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/ 13 June 2019

Young people share experiences of church at Deanery Synod

A group of young people shared their experiences and perspectives on church with Hounslow Deanery Synod.

You might think a Deanery Synod would be the last place you’d find teenagers, but over the past year we have seen this happening more and more. This week, three young people faithfully turned up with their youth workers at Hounslow Deanery Synod to share what it is like to be a teenager following Christ.

With a brief introduction by Sam Donoghue on the current landscape for young people in church, the scene was set to hear from young people themselves on the importance of welcoming and nurturing them in our churches.

“I was asked to put together a deanery synod about young people and youth ministry in our area. I felt it was really important to have the voices of young people there, speaking directly to synod. So I reached out to another youth worker and we managed to bring three young people who shared really poignant insight about their lives and their experience of church and faith.”  ~ Zoe, Youth Minister

With support from Zoe Phillips (Christ Church W4) and Chris Kettel (St Paul’s Hounslow West), three young people from their churches shared quite honestly about their experiences of growing up both in and out of church, what it’s like being a teenager today and what they would hope for if they walked into a church without a youth worker. It was certainly insightful and brought both hope and challenge to those listening. A highlight for me was hearing one of our young people sharing (for the first time) about the huge difference having Zoe as a youth worker has made to her life and the development of her faith.

At the end, one synod member shared how inspired she was by them not to be a “closet Christian” anymore and be more open about her faith. Others shared how encouraged they were and it was a great chance to share about the new Confirmed course and other resources coming out of our Diocese.

“Sharing at Synod was an amazing experience. To have the stage and be able to share my views with church leaders on how we can build up young people, and watch them engage and take on board what we were saying, is such a privilege. I can’t wait to see and hear about what they do now!” ~ Jordan

These young people willingly gave up their time quite late in the evening, to come and share their experiences and perspectives on what church means to them. They shared humbly and openly, remaining challenging and truthful, without exaggerating or pushing an agenda. Giving them space to talk and share is the least we can do and in doing so, the church will learn a lot about the current culture and how we can respond.

If you would like young people to share their experiences at a synod or other meeting, speak to your Vicar or Area Dean, or email us. Find out more about Capital Youth here.

About Levi Phillips

Levi is the Creative Lead at Capital Youth, an initiative run by the Diocese of London Children & Youth Support team. He volunteers in youth ministry and leads worship at Christ Church W4 in Chiswick. Levi completed a degree in Applied Theology before working in marketing and design in the corporate space, bringing both worlds together in his current role at Capital Youth.

Read more from Levi Phillips

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