Category Archives: Uncategorized

Changes for the New Year!

Since I have been in post in the diocese I have realised there is a whole world of amazing people, projects and initiatives going on that as a Parish youth minister I had no idea about. So we want to change the way we communicate with you, in order to let you know who are are, what we do, how we can help you, and just to create greater links of support between the School of Mission and the parishes. So from January 2018 we will no longer have a YCF communications stream, but we will be communicating out as School of Mission (SOM). School of Mission is made up of a team of amazing administrators, several advisers and our fearless leader Rev Canon Mark Collinson. We are here to support and help mission take place across the diocese. Myself and Andy Saunders, whom you know, work as youth and children advisers, but we have others who do great work in every other area of the church. So through our communications as SOM we will be introducing you to everyone in the department, what we do, and how we can help. And also sharing amazing testimonies of what God is doing across the diocese to inspire and encourage you where you are. We will be doing this through out SOM Facebook, SOM Twitter, SOM Instagram, SOM Newsletter and SOM Blog. So please subscribe to these when they come out. We will do out best to share links over all our current platforms and we look forward to working with you all over 2018.

Going to school for the first time

The prospect of starting school for the very first time might be hugely exciting or it might be terrifying… for the children or for the parents!

Scripture Union have produce a resource for parent to work through with their kids at this stage called ‘It’s your Next Step’. You can get hold of it here.

Why not give these out to the parents of this age range in your parish, whether they’re linked in with your Sunday morning services, your messy church, or your toddler groups?

And how about praying for these particular children and their families as school starts in September – even including them in your Intercessions that week?

And don’t forget to chat ask the children and their parents how it’s going when you next see them!

Job Advert – Children and Families Worker, Christchurch Priory

The parish of Christchurch in Dorset is looking for a committed, experienced and motivated person to be our first Children and Families Worker.


We are seeking a committed Christian to work in our existing team and liaise with schools and other churches in Christchurch to find new ways of connecting with children and their families in order to bring the Gospel to them, support them socially, and engage them in either the existing children’s ministry at the Priory Church (which has scope for development) or by pioneering new provision at St George’s.


We are looking for: someone with previous experience of working with children and families; a team leader who is also a team player; a ‘self-starter’ with a flexible outlook and plenty of initiative; who is able to engage with others with sincerity, humility and humour; and who has a heart for evangelism in working with children and their families. S/he has good communication and organisational skills, can rise to the challenge of a diverse workload, and can work well under pressure.


Hours:        Full-time, i.e. 37 hours per week

Salary:        £22,000 – £28,000 (depending on experience)

Interviews:  27 March 2017

Start date:  1 September 2017


There is a genuine occupational requirement that post holders are practicing Christians. An enhanced DBS check will be required. Housing may be available.


We hope you sense our excitement at this new post and what we believe God is calling us to do together. For further details, including Role Description, Terms and Conditions etc., please contact:  For a conversation about the post, please call Canon Charles Stewart on 01202 800888.

Grant Funding in the Southampton Area

NEW! One-off grant for projects to improve children and young people’s mental health

Southampton City Council is offering one-off, 12 month grants (Apr 2017 to Mar 2018) of up to £25,000 for projects to improve children and young people’s mental health.  The CAMHS grants will focus on, but not be limited to, addressing the following gaps identified from focus groups and questionnaires with children, young people and professionals as part of the Mental Health Matters consultation:

  • Under 11s
  • Gender identity
  • Loss and bereavement
  • Bullying
  • Behavioural support for autism and Aspergers


There are two types of grant available:

  • Small grants up to £10,000 (ideal for community groups!)
  • Large grants between £10,000 and £25,000


Deadline for applications: Friday 13 January 2017, at midday.  The Prospectus and application forms are available to download from our website:




Consultation on how the council invests in the voluntary sector

Southampton City Council is undertaking a 12 week consultation into proposals for a strategic approach to voluntary sector investment (including voluntary and community organisations, faith organisations, charities and social enterprises).


Over the past year the council has conducted an overarching review to identify the best way to utilise this investment to ensure it contributes directly to the council’s priority outcomes.   It recognises the significant value the voluntary sector and volunteering brings to the city and the way it can help the council transform, particularly through prevention and early intervention work.


The consultation runs until 24 February 2017.  Full details of the proposals and an online survey can be found on the Southampton City Council website:

Advent vs Busyness

A report has recently been released that looks at family life.

One of the conclusions in its executive summary is that
‘Parents continue to put in extra hours just to get the job done. In some cases an additional ten hours a week.


Working parents are increasingly feeling “burnout”. This is due to the toll of family and work obligations. A third of parents (29%) reported being burned out often or all the time and many take annual or sick leave to cope. Family life is a priority for most parents, but work consistently impinges. This prevents parents from helping children with homework or putting them to bed. 40% said this happened regularly.’

Many families (and others) are feeling these pressures and yet keep them to themselves – you maybe one of them as you read this! At this time of Advent, let’s find ways in our parishes and churches for us all to feel supported and able to share the highs and lows of life while celebrating the arrival of a child that came to ‘carry our burdens’, and bring hope for us all.

How can we live this out in our ministry to families? Well… giving people time and spaces where they can be and feel valued and listened to. Jesus spent a lot of time in his ministry listening as well as speaking, people came to her what he said, as they knew he had spent time with them. They didn’t always agree with what he said, but he was able to share what he knew needed to be said, but in the community they lived in, and understood their daily lives.

This Advent and Christmas season are opportunities we get to share the hope we have, but people of all ages need time to feel they are accepted and listened to for their burdens maybe heavy….

A message to the Youth Leaders…

UPDATE- Read Mike’s own response and clarification

Dear Youth Leaders of the Diocese of Winchester

You may or may not have seen a bit of a flurry in the youthwork world this week as Mike Pilavachi has done a punchy, challenging (and, in part, slightly controversial) interview with Youthwork magazine.

Much of the debate, discussion and heat has centred around this comment from Mike, as he was asked about what change he’s seen in the world of youth work over the last 25 years:

“Generally, the quality of youth workers has gone down dramatically.”


Firstly, let me publically say, I have all the time in the world for Mike. He has been a faithful, obedient, prophetic minister to young people, youth leaders and the church, for decades now. When he speaks, we do well to listen.

But let me also say, as I go round the diocese, as I meet you, listen to your heart for young people, the way you sacrificially give of all you are, your absolute commitment to love God even when your circumstances are truly tough – as I speak to you, to plagiarise Eric Liddle, ‘I feel God’s pleasure’.

So I want to speak that word of encouragement to you first.

And then let’s together step into the words of challenge Mike has. There seem 3 parts of his challenge (do read his own words here):
1.    Let’s take the Bible and discipleship seriously – it’s alarmingly easy as youth leaders to become ‘professional Christians’ and let our passion for God wither as we pick up the Bible just to prepare Bible studies. Many of you challenge me as I meet with you, in your commitment to your own discipleship. But let us together commit to making loving God and spending time with him and his word the first thing we put into our diaries – maybe through engaging with the Diocesan Rule of Life? When we do that, we won’t be able to stop our youth work being saturated in God!

2.    Let’s be bold in tackling the hard issues – Mike laments how many youth leaders aren’t talking about Sex and Relationships with their young people. This stuff matters, and I’m sure if we thought hard enough there are a million tough issues we struggle to engage with. Let’s have courage – God is invested in these area of young people’s lives and we have a responsibility, with their parents, to help them grow. But if you’re feeling totally unable to tackle an issue and don’t know where to turn, that’s what Andy and I are here for – to help you find resources, figure out how to engage or to cheer you on.

3.    Let’s be bearers of a vocation to young people – Youth ministry gets into your bones. As I’ve travelled the diocese I’ve met people from 16 to 65 (and beyond) who love young people with a heart given by God. Let’s pray for others to awaken to that vocation, let’s cheer on those we see with it, and let’s know that this vocation matters to God, and it’s a vocation worth giving a life to.
I’m proud and privileged to get to work with you all. I often wish I could clone you and have twice as many of you! You matter. You are seen and loved by the God who moves mountains. So let’s commit to facing the challenge that Mike’s given and, who knows, maybe he’ll find himself saying something different next time.

Let us bear this vocation with a passion for God and a boldness of Spirit, and let’s see what God wants to do next.

PS And now we’ve talked about that – let’s let the rest of his interview sink in!

Winchester Cathedral Junior Choir

An opportunity for young people aged 7-14 to join Winchester Cathedral Junior Choir – find out more

This exciting new choral opportunity is being offered to boys and girls who wish to sing in an ensemble that complements the other wonderful choral traditions of Winchester Cathedral.

The Junior Choir will focus on performing music as a group in their own right and, once fully established, will occasionally contribute to the Cathedral’s programme of services.

Membership of the Junior Choir will be available to boys and girls who:

  • are aged between 7 and 14 years old
  • live, or are at school, within the Diocese
  • enjoy singing confidently, and are enthusiastic about singing and learning with others
  • are able to attend regular weekly rehearsals and occasional performances and services

At present, there is no audition for entry into this choir.

Weekly practices will be held on Tuesdays, during school term-times, from 4.45pm until 7pm.

At first, from its initial meeting on Tuesday 27 September 2016, the Junior Choir will be working towards a performance of Joseph and His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, to be staged in the Cathedral in February 2017.

@spire Alton, 2-7pm, 15th November 2016

aspire cropped

Andy and Sarah are headed to the Church of the Good Shepherd, Four Marks, 2-7pm, 15th November 2016, for an afternoon drop in sessions for all those working with Children, Families and Young people in the Southampton Deanery – or those who wish they were!

Come along with any of your questions, check out our resources stand, even bring your team for a bit of training (drop us an email if you’d like to book a specific training slot –

We’ll be there from 2pm until 7pm, so come before the school run or after work. We’d love to encourage and resource you!

It’s for… children and youth leaders, clergy, liscensed ministers, parents, volunteers, interested parties, PCC members, grandparents – you name it!