It is always encouraging to hear stories of faithful work with children and young people. The Reaching New Generations strategy from 2012 has borne fruit and as bishops we’re delighted to see a reinvigorated RNG Team taking stock. The society and culture we live in is changing rapidly - especially for younger generations - and it is appropriate to review what has worked, or not, and refresh our plans to support ministry to and by children and young people in our parishes, our schools, our fresh expressions and our chaplaincies.
Applying the diocesan direction of travel of inviting our children, young people and their families to ‘Come follow Christ in the footsteps of St Chad’, the Reaching New Generations Team want to continue to support and encourage you as you build relationships with your community to reach out to the next generations meeting them where they are then walking alongside them as they are introduced to the unconditional love of God. We wholeheartedly commend this report to everyone in the diocese and look forward to hearing how children and young people are being encouraged in their faith.
The purpose of this document is three-fold:
● to celebrate the excellent work that continues across the diocese;
● to encourage church communities to see their church’s ministry with children, families and young people as an on-going continuum and;
● to sign post readers to the excellent resources that are available.
+Michael, +Geoff, +Mark, +Clive
Download the REACH Leaflet
These pages and resources provide a wealth of information for churches in particular to think about, start and develop provisions with children and young people. Just like a supermarket, churches are invited to browse the shelves and only select the ingredients needed to inspire and support their own bespoke recipe.
While broken into useful headings, there are many places of overlap as the diagram above and in this leaflet hints at.
Meet the RNG Team
Laura joined the Diocese in 2017 to support churches and Fresh Expression with work with under 5’s and families. Laura is a qualified teacher and has managed various community development projects including the Sure start Children Centre agenda where she set up and managed several children’s centres and nurseries for Birmingham Local Authority. During this time Laura has worked with many families and children, identifying needs and offering support through a variety of professionals and approaches. Laura is passionate about areas of deprivation and making long term and sustainable differences to families living there.
Laura’s specialism is Early Years and she is eager to encourage the sharing of the Gospel with under 5’s in an appropriate and engaging way. This includes valuing children to know and love God exactly how and where they are. As part of her role as the under 5’s and families enabler Laura aims to resource and support parishes as they explore how best to connect with their local communities. Some of the ways that are currently being explored include through Baptisms, toddler groups, toddler church, Fresh expressions, and Pre-Schools and Nurseries. Laura is particularly interested in faith in the home and parenting in faith and is looking at practical and creative ways to support parishes with this.
Libby has worked with the Diocese since 2011 and her role focuses on encouraging and assisting parishes work with 5-11s and schools of all ages and types. As a qualified teacher, Libby draws on her experience as a Primary school teacher. She has also worked in a parish in Wolverhampton as a Pioneer Children's Minister, where a role was created to reach out to people in the community who would not normally engage with church.
As part of the role of 5-11s and Schools Enabler, Libby aims to resource and support parishes as they explore how best to connect with their local communities. Some of the ways that are currently being explored include, Open the Book, Collective Worship, Holy Communion and Chaplaincy (Lay and Ordained). As the Founder of Pray.Bake.Read, Libby is passionate to encourage churches to connect with and support their local schools in ways that are simple to start and encourages people who would not normally volunteer for a schools ministry. Libby works closely with churches and schools alongside colleagues from the Diocese's Board of Education.
Jon joined the Diocese of Lichfield in 2016, and focuses on equipping, encouraging and supporting churches to work with 11-18s, working as part of the Reaching New Generations and Vocations & Training teams. Before joining the RNG Team, Jon worked in high schools in Luton delivering spiritual and moral development programmes, mentoring students and leading small groups on issues like anger and self worth. Jon studied at London School of Theology and is passionate about supporting young people to discover the spiritual riches of scripture and Christian history and the life in Jesus Christ that grows from it.
Jon's specialism is to support, encourage and equip churches as they minister to 11-18s with a specific focus on helping young people to explore who God is calling them to be, and what God is calling them to do. Much work with 11-18s is happening across the diocese already through weeknight youth groups, choirs, Fresh Expressions, Sunday morning groups, youth services, bible studies and youth cells, summer camps and residentials, and through ministry to high schools and FE colleges. Whilst there are many initiatives and projects for 11-18s that are well established, Jon particularly relishes small beginnings and loves helping churches start new initiatives for young people.