The 1st Calling Young Disciples Learning Community starts18 Sep 2017 By Sam Setchell
Through the Calling Young Disciples learning community, parishes are getting together to look at their engagement with children and young people.
The first Calling Young Disciples Learning Community has been established. The community consists of representatives from the four different church groups with whom the Mission Enablers are working and is meeting together every six months over two and a half years.
The Learning Community is being run by CPAS and aims to help the Calling Young Disciples Mission Enablers and their host parishes to be as effective as possible growing their engagement with children, young people and their families. The first two-day meeting was led by CPAS Leadership Specialist, Pam Macnaughton, who said:
“We’ve recognised that it’s hard for one person to affect change in a parish in a short period of time. The purpose of the learning community is to gather a group together to discuss and plan what could be done. By working as a team, there’s a much greater likelihood of change.”
The learning community groups include the Mission Enablers as well as lay leaders, influential lay members and clergy from each of the churches involved. There will be five further meetings of the community and even when the Mission Enabler has moved onto another parish, they will still come back to support the existing communities. Each gathering looks at a different topic. The first was ‘Our Community and Mission’ with the groups looking at the story of the churches’ engagement with children and young people so far. Other sessions will look at disciples, leaders, evangelism and the future. At the end of a meeting, each parish group will put together an action plan for the next six months, which will be revisited next time.
“This is a pilot learning community for those working with children and young people,” continued Pam. “However, our experience has shown that learning communities are very effective at enabling change and new thinking in a range of different spheres and we trust and pray that this Calling Young Disciples Community will be transformative for the parishes and their work with children and young people.”
Mission Enabler Adam Legge is currently working with Kidderminster East. He said: “The learning community will help to give a context in which the parish can start to build change. I hope it will help to alter the mind sets of key people in churches who can then help drive through different ways of engaging with children and young people and see them as a way to bring life and vitality to our churches.”
Vicar of St Peter, Lapal, Hazel Charlton, is a member of the group from the Halas Team. She said: “From the first evening, the learning community was really informative and fun. The group gelled immediately and it was fascinating when we looked at how the world had changed during our different lifetimes! It’s exciting that so many different church groups can meet together – we’ve brought representatives from all our churches and it will definitely enable us to build connections and bond as a team which will help our future work.”
Cathy Repton came to the learning community as a Sunday School leader working at St. John’s Church in Bromsgrove. She said: “I really enjoyed the first sessions. Everyone was very friendly and it was a good format, with a mixture of activities rather than just sitting around tables talking. One of the main things I took away from the weekend was the importance of asking our local community about what it wants and needs and creating fresh expressions of church around that, rather than first looking at our capabilities. I’m going back to badger the church leaders to do just that!”