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This Week at St Mary’s

A Voice for our Youth

 Rachel Gardner is an impressive woman. It does not take long to discover her passion – churches must connect with young people. She is part of Youthscape 

Youthscape has been going since 1993. Their Centre for Research is dedicated to studying the ever-shifting landscape of youth culture – so that we can all better help young people. The gap between the vast majority of young people in the UK and the church is wide. Research has drawn attention to the way that secularism has created what she described as a permafrost, rigid assumptions which dictate all else. Further, the meaning of ‘tolerance’ has now morphed into something resistant to being challenged. Amongst young people, to be spiritual is accepted as fine – religion/religious not so. Findings show too that young people often hold a strong sense of justice and fairness; that the norm is to ‘hyperconnected’; 

 A key word for Youthscape is innovation (a catchy buzzword that demands definition and explanation). There is no single or best way of working with young people, rather each context requires imagination and initiative – Holy Spirit inspired. General principles should be familiar territory for the Christian – relationship building, trustworthiness, starting where they are. 

I continue, as I hope most of us do, to feel an urgency that we get much more involved at St Mary’s. We have Nottingham College on our doorstep, and there are 2 large universities in the city. Youth are EVERYWHERE around us, but rarely in church. 

Rachel drew attention to the difference between Kodak and Apple. Kodak continued to do what it had always done, doubtless very well, but who now takes photographs with a kodak camera? Nothing wrong with it, except the ground has shifted, a lot. 

Tom Gillum

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