Children & Youth

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DARLINGTON DISTRICT CHILDREN and YOUNG PEOPLE’S EXECUTIVE (C&YPE)

The C&YPE have spent time over the last six months considering how Children and Young People are returned to the agenda of each Circuit. The profile of both these groups has dipped over the last three years. While there are excellent examples of work going on in local churches, children and young people appear to be missing from any Circuit planning and strategy.

While Messy Church stands out as the fastest growing new children’s work nationally and in the District, questions are being asked about what happens when the children grow older? What nurture programmes and opportunities to explore their faith will be available? These are questions for the District and Circuit as much as the local church.

Added to this is the major issue of recruiting, training and supporting volunteers who work with children & young people. Two of the most frequent comments heard are:

“We cannot get people to volunteer” and “our volunteers are tired and want to resign”. The Executive has been trying to address these issues, but it is slow process.

One initiative that the C&YPE piloted on behalf of the Connexional Children & Youth Team was something called “The Well” – retreat day. The Well retreat day is for those who work with children and young people. The aim of the day is that workers can come to relax, pray, learn and share together.

The first Well retreat day was held in June 2011 at St Anthony’s Priory in Durham. It attracted 14 participants and five people from the District and Connexional team. It was a great success with the participants feeling that they left refreshed, listened to and had a good learning and worship experience. A Well retreat day was held in July 2012 and one is planned for October 2013.

What we wish to offer is a five year District strategy for work with Children and Young People. The aim of the strategy would be to stimulate the circuits to actively consider children and young people in their planning. This would be supported by the C&YPE

We propose basing the strategy on the Connexional Children’s and Youth strategy which is set out below.


At the heart of the children and youth strategy is a desire to share the Gospel

message with children and young people.


It is based upon the following beliefs:


– Children and young people are equal partners with adults in the life of the Church


– Learning is for the whole church – adults, children and young people


– Mission and ministry is for and with children and young people, as well as adults


– The call to evangelism comes at whatever age


– The concept of the ‘Priesthood of all believers’ includes children and young people


– The Holy Spirit works through children and young people as well as adults


The strategy’s seven themes


Valuing


Encouraging churches to value children and young people and ministry with them and to plan strategically for its development


Think, talk and be with God


Exploring our understanding of how God connects with children and young people – and the challenges and opportunities this creates – through resources, retreats and teaching.


21st Century Church

Helping children and young people to experience different forms of church and worship, through events, resources, and exchanges.


Supporting the Workers


Enabling those working with children and young people to connect with God, the world and each other through a programme of retreats, training and ‘The Well’, our network for children’s and youth workers. And enabling those recruiting, managing or supporting children’s and
youth workers to connect with guidance and resources.


Teaching and Challenge


Providing resources and training to enable people to give appropriate teaching, challenge and nurture to children and young people in their journey of faith.


Participation


Helping the church to connect with children and young people by using different methods of participation, through training, resources, Youth
Assembly, the One Programme and children’s and Young People’s participation days.


Speaking Out


Connecting people with the issues that affect the lives of children and young people in Britain and across them to speak out and take action.

We propose that two of the seven themes are considered as core and these are

Valuing
and Participation. These two will underpin the remaining five themes. One of the remaining five themes will then be the focus for a connexional year.

The District C&YPE would provide support by offering resources, training and events to support the Circuit focus of the given theme in a particular Connexional year. Some of support would come from Connexional and external resources and have a nil or low cost attached to it. Other aspects of the support would come from the C&YPE volunteer time with District and Circuit financial contributions.

The proposal is that DDOG agree this approach and give permission to take it to the Spring Synod. If agreed at the Spring Synod, then the C&YPE would carry out the necessary work to start the five year Strategy from 1st September 2013.