Plans are underway for a one-day conference in February, hosted by Moorlands College, and run in partnership with us to get lay and salaried workers together for a day of resourcing and encouragement! We are hoping for a good selection of external agencies involved in children and family ministry to join us to share the resources they offer.
The day will be crammed with guest speakers, topical seminars and practical resources to help anyone working with families and children in the local church. Save the date for you and your team.
SATURDAY 24 FEBRUARY 2018
Moorlands College, Sopley, BH23 7AT
More details to follow soon
We are really looking forward to all that God has for us as Winchester Diocese in 2018, and a big part of that is our commitment to pray and be expectant over Pentecost. We have had a great time over the past couple of years engaging with Novena (nine days of prayer leading up to Pentecost) and the service at Winchester Cathedral. We have had hundreds of prayer sessions happening across the diocese and have been amazed and encouraged by our collective call and engagement in prayer.
In 2018 we want to step it up a gear in terms of prayer and mission, and have several ways for you to get involved.
Novena – We want to pray!! We want every parish praying, and we want to engage teenagers and children in prayer too. For ideas on how to engage your churches and young people in this you can visit this website – Prayer Resources
Saturday 19th May
There is a royal wedding, FA cup final and our event on the green. More information on this day will be out soon.
This year we are excited to announce new Lent Resources for both Adults, Inter-Generational Church and Young People. These resources are available free from:
The proliferation of Apps offers a remarkable range of opportunities to connect, share, learn and build community on-line. But what are Omegle, Dubsmash and Tango? And what do young people (and parents) need to know about privacy settings when using them?
The following sites offer helpful advice:
Youthscape have announced the contributor lineup for the National Youth Ministry Weekend taking place from 10th – 12th November in Birmingham. Speakers include Kenda Creasy Dean, Patrick Regan and Miriam Swaffield and worship will be led by Tim Hughes and the Worship Central team.
To find out more and book tickets, visit youthscape.cu.uk/nymw
Are you looking for a Godly Play set? Or material for your home group? Sunday sermon? Teaching resources?
The Resource Room holds a wide selection of faith-related books, artefacts, DVDs, posters and Godly Play sets that you can look at free of charge, or borrow for a modest fee. You can now browse and order online at: http://resourceroom.winchester.anglican.org
Found what you need?
The Resource Room is located on the 1st floor of the Learning Centre, in the Cathedral Close, Winchester SO23 9LS. Enter through the main door, then use the intercom and wait for the second door to be opened.
Opening Hours: Monday and Thursday, 9.30am to 4.00pm (or by prior appointment). For further information contact William Cole on 01962 857262 or firstname.lastname@example.org
As a youth worker and then as a parish volunteer, my favourite evening of the year was the evening we had the 18 year olds round for dinner before they headed off to university. We’d cook a huge meal, offer them a wine or beer for the very first time, eat until we couldn’t meal and talk about their hopes, dreams, fears and excitements for their upcoming trip to university. They thought it was about the food… For us it was all about having conversations around this next stage of their lives.
The exact numbers are disputed, but its reckoned that a huge number of students who rock up at university calling themselves Christian fail to connect with church while they’re there. For many this marks the end of their relationship with church for the rest of their lives.
The young people that we may have spent 7 years investing in, a significant proportion of them may not end up connecting to a church when they get to university. They may shelve their faith, for months, weeks, years… forever? I don’t think that’s what any of us want for them.
So how can we help our youth group be the ones who transition well?
Prep them well
Before students head off to university they’ll go on a thousand shopping trips for bedding, pans, and cutlery. They know there’s loads they need to get sorted, from finance to food, text books to towels. So why should their faith be any different? What do they need to be preparing in advance for this next adventure?
Why not consider running some special sessions for the future students in your group to give them space to talk about this new experience they’re headed into? A chance to pray for one another? A chance to think through the challenges and opportunities ahead?
Fusion have pulled together some resources to help you do just this.
They also have the following resources available
Gift packs and resources for young people – with things to help them think about university life, faith and mission
Church Link Up Service – young people can sign up to receive information and invitations to churches in their university town. A great way of getting them hooked up and linked in before they’ve even packed their bags and headed out the door.
And they’re not the only ones:
Starting uni Resources – a whole host of resources to help young people navigate starting university (and some resources for youth leaders as well)
CU Link Up – a way for young people to link up with their university CU before they even arrive. Many even run residentials bfore term starts so young people can get away with the CU and make friends before the madness of Freshers week.
Student Christian Movement
Freshers’ Hub – all sorts of resources for young people who are off to become freshers
Free Freshers Packs – free and easy to order – another great gift for your young people
(Know of other great resources? Leave a comment below!)
Keep in Touch
It’s tempting to think our role is over once we’ve launched these 18 year olds out into the big wide world, but one of the best things we can do as youth leaders is to keep the contact open. That might mean:
• sending a card for their new room
• asking for prayer requests once a term
• heading off to visit them for a day
Or it might be members of your congregation. There’s a brilliant group of retired ladies based at the Church of the Good Shepherd, Four Marks. They call themselves the Fairy ‘Cogs’-mothers. They’ve taken it on themselves to adopt the students of the church, sending them birthday cards and Christmas cards. Asking for prayer requests. Sending out chocolatey care packages. All to help the students remember they have a home church who loves them. Maybe your parish could do the same?
Chances are they’ll have new experiences and questions to ask about faith as they journey into university life – a connection to the church that loved them through their teenage years can be a powerful resource in these times.
Stay in for the Long Haul
Sometimes the young people we send out to university don’t connect with church or faith groups in their first year, or even their second year. By keeping in contact, connecting with them when they’re home, continuing to be available to chat about life and faith with them, we keep the door open to them to continue to connect with church and with faith. We’re in this for the long haul – not just freshers’ week!
These days, with pressures on recruitment and finances, it’s not uncommon for young people to return back to their parental home after graduating, sometimes briefly and sometimes for several years. Knowing their church family is here, waiting to welcome them back can be such an encouragement for young people in the midst of this.
And.. Don’t forget about the parents!
This is a HUGE time of change for parents, watching their children grow up and leave home for the first time. It’s a key time for your church to think about supporting them.
Care for the Family have a great Top Tips Leaflet free for download for parents facing the ‘Empty Nest’ for the first time
It can be a HUGE life change – you move from being the oldest in your school to the youngest, from a village primary school of 50 pupils, to a town based comprehensive of 700. The teachers are different, the environment is different, the work load is different and the expectations are different.
Leaving year 6 and heading into year 7 is a huge deal.
So how can we help young people navigate this well?
The best resource we’ve found is – It’s your Move from Scripture Union
• Give it as a gift to every year 6 in your church or local primary school
• Make a presentation of it to each year 6 in your church and invite them up to be prayed for on a Sunday morning
• Look at the resource together in your group to make space for talking about how they’re feeling about the transition
• Hold a ‘graduation’ social for the year 6s and even their families, to help them makr this key rite of passage. And why not invite the current year 7s along, so they can get to know one another a bit?
Other key practical things to consider:
Other key transitions – Often we match the transition to secondary school in our church groups, switching young people between groups at the same stage. This can work well – acknowledging their new ‘grown up’ status. But it can also mean another huge change of peer group and leaders at a time when everything else has already changed. So why not consider doing the transition sooner? Maybe helping the young people change groups at Easter in year 6, or the summer half term? Or even structuring your group so the transition falls at the start of year 6, rather than the start of year 7?
Parents – it’s a big change for parents too – how are young going to support them? And al of a sudden, parents are dealing with a child who returns from their new school day absolutely exhausted with a huge pile of home work. It might be that your new midweek youth group suddenly seems like a less vital part of life. You might (possibly quite rightly) think that this youth group is important for these young people’s well being and spirituality – but you might need to be supporting parents as they try to prioritise the new patterns and pressures of life and recognising they’re figuring out what’s best for their children in this new stage of life.
On the first Pentecost we read that the followers of Jesus were filled with the Holy Spirit and joyfully spilled out of the upper room to share their faith, seeing many thousands become Christians. The church was born!
We want Pentecost 2017 to be another time that the people of God are filled up and sent out in mission to our local communities. With this in mind, we’ll be pouring out of the Beacon Cathedral event on Pentecost evening commissioned once again to go out in mission across the Diocese.
Phil Dykes, the Diocesan Church Growth, Fresh Expressions and Evangelism Adviser, is coordinating and resourcing this period of mission so we grilled him to tell us more about what it was and how YCF leaders could get involved.
What is it?
A 6 month period, from June-November, from Pentecost to Advent, where we as a Diocesan community are going to recommit to living out the mission of Jesus. It’s a time to experiment, try some things and share some stories with one another.
What will be going on and how can YCF leaders join in?
There’s three levels of activity, to sit alongside the Mission Action Plans that parishes and deaneries have already formulated.
- Local Initiatives
In various parts of the Diocese there are going to be focussed mission initiatives happening. In Basingstoke the Churches together are engaging with the ‘Who Cares?’ Initiative. In Eastleigh, the churches are teaming up for Hope Eastleigh. And in Bournemouth, there’s Hope in the Community happening. So the first thing YCF leaders can do is find out if there’s something happening locally and get involved.
- Mission Tool Box
We’ve been building a Mission Toolbox for the Diocese – going round the Diocese, meeting people involved in mission initiatives and pulling together 3 minute videos of what they’re doing, teaming that up with a ‘How to Guide’ and a resource list, so we can equip other people in the Diocese to try out these mission initiatives for themselves. We’re hoping this is the start of the story sharing – we’ll be inviting others to pull together their own videos of their mission activities, to share the learning and creativity.
These videos will be available on the Diocesan Website really soon. We’d love YCF leaders to use some of the ideas in their contexts and let us know how they get on. But we’d also love to see YCF leaders making videos with the children and young people they work with to share the mission activities they’re doing and encouraging other parishes to do the same things.
- Individuals telling their stories
We want to see individuals who are passionate and confident in sharing their faith – and we want to hear what they’re up to! We’ll be creating an email address for people round the Diocese to get in contact to share their stories of how they’re sharing their faith and what difference it’s making.
We’d love to hear from children, families, young people, youth groups, leaders are all sorts in that time. So please, keep on sharing the vision of mission with the groups you’re working with, and then help them share their stories of mission with us!
Want to explore the idea of mission with your children’s/youth groups? Here’s some places to go for resources:
iWitness – Last year’s lent course – with its resources for a variety of ages, looking at the 5 marks of mission