The time I have spent so far volunteering for Agathos has been amazing. After making the decision to take a year to serve God before making plans for the future about uni or a career I know that if I wasn't with Agathos I wouldn't be anywhere near as equipped for schools and youthwork as I am now. After also only becoming a Christian in February 2014 I know I have grown so much in the faith through this work and through biblical study - with my church, my role with Agathos and with my mentor John Mainwaring, who is an important part of my training year. I am very excited to see how God will work through me during my time with Agathos as well as in schools in the new year!" I am very excited to see how God will work through me during my time with Agathos as well as in schools in the new year!
Today on some informal lunchtime schools work we went into the local high school to talk to the pupils about "body image" and what promotes and what doesn't promote a positive body image; paying particular attention to the media and the pressures on young people today to achieve the "perfect" body. I was inspired to make a poster of images from celebrity magazines, most of which were known to be photoshopped, and set these images in contrast to the Bible's definition of beauty from 1 Peter 3 - 3:4 "Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewellery or fine clothes. Rather it should be that of your inner self, the unfailing beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's eyes".
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.
Today was my second informal lunchtime schools work activity and once again I was given the chance to come up with a plan of what kind of activity we could do. I came up with the idea to do something a bit more in depth than last week and asked the pupils "Why did life begin?" to get them thinking not about how we came into being (creation, big bang, evolution, etc...) but about why life began.
This was my (Kieran's) first week of Internship with Agathos and today was my first informal lunchtime schools work session. Wendy had given me the task of coming up with an idea and after some Googling and thinking I came up with the idea to have an icebreaker game for the new year 7s at the high school to get them talking, making friends and maybe give them a laugh.
Today's blog post is about the 3 days I spent up in Sheffield with "Scripture Union" on a schools work training course. I suppose the best place to start would be at the beginning, After being told about the training I was more then happy to go on the three days, but as I don't drive there was a transport issue... take the train for £60 and have a relaxed 2 hour journey OR only pay £20 and get up at 5am for the National Express coach which would take 5 hours to get to Sheffield... from Chester! And so faced with the challenge I did what any 'still living at home, car-less, studying intern' would do...
Agathos is an Associate Trust of Scripture Union England and Wales, which means we have a great network of co-workers to share ideas with and be supported by. SU also provide us with valuable organisational advice and great resources.
Earlier this week I visited SU HQ in Bletchley for a 2-day Schools Ministry Forum which was extremely valuable. It was great to hear from workers with decades of experience as Christians supporting schools, and also to hear the latest thinking and challenges that the ever-changing Education System presents. The session were creative, interactive and full of inspiration. Working in schools varies in so many ways from other Christian youth work, and it's very encouraging to be able to pray, discuss and learn with others who minister in similar settings and are familiar with the structures, regulations and needs of educational settings.
We discussed legislation, resource development, quirky ideas, successes and failures, the rise of chaplaincy and much more. Oh, and drank lots of tea and coffee, of course!
The only downside - over two hours of delays on the motorways!
written by Wendy Swan
As part of the school's Anti-Bullying week, I was invited to lead a Refuge space for three days at Bryn Gwalia school last month.
Each class in the school, from Nursery to Year 6, visited Refuge for a lesson. The lesson involved discussions about prayer, a craft activity and six interactive stations where the pupils could spend as much time as they wanted.
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.
This week we led what is probably my favourite assembly - Samson and Delilah. I've added a line for the benefit of the staff - as Delilah begs the mighty Samson to reveal the secret of his super-human strength, he bangs his fist and cries 'Oh why why why Delilah, must you nag me so much?!'
Gets a giggle from the staff every time. One headteacher apologized after the assembly for laughing so loud - she had such a fit of giggles she had to bite on her jumper to get control!
This year, our volunteers Steph and Nia played the dysfunctional couple, and did a fantastic job too. Steph struggled a little with his comic timing, and we were shocked to learn that he didn't know the song at all, even when we sang it for him in the school hall!
What kind of music do they play down in London?
So here's the video, as part of Steph's cultural edication, and for everyone who now has the song playing in their head
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