Rediscovering the joy of waiting this Advent

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Waiting. Let’s face it, no-one likes it.

Maybe it’s a London thing but waiting even two minutes for a Tube, bus or train gets me huffing and puffing.

And it’s not just me. From instant streaming to next-day delivery, we want things now and society gives them to us almost immediately.

We simply can’t wait. Every second counts.

But waiting is good for us. The meaningful things in life – from raising children to political change – take time. Advent is an opportunity to remember this.

As Christians we need to take the time to pause and be reflective. The season of Advent is all about waiting. We are all waiting in anticipation for the birth of Jesus Christ.

So let this Advent season be a time of excitement and anticipation, a time with loved ones and family, a time of hope, a time of peace and quiet contemplation, a time to slow down, a time to just be.

That way, when Jesus does arrive at Christmas, our hearts and minds can know the full impact of his arrival.

By Daniel Hale (Million Minutes Trustee)

For Jimmy-Message of Hope

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For Margaret and Barry Mizen, the charity For Jimmy has always been for their son. Jimmy Mizen was tragically killed in an unprovoked attack a day after his 16th birthday, at his local bakers in May 2008. 

Since that day the family have been determined to focus on two outcomes. First, that they will not be beaten by his death and secondly that something good will come from it for the benefit of young people.

Barry and Margaret share Jimmy’s story across the country in schools, churches, prisons, Pupil Referral Units & community groups. With societies threatened by an epidemic of knife crime Jimmy’s mum, Margaret says that her challenge to young people is to “Go out and be the change makers, the peacemakers, to make a difference.” 

Considering this season of Advent, Margaret’s message is one of hope: “With excitement, joy and a sense of deep reflection we anticipate the celebration of Christmas. When I look at the beautiful baby Jesus lying in the crib I am filled with a sense of peace and optimism for the future. That is why I believe we must be there for our young people, who are our future, especially those who are suffering and do not see a peaceful path ahead of them. Jesus showed us how to bring hope to life and at this special time of year my faith is strengthened to bring that hope to our young people and guide them to making a better world. Let us teach our young people how special they are, how loved they are, and how much promise they offer." 

Another project of the charity involves creating ‘Safe Havens’ which young people can turn to if they feel they are in danger. Shops and businesses display a sticker that promises protection and staff are trained in how to offer a safe space. These havens help build safer communities for our young people. 

How can we help to create safer communities and offer hope this Advent?

Please consider taking two minutes out of your day to say Jimmy’s prayer this Advent Sunday with your communities and young people.
 
Lord, we thank you for the gift of Jimmy.
Thankyou for the joy he brought to all who knew him.
May his life and witness give hope to all our precious young people.
Amen.
 
To find out more about the charity please visit: forjimmy.org

We are delighted that Margaret Mizen is one of our champions. It is their message of peace, a principle of our Catholic social teaching, that we want to share with young people.

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Encounters at Courtyard

My first month at Million Minutes has gone so fast! I love working in our small but very energetic team comprising of Kate, Tadz and Danny. I have been able to meet volunteers and young people as well as plan engagements events and facilitate workshops. In this time, I have learnt so much about the positive effect that detached youth work can have on young people. Just chatting to young people can make a huge difference. You may be the only person to have spoken to that young person today that hasn’t tried to tell them off or said something negative to them (as often happens in schools to young people who are ‘on the edge’). Our encounters allow us to bring something positive to their day. Building up relationships with young people can really help boost their self-confidence and make them realise they are valuable human beings with so much to offer.

I have also had the opportunity to meet many volunteers, all with different, yet inspirational motives for wanting to help with the Courtyard project. Some are parents themselves or have worked with young people in the past, aware of the hardships that young people experience every day, and others are just compassionate beyond belief, wanting to help others in any way they can. The creativity, drive and compassion they bring to the team is astounding. They will be truly able to bring something to the young people they encounter, accompanying them wherever they want to go.

In the coming weeks I am eager to carryout the events that we have planned to engage more people in Enfield. I am looking forward to meeting new people and telling them about the potential that Courtyard has and seeing how they can bring their own qualities to the teams they will be working with.

December Courtyard events:

  • ‘Pizza Fuelled Purpose’, youth chat & pizza, - Wed 5th Dec eve

  • Courtyard Coffee Morning’, Enfield Film, questions, cuppas and pastries – Sat 8th Dec morn

  • You Know Who?!, Enfield Edition, enjoyable mapping event to find young people, volunteers and community links – Wed 12th Dec eve. (flyer below)

  • ‘Streets walk’ learn how we observe our area and groups of young people (observe only, no chatting) – flexible, or - Thurs 13th Dec eve after Parish Rosary

January event:

Offering Hope-Two opportunities to attend conversations around the nuts and bolts of good youth work projects. For more details and to register: millionminutes.eventbrite.co.uk

Additionally, if you would like to find out more about Courtyard then check out our website by visiting: https://courtyardproject.org.uk/

By Sophie Aulton (Courtyard London Worker)