Imagine 2014: Inspiring, refreshing, invigorating

Posted on September 10, 2014 by Amy Tolmie
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Having battled through terrible traffic and worsening weather early on a Monday morning I was hoping the day would be good. It quickly surpassed all my expectations!

I came away excited about schools work, encouraged that the work taking place in our schools is having an impact and challenged to 'see the unseen'.

John Prockter led us in sung worship, inviting us to put aside the things we had already experienced that morning to come together as a worshipful community.

Jill Rowe, Director of Ethos and Formation for Oasis, painted a picture of life in schools right now that really hit home: schools exist in the bubble of their own world; staff are under increasing pressure to have pupils who attain standards and can re-gurgitate information when asked; every school has a different and distinct personality; our challenge as schools workers is to see where we can be good news for each school in our community.

Having been asked to choose one of three 'conversations' to be a part of, we broke for lunch and as ever it was good to chat to other delegates who were there from a variety of areas around the country. I'm always heartened to discover that there are other people from all sorts of areas around the country who work hard to ensure that our children and young people are given opportunities that might not be open to them without the intervention and relationships built by volunteers working in our schools.

After lunch we broke into three groups to talk about a variety of topics: Jill Rowe invited Q&A and discussed issues like approaching youthwork within the school framework; how to support staff as well as pupils; recognising the importance of time-keeping, appearance and knowing your position in the school community.

Tim Abbott from CYO Colchester led a discussion titled "What is the gospel we believe in?". The discussions centred around talking about how the gospel is about transformation and learning the significance of stories in communicating our work because people want to hear about change. You can read more about their conversation in these notes from Tim and some of those who were part of this conversation.

Amy Stock led a conversation out of the question "what do you see?". This allowed us to think through what and who it is we are drawn to as we go into schools, exploring the idea that God's agenda is often different from ours. The conversation also highlighted the need to see the unseen young people in schools, who neither fall into the category of top of the class students or disruptive challenging students and can coast through their school career possibly not fully seen/known by their teachers or other staff in the school.

The day was rounded off by Chris Curtis looking at our calling: to be transformed by Jesus and in doing so to go on to see the lives of young people transformed.

All in all it was a great day. Thank you schoolswork.co.uk and the Youthscape team for your hard work, it was truly a fantastic way to start the year!