CYM MAGAZINE Spring 2018 - Summer 2018
MAGAZINE CONTENTS: PAGE 4-5
From The Trustees
African Adventure Feature
PAGE 6-7 Chaplaincy @ St. Alban’s
Chaplaincy @ Westbridge Academy
Chaplaincy @ Chantry/ ONE
PAGE 12-13 Gap Year Thoughts
PAGE 14-15 Chaplaincy at St. Matthew’s / St. John’s
May Sizewell Advert
PAGE 24 PAGE 25 Team retreat
PAGE 26 Finance
PAGE 27 The Last Word
PAGE 16-17 Chaplaincy at St. Margaret’s 2
HELLO! It’s no longer ‘Simon Says…’ and I, for one, am delighted about that! It has been such a blessing and a pleasure to welcome Lucy back to CYM following her maternity leave and she now officially holds our post of Assistant Director. Lucy will bring a wealth of children’s work and teaching experience, alongside her undoubted passion for the work of CYM. We’re so excited for all that she will bring to the team in this new role. It’s not always easy to find time and space to reflect, is it? It’s something we’ve talked about a lot 3
recently and you’ll see a flavour of that as people talk through some of their experiences in our schools work. Residential retreats for students, a CYM team retreat, prayer space opportunities and even moments where students are allowed out of the school space to truly reflect on life (See Ant’s article). Sometimes we just need to do as Psalm 46 tells us and ‘be still’.
It’s not all rest and reflecting though! African Adventure is about to start and so much hard work has happened in the office and at the site – check out Kymmene’s and
Josh’s thoughts ahead of the new season. Chaplaincy continues to be an amazing opportunity to reach into the lives of the young people and staff that we serve. You might be interested to reads Lizzie’s report on the ‘Who Cares?’ initiative and how we might use that data to inform our work. We continue to be excited by all that God is challenging us to do in Ipswich – thank you for your continuing support, love and prayers.
cy Simon & Lu
TRUSTEES RETREAT Jesus frequently returned to the mountains after frenetic activity, being surrounded by crowds. His ministry is punctuated by mountain top times alone with the Father. Matthew 14 v 23 illustrates this: “After he had dismissed [the crowd/disciples], he went up on a mountainside by himself. When evening came he was alone.” These times of prayer I believe are what enabled Him to engage with those around Him. Someone once said “If we never retreat we cannot fully and meaningfully engage.” As I reflect on Jesus’ prayer life I ponder - When did I last take time to retreat with my Father? How about you?
LISTENING/ KNOWING/ FOLLOWING “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them; and they follow me.” - John 10 v 27 When the telephone rings and someone you know really well is on the other end, you recognise their voice because you are attuned to the tones and features of their voice. The Father desires that we as His sheep listen to His voice and experience that level of intimacy with Him. One of the biggest challenges is, we are so preoccupied with speaking in prayer that we do not leave space to listen well. Take time to listen for His voice - What is Father saying to you? (John 5 v 19) After we listen, we are encouraged that Jesus says: “I know them.” What an amazing truth and reassurance!
You and I are known completely by Him. Friends and family know us to a certain level. He knows everything about us - our circumstances, our characters - all the good part and the areas He is still working on and He accepts us. In a world of rising loneliness, to be truly and deeply known is one of the greatest desires of the human heart. When we have heard what He has said and been assured of our identity, we need to follow the leading of His voice in obedience. So often, I get myself into hot water, because I have gone ahead neglecting to take time to listen and follow Him. Stillness and knowing God “Be still and know that I am God.” - Psalm 46 v 11 Life is busy, (we have a 20 month old son called Joseph) a hive of activity 4
TAKE TIME TO REFLECT, TO LISTEN,
– it seems that there is very little time to be still. Mobile phones make us accessible 24/7 with emails and ‘WhatsApp’ messages coming through. In life, now, more than ever, we have to contend for the space to BE. If there is something that our world, culture and lives lack or does not value – it’s stillness. Stillness of heart/ mind/emotions. When I come to be still I first encounter the internal noise that I carry around with me and do not hear. It is in these moments of stillness that everything bubbling under the surface comes to light. It is in stillness that God deals with my deepest fears and I am reminded that He is in control and I do not have to live according to the world’s system. As Henri Nouwen eloquently says:
“We enter into solitude first of all to meet our Lord and to be with Him and Him alone. Only in the context of grace can we face our sin; only in the place of healing do we dare to show our wounds; only with a singleminded attention to Christ can we give up our clinging fears and face our own true nature. Solitude is a place where Christ remodels us in his own image and frees us from the victimizing compulsions of the world.” – HENRI NOUWEN
aker – Ipswich YM Pastor David B & Trustee of C h rc u h C al on Internati
AT ST. ALBAN’S One thing I love about working at this school is all the opportunities I get to build great relationships with students and spend time with them. Just getting to know them as individuals and having fun. Recently I went with the school on a weeklong trip, helping to escort sixty 12-13 year olds to The Briars, a retreat centre owned by the Nottingham Catholic Youth Service. The week is great – we do lots of games, team building exercises and outdoor activities. But a lot of time is also spent focusing on God and helping the youngsters to connect with Him. There was so much going on that week - climbing walls, song contests, ‘beast’ creating! The students were also put into small groups which gave them a chance to connect with new people and grow their confidence. Seeing them develop together as a group was great but seeing them experience God was even better.
They had discussions about faith, led prayer sessions, questioned a priest, took part in prayer stations and even constructed their own Mass Service. It was amazing to see, so many opportunities for them to explore faith and experience God. I was in charge of a corridor of 12 girls (you can imagine what that was like) and by the end of the week I knew all the girls well. We had room inspections every day, where I was serenaded to, jumped out at and in some cases bribed by them in an attempt to win the prize for best room. There was lots of noise coming from our corridor but I can say that most of it was laughter! It was great to share the experience with the girls and build relationships with them – even if I was lacking in sleep and energy. As for me, I got to do lots of things that week! Fire building, hiking and even taking part in the talent show on the last night! But that is what it is all about really. 6
Mucking in and getting involved with everything. It is through the simple things like this, that we can show God to these young people, modelling His acceptance and His love. How many great chats did I have with young people just by sitting at their table for meals? Or start a conversation with by taking part in their games? Or build memories with by creating jokes with them? Too many to count is the answer. To really build relationships with young people and therefore point them to Jesus you have to meet them where they are, try and understand their daily lives and just ‘do life’ with them. For myself in St Alban’s, I get lots of opportunities to share Jesus directly with students – in many different ways, to all year groups, which is amazing! But finding the time to actually just be friendly with students and create those significant, trusting relationships is much more challenging. School is way too big and the time out of lessons is way too small. So times like that trip when I can just focus on those young people and enjoy finding out about them is awesome.
There were several serious moments where the relationships made that week were really timely. Several of that year group have lost parents, grandparents and other family members in recent years, which they struggled with over the week. Throughout that week I was also able to support those who had other needs, who were struggling with mental health, friendship difficulties, self-esteem problems and other personal situations. When you go on trips like these the things that students are facing personally or with family come starkly into focus, sometimes revealing things we didn’t know about young people before. Children, who you would never imagine had problems started to open up, or you find about difficulties in their life that you just can’t comprehend. And yet somehow it is a good thing that these issues come to light. It is a sign; a sign that God uses places like The Briars to deal with the difficult stuff. The hurt, pain and struggles of the young people can be dealt with in a place of love, be challenged in a caring environment and all with the opportunity to include God in all their tough stuff.
The relationships I have made with these students continue after that one week away. Young people, who previously had not spoken to me, will shout hello across the playground, students have dropped in when they have needed to chat and we’ve been able to provide young people with the support they need now they have acknowledged their struggles. And this is all down to one trip where God just worked in so many amazing ways and used it for His good. These young people have given me back so much in return. At the end of the week the children are given origami hearts. Everyone in their small group writes an affirmation about them, something they like about that person or are thankful for. And guess what … I got one too! It was through those personal messages that I realised the impact I really can have on these teenagers and how grateful I am for the position I hold. I am so thankful to God for that amazing week and I pray that the experiences those students had will have made a real difference to their lives.
CHAPLAINCY AT WESTBRIDGE WHAT DO YOU EVEN DO? You never know what a day working as a chaplain at a pupil referral unit might be like. We schedule sessions and create opportunities to support our young people but so often it is the moment that wasn’t planned, that takes you by surprise and we see the Holy Spirit move and our father’s hand reach out and touch someone. One of those familiar mornings I was on my way to a staff meeting with time to spare, when I met a young girl who suffers with anxiety and bi-polar, chatting to another member of staff waiting for lessons to start. I joined the couple mid conversation. They were talking about home life and her family which was very obviously stressing her out. Sitting, standing, sitting, standing with a barrage of expletives here and a wave of insults there, the
young girl would talk at us both of the pain she faces daily, insults toward her family and toward herself and toward us. This would be followed by a brief moment of calm as the teacher would steer the conversation to less dangerous subjects. At this point she would almost transform into a completely different person, able to rationally analyse and converse with us, as you might expect any young girl would. The peace was short lived though and conversation would nose dive as she could only view the topics through her filter of pain. This ‘tennis match’ of personalities continued until first lesson at which point I learned of the “surprise” first student I would be working with… My usual 9.30 routine was replaced with spending an hour with my new friend! The young girl I had just met. After a quick prayer that went something like this… “ahhhh Holy Spirit
over to you!”, I sat down with this young girl to spend some quality time supporting her with some course work. The swearing started again, the insults toward her own ability and, the way she saw it, “hopeless” future started again. Sometimes the only thing to do here is endure and don’t get offended. In reality she was expressing her pain and I know that Jesus doesn’t want us to be afraid of people’s pain. He wants us to introduce them to the healer. But then something happened. She stopped. She looked at me and for the first time that whole morning, asked me a question. “What do you even do?” she blurted out, half said in a patronising tone and the other half genuinely inquisitive. I always like this question, the answer seems to come out different every time I give it and always leads to a decision from the person asking; do I press in or do 8
I bail out? This time my answer sounded something like “I am a Christian and I am here to support you in lots of different ways. I want to help you with the big questions we all ask like ‘why am I here?’, ‘what is life all about?’ and ‘what or who is God?’” Ok, decision time, press in or bail out… Press in. “So you believe in God then?” “Yes very much so. I believe Jesus is God” I responded “Why?” I knew God was with me, I knew His presence and I could feel His love for this young girl in the room with me. This young girl who through no fault of her own lives in a constantly chaotic environment, relationships up and down, present and then absent with no real safe place to be except the school she finds herself in and around the beautiful staff of Westbridge Academy. “Life is crazy and unpredictable. One minute you’re up and the next minute you can fall on your face.” I answered “People come and go and situations change. Constantly. 9
We can try and control our circumstances as much as possible but inevitably we can’t control other people and so things change. Sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse.” She sat and listened. “What can you hope in when nothing seems to be certain?” I continued “In the Bible it says that Jesus is the same today as He was yesterday and will be tomorrow. Jesus is my constant good. When things are going great Jesus loves me and believes in me when everything has turned upside down and my life feels completely messed up, Jesus still loves me and believes in me. Whether life is up or down Jesus is always constant so I don’t need to worry if I’m going to be o.k. because He is not affected by the craziness of my life. He says I’m going to get through it!” There was Catholicism in her family somewhere and following this moment I’m now referred to as The Pope. Nevertheless she connected with what I was saying and you could see a complete change in her whole demeanour. We talked for the next 30 minutes back and forth in the presence of God.
We talked about her future and her dreams as we worked on the coursework and the whole time she was the beautiful, smiling, kind and considerate young girl that I had only briefly met earlier that day. Not one episode of swearing or insulting herself or the people around her. There was a ‘constant’ in that room with us that, whether she realised it or not, was fighting for her and giving her a taste of the inheritance that He won for her. Before we knew it the session was over. We were that little bit closer, I was in complete awe of my Saviour and my new friend had taken a giant leap towards the Truth. I saw once again that it’s not about what I do. It’s about what He has already done and who that makes me. I am loved by God and His love is constant in every moment, whether the moment is planned or takes me completely by surprise.
BREATHING SPACE What I found most memorable for me was at the point we looked out onto the horizon and he said the word “Freedom!” It summed up his quest for inner peace. At that moment I realised he had finally found it. I hope he will always revisit that day and find the tranquillity he discovered. I felt it was a privilege to be part of somebody’s good memory bank..
It was a wonderful experience! I was given so much space and time for myself. I had to break through a barrier, to think and it all came to me- freedom. With their help I felt no-one and nothing will crush me or take this away! It filled me with confidence. I could see what was on the other sidea future!.
– MS L. FALCONER INCLUSION MANAGER
– YOUNG MAN/MENTEE
I went for a walk on a winter’s day. A stroll around Snape with one of my mentees and one of my colleagues from the school whom they trusted. Although there are some things that remain confidential he is happy to share with you some of his photos from that morning, a little of the journey we have been on and a glimpse of the horizon. This student has a maturity beyond his years. He has shown such resilience in the face of adversity that I have to remind myself how young he is!
open space. A completely different environment to have headspace to reflect, let stuff out and see things from a fresh perspective.
What was the moment when he knew what he needed? During one of our previous conversations he was distracted and kept
glancing out of the window. My initial thoughts were “oh no he’s had enough, he’s bored” but brushing my own insecurities aside, in my spirit I had a word“SPACE!” It was what he was feeling beneath what he had been saying and there was a longing in his eyes. We made it the focus! What was outside the window? It overlooked the large playing fields. Sometimes we would wander around together and it was out there he would open up more. Reflecting on my session recordings I used words like ‘fluctuating, intense, constrained and confined’ by his situation and his physical circumstances. He needed to get away, in a sense to escape to a wide
I use a roll of fake grass in assemblies to explain pastoral care. I endeavour to create a safe pasture to foster relationship and understanding. So surely we can make it possible to actually go to a real pastoral setting, enjoy creation and do some spiritual ‘shepherding’. He had never visited Snape but liked the sound of it. It all came together so fast I remember on the day, waking up feeling a weight of responsibility and praying, “Oh Lord it’s happening! I’m not sure where it’s 10
going to go. Be my guide. Lead me!” I felt Jesus’ encouragement, “Trust me and trust yourself.” I relied on His presence and had a calmness that was also reflected in the weather too. God’s timing was perfect. It was such a perfect day. As the guidebook describes; ‘Snape is set against the breathtaking expanse of reeds, water and vast skies.’ Exploring the marshland, with a hilarious diversion through a field of giant carrots, we came to a clearing, stood soaking in the scene and listening to the reeds brushing in the breeze. It was bigger and better than he had imagined, “So much space Ant!” “We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand—out in the wide open spaces of God’s grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise.”
– ROMANS 5 V2 (THE MESSAGE)
As we stood either side of him, he bravely shared his struggles and released things which would have ripple effects in the weeks ahead. Guiding his thoughts back to the present moment I asked, “Look closer. What do you see?” I was expecting him to say swans or something but to my surprise he slowly breathed in and exhaled, “Freedom! I see freedom...and yeah a future.” Such faith! It was hard for us not to cry and on reflection maybe I should have. After a peaceful moment I found myself moved to share, “It may feel like it will get a little worse before it gets better.” It was an understanding. A truth from my own experience as a teenager.
He has those photos to carry with him to remind him whenever he needs some space. Things did get worse for him over Christmas but the skies are getting so much brighter. A new dawn! Pray for this hope, his future and for space so he can stand tall through it all.
“There is a future! Here I am decades on standing here doing what I do for times such as this. Moments when you will feel like you
This was valuable to a student who was going through emotional turmoil. Possibly one of the most significant events he will ever experience in his life. His need for support and reassurance, space and time, was very evident. As a pastoral team we felt it was really important that we responded with whatever this student wanted. And what he wanted was so simple. A lot of what he is experiencing is outside of his control, but this time and this space? We could give him that. We could make it his and his alone. It will be his to treasure always, no matter what.
– MS S. WICKIEWICZ PASTORAL MANAGER 11
are soaring too!” We gave him some space and then headed to the tea room.
For a young person who has been both physically and emotionally restricted to experience freedom and space for the first time and see hope on the horizon was truly life changing. To experience that moment with Ant and a trusted member of school staff beside him was a revelation and something he will carry with him for the rest of his life. He is very grateful for the opportunity and it has helped him, not only to focus on the future but to get through a difficult time in the present.
– MRS K. RICE FAMILY & SAFEGUARDING LEAD
TS GAP YEAR TH HTS GAP YEAR The most challenging thing about this year, but which with prayer and support I have overcome my fear of, and now really enjoy doing, is sharing my faith with others and developing my evangelism technique. Whilst on becoming a Christian three years ago, I told several people my testimony, afterwards, it was rarely something I told people on first meeting them. They usually asked me what I was studying or where I was from. Although, on first arriving at CYM, I was quite timid talking to friends and family about what my internship at CYM involved, gradually over the year I have been able to share about the different things in which I am involved and am able to freely bring my faith into conversations with boldness, without fear. ‘You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a basket. Instead, they set it on a lampstand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.…’
– MATTHEW 5: 14-16
This scripture has come up a few times this year in sermons, devotions and Bible studies and has really spoken to me.
My first challenge came in helping lead the children’s work at a church weekend away at the end of my first week at CYM. Although apprehensive, having never been on a church residential weekend before, I took the plunge and helped out. It turns out that God will provide where needed as the session that I led went well, and I was able to improvise various activities to occupy two boys who were a bit young for the session-cue pretending to be crocodiles and racing across the field. I was more gradually eased in to helping with schools work and was able to observe what activities worked well. This enabled me to develop in confidence before leading the activities myself. Despite having a year away from working with teenagers, and feeling a bit fearful of what their reactions would be to have someone come up and chat to them and talk about faith, as we did at the Suffolk One Freshers’ Fair, I felt a sense of peace and was inspired with confidence to approach tables with
pens and small post-it paper boats on which to write, encouraging the students to contribute to the reflection activity we were holding. This confidence remained with me when I had to go up to tables at Coffee Bar for the first time and chat to students. Although the offer of a partner was there, I preferred to go up to tables on my own, trusting in God for conversations to flow and for His hand to be over my interactions with the young people.
Now several months down the line, I get very excited about being able to share my faith with children and young people, one of my most ‘on-fire’ moments so far being when I talked about my walk with God at a St Matthew’s Church youth group session on Mission Academy Live. Please be praying that this passion and God-given confidence in sharing my faith grows and that I continue to follow where God is guiding my future path and vocation.
ika Ann 12
HOUGHTS GAP Y THOUGHTS GAP Hello, I had a Gap Year at CYM last year so this is my Gap Year take 2. I have taken this year to decide what it is that God wants me to do in the future and after having a year full of learning and ‘faith shaking’ last year, I felt that doing another year at CYM would really help me to see where God is guiding me to go. The first question was what my role would be within CYM without repeating last year and still being challenged along the way (I love a good challenge!). I know that I would like to work with children in the future, so after lots of thinking and trying to figure out what fits into my busy schedule, we decided that being a part time Gap Year focusing on children’s work is what my role should be. The next consideration that sprung from that was, what would make my work differ from last year. Whereas I was more involved in the preparing of the lunch clubs and making some contribution to the planning, I am now really involved in the planning of ‘Rock Solid’ at St John’s where I meet with Steph at the beginning of each term to discuss how our lunch club 13
can tie in to the school’s theme for assemblies. I am also involved with ‘ALFA’ at St Margaret’s which we also link to the assembly focus. I am more involved with ‘ALFA’ than ‘Rock Solid’ as I take more of a leading role in the planning of the sessions and preparing the activities. There are many issues that arise when leading and planning lunch clubs but I think one of the most challenging things that came to light when discussing lunch clubs was being able to have a Bible message that relates
“I felt that doing another year at CYM would really help me to see where God is guiding me to go.” to each theme and finding activities that help the children to understand the meaning better. Another factor that comes to light is building relationships with the children who attend the lunch clubs. We only have a short amount of time in which to run the lunch clubs so forming relationships with the children can be difficult
especially if there are lots of children who come along. As well as the preparation of lunch clubs, Christmas and Easter Elevate assemblies have been demanding in themselves. Being able to plan an assembly that appeals to all ages of the school and portrays the message of Christmas or Easter in an exciting and memorable way, takes a lot of trial and error to get right.
This year is a ‘decision time’. Prayer would be greatly appreciated with taking the next big step in my life. I am considering going to either Ridley Hall in Cambridge or Moorlands in Brentwood to study so that I can work with children in a Christian setting. This is the biggest challenge in my life yet, and I know that prayer can be very powerful so prayers for God’s guidance for my future will be great!
CHAPLAINCY AT ST. MATTHEW’S / ST. JOHN’S I have had such an amazing time in my first two terms in Chaplaincy at St John’s and St Matthew’s schools that it’s difficult to know where to start. The first couple of months I spent getting to know the children by being in the playground at break times, helping in lessons and generally ‘being around’. This gave me time to see what opportunities might arise and how I could be of use to the school. I am continuing to help in RE lessons and still love to join in the general chat at playtimes, or even build snowmen! The Rock Solid lunch clubs have continued from previous years in both schools. This is a lovely opportunity to get
to know one year group a little better and to be able to share God’s love with them by playing games, finding out what happened in the Bible and doing craft. We have more than 20 children in each school who come regularly. I am grateful to have some faithful volunteers help me run these clubs and more are always welcome. One of my favourite things I do is leading Assemblies as they are a great opportunity to be able to interact with the whole school at once, giving them a challenge from the Bible to think about and teaching them new songs. The children love to get involved with acting and reading and, during my epiphany assembly, seeing how many tea lights they
could turn on during the instrumental break! In December I ran an Advent prayer space for both schools. We reflected on 5 words connected with the coming of Jesus: Hope, Peace, Joy, Love and Light and explored how Jesus had brought these into our world by being born as baby. Prayer activities included turning our hopes into prayer and seeing the prayers blossom in a paddling pool, writing prayers on footballs which were kicked into the goal of peace, and lighting candles while praying for God’s love to shine in the dark places in our world. The children seemed to appreciate the quiet reflective atmosphere, and teachers said it was lovely to have a peaceful 14
afternoon. Prayers ranged from ‘Dear God, please make sure I can play for Manchester United when I am older’ to ‘Dear heavenly father, I pray one day I will be able to change the world’. How awesome to hear prayers like the latter! One particular comment that stayed with me was from a year 5 girl who told me that she was missing her grandma terribly as she had just died but now she felt she could talk to her whenever she wanted to. After the Advent prayer space some year six pupils at St John’s asked if they could have a regular prayer room at school. You can imagine how thrilling it was hearing children asking to pray and they had lots of ideas on how it should look and what we should do. So once a week at break time the library is transformed into our pop-up prayer space, with about 40 children attending – that’s nearly half of years four, five and six! I am hoping that by the time you read this a similar weekly prayer space will be happening at St Matthew’s I have started a church school council at St John’s (St Matthew’s already have a thriving one) which gives the children 15
the opportunity to have their say in the spiritual life of the school. As a council we have made links with the ‘theologian ambassadors’ at Sidegate Primary School, who wrote to us asking what it means to be a Christian School. We replied with photos showing the Christian aspects of the school and hope to meet up with them in the summer term. Each half-term collective worship focuses on a different ‘Christian value’ and I have loved working with small groups of children to design banners for the worship table. This has given me the opportunity to discuss the meaning of the’ value’ with them and then they have designed and created the banner themselves, as well as giving a presentation in assembly to explain the meaning of their chosen pictures and symbols. I also go into each class and do a short reflection on the ‘value’ at the end of the half term. It was an honour to be mentioned in the official Church of England inspection report! “The recent appointment of a school chaplain is further supporting pupils’ understanding of how they can fully live out the Christian values, both within school and at home.”
www.st-johns.suffolk. sch.uk/docs/Bits/17-18/_ St_Johns_VA_Primary_ SIAMS_2017_Report.pdf At the time of writing I’m excited about the Easter prayer space I’m planning for both schools and praying that it will be a time when the children can think about the meaning of the Easter story for themselves. The greatest privilege in my role though is to be able to spend time ‘one to one’ with children who are sad, worried or anxious, giving them the opportunity to talk about their struggles. I pray that I can be like Jesus to them and that they will know his peace and comfort in their difficult times. I am so thankful that God has called me to this role and am excited about what the future holds.
CHAPLAINCY AT ST. MARGARET’S Two terms in and St Margaret’s is beginning to feel like home. This is the first time St Margaret’s has had a Chaplain and as I walked through the doors in September, it felt like I’d been handed a blank piece of paper, with a huge variety of colouring pencils! So many pupils, so many staff, so many different backgrounds and needs. But also, so much laughter and such big hearts. St Margaret’s is a school where all the staff, without fail, are committed to doing their best for the children and supporting the children to do their best, whatever that looks like. It’s a school which is a community and I’m fortunate to be a part of it. The first two terms have very much been
about finding my place and working out how Chaplaincy can be useful to the school community. I’m based in the Rainbow Room, a nurture room at the top of the school, which I share with the Family Liaison Officer (FLO). We have a ball tent, extra large bean bags and medium sized bean bags, glove puppets, small and large balls and various craft options! There is often a queue of children wanting to spend time in the Rainbow Room! The Rainbow Room is where I see children for ‘one to one’ sessions, sometimes a one-off session or others whom I see more regularly. These sessions are very much about providing pastoral support for children who
might have experienced a difficult time, or maybe have something going on in their lives which means they need a bit of extra support. In mental health week, the FLO and I gave a whole school assembly on mental health and then went to every class in the school (there are 12!) and did a session on feelings, with various activities. The favourite was definitely blowing up a balloon and letting it go to see it whizz across the classroom! The aim of these sessions was to explain the difference between big feelings and little feelings and to give different suggestions as to things we can try when feelings are big and overwhelming. The children I see more frequently, are the ones with ‘big feelings’.
It has been both amazing and humbling to see the pupils start to reach an understanding of what the Rainbow Room is for and why people come to see me (or the FLO). There is no judgement or ‘micky taking’. In fact, the hardest thing is having to explain to the children why they can’t come with me to the Rainbow Room! Pastoral care is one aspect of my job, but the other main part of my job is ‘spirituality’. Jesus said, “You’re here to be light, bringing out the Godcolours in the world.” (John 5 v 14 Msg version) In my mind, through Chaplaincy, that basically just means drawing people’s attention to Jesus and helping them to think about Him. St Margaret’s is a church school but of course, we are now in a time when many children do not come from ‘church’ families and not all staff are ‘active’ Christians. I think this is one of the things that makes Chaplaincy so exciting. It’s no longer just a case of hoping and praying people come to Church to hear about Jesus, I can walk the corridors of school and talk about Him! Of course, it’s not always that straight forward.
There are some things I do which are very obviously God-focused. On Tuesday mornings there is a KS1 assembly and a KS2 assembly. Most weeks I lead the KS1 assembly with the deputy head. Last term the theme was the Fruits of the Spirit, this term we are looking at the Beatitudes (both assemblies cover the same theme). It’s been a test of my theological abilities to explain the topic of the week to 4-7 year olds, often with 10 minutes’ notice, but it’s a real gift to be able to talk about Jesus and these things so openly (and in child friendly language). In KS1 assembly I’ve also introduced a number of children’s worship songs, which of course we do very loudly, with actions. Favourite songs include ‘Be Happy, ‘King of the Jungle’ and ‘Nothing’s Too Big’; Doug Horley never gets old! We also continue to run ALFA club on a Tuesday lunch time, which this year is led by Mirin, one of CYM’s Gap Year students. We’ve been averaging between 15-20 year 4 pupils at this each week which is brilliant. We start with a game, have a Bible passage or story (often told with the help of a drama which the pupils participate in) and then do craft or activity related to that week’s passage.
Chaplaincy isn’t just for pupils though, I’m also there to be a support to staff. It’s a sign of how pupil-focused the staff are, that I realised last term that staff thought I was there just for the pupils. I’ve been trying to find ways of making myself more ‘subtly available’ to staff this term and often this is in the form of being a listening ear. ‘God-conversations’ happen far more frequently than I’d expected, often when I least expect! Sometimes it’s because a pupil wants to ask me something and they know I’m there to talk about Jesus, so Godrelated questions are often thrown my way. With staff, I’ve had some amazing conversations about how I hear from God and how God communicates with people. I’ve also had the opportunity to pray with staff. All in all, chaplaincy in St Margaret’s is an amazing opportunity, a huge privilege and a massive challenge. Please do continue praying for our school and watch this space for what God does next…!
He ath er
AFRICAN ADVENTURE Since October, it has been a whirlwind in the African Adventure office! We have prioritised ‘vision’ over the last few months and have made lots of changes to an already brilliant and exciting programme. We have been particularly focusing on building ideas based on Josh’s experiences during his visit to Uganda in August. The main changes we have made are to the site, including moving the graveyard closer to the village, the minefield into a different place and creating some raised beds for planting vegetables.
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The aim of these changes is to make the African Adventure experience as authentic as possible, whilst adding some exciting new elements to the project: • Mines would usually be placed on footpaths or on well-travelled routes, so by moving our minefield we are encouraging the children to think about the significant impact this would have on our villagers on a day-to-day basis. • A graveyard would traditionally be inside the village in many rural communities so we have moved the graveyard closer to give the site a more authentic feel. The graveyard has previously been a brilliant way to start conversations about a potentially challenging topic and help children to appreciate how different parts of life can be in different cultures. • We have also been able to introduce a school farm to the site which we hope will teach children about the challenges connected to growing food. This has also helped us to build links with A Little Bit of Hope in Uganda, as we have been able to bring the School Farm project to life. We have strived to respond to schools’ feedback from last season in order to improve the experience for both the staff and the children that attend African Adventure. This has involved smaller changes such as introducing lanterns to the huts and improving options for breakfast. 18
One of the most exciting changes we have made in response to feedback is that we now have some African Adventure branded items in the Sizewell Hall shop! So next time you visit the shop, do keep an eye out – as we are hoping to add to the collection in the future too. We have also been getting excited about the 2019 season (it’s never too early!) and have four schools which have already confirmed their dates with us for next year. We have contacted a few new schools too as we have limited spaces for new schools to join us for an African Adventure next year so please pray that the right schools would get in touch! We very much value our volunteers and are keen to help them to feel part of the African Adventure family. We have been fortunate enough to gather some great ideas from different people over the last few months in order to further improve the experience for schools,
staff and team members. Kymmene has been working to involve the team in the planning process for African Adventure and we have also been carrying out some training for both our newer and longer-standing volunteers. We were massively blessed on our maintenance day at the end of February and were blown away by the generosity of the many people who gave up their day to help us to get the site prepared for the new season. We were able to achieve above and beyond what we had expected and there was a brilliant atmosphere as people worked hard in every part of the site. If you or someone you know is interested in volunteering as part of the African Adventure team; whether cooking meals, helping out in the kitchen, helping out on team to lead the sessions with the children, or supporting African Adventure in some other way, we would love to hear from you.
JOSH’S SCHOOL VISIT REPORT School visits have been very positive over the last few months. I have visited the vast majority of schools coming to African Adventure, either this year or next. Most schools have asked for a class visit which has recently been developed and has been working really well to engage the children in some of the content of the project. Parent meetings have also been very positive in reassuring parents that their children will have a fantastic, fun, safe, educational time with us. Nikki has been leading some of these visits as part of her practical work for her university degree and has received positive feedback from staff and parents. Some schools have asked for an Assembly (or two!) and this has allowed us to develop a series of Assemblies which schools have been finding thoughtprovoking and challenging in different areas. I have been able to create a teacher meeting to allow for new teachers to be able to discuss the programme through and for me to answer any questions they may have. It has been very beneficial to get to know teachers before the visit and to put them at ease.
n atio mod sâ€™ m o e cc iti all a d activ ers cov ood an f
A CYM WEEKEND AWAY FOR ALL CHILDREN IN SCHOOL YEARS 4-6 DON’T KNOW MUCH ABOUT JESUS – NO PROBS… OR HE’S MY BEST FRIEND – GREAT! THE BIBLE TALKS ABOUT GOD HAVING A REAL PURPOSE FOR OUR LIVES AND US FINDING THAT TREASURE. IS THERE MORE TO LIFE? ARE GOD’S PLANS SO MUCH MORE THAN WE IMAGINE? COME AND EXPLORE WHAT THAT TREASURE MIGHT LOOK LIKE! WWW.C-Y-M.ORG.UK | TEL: 01473 216712
SAVE THE DATE!
Friday 18th May- Sunday 20th May
STUDENTSâ€™ MUSINGS Year 2 at Ridley is much different from the first year. In year 1 the focus was mainly about finding our feet in our placements and learning new skills and writing styles for assignments. Now that the first year has passed I feel I have settled in to my student role at CYM and got to grips with the work that is expected of me at Ridley. The course itself has become harder, but year 1 has equipped me with the skills I need to deal with the increase in difficulty. Year 2 is also different in that the focus for the year is growing in leadership skills within our placement. This involves studying leadership and management within Christian settings at Ridley and putting what we learn into practice at CYM. It will potentially be the biggest year for growth as now I know what I am doing I
can really be intentional about flourishing in my work. In year 1 of Ridley I tried to get involved in as many different things at CYM as possible to give myself a range of experiences and find out what I really liked doing. That was a difficult year as there were things I enjoyed doing but there were also things I struggled with, which at times made me question whether the whole course was right for me. By the end of that year, however, I felt that there was one area in particular that I would really like to focus on. Now in year 2 my placement is based with African Adventure, focusing mainly on developing as a leader within the project.
Thank God for the work He has done there through the years and pray for what He will do in the lives of those who are coming this year. Please pray also that I will be able to use what I have learnt about leadership through Ridley and through my experience of African Adventure to really step up in my role. I ask also that you pray for me as I balance African Adventure with the rest of my Ridley assignments. Pray that I will have all the time I need to do both to the best of my ability, and also find time to rest amongst the busyness.
I ask for your prayers for African Adventure and for my role within it.
We’re half way through! What a terrifying thought! But it’s amazing the difference 18 months can make. There was so much unknown when I enrolled; “am I ready?”, “have I read the Bible enough to be at Bible College?”, “how can I teach something if I struggle with it myself?”, “can I remember how to cook for myself (other than pasta)?”, “who will I meet?”, “will we get on?”, “will they steal my precious pasta supplies?”, “should I have a better idea of what I’m doing here?”, and most importantly, “how am I going to keep all these doubts bottled up?”! In the end what I was worried about never seemed to come to pass or was never a big deal when it rolled around. The real questions I never expected, “who am I in God’s eyes”, “how do I work?”, and “where is God working in me?” come to the fore. These are the biggest questions (which I hope I never stop asking myself) which would flatten me, at other times elate me, but which ultimately always built me up. The only experience I can liken it to is my first
time looking at stars in a telescope. Mythical lights that have hung over me all my life, suddenly made clearer, sharper, more real. Distinguishing the moons of Venus out from Venus itself. Seeing it in all its intricate, very real detail. Stepping away from that telescope and looking at the cosmos in its entirety, infinite stars in an infinite space you get a dizzying realisation; that you are a tiny speck standing on a diminutive rock in a solar system that is like a grain of sand on the shore. This feeling is immediately followed by the same thought every single astronomer throughout history has ever had,
“I need a bigger telescope”. My initial freshers fears have melted away, not to say it’s been easy, taking a long hard look at yourself and your belief never is, but Ridley has encouraged me to be honest with myself, not hard on myself. To run towards pain and not away from it. Because we can hardly help someone in pain if we do everything we can to avoid it.
The challenges we make for ourselves and the measures we construct to assess our success are insignificant if we are not honest and open to being changed, and the same applies to reading the Bible. When we open up in front of God, knowing the Gospel truth that we are more infinitely loved than an infinite universe. Knowing we don’t have to pretend to be more competent than we are or hide our failures from Him. We are challenged and measured by the only thing worth measuring against, the immeasurable grace of God. I’ll end with verses that have been encouraging to me lately. Isaiah 49: 1-7 describes a servant called and made right only by the grace and strength of God, and by God made strong and steady to make known that grace to the world, like “a polished arrow” (v. 2). Please pray that all of us at Ridley and CYM have a strong and steady focus on Jesus so that we may be loosed like ‘streamlined arrows’ into the heart of the brokenness of the communities in which we work.
WHO CARES? is a nationwide initiative where organisations are working together to better understand the hurts of our communities. At CYM, we have been applying this to our Chaplaincy settings. The initiative involved asking staff and students to answer the question ‘What hurts the most?’. We have received hundreds of responses from our school/college communities and these are helping us to define areas in which our Chaplaincy can help demonstrate God’s love. We are hoping to achieve this through being present within our communities, empathising with people’s difficulties and supporting those experiencing the most prevalent issues. The focus of this will look different depending on the needs found in each of our settings. Within one of the surveys, the results showed that bullying was the highest response (12.6%) which combined online and face-to-face bullying. This result was followed by friendship issues (10.9%), education-related stress (10.7%) and then dealing with the death of a loved one (9.3%). The results showed a variety of responses, and many participants chose to share more than one hurt on their answer forms. Overall, 62.4% of the responses from this contact group can be connected to a difficulty in building or maintaining relationships for a number
of reasons either within their control or not. It could be assumed that once a relationship has been formed, there are difficulties in allowing these relationships to grow, develop or change. This may be to incorporate other people within friendships or family groups, or dealing with the ending of a relationship or death of a loved one. Chaplaincy is ideally placed to help support these issues as it has a great opportunity to provide a constant professional relationship with staff and students which can be used to help model healthy relationships and also offer support through the mistakes and difficulties that may be experienced. In contrast, the results from another community showed that education-related issues were the top concern with 16.9%. This category included issues such as exam and revision stress, difficulties with learning and homework. Education-related issues were followed by relationship problems either romantic relationships or friendships (16%) and negative emotions (12.3%) which includes topics such as self-esteem and body image concerns, feelings of helplessness or experiencing stress and pressure. Again, Chaplaincy is well placed to support those experiencing these hurts because many of these issues can stem from a lack of self-worth or self-belief. Sometimes all we need is
for one person to believe we can achieve something. Through demonstrating God’s love within Chaplaincy and showing everyone has value and worth could be the first step to supporting individuals experiencing these hurts. These results show how even just between two communities, what hurts us the most can vary greatly, and although there were themes that were common to all, each group has its own hurts. As Chaplains we have come across many of these hurts with individuals through our mentoring, ‘one-to-one’ support and presence in the schools and colleges, but what is helpful is that we can see more clearly the issues that concern a wider number of our students, including those who are less likely to admit an issue face to face. The survey allows us to continue to build relationships within our communities through showing that we care about what is hurting them, aiming to empathise and support where we can and hopefully provide more opportunities to work with them. Please pray for all the staff at CYM as they aim to be present and supportive in their areas of work.
TEAM RETREAT Back in January, our team had the privilege of being able to stop, rest and spend time with each other. To some degree, it might be counter-cultural, but we felt that it was important to embed into our culture at CYM the need to rest and reflect together. We all take time each term to step away from our work and consider what we have been involved in and where God has been at work but doing it as a
team was something we really felt led to do. We found a beautiful space locally (thank you, you know who you are) and simply stopped. There were a few moments of discussing our purpose and our values and we looked at ways that we can individually contribute to be the very best team that we can be, but generally speaking, we stopped!
We chatted, we prayed, we played games, we went walking in the countryside, we watched a film and cooked and ate together. Two days of special times together. As we did this, we settled as a team on the following points that are going to be so important in our future work; We agreed that in all of our work we will always aim to:
1) DEMONSTRATE GOD’S LOVE 2) DEVELOP QUALITY RELATIONSHIPS WITH YOUNG PEOPLE AND STAFF 3) POINT CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE TO JESUS We’re up for doing that! We hope that you’re up for supporting us as we do. As our time came to a close, we praised and worshipped God together through song and scripture and we encountered God in beautiful ways. We think it might become a fixed item on our calendar!
WHAT CAN YOU GIVE? Talking about money is often one of those topics that people avoid. It can feel really uneasy to stand in a Church service and ask people to give to CYM but I have been prompted and challenged by people to do exactly that. So I will! God is doing amazing things in our schools – the doors have been opened to many opportunities that we couldn’t have imagined and we simply want to see this grow and develop across our town. Our Chaplaincy style work is not restricted to the High School setting; we are now working in Primary Schools and a Pupil Referral Unit, and other education providers are keen to discuss what that might look like in their context. As you might expect, the largest potential stumbling block is a lack of money. We have a real desire to see strong, passionate Christian role models working in our schools. There is already amazing work taking place, not just from CYM, and we simply want to enhance that and bless the schools where we can have a presence.
So how can you help? You may already support us through prayer and financially – for that we are truly grateful. Could you give more? It’s a pretty direct question, but is God prompting you to increase your giving to us? Are you excited by the work that we are sharing with you? Could you find someone else that would be equally excited and consider starting giving to us? It is amazing to see the difference that small amounts of regular giving can have, when added together. In recent years we have promoted the ‘Five Lives’ campaign, where people are encouraged to give £5 per month (you don’t get too many posh coffees for that…) to our work. The response to that was brilliant – it has a genuine impact on our budget and financial planning when we know regular giving is in place. Perhaps CYM could be listed in your will? Again, it sounds very direct but by naming us as a beneficiary leads to unexpected lump sums coming our way – it is so exciting to receive an unexpected gift into the Charity as it allows us to do things that we perhaps couldn’t afford to do at that time.
You would literally be leaving your legacy and imprint on some of the amazing Christian youth work and children’s work going on in this town. Maybe you have time available? We always need volunteers! We can’t survive without the amazing time and energy that people give to us, whether it be helping to run lunchtime clubs or mentoring in a High School or cooking at African Adventure – there are so many opportunities that we would love to talk to you about. I will be in contact with supporters soon about a direct appeal but please consider the above prayerfully and do get in touch if you’d like to discuss it. And, as always, please keep praying for our work but please also pray for the finance to see this work grow. If you would like to support us in any way, please do get in touch with me via the office (01473 216712) or via email: email@example.com Thank you for your amazing support.
THE LAST WORD ...
LEADING RELATIONALLY Have you ever spent time with a really good leader? A sports coach? A music director? A youth worker? Church minister? I have the joy of being able to spend a whole lot of time with some great leaders. Inspiring people who have the capability of moving situations from one place to a better place with efficiency and inclusivity. As well as spending time with these high capacity leaders, I also invest a fair amount of time learning about what makes them good at what they do. Why? I believe that the realms of leadership expand beyond titles and positions we give each other, and can be demonstrated in all of our own spheres of influence. Whilst we may not all be leaders in a professional or official capacity, we are all in relationships that hold some degrees of influence. This influence is shown within the relationships with our families, friendships, colleagues, as well as those at the local sports club. The way in which we influence these relationships make us all to some degree leaders. So what are the principles that help us be the best leaders that we can be within the spheres of influence we have? How can we demonstrate Christian leadership to those around us with the same boldness, efficiency and inclusivity we see in those that we look up to? In his book ‘Relational Leadership’, Walter Wright begins with a study of the book of Jude which recognises key leadership principles.1 1
For those of you reading who are the youngest of your siblings, Jude is the guy for you. His brother James headed up the Jerusalem Church, and his eldest brother Jesus was the son of God… some pressure eh? Yet in Jude’s writing, he introduces himself as a servant and criticises the proud and ungodly leaders in the community. 12b They are like shameless shepherds who care only for themselves. They are like clouds blowing over the land without giving any rain. They are like trees in autumn that are doubly dead, for they bear no fruit and have been pulled up by the roots. 13 They are like wild waves of the sea, churning up the foam of their shameful deeds. They are like wandering stars, doomed forever to blackest darkness. – Jude 1:12b-13 (NLT) Look how Jude begins by presenting the expectations of a good leader in comparison to how some of those who lived in the community were acting. 1. SHEPHERDS Recognised in the New Testament as protective, caring and brave. 2. CLOUDS A symbol and promise of rain, for farmers a promise of a good year ahead. 3. TREES Plants that bear fruit and symbolise productivity and results. How is it for you that you look to provide care for those in your life who need it the most?
Wright, Walter C. Relational Leadership: a biblical model for influence and service. Carlisle: Paternoster, 2009.
Who is it that you know who needs to be told a grander vision of how they could live, as well as some one to walk along side them until things change? Jude teaches that it is in the messy and complex world of relationships that good leadership is embedded. Not through the ruling over, but from the serving under others, that we influence our daily relationships the best. Finally, look at what Jude uses to describes the ungodly leaders who fail at this in verse 13. 1. WAVES OF THE SEA – Dangerous, inconsistent, unpredictable, unreliable. 2. WANDERING STARS – (or maybe shooting stars) – There one minute, gone the next. No legacy or longevity. These qualities are ones that many of us will have experienced from bad leaders and influences in our lives. If we are to avoid these things, we must embrace becoming relational leaders to those around us, stepping deliberately into the messes of life offering the care and support and steadfast kindness that Jesus taught to us when on earth. It is amazing to hear the regular stories of CYM Chaplains who lead relationally with young people, teachers and parents every day. When we embrace the challenge of consistently investing in relationships, the result is often ‘transforming lives’.
Forge Community church, Eye Location Leader
‘Providing a positive and passionate Christian presence in the lives of the young people and staff that we work with’ Our vision statement
CYM Trustees: Graham Abbott (Chair), Jayne Green, Phil Sharples, David Baker Christian Youth Ministries, 6 Great Colman Street, Ipswich, IP4 2AD Registered Charity No. 1075626 CYM – a company limited by guarantee Number 3726889
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CYM Supporter Magazine, April 2018