From Friday night to Saturday afternoon I was off on a PCC away day at Douai Abbey, which is between Reading and Newbury.
In some ways it is a slightly ironic location when you see the abbey itself. By virtue of not being listed, when they built phase 2 of the building in 1993, you can see that it was built in the style of the time. However with our building, which is listed, we are heavily restricted in what we can actually do – even whether we could expand the building at all.
The away day was really an ideas session, as often our regular meetings are focused on day to day issues, rather than big ideas. As expected the question of how we accomodate increasing numbers. In one of those strange occurences when you feel that you’re being prodded or reminded, we had one of our largest attendances at the service this morning, of 173 people. Although we had a baptism in the service, the additional people for that were all together in one row, there were an awful lot of new faces, which is a good thing, but a difficult problem at the same time!
One of the other oft mentioned topics that came up in discussions was the getting a youth worker idea. Initially it came from the direction that as part of our parish centre has flats we have an ideal location for one, and that we should be using the flats for more than just generating income. However others are starting to consider what a youth worker would, or could do. Although it is still more at the “wouldn’t it be nice if we had a youth worker stage”, rather than a clear definition of what a youth worker would do, I suspect that we may go a little further this time as there was some enthusiasm for moving forward with coming up with some sort of definition as to why we would want a youth worker. For example one of the other worries expressed was that we were loosing young people as the services didn’t really connect with them, I think partly benefiting from the visit from Ian the Diocesan Youth Officer earlier in the year and what he said to us. Whether at the end of the day a youth worker is the right solution, or whether there is something else I don’t know, but what with that and the numbers I think we certainly have a lot that we need to think about!