Support for Parishes...
If you have any concerns or questions regarding children's work in your parish, from baptism to confirmation, then please get in touch with us. Sometimes a conversation over the phone (or e-mail) can sort out the issue, or perhaps a meeting, or an evening workshop could be arranged. Either way, if we don't know the answer we can contact others on your behalf who will do.
- How can we encourage children into our church ?
- When is the best time to hold Sunday School?
- What about a mid week club?
- The children in our group range in age from 4 years to 10, none of the material seems to work.
- How can we start a group to support families enquiring about Baptism?
- We don't have enough helpers in our parish to keep children's work going.
- Where can I find material suitable for preparing 10 year olds for confirmation?
- What about the issue of communion before confirmation?
These are just some of the range of queries. Perhaps you can identify with one or more of these questions, or perhaps you have some of your own. One thing is certain, while the problem is unlikely to be unique, the solution almost certainly will be since each parish is quite different from all others. This does not however mean that we cannot learn from one another. What has worked in one place can often be taken, adapted and then used somewhere else. Someone once likened the job of the Chidren's Officer to that of a butterfly collector, collecting good ideas and examples of good practice in one part of the diocese and releasing them in other areas. So if you feel you are running rather short of butterflies in your parish why not get in touch.
The diocesan document 'Looking to the Future', encourages a focus on worship and its development within parishes. It is crucial that children are included within such development and that their position within the worshipping life of the church is considered. It is not sufficient to find creative ways of occupying children while the worship carries on around them. If they are to be nurtured and encouraged in their own faith then they need to be actively involved and engaged within the liturgy. This gives rise to particular challenges within eucharistic worship and we have a range of resources and ideas to promote and support this engagement. If you would like to explore this issue further within your parish / deanery, then please do get in touch.
Towards a Policy for Children's Work
All parishes within the diocese are encouraged to engage with the process of working towards the drawing up of a parish policy for working with children. Towards a Policy for Children's Work is a document, endorsed by Diocesan Synod, to support this process. While the end point of a policy is clearly important, of equal value are the discussions and ideas generated by the process itself. The document helps parishes to identify where they are in terms of their work with children and then identify how this can be built upon and developed further. Parishes who have embarked on the process have found it to be helpful and valuable and we would encourage all parishes to consider how they might use this document. Further copies are available from us here at the Department for Children, Youth and Education.
For details of forthcoming events and training relating to children and those working with them in parishes, please see Children's Work - News & Events.