and I was even asked to chair a session, which was a bit nerve wracking but I think it went ok!

Unfortunately, the trip was slightly marred by the fact that when I was about to get on my train home, I was told my ticket wasn’t valid and it turned out I had picked up the wrong ones from home. Now just to make the point of how frustrating this was- with the amount of gates I’d gone through and trains I’d been on, my ticket had already been checked by EIGHT inspectors who hadn’t noticed the wrong date! As you can imagine I was quite upset especially as I had no money to buy a new ticket and didn’t know what to do, so rather unhelpfully I rang my husband in floods of tears. After I’d gotten off the phone a very kind woman approached me and asked if I was ok and if there was anything she could do. I told her no and explained what had happened and then, amazingly, she offered to pay for my ticket home. My first instinct was to say “That’s very kind but I can’t accept” but I knew I didn’t have any other way of getting home. I was basically speechless at this remarkable display of kindness and didn’t say much besides the words “Thank you so much!” and “I don’t know what to say!” whilst she walked me to the ticket office and bought my ticket. Afterwards I gave her a big hug and said thank you again and then she was gone before I realised I never actually found out her name! The whole journey home I was buzzing at the kindness of a complete stranger and felt incredibly blessed.

As if my week hadn’t already been exciting enough I had various things on everyday and on Thursday I was helping at one of our youth groups called Bob (don’t ask me why!). Immediately after our group, there was going to be a public meeting in the Church about anti-social behaviour in our area so we thought it would be great if we stayed to welcome people and make teas and coffees. I was really amazed at how well the group did and sadly I was the one who didn’t really have a clue what I was doing while they were doing a fab job of making drinks and chatting to people. Well done Bob for showing how great young people can be!

More Travels, Downing Street and Free CDs!

I haven’t managed to post anything for a couple of weeks as I’ve been very busy. So that this post isn’t ridiculously long I’m going to try to stick to just the highlights!

24th-25th Jan-Methodist Council

*Enjoyed most sessions although some were a little long.

*Hotel we stayed in was a bit creepy- realised when I was leaving it reminded me of the hotel in the film “The Shining”!

*The Council has put together a small group (including me) to review the role of Youth President -which is a welcome development.


28th-30th Jan- OPP training weekend (Read more about OPPs here)

*Every OPP took part in planning a session- some worship, some looking at our projects, some games -which made the weekend relaxed and made everyone a part of it.

*Chatted with Sam Taylor (Youth President designate) about how we can mange the transition of our roles later in the year.

*The food was great!

*Did some more planning for Generous with the Generous DJs (more about that soon!)

*Played a great new game called psychiatrist which I plan to bring back to my home youth group!


31st Jan- No10 Downing Street

I was lucky enough to be asked to help Kick off the start of Church Action on Poverty’s “Pledge to Close the Gap” campaign by representing the Methodist Church (along with Leo Osborn, President Designate). We delivered postcards written to David Cameron and Nick Clegg about the issues Christians think need addressing and a letter to the Prime Minister urging him to consider the issue of poverty and inequality in the UK.

Find out more on the Church Action on Poverty website


5th Feb- BMYC

Went to Oxford to hear the British Methodist Youth Choir perform. I really loved it and was thrilled to be given a free cd of their music! It’s a real shame the choir isn’t better know as they are fantastic and perform with style and professionalism. The choir is open to anyone between the ages of 16 and 27 who can read music and sing. To find out how to join or more about the choir visit the BMYC website


The Identity

This morning I have been sent a cd by a band made up of young people from a Methodist Church in Chester called The Identity. I've been listening to it all morning as I've been working so as you can probably tell I think they're pretty good! They have just released their debut ep which you can find out more about here


Although I have enjoyed my travels over the last month, I’m very pleased that I will be based at home with my family for the next 10 days! I’ve also been doing a lot of work in my role as Southampton District OPP. I’ve just started a new blog for that which you can read here. I hope to post on each blog every other week so for anyone who’s interested in what I’m doing there should be weekly updates one way or another!