2018 Conference reports – Children & Youth

2017 was a busy year for Children and Youth work in the Diocese. As well as our first youth residential, the Youth Forum has grown and developed; attending the Bishop’s enthronement and taking part in Governing Body with the Provincial Youth Forum.

Our training days in 2017 included; Godly Play, First Aid, Transition CMD with Ali Campbell and a CMD evening session with Plant Dewi as well as our regular Messy Meet Ups, Youth Networking sessions and Prayer Breakfasts.

There are now established elements of what we offer throughout the year. Experience Easter was run successfully in a number of places encouraging schools and churches to work together. Experience Advent was also run in a similar way. Our Summer SALT programme continues to grow and we worked in five different areas during August.

In addition to this we had several new ventures in 2017. Party at the Palace took place in May half term, an exciting family fun day inviting children to come and meet the Bishop.

We ran Sports Days in each Archdeaconry during July which were well attended.

During August we were also pleased to be invited to be part of the Pembrokeshire County Show, running children’s work in the Church Tent.

We helped three areas run Light Parties as an alternative to Halloween during October and ran a bowling event to continue building relationships with the young people who attended the residential and are part of the youth forum.

The early part of 2018 has already seen a huge number of events. One of the highlights included a play by Riding Lights Theatre Company in association with St Padarn’s called Where Adventure Begins. This confirmed the need to engage more with families as a whole which is part of our vision for moving forward in this ministry. Prayer Spaces in Schools is another source of inspiration for ways in which we can work more closely with our primary and secondary schools.

Our youth residential was another fantastic success with a group of young people spending three nights in Cardiff, journeying together with the theme of Resurrection – so what?. – a really powerful demonstration of the wonderful young people we have in this Diocese. Similarly, the Ascension Day Children’s Festival in St Davids Cathedral brought together 370 children for a vibrant celebration.

2018 has also seen the completion of the audit of children and youth work in the Diocese as a follow-up to the audit undertaken in early 2016. As a result of this we have set several key priorities for the rest of year and events to help facilitate growth and development:

  • Expand our provision for young people – more youth events planned to bring young people together from across the Diocese;
  • Continue offering high quality training events throughout the year for clergy and volunteers;
  • Extend children’s outreach work to provide Holiday Clubs;
  • Develop networking for those engaged in this ministry through more regular opportunities for prayer and sharing together;
  • Prioritise work with families by offering Inspire sessions from the Care for the Family Kitchen Table Project;
  • Encourage children and youth work as a vital element of forming Local Ministry Areas.

We hope you will join us in the work of building this vital ministry with children and young people. The audit shows some growth however we are still only in contact with 1% of the child population in the Diocese and there is significant decline in the number of young people with whom we are working. Please pray daily for this work and engage with us in the events and opportunities we are seeking to provide.

Mrs Clare Williams Diocesan Children & Youth Co-ordinator