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/ 5 December 2019

Children, youth and families workers: we’re here to help you thrive

Did you know there’s a whole team of people here to help you develop and sustain children and youth ministry? Katie O’Conor shares how the Children and Youth Support team can help those working in churches.

You might have seen an article on the Diocese of Leicester’s website, reflecting on the results of the national ‘Terms and Conditions of Salaried Workers Survey’ done by children and youth ministry consultant and former Diocesan Youth Adviser, Ali Campbell. If you haven’t seen it, you should read it.

I want to pick up on something highlighted in the report. Although the survey was ecumenical, 67% at the time of completing the survey were working in Church of England parishes. Of that group, 70% reported they “did not have formal recognition of their role from their diocese”. It might be a national survey and that number might be different if it was confined to London, but I wanted to say that we are here for you. We’d love to meet you and support you as you work with children, young people and families across the Diocese.

Here’s an overview of the key things we do:

  • We’re a team of experienced practicioners who can meet you and chat through things that you are dreaming about or planning, challenges you’re facing or simply be a listening ear outside of your context.
  • We run training and networking events throughout the year to help you meet others in the diocese who are doing similar things and keep your skills sharp.
  • We maintain an online area, full of things to help you in your work and see all the support on offer. You can find a whole host of resources there to help you do your job well or develop ministry in your church (as well as pictures of us!). Check it out and let us know if there’s something missing, we’ll add it!
  • We run Capital Youth, which is producing some amazing resources and opportunities to boost what you’re doing. If your young people have a vision to do something new check out The Spark Fund, where they can apply for financial support to make it happen.
  • We run the BLMF Apprenticeship Scheme, which trains people from local parishes to do children and youth minsitry in their context.

We also share stories to help everyone learn and celebrate. What’s something you are proud of in the last 6 months? We hear some amazing stories from across the diocese, but too often they’re not shared with us. Don’t underestimate the power of sharing something you’re doing and how that might benefit someone else. The joy of a diocese is being part of something bigger than one parish. We can support, encourage and inspire each other in what we’re doing, if we can be more courageous in sharing what we’re up to.

In the article I mention above, the Bishop of Leicester comments on the results of the survey saying,

“This survey makes it clear that we need to work harder and find ways to recognise and value those undertaking this ministry which is so vital to the future of the Church.”

Some of us might have been saying this for years already, but isn’t it encouraging to have others join the bandwagon? Let’s pray that this will help the effort to see children, youth and families ministries be recognised and valued as they should be.

If you’d like to connect with us or share your story, drop us an email at youth@nulllondon.anglican.org

About Katie O'Conor

Katie is the Children’s Ministry Support worker and BLMF Apprenticeship Scheme Coordinator for the Diocese of London. She has been involved in Children and families ministry for most of the last 15 years in various forms, from volunteer to intern and degree placement student to full time children and families minister. She loves connecting with children’s minsters across London and helping the diocese think more about how we can best support children and families ministry across the diocese.

Read more from Katie O'Conor

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