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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Thursday, February 06, 2003
    Five words which describe your life at the moment
    Once a month a very welcome eNewsletter arrives. ItÕs from Romford YMCA, more precisely from the desk of Pip Wilson, the General Secretary there. In past times, on overnight Greenbelt meetings, IÕve enjoyed Romford YMCAÕs warm welcome and good hospitality. It owes a lot to PipÕs philosophy, which is that everyone is a Beautiful Human Person.

    ThatÕs everyone who walks through the doors of that massive tower block on Rush Green Road - everyone, regardless of background, business, beauty or body odour. ÔU R UniqueÕ, Pip affirms. And that builds individualsÕ self-esteem; and it develops community, as the esteemed learn to esteem others too.

    Like all YMCAs Romford has the difficult task of marrying a Christian ethos to its major mainstream work but the philospohy does it, permeating the culture of the place. It means that the Ômanagement modelÕ is non-hierarchical because ÒPeople being told what to do doesn't help to develop peopleÓ(Pip). It means that the overriding principle Òis to build relationships and not to provide activities and programme which would be like a consumer organisation.Ó It means that Ôthe Christian wayÕ is promoted by Body, Mind and Spirit activities, in an experiential programme Òaiming to develop healthy relationships and therefore create dialogue and a cycle of learning.ÓÊ

    The websiteÕs full of peopleÕs stories from many whoÕve been affected by this philosophy, this approach, this commitment, seen themselves flower, flourish, as part of it. And it doesnÕt stop, thereÕs always more to explore, new ways to encourage people to open up. So, on todayÕs eNewsletter, a question from Pip:

      This is a question I have asked 54 people so far this year. Revealing indeed and fantastic discussions sometimes. See a list of some here.
    Pip invites you to write five separate words of your own on his Guest Book: Ógo on it will be good for you tooÓ. Or you could post them here using the comments link at the end of this blog.
      "We become fully conscious only of what we are able to express to someone else. We may already have had a certain inner intuition about it, but it must remain vague so long as it is unformulated.Ó (Paul Tournier from ÔThe Meaning of PersonsÕ)
    I've put PipÕs question in our parish magazine and will be asking people it over the next few weeks. And my five words, just now, are: