Coffee-Shop Consultancy

20121218-152948.jpgDon’t just talk to yourself!

I am one of those people who do some of my best thinking while I am taking part
in a discussion. Some might say that it is because the movement of my jaw wakes
up my tired old brain cells, I would rather think that it is more like iron
sharpening iron! That, as I hear the ideas of others, I have something concrete
to work with or against, a concept rather than a blank space that I can explore
and test to see whether it works for me personally or the work I am doing.
Children’s and Youth ministry can sometimes be very demanding, as you seek to
serve the wonderful and wonder-filled people. This is why we at Oxford CYM felt
that we should seek to fulful our mission statement of ‘transforming the
church’s engagement with children and young people’ by getting out there to meet
and support those who are ‘on the frontline’ in an informal setting. To offer
the opportunity to ‘chew the cud’ about issues; thrash out the details of your
latest vision and ideas; and find out what training and development
opportunities there are; with experts in the field who share your passion.
Members of our staff team will therefore be ‘camping out’ in a coffee shop near
you to offer free advice and consultation on children’s and youth work, and
training needs. So come along to Trago Lounge in Portswood near Southampton on the 20th
February between 10.30am and 3pm and see if we can sharpen some iron or at least
refresh some brain cells!

Debt-stricken parents struggling to provide for children

We’ve found an article on Christianity Today:

Parents in debt are struggling to provide for their children, with some being unable to feed or clothe them adequately.

Debt counselling charity Christians Against Poverty surveyed 1,500 clients to assess the impact of financial hardship on families and children.

Nearly two-thirds (61%) of those with children said debt had affected their ability to provide for their offspring.

Over half said they could not clothe them properly and 18% said they were unable to give them enough food.

Read the whole article here.

Strong Support for teaching Christianity in Schools


by Anugrah Kumar, The Christian PostPosted:

Almost two-thirds of adults say they support the teaching of Christianity in schools, according to a survey by Oxford University.

In the poll of 1,800 people, two-fifths said teaching about the faith needed more attention in religious education lessons.

People were asked whether they want the majority religion taught in schools, and the outcome shows that the majority, 64 per cent, support teaching Christianity to pupils to help them understand English history.

The survey was part of Oxford’s department of education’s new project seeking to support teachers in the presentation of Britain’s principal religion in religious education lessons.

You can read the full article here.


Christian Ministry is more than just childminding

childAn article in Christian Today has this to say:

Christians serving in children’s ministry are doing some of the most important work in the church today – but that’s not always recognised, says Tim Thornborough.

Thornborough works for the Goodbook Company but his other job is to run the children’s group at his church in Wimbledon each week.

In his view, church children’s workers are a “bit undervalued”, sometimes by themselves, sometimes by the parents, and sometimes by the church leadership may just think they are there to “take the shreakers and the wailers out of the church building”.

With research indicating that most Christians embrace the faith before the age of 17, Thornborough said the work being done in children’s ministry was of “crucial importance”.

“Evangelists who go out hunting for people do a great job but the biggest work of evangelism is what you do in your children’s group,” he said.

“You are the frontline evangelists doing the groundwork so that there will be a church in the next generation.”

Read the full article here.

Advent Calendar from Friends and Heroes


If you’d like an Advent calendar that’s good for your waistline (i.e it DOESN’T include miniscule pieces of chocolate each day), and is also good for your kids spiritual welfare, then have a look at the latest online offering from Friends and Heroes –

The Calendar has activities, games, puzzles, videos and Bible readings every day of advent, with  special Advent Sunday pages that tie into the Revised Common Lectionary (for those churches that follow it.)

It’s all online and costs nothing!

Bible Society Response to RE in Schools survey

Christ crucified

The Bible Society response to the survey is this:

At Bible Society we know that this is a problem that has been growing for sometime. Research we funded has highlighted this trend.

Education specialist, Ann Holt, former goverment adviser and teacher says, ‘We now have a generation of teachers whose knowledge of Christianity is very thin at best and often non-existent. Most primary school teachers are non-specialists. It’s largely an issue of training. It hardly features in the general training of primary school teachers and that’s got worse with the emphasis on literacy and numeracy.’

This is why Bible Society has invested in crossref-it a one-stop resource providing high quality, easy-to-use resources for AS and A-Level students. It’s proving hugely popular with 368,000 visits recorded in the last six months.

Ann Holt says, ‘Teachers are resource led and so good resources like cross ref-it are crucial. And that’s why we have also produced educational materials around last year’s BBC Nativity and the BBC Passion and The Miracles of Jesus.

The YouGov poll for Oxford University questioned 1,832 adults in England. It found 64% agreed that children need to learn about Christianity in order to understand English history.

See interview with Ann Holt who says teachers need clearer guidance on the importance of teaching Christianity in schools and good classroom resources to help them do it.

Schools ‘struggling to teach about Christianity in RE’ – Telegraph

Christ crucifiedSome teachers are nervous about tackling issues related to the faith for fear of being seen “evangelising”, it is claimed.

Researchers insisted that drastic improvements to lessons were needed to make sure pupils properly understood about the traditions and fundamental beliefs of Christianity.

The comments came as Oxford’s department of education launched a new project aimed at supporting teachers in the presentation of Britain’s principal religion in RE lessons.

Under the plan, a series of online materials will be made available free of charge to primary school teachers – and non-specialist staff in secondary education – from next September.

 Read the whole article here.