Wednesday, February 06, 2008

February begins

I had a real spring in my step today as I walked to work through sunshine and showers - I felt the warm sunshine (briefly) and I was reminded that dark January was over.

Then I was soaked in a sudden and heavy shower.

Ah well.

I'm currently working most days of the week for at least a little of the day as I am working really hard on a new initiative for my final practical theology placement (one day a week, alongside my "regular" job). I have set up three all age family cells for people who can't get to homegroups due to childcare committments. They are also a place where folks new to faith can come with their children as it can be hard for new Christians to settle into a large gathering of hundreds when they have come from the more intimate setting of teatime or daytime alpha.

These cells meet for two hours and revolve around a meal being shared together. Children of course do hive off to play as we all know that children can wolf a meal down in nanoseconds while adults actually prefer to savour and chew.

A key feature of these gatherings is that the adults get to talk to one another. I set a couple of aims and purposes out when meeting with the prospective leaders. I wanted the groups to be a place of nurture and also a place where people of all ages could "receive" and feel that they belonged - "being known" and "knowing others". For 40 minutes or so everyone is together in the one room for praise and prayer and an all age interactive "teach". I'm not going to go into all of how that works out in practice. Ask me in four months! But the first meetings have gone really well; I'm actually overwhelmed with the response of gratitude from the parents who have attended; many of whom are on their own; and some from other cultures.

And - hey - it's a pilot; a trial; there is no pressure on me to "perform" or achieve anything; if an element of the programme doesn't work and/or I made a mistake with the vision of this then I have been given the freedom, both by the college and by my supervisor to make a mistake. Quite humbling really, that they trust me so. But mistakes, as all you cuddly academics know, mean that I can reflect and modify my practice.

When you teach Social Subjects in a school context you frequently teach the same lesson to more than one class in a week, if the school practises rotation and not blocks (bit of educational jargon for you there)

I remember being exceedingly self-critical and reflective when one lesson went swimmingly and the same lesson apparently presented the same way seemed to crash and burn with serious casualties (my temper!) - what could I change? What could I have done better? I am actually looking forward to the reflective part of my placement.

Quite exciting really. I love any excuse to hang out with kids and their parents, as do the rest of my family.
What's exciting you just now?

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