This morning i was out for a ride, second one in three days, the second one around a different part of the North East, on Sunday it was more south county Durham/Teeside, today more East Coastal Durham, South wearside and then north Durham. It struck me just how diverse each of the villages were. It struck me too how many churches i went past that looked more active, traditional, and open. As well as which ‘main streets’ were busy, thriving. On one occasion i saw three old guys sitting smoking on a bench opposite a run down community centre building, and an hour later saw a similar demographic walking around a leafy golf course, striding confidently in their fashion wear.

Over the last week ive been thinking about what kind of approach to young people would work, or would be appropriate in County Durham. Yet just in county durham the area is so diversely varied in terms of resource, structure and outlook that this is too difficult to quantify, let along try and establish a national strategy for a provision. I guess no wonder that the best that can be hoped for is to produce materials and hope they may get adopted.

If there was locally improvised youthwork in different regions, developed from local research- how might different theologies enable validity to these works, yet not be in conflict? ie would places oppressed by decades of abandonment, ill health and unemployment need mission that is underpinned by liberation theology, seeking to persue holistic/social and political redemption – but as a contrast is this at all valid in somewhere like a ‘non-post-mining village’ where residual money is apparent and its more of a communter-ville to Sunderland or Durham, what would people from here be ‘liberated from’ and so would a ‘different theology’ be more appropriate?’   I guess in being awakened to these complexities, but not for the first time, the only right thing to consider is that contextually researched work must be part of a strategy, as would be the approach to discover groups, individuals in the locality who are acting already to as, i would say, perform the drama, even if theyre not aware of it currently.

 

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