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Coronavirus: A youth ministry liveblog

 

We ran this liveblog from March to May 2020 to help youth leaders respond to the Covid-19 pandemic. All the content shared can still be accessed and searched for via the sidebar.

22d ago.

Youth for Christ resources for COVID-19 now online

 

Youth for Christ have created a landing page directing you to their resources and support for youth ministry. They’re developing some video tutorials on moving your youth work online, plus they have a range of existing free resources you can download. Head over here to see them.

 

Hear about the latest Youthscape News & Resources

22d ago.

Podcast Special #3: Young People and Risk

 

We’re creating a special series of the Youthscape podcast, which will continue to appear at semi-regular intervals during the current global crisis.

The third and latest edition has just gone live; in it Rachel Gardner talks to Gareth Cheesman from Esteem Acet UK about how to help young people handle risk and Rachel and Martin Saunders talk about shifting cultural landscapes.

You can listen now here, and subscribe to make sure you never miss an episode, here.

22d ago.

A guide to self-isolation: 9 ideas from a chronically ill person

 

‘Self-isolation’ is a major challenge to our normal way of life, but the spread of COVID-19 has made it a necessary one. In this new post on Youth Work News, Head of Theology Phoebe Hill offers practical wisdom on how to self-isolate well, from her experience of living with chronic illness.

 
Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash
25d ago.

New online safeguarding guidance from thirtyone:eight and Youthscape

 

In response to a huge and sudden shift in the way much youth work will now be delivered, the teams at Christian safeguarding charity thirtyone:eight and Youthscape have been working hard to create a new guidance document to help youth workers to operate safely online. We should stress that this is NOT a ready-made policy for online youth work, but could be used as a basis for you to agree one, in consultation with your safeguarding lead. We hope this offers some helpful reassurance and stimulates thought about how we engage in this new frontier of youth ministry and mission together, while continuing to keep young people safe.

You can now download the document for free here (or via the adjacent link).

25d ago.

Running Alpha Youth online

 

Were you in the middle of running an Alpha Course with your youth group? Or are you looking for fresh ideas to engage your youth group in the coming weeks/months?

Alpha have produced a guide for running the Alpha Course online, and this includes the Youth Alpha. Why not have a look and see if this is something that would work with your group?

 
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25d ago.

Some helpful tips for filming yourself

 

With youth groups moving online, some of you will now be trying out live-streamed videos or little videos giving out encouragements to the young people you work with. Vineyard Churches have written this great post with some advice for filming yourself - equipment needed, lighting, sound quality, etc.

 
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25d ago.

Open Me: Uncomfortable hope with Rachel Gardner

 

Many will be watching world events unfold with great anxiety, fear and sadness. 'Hope' is hard to conjure when life is so chaotic and the future so seemingly uncertain. Youth leaders for example, are already having to completely reimagine their lives and work on a practical level, amidst the emotional struggle that widespread social isolation and panic present. Where does God, and a Christian vision of 'hope' fit in to all of this?

Earlier this year Rachel Gardner led the latest season of Open Me, our devotional tool aimed specifically at supporting youth leaders. We hope you find her five reflections on 'hope' to be useful and encouraging in a confusing time. You can find them each listed individually below:

  1. Hope in Broken Times
  2. Hope for a Broken Earth
  3. Hope in a Broken System
  4. Hope with a Broken Heart
  5. Hope through a Broken Church
Hope in Broken Times

Hope in Broken Times

There’s a collective finger on the pulse of uncertainty, even dread. Is this is how it will be from now on in? But we’re Youth Workers. We caught up in the busy-ness of Hope; building the expectation that something better is going to happen. Hope is happening.

26d ago.

Luton groups partner to form Luton Youth and Families COVID-19 Response Group

 

Several organisations across Luton have partnered together, with Youthscape, to form a response group as a central place for children, young people and families to get in touch and access town-wide support.

On Friday schools across Luton will close for the foreseeable future for the majority of students. In addition, many face-to-face support services and provisions in Luton already have already been suspended due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

We are aware this will be a significantly challenging time for many children, young people and families, as the impact of the current situation will cause financial, emotional and social strain on many in our community.

We know that your schools are working hard to ensure there will be on going support available over the coming months. Voluntary services across Luton also remain wholeheartedly committed to providing care and support for those who need it, particularly during this time. The group currently comprises of Families United Network, Level Trust, Luton Borough Council, Luton Food Bank, Tokko Youth Centre and Youthscape and more are likely to join in the coming days.

This is a local, rather than a national project, but we hope it's a helpful example to others across the country thinking about how to collaborate, at a chaotic time, to help support struggling communities.

To access this support or find out more, you can fill in the online referral form here.

 
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26d ago.

Podcast Special #2: Virtual Youth Work

 

We’re creating a special series of the Youthscape podcast, which will continue to appear at semi-regular intervals during the current global crisis.

The second and latest edition has just gone live; in it Rachel Gardner and Martin Saunders discuss how it feels to do youth work online, the impact of the latest government measures on schools and young people revising for exams, and how we make sure that safeguarding remains a priority in the midst of innovation.

You can listen now here, and subscribe to make sure you never miss an episode, here.

YS Special Edition 2: Virtual Youth Work

YS Special Edition 2: Virtual Youth Work

What does it look like to do youth work online? And what does it look like for us to do youth work during times of national crisis? Martin and Rachel talk virtual youth groups, how to include all young people and the impact of schools closing.

26d ago.

Social distancing: What happens to face-to-face youth work now?

 

School is cancelled and social distancing – or self-isolation – is the new status quo. In this new article Lahna Pottle speaks to other youth leaders to wrestle with what this means for working with young people. Here you can find government advice on keeping physically and mentally well whilst self-isolating.

 
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27d ago.

Major cancellations

 

Various events have been postponed and cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak, both within and outside the Christian community. Earlier this week Big Church Day Out, which was due to run over the May Bank Holiday weekend, announced that it would not run in 2020. The organisers were this year planning to launch a dedicated youth stage and stream - Big Church Youth - but due to the extraordinary circumstances, the next BCDO event will not run until May 2021. You can find their full announcement here.

Then on Wednesday, long-running Evangelical event Spring Harvest announced that it was cancelling all four of its 2020 events, which were due to run in Minehead, Skegness and Harrogate over the course of April. In a video and statement shared on their website and social media, the organisers said they would now be looking at using ‘creative online methods instead’ to share the content they had planned and prepared for the event. You can read the statement here.

Youth leaders and groups will have been planning to attend both events in considerable numbers, with significant youth programmes planned at each. Wednesday also saw the announcement that schools in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland would be closed from Friday, an expected move but one that will place more pressure on parents, families, and home life for young people. GCSE and A-Level examinations in England and Wales have also been cancelled.

 
Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash
28d ago.

Podcast Special #1

 

During this period of quarantine, we are going to be doing more regular episodes of the Youthscape Podcast, talking about how youth workers can support the young people they work with in this current situation. You can find the first episode here, where Martin and Rachel talked about some practical steps they’re taking (WhatsApp broadcasts, YouTube channels) and the hope they’re seeing in the youth ministry community in this time. They also prayed together and reflected on some scripture. Keep an eye on our podcast page as we’ll be aiming to do a few per week.

28d ago.

Archbishops Welby & Sentamu speak

 

"We must look after one another, knowing that in an uncertain world with a new virus we are best protected with honesty, compassion and care." Our patron and the Archbishop of York offer guidance for a time of dread in this comment piece.

 
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29d ago.

New challenges, big questions

 

As you’ll be experiencing already, this pandemic has thrown so much of our normal lives into chaos and confusion. With that challenge, new questions are emerging, and we want to help answer them. But we need each other – if you have ideas, if you’re seeing good things happen that you want people to know about, if you have a question you want answering – please get in touch.

“We urge you sisters and brothers to become a different sort of church in these coming months: hopeful and rooted in the offering of prayer and praise and overflowing in service to the world.”

Archbishops Justin Welby & John Sentamu17th March 2020
 

Here are just some of the questions we now face:

What happens to face-to-face youth work when we’re all social distancing? We know that social distancing is vital in slowing the spread of the virus, but we also know we can’t just give up on our relationship networks, particularly for those who may have no one else to support them.

How can youth workers help protect the vulnerable? (e.g. older volunteers they usually work with, as well as young people who are also at risk)

What are the theological resources for Coronavirus? What does Christian hope look like in this situation? What happens to church when we no longer gather?

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