I’m back from holiday, and the only person who pissed me off was Jesus…

I’m back from holiday, and the only person who pissed me off was Jesus… August 10, 2013

So we (my partner, twin toddler boys and myself) had a wonderful stay-cation in Cornwall. Beautiful accomodation, weather, countryside and beaches. An all-round winner. The boys loved it. The only moment of furrowed brows (well, mine) was at a lovely seaside town called Perranporth, where we stopped at the beach. Walking back, I saw a bunch of purple-shirted youngsters dancing and generally having fun surrounded by a small horde of beach-going holiday-making children.

Of course, these innocent children were being proselytized to. These purple-shirted happy youngsters were part of the 360 team run by Scripture Union.

360 started off life as the Perranporth Beach Mission, a Scripture Union run mission in Perranporth, Cornwall. Although still run by SU, the name has changed to 360, showing the turnaround that Jesus gives us in life. We aim to tell people of all ages the good news of Jesus, and to build up and encourage team members .

The children and families who attend the clubs and events we put on are either from the Perranporth area, or holiday makers (who usually plan their holidays especially to coincide with the mission).

The team members, who run the clubs and events, come from all over the UK, giving up 2 weeks of their holiday to serve. It’s a great team atmosphere, and building relationships is really important

The mission has changed in a number of areas over the year, but much of the format remains the same. Each weekday morning, we normally have team time- a time for worship, word, discipleship, training, receiving- generally being built up and encouraged. We see this as a key time of the day, and find that team members go away supported and stronger in their faith.

From 10am we run activities for the children and adults. These vary depending on the age, but generally we start with a road show style event for about 30 mins. This includes messy games, drama, songs and sketches. We then split up into the different age groups, doing games and activities, with a focus on learning about Jesus and the difference he makes in our lives.

Most afternoons we run events for kids and families, such as sand sculpture competitions, “It’s a Knockout”, treasure hunts, and more. Evening events are more family orientated with BBQs, walks, quiz nights, barn dances etc

So there I was, walking past them muttering, upon realisation of who they were, sentences like “Give me a child at age 7, and I’ll give you a man… It’s just indoctrination!” only for my partner to tell me to get over it and move along. Had I been without twins in tow and a buggy full of boards, bags and beach gear, I would have stopped and grumbled in public. However, my partner had a point, perhaps I should get over it. That said, to see these ‘innocent’ children be targeted does give me the hump…

I suppose it was because there were quite a few of them, they were focal, and they had professional paraphernalia such as fluttering flags and a cool decorated Morris Minor. These professional and public displays of religion are so un-British that they really stand out when we see them.

Anyway, other than that, a wonderful time was had by all and it was a shame to have to come back!

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  • Daydreamer1

    Yesterday we set off at 4:30am yesterday and were in London by 9am. Brilliant day!

    Strong sunshine all day. The Palace of Westminster and Big Ben gleaming in the sun – though I didn’t see any of our illustrious politicians in the Commons beer garden!

    We started with the 4D London Eye experience – a 3D film flying above London from a sea gulls perspective that features sensory immersion so you can smell the smoke, and it snows and rains lightly, and gets quite windy! From there we ran up to Buckingham Palace and watched the Changing of the Guard, then quickly marched ourselves back to the London Eye and took in the City from on high. From there we knocked down some quick, but nice, burgers and took a taxi to the Natural History Museum so the boys could see how big dinosaurs actually were. They loved the iconic Sauropod in the entrance hall, then took in the Allosaurs, Stegosaur, Triceratops, Iguanodons, and bits of T-Rex.

    From there we started walking back the the Thames, but only got as far as Harrod’s before having to jump back in a taxi and get to our boat ride up the Thames. I have to say that the tour guide was brilliant, funny (a concealed adult humour invisible to the children) and I came away feeling genuinely connected with the city. All those details I had missed! The strange paths that lead down into the Thames and the one that Darwin, Shakespeare, Pepys used, since those are really the crossing points used back in the time ferry (or werry as they were called) were common and that one – to Southall – is where all the bars, gambling and prostitutes were. Or the silver dragons at every entrance point into the city that guard the city from the Monarch – a declaration of the limitation of power by James 1st that stands to this day – the Queen must ask the Major of London every time she wishes to enter the City – another ancient demarcation of power. Or the green and red bridges next to the Palace of Westminster that represent the green and red seats in the House of Commons and the House of Lords, where in the past the Lords was separate from the commons and those representatives were not allowed to use each others bridges. Or Tower Bridge, which has an upper walkway designed for the Victorians to use when the bridge opened, but because the bridge was so well made – so quick – Victorians just waited and the upper walkway was only used by Ladies of the Night! So it was closed… Then from the boat trip we took in Downing Street and the Prime Ministers front door before heading home.

    And the only bit where it all went weird? Yep, the Jesus crews trying to save our souls….

  • Jeff H

    Unfortunately this type of thing is very American. It is so ironic that we have separation of church and state actually written in our constitution yet remain as blatantly nonsecular a nation as one would find outside the Middle East. It is awful that children not be allowed to grow up free of religious indoctrination which starts often at birth. Let them decide, once they’ve grown, what it is they wish to believe. If the Almighty Whoever is so powerful and so obviously real, it will be obvious to them and they will worship him too once they’ve grown and learned to think critically. Or not. How many religions would there be if this practice were the norm?

    • It certainly seemed very American. First of all, I was suspicious of happy, smiling children….

  • jackatheart

    I fear you attribute to much to our friends from over the pond and too little to the Brits as the Perranporth Beach Mission is a very British institution which has been around since 1904 and from my experience and IMHO has had a hugely positive impact on many young people and families. So glad you noticed the Morris Minor which really is cool.

    • I was aware of that. I think there is a sense of public evangelism which I don’t think is indigenous or in the British nature (though this is changing) which has migrated to us.

  • PaulSJenkins

    …the name has changed to 360, showing the turnaround that Jesus gives us in life.

    Say what? So they end up going in the same direction as before? Some turnaround!