With the much reported increase in gang related violence and deaths amongst young people in Britain today, our inner cities are the last place one would expect anyone to go looking for God. But â€˜urban pilgrimsâ€™ Dave Wiles and Tim Evans are on a mission to discover the truth about youth and spirituality in some of Britainâ€™s most troubled communities.
Avoiding more traditional holy sites, their 285 mile â€˜pilgrimageâ€™ will see them meet with young people from the Hartcliff area of Bristol, Kitts Green in Birmingham and Newham in the East End of London, as they attempt to find an answer to the question â€˜Where is God?â€™. Itâ€™s a bit of a change from the day job â€“ when theyâ€™re not wearing friarâ€™s smocks, Dave and Tim head up national youth work charities Frontier Youth Trust and Worth Unlimited respectively.
Inspired by Franciscan friars, who will be providing hospitality to the travelers along the route, the pair plan to travel light, carrying no cash, wearing simple clothing and a â€˜Tauâ€™ â€“ symbol of service to others.
Dave explains: â€œPilgrimage doesnâ€™t have to be about going somewhere remote to encounter God. The work of both our organisations is about meeting with young people who are â€˜on the edgeâ€™ of our society. We wanted to make our pilgrimage to the places where thousands of young people live out their daily lives â€“ and to explore whether God can be found there.â€?
The pilgrims will be holding an open session on the question â€˜Where Is God?â€™ at Hartcliff Community Centre in Bristol on June 17th, and all young people are welcome to attend. The session will be informal, with opportunities to take part in creative arts activities, games and discussion â€“ or just have a chat. They will also be visiting schools in Kitts Green and Newham to talk with the pupils there.
And for those who arenâ€™t on the route, thereâ€™s a novel way to join in â€“ a text or phone messaging service for God will be available for the duration of the pilgrimage.
Pilgrimage Dates: 17th â€“ 19th June 2007
Open Session: Hartcliff Community Centre, Bristol, Sunday 17th June 4 pm
Text God: (Available 17th â€“ 19th June only) 07799 108339
Phone God: (Available 17th â€“ 19th June only) 01225 480973
More Info: Jo Fitzsimmons 0121 687 3505 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
One of the students led a session exploring community. We looked at the notions of building community and various aspects, how do we make connections with people, the role of small or casual interactions in building community and encouraging others to be community minded. She gave us Â£2 to go into Bristol for 30 minutes to connect with someone. I was part of a group of three and we decided to pay for peoples toll charge at the suspension bridge. Two of us stood at one end and as a car approached we explained we would pay their crossing fee today 50p and asked if they would “think about this random act of kindness as they cross the bridge and if it encourages you to be more community minded in future to give the guy at the other end of the thumbs up and if not a thumbs down”. Well we got four out of four and some great responses two asked if we were from a church but the best was “You’ve made my day and put a smile on my face”. All that it took was 50p and little bit of human inter action.
I read something somewhere last week about questions from below. These are human questions about truth or doctrine that we cannot answer from below. The answer can only come from above – from God. I found myself speaking at the weekend at a church about mission in front of church (see off the beaten track/tacking stuff) and some of the questions after were these below questions. That is not to say the questions are not valid, and maybe worth discussing but they can sidetrack us getting on with the mission at hand.
Questions from below are bit like when you are thinking about buying a car, all of a sudden the model you are looking at seems to be everywhere. Now I have become aware I would really like to build a bit of list of these questions from below. Here’s a few to get you started although not everyone will think they all constitute questions from below.
Who will be saved?
Are you saved?
How do you become a Christian?
What will happen to babies and children who die?
What is church?
The whole predestination thing?
What is hell/heaven like?
Is there more than one way to God?
This great clip (hattip to Patrick) was used today to talk about learning and not fully transfering the learning that had taken place. It one of those funny clips that has loads of applications. Strangly it is part of a viral advertising campaign but who cares it is great. Feel free to list applications to yoth work or church in the comments, the more random the better.
Strange how having a baby seems to limit your time to post not mention being so Kn!*%$ed that you cant think straight. So here is thought from a friend
Dr. Laura Schlessinger is an American radio personality who dispenses advice to people who call in to her radio show. Recently, she said that, as an observant Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22 and cannot be condoned under any circumstance. The following is an open letter to Dr. Laura penned by a east coast resident, which was posted on the Internet. It’s funny, as well as
Dear Dr. Laura:
Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God’s Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the
homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate. I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the other specific laws and how to follow them:
When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord – Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?
I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?
I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness – Lev.15:19- 24. The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.
Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can’t I own Canadians?
I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?
A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination – Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don’t agree. Can you settle this?
Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?
Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?
I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?
My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev. 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to
curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? – Lev.24:10-16. Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)
I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging.
Your devoted fan ……..
Hat tip to Dave Wiles