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/ 3 May 2018

Bishop of Edmonton leads children and youth ministry celebration morning

On Saturday, around 40 people attended the first Bishop of Edmonton’s children and youth ministry celebration morning. Children’s and youth workers, volunteers and clergy from the episcopal area of Edmonton gathered in the hall at St Andrews, Enfield.

Sam Donoghue, Head of Children’s and Youth Ministry Support, with the Diocese of London, said:

“I was so chuffed to see Bishop Rob and Archdeacon John so involved in the day. Them finding that time was a wonderful statement about how they value children’s and youth work.”

The Bishop of Edmonton, Bishop Rob Wickham, began the day with an introduction that conveyed his passion and heart for children and youth people, stating that “churches that take children and young people seriously and listen to them are being prophetic”.

Following sung worship, Jess Rodewald (Diocesan Children’s Ministry Support Worker) introduced Joy Faulkner as the first keynote speaker of the day. Joy is the co-Director at Urban Hope and works directly with young people in the community of Islington.

Joy challenged those listening that:

“It is enough for church to be a safe space of meaning and belonging for young people. The thing that makes children stay is being included and welcomed.”

She described the importance of making spaces for young people; which do not need to include big programmes, flashing lights nor lots of money, instead, young people need to have a space to feel safe, a space that is sacred and where there is community.

The call to action from Joy was simple, yet extremely powerful:

“The point at which I have seen young people meet God is when church people and church spaces are exactly who and what they are meant to be. Don’t feel pressure to be anything other than church.”

Attendees of the morning were then able to gather in smaller groups for more focused seminars. These seminars were hosted by clergy, children’s and youth workers from the Edmonton area, who shared their knowledge, passion and expertise.

Sam Donoghue, provided the final keynote of the morning. He communicated the importance of considering how God uses children whilst we serve and disciple them.

“What if, you get to see and experience and be in the presence of God in Sunday school tomorrow because you are receiving something of God from the children?”

As Bishop Rob closed the morning with grace, it felt as if a community had been created with the people in the room – not an exclusive community, but one that had the children and young people of Edmonton at the centre and as the driving force.

Link to their website http://www.urbanhope.co.uk/

About Jessica Rodewald

Jess Rodewald, is an experienced children’s worker and used to be part of the Diocese’s children’s and youth team. In her present role, she still gives reflections and advice on her experience in work with young people.

Read more from Jessica Rodewald

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