Gender aware youth work (Grove youth)





As part of the Christian Feminist Network and leader of the Project 3:28 collective aimed at removing gender inequality, Natalie Collins does not shy away from her feminist stance.

As a self-proclaimed feminist, I applauded each of her points. From the beginning of this short and punchy booklet, Natalie makes it clear that she is writing from a ‘complementarian’ viewpoint (to find out what that means, read it!). Her writing highlights some eye-opening issues of gender assumptions within society in general and applies these well to youth work. She provides a steady, if challenging, theological framework for her position. The clear examples of how to apply this are equally challenging. However, if you do not carry the same starting point, Collins’ boldness can seem alienating. Her provocative style may come across as brash if you do not share the same views.

Emily Mitchell is deputy editor of Premier Youth and Children’s Work.


Forever, now




By Newday


Forever, now is the first studio album from Newday, the annual New Frontiers youth festival, and it successfully recreates the worshipful, party atmosphere of the live event.

Forever, now has clearly benefited from production technologies that might feel out of place on a live worship album. It is heavily engineered and there is good use of electronic instrumentation, drum tracks and synths. This helps listeners engage with the atmosphere and culture of the festival, but an average youth group may struggle to recreate this sound in their own setting.

The 13 tracks have well-written, singable melodies and lyrics packed with biblical truths, as well as several moments for reflection. Standout songs include a new arrangement of ‘Rock of ages’ and ‘Hallowed be your name’. The album is an enjoyable and refreshing listen. There is plenty of space within each song, giving a strong balance between a worship and contemporary dance music feel.

Cameron Potts is an actor and volunteer youth worker.


Raising uncommon kids




By Sami Cone


This is a parenting discipleship book written by someone who has gone ahead of me and done such a good job. It’s as if Sami takes your hand and gently says: “Come on, this is the way. Walk in it.”

The book covers topics such as forgiveness, harmony, gentleness, patience, kindness, peace, gratitude and compassion. This type of book could be preachy, but is far from it. Each page is full of wisdom, warmth, love and empathy. There are funny stories, things to make you cry, and many ideas to inspire your parenting, family life and life in general.

Read this if you want your family to live as Jesus intends you to. Or if you know that you need a little reminder that you’re not alone, parenting is hard, and there is a way through. This book is like a light shining into your heart. It will fill you with enthusiasm and help lift your eyes toward Jesus.

Gen Rylett is a volunteer children’s worker and mum of three.


The big Bible sticker book




By Jan Godfrey and Paula Doherty


This activity book goes beyond the purpose of a conventional sticker book, merely occupying little fingers. Instead, it covers the Old and New Testaments chronologically, retelling Bible stories in the level of detail required to inspire a child to add stickers to complete the picture illustrating it. It provides a great opportunity to read the stories interactively and get to know them better. The illustrations and stickers are bold and colourful, making them appealing to young children. Under-5s would need some adult help to get the most out of this, even if just detaching the sticker pages from the end of the book to make sticking them to the relevant pages easier.

Nathalie Bickley helps with the children’s work at her local church and is a mother of four.


Messy Church does science




Edited by David Gregory


I love that the Bible Reading Fellowship is willing to engage with science in church. I especially love that the first word is ‘explosions’!

The light bulb rating for mess, danger and difficulty, and the sequential layout of each activity proved helpful. However, this scale doesn’t come with a key, so it’s not until the end of the book that you work out what it means. There was a fantastically broad spectrum of events and I think only the instant ice seemed unsuitable for our setting. The big thinking and big questions were terrific. The language was mostly clear, although, even with the glossary, I had to look up ‘Cartesian’. The perspectives were an excellent idea, but sadly only included two men. Overall, this is an excellent resource that I think will draw even more people into relationship with church and God.

Siobhan Crowther is children and families worker at Teddington Baptist Church.


Supporting families with sick children




Rachel Hill-Brown


Rachel Hill-Brown uses experience from both her personal and professional life in writing this insightful and incredibly easy-to-digest booklet.

Supporting families with sick children

is ideal as a training tool within the Church for those wishing to become involved in pastoral work or for reviewing current practice and policy, as well as for those wanting to generally know how to support individuals or families with sick children.

The layout is simple to follow, with a short section for reflection at the end of each chapter. The questions work well in group discussion and focus the reader’s thinking in areas such as the current needs of members of the community, the Church’s pastoral systems of recognising and responding to need, and support and encouragement for those who walk alongside families in difficult situations.

Information is punctuated with insights from family members, highlighting the difficulties, frustrations and needs they faced during their child’s illness, stay in hospital or disability. There are also suggestions for supporting those visiting children and families in hospital, and in the longer term.

Rachel Hill-Brown encourages the reader to call on and take advice from more experienced people when offering care for children and families in situations outside their usual experiences. She points to a range of additional resources, including further personal reading as well as resources to support children and siblings.

A number of typing errors spoil the flow in a few parts of the booklet. However, this is an encouraging, informative and practical resource for a very challenging ministry.

Revd Tracey Marshall is assistant curate at St James and Emmanuel, Didsbury and a former teacher.


Pyramid Park Vulnerability

Loretta Andrews produces and presents Unsigned on Premier Christian Radio and Premier Gospel. Here’s her artist of the month.

Vulnerability is the debut album from Pyramid Park. The newly formed band is a collective led by songwriter Pete McAllen, who has released numerous projects over the years, as well as leading worship at his church in Cambridge.

The album marks a rebrand and new musical direction for McAllen, with a collection of songs that speak to the human condition, which longs for spirituality. The project is produced by alternative pop artist and producer Iain Hutchison, and takes references from Phoria, Two Door Cinema Club and Gabriel Kahane.

McAllen says: “The record was written in a time of personal struggle. Much of this has been about taking off the masks, writing really honest songs and, in this, meeting with God again in a new way.”

With song titles such as ‘Vulnerability’ and ‘The unexplained’, the album will resonate with young people searching for God or perhaps struggling with life and their faith.