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Written by Peter Johnston   
Friday, 03 September 2010 22:12

Respect Logo

It has been a long day. I've just got back in from a night enjoying food and ideas around the manse dinner table at Trinity Church Manse - thank you Karen and Callum for your hospitality. Some of the team that worked on the Spill the Beans pilot booklet and some new faces joined to think about the future of continuing to develop worship and young people's resources.

We learnt a lot from the first pilot from local churches in Scotland, but also from churches across the world that picked up the pilot booklet and have used it in their own situations. We are going to aim at creating another taster for Lent 2011 that will allow us to explore how best to work together, increasing our efficiency of creativity, and, God-willing, fulfilling the varied and encompassing demands of creating a resource for all-ages. Exciting stuff. [There's more...]

While Spill the Beans launches into a new phase, today the Chaplaincy Team had our final meeting with staff at Calderside Academy in preparation for a week-long event starting on Monday 13 September for all the S1 pupils at the school. The planning for this began many months ago, but it is always amazing how quickly these events rattle around. We have entitled the event R.E.S.P.E.C.T. and posters bearing the image above are all over the school and local churches to start to raise awareness of the event.

We are exploring four of the articles from the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child as a means to encourage the young people to think about their rights and how to respect the rights as they apply also to others. We actually will kick off this week with a week of Assemblies for the whole of Calderside Academy next week based around the story of Esther.

This event follows on from our Bubblegum 'n' Fluff  and The Easter Code events for P6 and P7 pupils and we are really looking forward to a great week in which we will get to know the pupils better, help them to think creatively and to get involved in activities like storytelling, song-writing, drama, games, and artistic creativity.

For about two years on and off the Chaplaincy Team has been discussing how and when it would be possible to hold a café at or near the school which would allow us to create spaces in which we can talk to many of the young people in the school. Today it was confirmed that we are going to be able to run a Cosy Café during the week of R.E.S.P.E.C.T. as a trial for introducing something more regular in the future. This is very exciting and it is encouraging to have church members offering to help to serve hot chocolate at the Café. I'm really looking forward to this.

Often we lament that there are fewer young people in the church than might have been the case 50 years ago when there were far fewer other options for young people on a Sunday morning. As our faith is a relational faith (it is all about our relationships: those with Jesus, with God, with our brothers and sisters, with our neighbours...) the only way we can authentically express what our faith means for us in relation to young people is to create opportunities for people to be open and free to talk and chat about life, worries, joys, all the issues that affect us day by day. If young people find church doesn't provide that space, then we need to create that space where they are - hence the Cosy Café. Incidentally, there are Cosy Cafés operating in other schools and churches - the "Cosy" stands for "Church of Scotland Youth". At this very moment there are two boxes in the hallway filled with Cosy Café mugs, aprons, and fairly-traded hot chocolate.

I'm working backwards in my review of the day! Before that meeting at Calderside Academy, it was a morning at Auchinraith Primary meeting the new P1 pupils and talking about dreams in the assembly - our hopes for the year ahead and for our future. There were so many imaginative and hopefull ideas from the pupils, it was a great morning. That was followed by discussions about the term ahead and plans for assemblies that will also pick up on the Rights Respecting School Award to which our event for the S1 pupils at Calderside will also contribute. A helpful crossover for me in the planning also.

And so, after all that, I am glad for a few moments to blog and reflect on the many new starts confirmed today, but also a realisation of lots still to do... not least of which is preparing the video for our first Juice children's event tomorrow evening - got to get a start on that now as time will be precious tomorrow.

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