Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Laughter: Important Tool for Chaplaincy

How important is laughter? Does it fit with the good news of the Gospel? Did Jesus like to laugh? When people think about church, do they feel it would be a joyful place where laughter would be welcome? How come children laugh so much more than adults?

All these questions could form the basis of dozens of blog posts...but I will give them one. Actually I probably won't answer any of them except the first...and even then...

I was once told, after having won a preaching prize, that it would have been better if I had cut out the was frivolous. Better? For who? Certainly not the people listening. I like to give a serious and challenging message and to do so I need to use humour. With adults you could get away with using no humour...but with children and young people? It is like having a toolbox without a hammer or screwdriver.

In my opinion If you are working with children and young people (and adults) using wholesome humour and providing opportunities for laughs should be a priority for a whole lot of reasons.
  • laughing makes people feel good 
  • it helps keep people focused on your message
  • it helps people connect with what you are saying
  • it breaks down barriers people have to hearing
  • it helps people remember what you said
  • it provides light and shade
  • people like to laugh

I am sure there are peer reviewed papers or weighty tomes somewhere extolling the virtue of a good laugh. But who needs them? See the first and last on the list above. People like to laugh and there are plenty of great ways to do it. Sure it can be risky and frightening and you can fall flat on your face...but it is worth the risk. If you can't be humorous yourself use other people's humour. 

So. Here is a video. I saw this at a school assembly ages ago [this is a repost]. Thank you to the student who showed it. The thing I really love about this is that it is giving a simple message in a fun, creative and funny way. People are more likely to hear a message if they also get to laugh while hearing it. 

So watch and can make your school community laugh while sharing the good news with them. I would love to hear some of the ways you have done this.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Cooling Video Kits

Anglican Ed Comm in Sydney have produced a series of video kits of  Professor Trevor Cooling speaking "about issues facing Christian teachers and leaders in Anglican and independent Christian schools today". The kits are promoted as "discussion starters for individuals and staff meetings in Anglican schools"

There is some insightful and thought provoking content in each of the videos and some great questions for staff to discuss. These videos are just the right length for staff meetings and for getting a good conversation going.

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Australian Reconciliation Barometer

The Australian Reconciliation Barometer "is a biennial, national research study that measures the progress of reconciliation between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous Australians."

Last time the Barometer was published, in 2014, five dimensions were used to measure progress towards reconciliation:
  • Historical acceptance
  • Race relations
  • Institutional integrity
  • Equality and equity
  • Unity
The full report can be found here at the Reconciliation Australia website. It has some great information presented beautifully.

Thursday, 2 June 2016

National Association of Episcopal Schools

The website of the National Association of Episcopal Schools has all kinds of resources and articles relating to chaplaincy, religious education and school ethos. It would be worthwhile for Anglican School chaplains to have a look. Although there is a lot that is similar between Australia and the US it is interesting to note some of the differences as well.

Have a look at the Facts and Figures page. There are almost 1200 Episcopal Schools compared to roughly 150 in Australia however the number of students is about the same in the two countries. Clearly Anglican Schools in Australia tend to be much larger than their America counterparts.

The FAQ page also has some informative content. I was particularly interested in the question: What are Chapel and Worship like? This is what is written:

School chapel provides a unique opportunity for worship, reflection, spiritual growth, and the corporate gathering of the school community. The learning that goes on in chapel is a blend of intellectual, emotional, and spiritual understanding; it is here that a school community learns and understands together. Community worship binds students of different ages together, building community across the age span of the school.

In Episcopal schools, chapel is intended to be a place of genuine hospitality that supports the spiritual growth of all, regardless of faith tradition, even as it explicates the school’s Episcopal roots and heritage.Episcopal school chapel includes a variety of approaches to Episcopal worship, from the full liturgy of the Holy Eucharist to celebratory gatherings steeped in school tradition and informal gatherings of song, story, and prayer

This is a worthwhile yet lofty task. I wonder how well it is achieved in the minds of the students