Archives For Personal

Posts relating to my home and family

12 Years

24 June 2012 — 1 Comment

Today Kirsty and I celebrate our 12th wedding anniversary. I doesn’t seem that long ago!

We’ve just got back from a brilliant family holiday in France, and I’m feeling very thankful for my wonderful three girls!

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A quick update

16 April 2012 — 3 Comments

Posts have been a little erratic on this site for a while, so my apologies for not being as consistent as usual. I generally try to post at least once a week, normally two or three times when I can, so the last month has been a pretty poor show!

There’s no single reason for this other than a need to focus on other things a bit more – particularly my wonderful family (including feeding asix month old). I’m also writing a couple of chapters for different youth work publications while holding down a full-time job and volunteering in different roles too. It’s all good, but blogging had to take a back seat for a while.

Feel free to prompt me every once in a while, but there should be some new posts coming soon!

Eloise Joy

21 October 2011 — 4 Comments


Here she is, the tiny addition to the Jolly family! So far, she is doing great: eating and sleeping well, and getting lots of cuddles from her dad. Big sister Hope is also very pleased.


Thanks for all the messages we’ve received so far. We really appreciate them.

Summer Update

20 September 2011 — 3 Comments

I'm a Superhero... for our summer playscheme!

Hi, my name is Jon!

I thought I’d better introduce myself as it’s been a while since I posted anything on this blog. Sorry about that.

As planned, I took the summer off from blogging and got stuck into the various holiday activities that we run in the community. We did two playschemes back-to-back with a total of 360 children attending across both weeks, then the youth group went off to Soul Survivor (I only set-up and packed down for them) and our team did some arts activities locally. We’re now back into the regular routine full-swing having relaunched our kids church (87 the first week), and started a new dance club too.

Excitingly there’s some conversations occurring with various partners about delivering some generic youth work to fill the gap left by the county Youth Service. It’s very early days yet, but there could be scope for some creative working. Additionally, I’m doing some work with the National Youth Agency around the Institute for Youth Work idea (watch this space), and just turned in an article for Youthwork Magazine.

On a personal note, Jolly Junior is due to arrive at the end of October so Kirsty and I are busy preparing for this new arrival while chasing around the place after an energetic 2 year old! All this to say that I’ve had my head too full to think about blogging. I’m hoping that normal service will now be resumed though…

My job is changing too!

19 January 2011 — 2 Comments

'Transition' by Daniel*1977 on Flickr

Late last week I read a blog post by Brian Berry (a Student Pastor in San Diego, USA) about how his job is changing:

I have been asked to expand my oversight responsibilities to include children’s ministry as well. [Probably cuz we I have 5 of them living in my home :)] This means in addition to being hands on in high school, I’ll also be overseeing the staff and volunteers responsible for our ministries that target anyone at Journey ages birth through college age. We’re officially calling it a “generations pastor”. Sounds like a lot, but we have a great paid and volunteer team that is going to be expanding some here in the near future as we hire a couple of more part-time slots and provide tons of ways for volunteers to get involved.

The whole post made me smile because I’m in a very similar position. I did mention a bit about it here, but I’ve been reluctant to say too much as we’ve been in transition for a while and it’s been vague as to what my “new” post would look like. However, things are starting to piece together and while I don’t have a clear job title, I’m taking on two main areas of responsibility:

  1. The oversight and strategic direction of our childrens and youth work (much like Brian talks about above)
  2. The general oversight and management of the church activities.

The second point is the fuzziest and involves some staff management (including everyone’s favourite tech blogger Dave Johnson), HR responsibilities, project oversight, representing the church in various partnerships, office management, etc, etc.

While all these new responsibilities are important and exciting, my passion is still work with young people. When these changes settle down, this role will give me more of an opportunity to direct, assess, and develop what we do at a strategic level.

Perhaps most importantly, with me out of the way “on the ground” it will give more opportunities for our staff and volunteers to develop their own ideas and practices in ways that wouldn’t have been possible before. My hope and prayer is that this transition allows other people to step into their own gifts

How about you? Where are you at and where do you want to be?

Name Change Update

7 January 2011 — Leave a comment

'Time for change' by David Reece on Flickr

Back in September, I posted that I was thinking about changing the name of this website to something that better reflected the content (rather than just my name which I feel is bit ego-centric).

I got 23 responses to the poll, with 15 people (65%) saying that I should stick with using I also had a couple of comments from friends on Facebook saying just to leave it alone!

So I guess the consensus is that we stay as we are! I will continue to use this name for the foreseeable future and blog just as I have been. I hope that’s OK!

Happy New Year

4 January 2011 — Leave a comment

'New Year 2011 - Greetings' by valcanno on Flickr

Yes I may be a few days late, but the sentiment is still there right?

I hope you’ve had a relaxing and fun Christmas break. I thought I’d share a couple of the gifts I got with you. The first is this beauty (the T-shirt, not the guy). My fantastic wife Kirsty bought it off Threadless, and when I opened it on Christmas day, she said: “I’ve got a confession. I liked it so much I bought myself one too!” So you might just see us out and about sporting matching shirts now!

The other great gift I got was also from my wife. She tracked down one of these very cool items! (the sticker, not the macbook) which I’ve now adhered to the front of my laptop if you ever need to identify me when I’m sitting in Starbucks!

What was the best gift you got or gave this year?

Anyway, back to the new year. Over the past few months I’ve been trying to get into a rhythm of posting particular things at certain times of the month to try and give more continuity to the blog. Sadly due to the consolidation of Youth Work Now into Children & Young People Now Magazine, my regular column has come to an end and there will be no more YWN Articles posted. Instead, I hope to continue with one of the following each week; Guest posts, Mistakes I’ve Made, Free Resources, From the Archive reflections, and a series looking at Youth Work Basics. This will all be thrown in with the usual random posts on youth work related news items, links, thoughts and reflections.

Although I aim to post at least once a week, please bear with me and maybe even give a gentle nudge if things start slipping! Welcome to 2011.

Happy Christmas

25 December 2010 — Leave a comment

Adoration of the Shepherds by Gerard van Honthorst, 1622

I pray you enjoy a peaceful and refreshing time.

Site Tidy Up

3 December 2010 — 1 Comment

The Best Coded WordPress Theme Ever.

If you visit this site directly (rather than via a feed reader) you may have noticed a new design being sported. Apart from the purely aesthetic side, this was for a very practical reason: I found out I was losing subscribers!

By randomly checking my Google Analytics stats the other day, I noticed my regular readership was tailing off. After running a few tests, I found that a number of WordPress plugins on the site were causing errors in the rss feed and email subscriptions meaning that a number of people simply weren’t getting my posts.

To combat this problem, I’ve taken the plunge and purchased one of the best coded WordPress themes out there: Standard Theme. In addition to being really well written, it has a number of features directly integrated so you don’t need to use additional plugins (and bulk out code loading). Logo upload, layout options, social sharing buttons, breadcrumbs trail, SEO optimisation and advertising options are all included out-the-box among other great features. Even better, it’s fully customisable so you can make it look how you want (by changing the css options).

I plan to slowly tryout the various options and get it looking how I want, but I’m really happy so far as the previous errors are now all fixed! If you’re looking for a bloat-free, fully customisable theme, I can highly recommend Standard Theme!

Arun Community Church

13 October 2010 — 2 Comments

There have been some changes at our church recently…

On October 10 2010, David Thatcher, leader of Arun Community Church (ACC), passed the baton of church leadership on after 27 years of loyal service. David’s eldest daughter, Becca Jupp has assumed the role of leader at ACC, supported by a wider team of leaders, which includes David himself who will continue to act as an elder and active member of the church.

Speaking about the transition, David likened his role to that of a pacemaker in a cycling race. “The pack leader pushes forward, setting the pace and direction, leading the way, causing a slip stream enabling the other riders to ride with efficiency and cohesion,” he said. “After a while, the lead exchanges, the front man drops back to allow another to lead and maintain the pace.”

“I ask that everybody gives Becca and her team every encouragement and support,” he continued, “knowing that she is taking on a noble but daunting task. I have been delighted at how she has approached this exchange, and delighted at the response from the church.”

Commenting on her new role, Becca said: “It is an amazing privilege to be given the opportunity to lead such a vibrant, exciting church.”

As an employee of Arun Community Church, these changes have had some impact on my work! I am now part of the core leadership team and have been heavily involved in the recent transition, developing systems, communicating changes, project managing the new website, and running the children’s and youth work. In addition, I have also been asked to join the board of trustees for both the church and its charitable company, something I am carefully and prayerfully considering.

From a youth work perspective, I have pulled back from a lot of face-to-face work and am now managing teams of part-time staff and volunteers to run the activities that I used to be hands on with. This has been great as it has freed up more evenings at home, but also brings fresh challenges to fully support the 50+ volunteers each week. I need to get better at this!

So my role has changed somewhat and while I’m still employed to run the children’s and youth work, it’s currently in-between project management, service delivery and strategic vision! However, I’m immensely positive about these changes and very excited about the future. I’ve got some plans for the ongoing development of our Children’s & Youth Work which I’ll post up at some point too.

In the meantime, check out the info on the new website and follow us on twitter (@arunchurch). You can also find our new vision statement here.