Pointers 31-2 June 2021

Inside this issue:

World­wide Patterns in Attendance at Religious Services
The 2018 International Social Survey Programme (ISSP) data on religion has just been released. Around 40 countries took part, surveying their adult populations on what religion meant to them. Australia was one of those countries. Most of the questions asked in 2018 were also asked by the International Social Survey Programme in 2009. Comparison of the responses in 2009 and 2018 provides an indication of trends.

University Chaplaincy during a Pandemic: Review of UK Research
A recently published report on research in the UK has revealed the important role of university chaplains in providing pastoral care and support to students in challenging times. One of the major challenges confronting chaplains is the mental health crisis among students. A November 2020 survey of UK university students revealed that just over half of all participants said their mental health was worse than it was before the pandemic. A further finding showed that only 29 per cent of those had sought any help…

Impacts of COVID­19 on Australian Households: Results of the ABS Household Impacts Survey
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has just released findings from a survey which provide insights into the prevalence and nature of impacts of COVID­19 on households. These most recent findings are from a survey conducted of those aged 18 years and over during April 2021 via online and telephone interviews, and follow on from similar surveys carried out during 2020 and earlier in 2021.

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Journal Of Contemporary Ministry Issue Release

 

JCM and CRA logos

The Christian Research Association is proud to announce the re-launching of the Journal of Contemporary Ministry in 2021. The new edition is available free from: www.journalofcontemporaryministry.com/index.php/jcm/issue/current

This journal is the place to go for new thinking about the many dimensions of ministry in the contemporary context. The Christian Research Association is building on the Journal’s reputation which has grown since its foundation in 2015, and the four editions of the Journal which have previously been produced. The Journal’s goals are to:

  • Stimulate informed discussion regarding issues faced by contemporary Christian churches and ministries worldwide;

  • Encourage research, including empirical research, into diverse forms and contexts of contemporary ministry and the practical, theological and biblical issues which arise from ministry practice;

  • Enable students and graduates in postgraduate Ministry programs to speak to a wider audience;

  • Build the credibility of Ministry as a field of study and research.

It is an open-source international journal, available without charge to all who are interested.

We invite you to register your interest so that you receive information when the next edition is available.

We also invite you to contribute:

  • Articles for peer-review (between 4,000 and 7,000 words);

  • Research notes;

  • Theses / dissertation listings;

  • Book reviews; and

  • Pastoral reflections (thoughtful reflections on ministry practice).

Associate Professor Jon Newton (Alphacrucis College), who was the founding editor of the Journal, is continuing as the Editor. To assist him, he has a strong editorial board of eminent academics from several parts of the world.

The book editor is Dr Stephen Parker (ACOM).

Professor Philip Hughes is editor of the Research Notes.

Go to https://www.journalofcontemporaryministry.com/index.php/jcm/user/register to register your interest to receive notice of and to submit materials for the journal.

Children’s Prayer – A Multi-faith Perspective

This book provides strong arguments for giving prayer a central place in the education and nurture of children. It is based on research in Australian Catholic, parent-controlled Christian, Independent, Jewish, Muslim and government schools. The author demonstrates focused attention and care in the data collection from the words of children and their drawings of people praying. She takes us through her thorough processes of analysis and synthesis.

The research shows that prayer is valued by all children, whether they come from a religious background or not. For some children it is a way of associating with their communities and traditions of faith. For others, prayer is practised in an individualistic manner.

Prayer is a way to perceive and respond to the experiences of life. It can help in dealing with the challenging emotional states of anxiety, loneliness, fear, anger and guilt. It can give hope for the future. It provides a way of seeking help for others, as well as expressing praise and thanksgiving.

Vivienne Mountain has a background in teaching and in clinical counselling. She lectures in Spirituality and Ministry with Children at Stirling Theological College, University of Divinity, Australia. She has published three books as well as contributing chapters to a number of others and articles for national and international journals.

Vivienne Mountain PhD, MA (Theology), MA (Creative arts therapy), MA ( Philosophy and religion), B Ed, B Th.

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A Vision for effective Youth Ministry

Many young Australians are struggling with issues of mental health, anxiety about the future, and addictions to drugs. Behind these struggles are often questions of what life is all about. Youth ministry is more important today than at any time in recent history. Yet, many churches are finding it difficult to connect with youth beyond those whose families are involved in the church.

This book has arisen out of Australian research into youth ministry, from visiting youth groups and talking with youth leaders and the youth themselves. It offers a vision for the development of youth ministry, recognising the diversity of youth and the backgrounds from which they come.

It explores how to build a youth ministry team and the qualities needed in the team. It discusses issues of training, payment, and support for youth leaders and building bridges with parents, church and school.

What are the factors which will really make a difference in developing youth ministry? Based on research, our conclusions are:

  • The vision for developing the spirit of young people

  • The commitment of the whole church to youth ministry

  • The youth ministry team with strong relationships with God, each other, the youth, parents, the church and the wider society;

  • A diversity of activities: both age-specific and intergenerational for fun, friends, inquiry and developing the spirit.

The Authors:

Rev Dr Philip Hughes has had pastoral experience in inner city, suburban and rural churches, and has been the senior research officer of the Christian Research Association since 1985. He has two adult children and one grandchild.

Stephen Reid has worked for the Christian Research Association since 2007 and has one teenage child and two younger children.

Margaret Fraser has worked for the Christian Research Association since 2011. She has two children who are completing university and two who are teenagers.

All three authors were involved in interviews with youth, youth leaders, clergy and parents for this study.

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