Sunday, November 23, 2008

Prayer Booth


This mornings bacon and eggs TV included a quick item about Dylan Mortimer [an artist] from Kansas City who tries to create works and installations which encourage discussion about the usually unpopular topics of faith, belief, prayer etc...

His latest project was part of an 'Arts in the Parks' Festival in Midtown Manhattan where he installed a 'Prayer Booth' not unlike a local payphone in appearance except for the lack of coin slot and the addition of a kneeler if required!!

Interesting art installation which has attracted world media attention!

Worship Unplugged #54 World map and Textas




I have written previously about the 'prayers for others' idea of inviting people to place a tealight candle on the map while being inspired by an audiovisual with images from news that week and beyond!


I was thinking about simpler and different alternatives so I suggest using permanent markers to invite people to write a word, symbol etc on the map... in sharing the idea my NCYC Bible Study collaborators noted that you could still re-use it in the future and I wondered about working your way through the colours from lighter to darker... then we thought about laminated maps with whiteboard or temporary overhead transparency markers...




What about a large callico map and washable markers!!

Worship Unplugged #53 The Rythm of the Song

Called on to lead a reflective worship at this week's Uniting Church NSW/ACT Synod Inservice Conference for Workers in Ministry with Children, Youth, Young Adults and/or Families [called 'NEXT BIG THING']... colleague Bra[y]don harked back to some work from Nooma's Rob Bell in describing God as being like a song, a tune, a rythm and about aligning ourselves with that rythm [or not].
Bradon introduced the background to a song and invited us [as we listened to the track] to try to write the song within us... a little unsure how it would go.... it was brilliant!!
Or is that just a comment out of my recent experience as a muscially challenged person in writing some lyrics for friends to put tunes to and being used to the challenge...

If I can find my post it notes in the packing I have the beginnings of my third communal singing song... it was inspirational!!
I'm making it Worship Unplugged idea #53

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Unearthed Event

I'm contributing some simple elements to a worship kick off for this event being championed by Naomi Nash and our UCA ELM Centre which is aimed at cracking open theology and stuff for young adults!!
The first is an opening, adoration, thanks and confession [owning up to our shortfalls] which will be accompanied by a spoken intro and the second will include an invitation to light a tealight and place it on a world map 'somewhere needing the light of Christ.'

video

video

They were both made with Photo Story 3 that saves powerpoint like animations as windows media files so they can be used alone or pasted into a longer powerpoint with other elements.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

101 Things I Wish I'd Known


Recently in the Riverina we put together a workshop around '101 Things I Wish I'd Known About Ministry with Young People When I Started.' The truth of that is most learnings only come through experience and I wouldn't trade most learnings for some artificial 'downloading' of the wisdom... but part of learning it is sharing and helping others reflect on their ministry and relationships!!
I made it into the 70's on the list and will see how we go sharing some here [or in batches]:

1. THERE ARE NO SHORTCUTS IN MINISTRY WITH YOUNG PEOPLE
2. YOUTH MINISTRY IS ALWAYS RELATIONAL> INCARNATIONAL
3. WE NEED TO BE AT MISSION OR ‘SENT’ TO ENGAGE OUR CONTEXT
4. YOUTH ARE PARTICIPANTS IN GOD’S MISSION> NOT TARGETS
5. THE GOSPEL REQUIRES ‘TRANSLATION’ INTO THE CONTEXT
6. INTUITION TELLS US WE’RE DOING SOMETHING THAT’S NOT RIGHT
7. WE NEED TO BREAK THE CYCLE OF PEOPLE TEACHING FAITH AND PRACTISING FAITH AS THE PREVIOUS GENERATION HAS
8. COMMUNICATE... COMMUNICATE... COMMUNICATE...
9. FLEXIBILITY COMES FROM PREPARATION
10. GROUPS FORM> STORM> NORM and have a 'personality'
11. ALMOST EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT LEADERSHIP CAN BE LEARNT FROM SMALL GROUP LEADERSHIP TRAINING
12. NO RESOURCE CAN BE USED WITHOUT SOME MODIFICATION
13. KNOW THE STAKEHOLDERS EXPECTATIONS
14. PEOPLE DON’T MEAN IT WHEN THEY SAY THEY WANT QUALITY PROGRAM/S OR MISSION AND NOT NUMBERS
15. "IT’S NOT ROCKET SCIENCE"
16. AT SOME POINT EVERYONE FEELS LIKE THEY DON’T KNOW WHAT THEY’RE DOING 17. IT IS ONLY SOMETIMES EASIER TO SEEK FORGIVENESS RATHER THAN ASK PERMISSION
18. NOBODY RSVPs FOR ANYTHING ANYMORE
19. GIVE IT A GO… MAYBE YOUR IDEA ISN’T STUPID!
20. NETWORKING WITH OTHER LEADERS IS VALUABLE
21. READ NEWSPAPERS AND MAGAZINES
22. BE HONEST
23. DON’T PRETEND TO LIKE MUSIC, FASHION,ACTIVITIES YOU DON’T… YOUNG PEOPLE HAVE SOPHISTICATED ‘CRAP DETECTORS’
24. YOUNG PEOPLE ARE AMAZING
25. TAKE TIME OUT TO ‘SHARPEN THE SAW’ [to have your own recreation]
26. GROW OWNERSHIP BY INVOLVING YOUNG PEOPLE IN PROGRAM PLANNING
27. GROW CAPACITY BY INVOLVING YOUNG PEOPLE IN LEADERSHIP
28. BUILD ASSETS FOR RESILIENCE
29. CHURCH COUNCILS AND MINISTERS DON’T LIKE SURPRISES
30. YOU DON’T HAVE IT ALL FIGURED OUT… NOBODY DOES
31. IT’S NOT ABOUT BEING EVERY YOUNG PERSONS BEST FRIEND
32. YOUNG PEOPLE’S ISSUES ARE SERIOUS FOR THEM
33. PARENTS ARE NOT THE ENEMY
34. YOUR BEST SOURCE OF HELPERS AND OTHER LEADERS ARE THOSE MOST ABLE TO SEE THE MISSIONAL VALUE OF WHAT YOU’RE DOING
35. YOU ARE ACCOUNTABLE TO THE CHURCH COUNCIL> MINISTER
36. NOT EVERY PLANNED ACTIVITY HAS TO HAPPEN
37. SAFETY IS AN ISSUE
38. ENGAGE YOUNG PEOPLE IN GROUP DEALS OR COVENANTS WHEN IT COMES TO RULES
39. EXPRESS RULES IN THE POSITIVE
40. YOUTH MINISTRY IS ALWAYS A CHALLENGE
41. YOUTH MINISTRY IS ALWAYS CHANGING
42. LOOK AFTER YOUR OWN SPIRITUALITY & FAITH IN YOUR RYTHMN
43. IT’S EASY TO ‘LOVE’ AND BEFRIEND THE ‘COOL’ BUT HARDER WITH THE AWKWARD, WEIRD, AND DIFFICULT
44. YOUNG PEOPLE CAN HANDLE BIBLICAL STORIES AND EXPLORATION
45. MUSIC IS A TASTE SENSITIVE RESOURCE
46. MOVIES ARE MORE NEUTRAL
47. STORIES ARE POWERFUL FOR AT LEAST [4] REASONS
They cross boundaries [time, culture, language]
We seem wired for narrative
Stories create identity [what we accept, take on, reject etc]
Stories create community [ones we gather around]
48. BE A GIVER OF ‘HOPE’ the gospel is 'good news'
49. CREATIVITY IS IMPORTANT
50. CONTACT ALL> CONNECT MANY > CARE for A FEW> CHALLENGE 1 OR 2
51. ACTIVELY LISTEN> ASK QUESTIONS
52. THERE IS MORE THAN ONE MODEL OF YOUTH MINISTRY
53. KEEP PARENTS/FAMILIES INFORMED THROUGH PUBLICITY/INFO SHEETS
54. YOUTH MINISTRY MUST BECOME A SHARED MINISTRY OF THE WHOLE CHURCH
55. MOVE TOWARDS COMPREHENSIVE YOUTH MINISTRY [mission and ministry with all generations]
56. OBEY TRAFFIC RULES AND CAR SAFETY
57. FAITH SHAPING TASKS NOT STAGES
58. IDENTITY, BELONGING, MEANING AND FAITH SHAPING are building block aims
59. YOUTH MINISTRY SHOULD BE AS MUCH A PART OF THE CHURCH’S MINISTRY AS ANY OTHER
60. LEADERSHIP WORKS BEST ‘OUT OF YOUR GIFTS’ not just seniority> who's free
61. YOU NEED TO SET BOUNDARIES> LIMITS
62. KNOW WHAT YOU WOULD SIMPLY DESCRIBE AS ‘GOOD NEWS’
63. REFLECTION AND SELF AWARENESS GROWS GOOD LEADERSHIP
64. ACTS 17: PAUL IN ATHENS or indeed Silas who actually lived in his missional community
65. DROP THE LANGUAGE OF ‘IN’ AND ‘OUT’
66. BELONGING NOT MEMBERSHIP> ETHOS NOT COMMITMENT
67. SUBMIT REPORTS
68. DON’T UNDERESTIMATE YOUNG PEOPLES CAPACITY FOR WORSHIP
69. CREATING SAFE SPACES TAKES A LOT OF WORK
70. GEN Y ARE NOT THE GENERATION WHO LEFT THE CHURCH
71. FUNDRAISE IN THE COMMUNITY not just the same church crowd
72......

Friday, November 07, 2008

"Australia"




After a brief mention way back I have held off as long as possible before all the hype gets ramped up about Baz Lurhman's latest epic film!! 'Australia'!!
With a cast including almost anyone every self respecting Aussie could think of [and starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman] it looks in teasers and well placed advertising to be a grand story which might just have interesting things to say about our values, history and indigenous story!!
It's also an interesting modern exercise in marketing and distribution with trailers, posters, women's magazine pieces and made for mobile snippets available for your phone!!
All the while Baz has stayed holed up in the editing suite to put the finishing touches on the film so that there's no chance we'll know how long it is and what the rating is anytime soon!! I recall being in Cairns for Easter 2006 and they had just been filming in Bowen before decamping and preparing for the move to the Northern Territory and the Studio...
Baz doesn't do bad work so it'll just be a matter of whether the story interests you or the themes are of any relevance...
It opens here November 26th but I suspect any locals already knew that somehow!! Personally I am looking forward to what the vision is...

Digital Media Festival

There's a Festival for digital artists including exhibitions and seminars 11-13 November in Sydney at Paddington Town Hall, Oxford St Paddington!!

Looks like lots of stuff for editing, effecets and animation and digital videoing will be on display!!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Wow! History in the Making


Congratulations to Barack Obama!!
Apparently 'Yes We Can'!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Greenbelt.UK.US # 6 NEW YORK






This trip has been a while in the making for me and as such I needed to include a US leg to catch some of the things I have tracked alongside the UK groups.

I planned to connect with:
'Transmission' faith community
Trinity Wall Street 'Our Neighbours' lifesized photo display
Origins Church Upper West Side
Journey Church Midtown
AND
A Ground Zero Walking Tour through the Tribute Centre and the 9/11 Families Assoc

I don't have time to do 'Mosaic' in LA, Minneapolis and/or Seattle!! Next time maybe!!

Had a great flight once we got away and caught the excellent Sky Train to Howard Beach Station with the train that will circle Manhattan and go right to 59th St-Columbus Circle within short walking distance to the Westside YMCA [my inexpensive accomodation right near Central Park].

I dumped my stuff and walked staright down to Times Square in humid and opressive heat... passed the stage for the NFL Season Kick OFF which will happen the next night with Natasha Bettingfield, Keith Urban and Usher!!

I still had a headfull of thoughts leaving London and watched two suitably sad movies inflight causing a few strange tears.... typical of me!!

First impressions of New York [since 1998, 2000 visits]
1. Every person flying in is net cam photographed and fingerprinted at the airport!!!
2. Kids are even more fashion conscious and only here does the baseball cap sidways and jeans exposing boxers or undies look like fashion and not a pale imitation!!
3. It's noisier than ever and hotter than even my last summer vist which was June not September!!
4. The new airtrain rather than shuttle bus leaves our transport systems behind!!

Walking around I see many familiar and many new shops BUT feel at home, safe and excited to be here.... rushing back to head to 'Transmission' I run into Robin Williams about to leave the Trump Hotel for a bike ride through Central Park. He appears on David Letterman's LATE SHOW the next night!!

It does feel like there's a 'hole in the sky' looking downtown!!

I head to TGIFs and catch the girls on the earthcam while chatting on the phone!! This was a long time in the planning and didn't pan out on my previous visit!!

Greenbelt.UK.US # 5

I made some trip notes during and after our group debrief of the UK leg and found them a helpful reminder:
  1. I was inspired by the space and permission at St Laurence, READING and have and will continue to tell that story... not about the stuff they put into the space but the process of gutting the building and working at 'what' to put in... the same could be done on minimal money!!
  2. 'Safespace' at Telford was inspiring because of the energy and integrity of the community members and theie clear focus on 'keeping each other accountable'
  3. Issues we'll face in Oz include money for projects and the ongoing questions about the future of ordained and lay voluntary leadership
  4. I continue to reflect on the simplicity of the description "mission shaped" church and a focus on contextual relevance... which includes the growing collection of C of E 'mission shaped' books
  5. We need a more consistently penetrating story about the need for change... the Board of Mission and NCLS have helped but have not 'made' the case consistently and in accessible ways for lots of people...
  6. We need storytelling about places and ideas
  7. WE need to find ways the older generations can grab the vision of being change agents
  8. I reckon the rationalisation of Presbyteries with PRG monies spread would give traction through positions focused on space and permission for birthing new things
  9. While 'Pioneer' ministry is not a great name, the concept of flexible tracks to ordination and use of people with interesting backgrounds, youth and charisma are winners!! We could learn much from seeing formation as something which could happen flexibly
  10. 'Mixed economy' would work for us as a concept with perhaps some work on the actual words
  11. My questions: How will we BE mission shaped? Will I go home to a. connect more strongly with the Dungeon congregation OR b. Start a new faith community as well OR c. focus on fewer places as a helper for longer
  12. I have decided to do a. and b. and that b. will be about working as a mentor>leader for a group of people interested and we as a family may or may not connect with what emerges
  13. Check out Salt [Factory] blog to see my idea which exists at the moment only in cyber space!!

Greenbelt.UK.US # 4





Next stop on our trip was London via train!! This was a wierd part of the trip for me... having spent days here in 1998 I had little compulsion to do the 'touristy' stuff yet wanted to not waste down time but to do something memorable and/or something to know I was in London!!

I was also in a strange place from all that I'd experienced on the trip and at Greenbelt. I was also a little tired and had a sore back which had troubled me for a few days... a walk to Kensington for the Chiropractor proved fruitless as it was no longer there!! Instead I kept walking and went to the Diana Memorial and walked all the way past Royal Albert Hall to Knightsbridge and a quick look at Harrods and surrounds....

Having trumpeted about Lillywhites sports store in Picadilly I was disappointed to catch a train in and discover it had become like most chain discount sports outlets instead of a sports department store!! I later learnt that's exactly what had happened... teken over by the sports world owner of Newcsatle United... So no rugby jersey or West Ham soccer shirt to buy!!

Later that night there was a debrief at the local for those not attending a West End Theatre... Had a chance to chat with with Jen R [just one remarkable expat happy to give me the time of day and actually spend time chatting and listening... an all too rare quality I find!!]

Couldn't sleep this night and drifted off about 2.3am after a late night train trip... Still trying to decide what to do with 2/3 of a day the next day...

Tuesday 2nd September by now and have until about 2pm to do 'whatever'!! Headed back to Harrods for some specific shopping and then into Covent Garden and a walk around the whole of the central area including Oxford/Regent Sts, Spittlefields and back down to Picadilly... thoughtful day... London does that to you... even a fine day is cloudy but it warms up a bit!!

Tried to find a healthy lunch but everywhere was too busy for a lone diner so I caught the train to South Ealing and ended up at the pub waiting 20mins for lunch that almost made me late to the church...

Here we met Jonny Baker at the home of 'Grace' community.... one of those legendarily chronicled communities from the emerging church which shares lots of creativity and ethos which inspires and challenges!! We were later to meet Steve Collins at the pub and hear more but Jonny's focus was on his take on much of the scene, the work of CMS and other questions about 'fresh expressions'. It was a good processing of all the various perspectives by running them past Jonny... though I was a little annoyed at being deflected from asking a couple of questions about Grace because we'd be meeting Steve later.... I was interested in again hearing more than one perspective... anyhow!! Another day!

Jonny's interesting take on 'mission' as working on "healing creation" was an interesting holistic image... the other focus of the conversation was on the gutsy 'pioneer ministry' and how the training needs some work and there isn't a bottomless pit of money!!

We spent time in the afternoon doing a group debrief [uncomfortably in the other local pub] after the girls had spent time with Jenny Baker and talked amongst other things about her 'Sophia' network... there's a lot to be said for a female based support/empowerment network!!

Over dinner later we had a great conversation with Steve Collins whose concise and insightful history, read and perspectives were a great wrap to the UK part of the trip!! He spoke also about Grace and its team collaboration, promotion and networking, website presence and focus on ethos/values around which they gather. It's about peoples potential contributions, it mostly works, there's no offering but it offers direct debit and has no paid person. It's now a 2nd Saturday of the month gathering!!

I was still pondering tonight and found it hard to sleep... I have unfinsihed conversation!! I awake at 4am on the 3rd and so get sorted, leave messages and catch a 6:15am train to Heathrow having established I did need to get to the new Terminal 5.... got there way too early BUT I am now travelling alone so get used to that because I get stressed about catching the right planes and trains!!

Bought some stuff and headed off to NEW YORK!!