This term we've been meeting lots of new young people in our Secondary Schools and enjoying fun activities, including Nativity Photo Booths and Christmas themed games! At the Alun School and Ysgol Maes Garmon we're leading pop-up style activities using school halls and other spaces, with different themes and activities each week. Working with Lowri Mitton, our Welsh Prebyterian church partner, at Ysgol Maes Garmon we've explored identity, values and character using games and music / video (Lowri's great at creating video content around themes!). Throughout December we explored the Nativity story from the points of view of the shepherds, the bewildered young couple, the magi and the angels. The immaculate conception of Jesus threw up a lot of questions - some even searched Gooogle to check if we were pulling their legs! ("What do you mean Mary was still a virgin???? But that's just not possible!" "That would be a miracle birth....oh, wait!)
Tim Byram of King's Church came and help with what proved to be a very popular photo booth for Years 7 and 8 at the Alun - we were stampeded by camels, swamped by shepherds, awed by all the angels and left on our knees along with the Wise Men!!!
It was all a huge amount of fun - but also gave some fantastic opportunities for conversation about faith, how young people feel about the many pressures of our constantly connected culture and to explore some of their questions about God and religion.
Today was the third in a week of assemblies at Mold Alun High School. The theme of the assemblies is around the scripture from Ecclesiastes 4 Verse 17 which says "Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not easily broken." The assembly started with an illustration of strength: Wendy told the pupils how she has been working out recently to build her muscles up so she can beat her friends at a tug-of-war and so I was ready at one end of the rope and she at the other.
I love a good film. Especially one that challenges worldviews and attitudes, has layers of meaning ("ogres are like onions.....") and has characters that energise and inspire. Add in some mind-blowing special effects, great music and popcorn and I'm a happy girl. Many of my favourites have moments or whole-movie themes that are inspiring , moving and uplifting.
Unfortunately, there's also a huge amount of negative, sexualised, self-esteem destroying trash saturating the viewing of children and young people that often leaves me wanting to destroy every screen I can. I believe that media can do great harm but also great good ("with great power comes great responsibility..."), and whatever your personal stance on viewing, I'm sure we all agree that children and young people are easily captivated and influenced by the media they consume.
So I love to take themes from great films, tv and well-known stories to illustrate my assemblies, to introduce themes and stimulate discussion in lessons and show how deeply embedded in culture are many Biblical themes - love, hope, good, evil, kindness and more.
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