Last weekend was our second Connexional Training weekend. It was held at one of my favourite places, Crossways Centre, Yardley Hastings. Yardley is where we used to have our Youth Exec meetings back in 07/08 (that sounds such a long time ago!), and it was where I got to know the girl who I've know been going out with for just short of four years. So it has a special place in my heart. It was good being back, a slightly strange to not have the other Exec lot there. But I had an equally great bunch of people in my fellow OPPs. It was really good to see them all again, and see how everyone was doing in their projects, six or so weeks in.
It was also a great weekend of training, looking at topics such as Children’s Spirituality, Group Dynamics and Leadership, Small Group Facilitation and Listening Skills. I've just been for a meeting with one of the Directors of Methodist Action (my project) to find out about the history and context of the charity, and found myself subconsciously following the advice we were giving in listening, so I learned something! Another thing I found really interesting in the training was an element of reflection on personality types in groups. I am definitely a 'Talker', I am often vocal and not scared of speaking up in group situations. This isn't a bad thing per se, but it made me recognise that there I times where I should try and reign it in a little, and try and encourages others to speak. I'm going to try and work on this.
On a slightly boastful note, I brought honour to the North West region by winning the Yardley Hastings Kids Park Assault Course Race, though special mention goes to one of the Midlands OPPs, who was much more entertaining.
Within my local project, I have continued to visit projects and meet people. I have been at a few more Drop in Sessions, though I missed the one where some researchers from the BBC came to visit the Drop In at Lune St (Central) Methodist Church. The article can be seen here. I still have many projects to go and see, and have just fired off a few emails to try and sort these out. I'm also looking at spending some time with the NHS Homeless Mental Health Team, to get an idea of how other agencies work. I thought I would have a nice afternoon in Methodist Action Head Office today, only to find that almost everyone is out in meetings today, so I'm sat in the kitchen catching up with a load of admin, secretly enjoying the lack of WiFi access and phone signal which is forcing me to be productive.
Other than OPPing, I have had a fairly busy few weeks. With 3Generate (Methodist Children and Youth Assembly) only a month away, I have been working on the session I'm facilitating, on Cohabitation. This has lead to some very interesting discussions about what people see as Cohabitation, and how some people view it. Like everything in life, it is definitely not a clear cut, black and white issues, but there are lots of grey areas (I almost typed, 'many shades of grey' maybe that would boost my search rating on Google). I also made to day trips to London, one for more 3Generate planning, and another to discuss the British Churches' response to the Kairos Palestine Document. I'll add some links at the bottom about this, but basically Kairos Palestine is a call to action from the Christian Churches in Palestine, challenging their brothers and sisters in Christ around the world to work for justice in Israel-Palestine. I have somehow ended up on the steering group that is writing the response to this, again, challenging churches to act. I felt quite overwhelmed in a room with the top dogs of a number of charities and organisations who knew an awful lot more than me.
I think I've rambled enough now, and I need to go and buy pizza for a youth group, if only I was at Pizza Hut today.
Kairos Palestine Britain and Ireland (The British and Irish response)
Holy Land Encounter (My reflection on my time in Israel/Palestine in May 2012)