Youth look to the future

As the Diocese looks ahead to the next five years, how are the younger members of our community feeling about the future of the Church? They shared their views with Cheryl Trice, Diocesan Children’s & Youth Work Adviser.

Each time I meet with our Youth Council I find it impossible not to become infected by their enthusiasm and passion to express their faith. For me, along with our new vision, they are truly a positive sign for the future.

But what are their views? Their hopes?
Our annual residential weekend was a time filled with laughter, fun and fellowship But as we talked, it was clear that the future shape and direction of the Church is of great importance to them.

“Our generation wants to influence the church” said Amy Cabella from St. Augustine’s Gillingham, “with the church helping us to develop and grow – help us now!” Many expressed the same urgency, feeling the need to find ways to voice their views and opinions, and be a positive influence on the decisions that will affect them and all children and young people in our churches.

Indeed youth council members were instrumental in putting forward the views and values of young people from across the Diocese during the conversation process for the new vision. Clearly, children and young people certainly want to be seen and heard.
“In my church we promote children being involved,” said Taliesin Edwards from St Martin’s Barnehurst: “So much so, that I serve, preach and read the bible. It has given me so much confidence and has helped my faith grow dramatically”. What better example could you get of the personal and spiritual growth that can occur when we invest in the younger members of our church?
In-order-to enrich and grow, there needs to be resource; resources that will be sustainable and give life-enhancing encounters with Christ to children and young people. The new vision supports this, and the young people I met on the weekend appreciated this too.
Olivia Best from St John the Evangelist, Bexley said:” It was young people that brought me to faith as a child, now being a young person myself, I realise the time, effort and resourcing it requires to make such a positive and long-lasting impact”.

These young people clearly embrace the diocese’s aspirations for the next five years and will champion initiatives such as commissioned youth ambassadors, grant funding opportunities, parishes supporting families in crisis and C&YP with mental health problems through church-linked activities.

Supporting a youth ministry that welcomes, enriches and resources children and young people as equal partners in the life of the church, and provides them with opportunities to explore their vocations is my primary aim. It is our young people’s aim too –  and it should be our collective aim as we think and pray on the future.  


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