Thursday, 24 February 2011

What hope for Young people?

Recently I met with 2 lads aged 19 and 22, both care leavers, both had been in prison on short sentences (6 months), both unemployed and both were homeless. Sadly, there was little we could do to offer hope to them, everything was against them; in their opinion there was no one able to help them out of the very deep hole that they found themselves in. As a housing manager and also a housing advice worker it is so frustrating knowing that we were unable to help them.

Add to this the latest overall unemployment figures showed an increase of 44K but when you look slightly closer there was a rise of 66K in the age group 16-24 which I think actually means that the 24+ age group had a slight improvement (?). Next consider that there are fewer 16-24 year olds in education than there has been for the last five years. Hold on a second!, this cannot be right, these totals should not both fall at the same time!! If numbers of young people working drops, the education figure should be rising! These figures tell me that more young people are dropping out completely and this spells significant trouble for our society. There must be more of an incentive to get work and education, the coalition is promising some investment in this area which, judging by the stats, may be too little, too late for many. Perhaps young people are right and there is no hope left so why bother with education.

So where is the hope? I have 4 children, I have to trust that the combination of the best parenting we can muster plus helping my children work hard at education and living good lives will help them overcome the challenges that they will face to enter the job market. But I have thought lots about those two young lads and wondered if they are just the start of many that will find themselves at the Jericho Road Project door asking for help. With the Youth service disappearing before our eyes, who will take up the slack? I do feel like the Church where I work plus many others, will be faced with the challenge of stepping up in areas that we have not previously considered, perhaps even Young Offenders!

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

King's Church Social Action Conference 2011

I am hosting a Social Action Conference at King's Church Centre on Saturday 30th April. The details are included in the flyer. This is an opportunity for all those interested or currently involved to meet together, be reminded about the importance of what we do and hopefully release people into showing compassion. There will be opportunities to serve on the day please email if you can help.
If you have worked out what Big Society is, then this is probably it!

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

40 Days

King's Church is almost at the end of the '40 days' that is leading up to the church becoming one church on 3 sites. The highlight for many has been the Wednesday meetings that have been powerful reminders that God is real and active. I have only had limited time in these meetings due to the Feast being on at the same time, but each time I have been in, it has been great! I think that as a church we are in a better state as a result of these 40 days, indeed we approach Sunday when we will be sent to the 3 sites with confidence that God is at work not just in bringing new people to us but also making us more like him and less reliant on ourselves.

And despite staying at the Catford site I definately regard that we are being sent. It is going to look very different after this Sunday.

Personally the highlight from the last 40 days is the preach Phil did on the 6th February on the Word of God. It had all the usual ingredients of Phil's preaching; humorous, relevent, accessable and full of truth. It was a fabulous reminder that the Christian life is a radical way to live. If you missed it click here for the podcast.

Well after these 40 days the church will definately not be the same! Bring it on!

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Life in Catford - On the buses 2

Well, I am still not allowed to cycle or drive. Hopefully on Thursday I will be given the green light to get back on a bike (and start driving), in the meantime I have borrowed a training bike to strengthen my knee. However to get about I am still using the buses a lot. So here a few more observations -

There are many languages are spoken in the world and most are spoken in the buses of Catford.

Sometimes I am the only white person on the bus. I suddenly become very conscious of the colour of my skin.

The bus is great way to meet old friends and make new ones!

One evening a man, who I did not know, sat next to me with his can of
Tennants super strong, he says "you'll have to put up with me for a few

I introduce myself, he tells me his name.

He tells me he is off to a friends for a bit of herbal happiness.

I tell him I'm off to King's Church.

He tells me that they run the Feast at King's Church.

I ask him if he has ever been - he says no but his friend goes. He tells me her life story. So then I told him that I run the Feast.

So as you can see I will miss my bus adventure, miss bumping into Bob the Big issue salesman, miss bumping into the man who crashed his car into a parked car near my house. Although I won't miss the over crowding or the times the bus driver will not pick you up because his bus is already overcrowded.

Instead I will return to cycling where I will try to go faster than the buses!!