Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Aussie Advent

What has snow got to do with Advent and Christmas in Australia? Very little! And yet many Australians continue with the imagery used in the northern hemisphere.

In one of our most popular blog posts ever Jon Kemp pointed towards a New Zealand resource that connects the Southern Cross with the Advent Candles. 

I wonder how you might bring a southern hemisphere flavour to Advent and Christmas this year, if that is where you reside?

Monday, 13 October 2014

Advent: In your face!

It is that time of year when those in school ministry start thinking about how they will unpack Christmas and Advent. I posted these videos last year and they are well worth a look. They help to challenge the stale image we have in our minds about the birth of Jesus and cut through to the starkness of the story.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

The Public Face of God

This year the Church of England has released a number of interesting and useful reports. 

'The Public Face of God' is a report into chaplaincy in Anglican Secondary Schools.  Despite the different context some of the findings will be no surprise to chaplains in Anglican Schools in Australia. One interesting finding was how chaplains use their time:

  • mostly on pastoral care, followed by supporting and leading worship and then by leading the schools spiritual life and embodying its ethos
  • missional, pedagogic and prophetic activities are all undertaken but, with some exceptions, are not the main focus of chaplaincy time
  • most do not teach, in contrast to their counterparts in independent schools

It seems to me that a shift is taking place in Australia away from the teaching chaplain to one whose main focus in on pastoral care, worship and Anglican ethos. However, I think a further shift is needed to that of chaplains being truly missional. While a pastoral chaplain may always be needed Anglican Schools could do well with a chaplain whose focus is on the wider school community. Some schools are already employing people in this role, as community chaplain.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby wrote the foreword for this important document. He says:
Less than a year ago I set out my concerns about the terrible impact of homophobic bullying on the lives of young people and I made a public commitment to support our schools in eradicating homophobic stereotyping and bullying.
Church schools begin from the belief that every child is loved by God. This guidance aims to help schools express God’s love by ensuring that they offer a safe and welcoming place for all God’s children. This is a task we are called to share and I know it is one our schools take immensely seriously. I commend this guidance as a contribution to that work.
Both documents can be downloaded here: