“forward planning”

One isn’t supposed to do forward planning, one ought really just to plan, because what other direction might one plan, backwards-ly?  We tend to call that regret or hindsight!  But the thinking I am doing at the moment feels like very forward planning.  I have started to consider where I want to be and what I want to be doing in 13months’ time.  My chaplain at uni (I suppose now he’s not my uni chaplain he’s my colleague -oooh!) sent me an E-mail semi-seriously suggesting that I consider applying to stand as the Methodist Youth President.  I am tossing up whether to stand for a different representative position from 3Generate; the Methodist Children and Youth Assembly (which, by the way people should book onto!) and am mulling over standing in the election to go to Methodist Conference to represent Wales Synod.  All of which need decisions soon, but won’t take effect for nearly a year.

I’m not sure I like making plans for after a post that I haven’t even started yet!

If anyone who thinks I might value their opinion has pearls of wisdom they would be accepted!

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silence is broken

The long silence over here has been mainly down to a lack of things to say, and in part a lack of time even if there were things to be said.  But now, fortuitously I have both time and news!

The circuit has secured enough funding to fund a part-time lay worker for next year.  This is exciting, and if my application is successful gives me a bit of financial security for staying in Bangor next year, and also could be the resolution of the sense of call to stick around and do studenty, participatory stuff here.

More details as and when I have them!

Application Update

I went to bed last night, having written about Palm Sunday with thoughts on a blog post about next year.  And then this morning I got a phone-call from my Minister with some big OPP news, so I shall now try and merge the two together.

The news, drum roll …

The central pot of money we’d hoped would fund the project won’t be.  They had 24 applications and enough funding for 10 projects; I really don’t envy the people making the decision, and if I am honest, think I would have decided not the fund Bangor either, given Cardiff has had a project before.  Obviously this is a blow for the wider church recognising how different North and South Walian life can be, but I do see where they are coming from.

I am not actually too disappointed, this is very much a period of exploring and figuring out.  The next step is to see if the District fancy finding some money to run the project, so the dream isn’t totally dead yet.  A bit more wait and see!

Even if District can’t find the money then I am still looking forward to next year (this is what I was thinking about last night).

I am looking forward to having my own place, to myself, where I can have my rules.  I can have a fruit bowl, my washing up might slide a bit, I can be ueber-spontaneous!

I am looking forward to still having friends; relationships which I have grown to cherish over the last year I can continue.

I am looking forward to scary grown up things like council tax, because that is all part of moving forward in life.

I am currently enjoy knocking around ideas on community, and safe space, and refuge and hospitality and things, and having accomodation which is solely my own features predominantly in this.

So even if I spend all my time working in McDonalds I am very much looking forward to the post-graduation life!

Application Sent

It’s gone!  The Application for our Circuit to host a One Programme Project has been sent off.  This is the bit that I am most nervous about, as in all of life it all revolves around funding.  This is the application for the funding. If we get it, whilst it is not guaranteed that I will be an OPP because the post has to be openly advertised there is a good chance I will be the best candidate who applies.  If we don’t get the funding then that counts as a major hiccough in the plan.  It might also be a good sign that this is not what God wants from me.

Ch,ch,ch changes!

Meetings and changes seem to be defining the run up to submitting a project application, so to catch you up there has been another meeting and lo! Another change.

Any idea of working across a large area and living itinerantly are ancient history now.  I am surprisingly OK about this.  Maybe it was the gradual and winding path that got me here that made it so.  A lot of people would say that it was God getting me where he wanted me, he had to start me there and grow me.  Maybe that it is true.  Maybe it is God reigning me in from some far of fantasy I had.  Maybe this is what happens when a bunch of different people all try and have a stab at what God wants.  Maybe this isn’t how God works at all. (My zealously Arminian theology is exceedingly comfortable with that, if it messes with people’s idea of a God who controls the puppet strings then they’re welcome to sulk!)

The project is now going to be student work entirely.  We’re dropping the Youth Group element completely. This pleases me, I wasn’t sure paying me to support the establishment of a youth group was the best use of connexional funds.  The churches involved are quite competent and have some good people who can do it themselves.  So I feel far more comfortable with this proposed project!  (Hopefully it won’t change again, but I wouldn’t stake too much on it! I wouldn’t gamble at all but were I to, then I wouldn’t stake too much on it!)

So the application we are writing up is for someone to support the Methsoc here in Bangor. By no means run it, or interfere, there is an excellent system set up for electing the future committee and a Chaplain (who also doesn’t interfere; Methsoc does self-governance better than any other Christian society I know of here!), mainly to deal with some of the things that it would be nice to do but we never have time of effort for along with the day-to-day and important stuff.  So things like looking at how me advertise ourselves and looking at bridging the gap between those who express interest in Freshers’ Week and those who make it to meetings.  There will always be a drop off, but it seems we can do more to decrease it.  (When I was Pres of Methsoc we were E-mail in excess of 60 people each week but had 3 regular attenders at meetings and 10 registered members for most of the year!).  So if the application goes through it will be to employ someone to work in that gap, and also to network with other Methsocs, see how they do recruitment and see if we can all learn from each other.

The project sounds really good.  Something I think will work, is worthwhile and something I am interested in, so that is all good!  And the meeting, between me, Alf, our Chaplain and Lynne, the Project Participation Manager (PPM) who covers Wales, was positive and felt optimistic so that is good.

The next joy I need to deal with, pretty much now, is accommodation for next year.  House-hunting should have started for me, it hasn’t quite yet!  Living on my own is seriously on the cards.  I want the experience before progressing onto other things but at the moment most of my thinking is up in the air and it all seems a bit daunting!

So at the moment the future both excites and scares me. Which seems about OK!

It begins

I am now back from a meeting I had with my Superintendent Minister (someone should write a Methodist Jargon Buster I can link to!). He is called Alf and I get on with him very well. I went over to the Manse (house that the Church owns that Ministers live in) for lunch, which was very tasty, and then we chatted about being an OPP. That is, a “One Programme Participant”. The One Programme is the Methodist Church’s strategy for increasing Youth Participation. An OPP is a part time, paid, young person (younger than 23) who works with a specific “project” to make that happen.

I was a little bit nervous about this meeting; I didn’t know what to expect. The idea of living in a campervan for a year is an odd one, and Alf may well have had ideas for me (not that he’d ever force me into them, but telling him I had a different plan would have been awkward for me). As it was, Alf was lovely and very much let me take the lead, so that was good.

The way OPP applications work, is that a church, a circuit (a group of churches in a local area) or a district (a wider area made of different circuits) create a project, and people apply to run them. So we talked about the project application, and what ideas I had about it, and how it would suit me and how it would fulfill the criteria and so forth. So you know, a One Programme Project must;

  • Be run by a young person
  • Increase youth participation
  • Be linked to the Methodist church
  • Be able to run after the OPP has left
It was a good chat, Alf was supportive and liked the idea.  We talked about some good practical stuff; the cost of fuel, living a nomadic life, parking and so on.  As well as how it would link in with other things within the Synod. (I will explain the quirks of Wales district some other time!)
So all in all a good meeting.  Alf is now writing the project application, which I am excited about and it is all moving a step closer.  Once we’ve done the Project Application it gets sent off, and then the people who control the money pick 12 projects to finance and OPP for, and then those projects ask for applications for people to be an OPP.  So the next stage, really, is to get it written and sent off, and hope they like the project.  But things look favourable for this.

More later, probably when we send the application off!  (should contain all the exciting nitty gritty details of the project!)

An Introduction

And so my blogging begins.
This has arisen because the idea of a blog has intrigued me for the last few years, largely since I arrived at uni but now I have a purpose and context for my blog which I am happy with, I shall begin.

I am considering working part time for the Methodist Church in Wales, trying to increase Youth Participation (full details in a later post!) and part of the strategy I will use, if that dream goes ahead, is to blog. I see it as a simple way that those with web access can find out about what I am doing, and therefore what is going on with young people in Wales.

At the same time, however, I want my blog to do more than that. I want my blog to be a way of exploring, in a very public manner, following what I perceive to be a call of God on my life at this time. And so I shall start now because in 3 days time I am talking to my minister about this, so it makes sense to start blogging at this point.

So I shall start blogging now, then if after a process (to be described in a different post) I do work for the church my blog will be in place, I will have “found my voice” and be ready to go, and the previous posts will stand as a record of testing that call. If I do not work for the church next year then the blog will probably still exist and become more generic. Either way, I think God as other calls on my life which I will probably blog through so it shall be used in that way.

So that is a little bit about me.

Let me also introduce Mwyndeg. Mwyndeg only exists as a concept at the moment. At the moment I think next year will involve living in a campervan. And I want a name for my campervan, so I picked Mwyndeg. For a bunch of reasons really. I am currently living in North Wales, here welsh identity and culture are tied very closely to the language (which I shamefully haven’t learnt yet, that is an aim for next year) and I wanted to reflect the distinctly welsh element by using a welsh language name. I wanted a name beginning with M, so she and I could meander and also because then she can be “Mwyndeg the Methodist-mobile, or the methomobile” or something cool-sounding like that! I also wanted a slightly unusual name; Myfanwy would not cut it, despite being lovely and welsh. And, because I wasn’t picky enough already, I wanted one with a nice meaning. So Mwyndeg it was. As it comes from words meaning gentle and pretty. So there you have Mwyndeg. She is literally just a name and a scant wish-list of features at the moment, but when she gets closer to reality I shall blog about her with great excitement!

So here I am, starting my blog, just before the adventure starts really, waiting to first dip my toes into exploring this sense of call and into blogging too1