Part of our Kingdom People vision, Calling Young Disciples helps churches strengthen their engagement with children, young people and families.
The Calling Young Disciples Project is a part of our Kingdom People Vision. It will work with churches across the Diocese, helping them to strengthen their engagement with children, young people and their families, so that more have the opportunity to respond to God’s call to be Jesus’ disciples and to grow in love for him.
The project is funded with contributions from the Diocesan Board of Finance, the Archbishops’ Council, the Church Commissioners’ strategic development and lowest income communities funding streams and a grant from the Mercer’s Charity.
The Revd Ruth Walker is the Calling Young Disciples (CYD) Project Director. She said:
“This is a wonderful opportunity to focus on the engagement of churches with children, young people and families, helping families coming into our churches to have a good experience. Through this project we will be able to share good practice, build on work already in place and grow in confidence, sowing seeds and doing what we do as Church really well.”
CYD will be available to offer support, consultation and advice to all churches in the Diocese. There will be training events and the team will work closely with Emma and Simon, the Children’s and Youth Officers, and the education team.
“There are always possibilities, regardless of how often a church has contact with young people,” said Ruth. “It could be making the most of the occasional baptism or providing for children who come as part of a wedding – how do we best use our building to show that families are welcome? And for churches who have got lots going on already, we’ll be having conversations around how this can develop further and helping set up partnerships so churches can share particular areas of strength with others.”
A number of Mission Enablers are also part of the team. The first three of these begin in April and more will be recruited in the coming months. As well as a general support role, they will be intentionally placed in individual parishes, working with the leadership team to look at developing relationships with children, young people and families which are already in place.
“The Mission Enablers are not there to do the youth and children’s work for the church, but to help them develop and resource it, seeking out new and sustainable ways to engage with families. Each placement will last around a year, at the end of which the Mission Enabler will move on to another church, but will continue to keep in touch with the church they’ve left to help consolidate the progress made.”
Not a quick fix
CYD is all about working together, with support, to grow what churches already have in place and to develop new and exciting opportunities. It should resource all sorts of people so that they have the confidence to get involved with children, young people and their families.
“However, it’s not a quick fix,” concludes Ruth. “We want to build hope, joy and love and help each other to share our faith with a new generation. It’s a long-term process, we’re all in it together and these are definitely exciting times!”
Simon Hill is acting director of the project and is keen for parishes to get in touch, have a chat and invite him to their parish. He can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01905 732816.