© 2013 Trinity United Reformed Church - Milton Grove, Wigan, WN1 2PG
Junior / Youth Church
Junior Church is for the younger members of our church. Everyone is together in church for the first part of our 10.45am Sunday morning worship and then the young people go to the blue room for their own activities. Parents of toddlers are welcome to go with them for the Junior Church activities.
Junior/Youth Church Mission Statement
The Junior/Youth Church here at Trinity like to make new friends in learning about God and helping each other. We like to discuss our ideas, opinions and beliefs and strive to support each other in spreading the Word. We aim to make a positive difference in and around our own community and Church, so that God’s love can reach out to all.
TRINITY’S FAMILY NATIVITY SERVICE
This lovely picture shows the group of young people who took part in Trinity’s Family Nativity Service on the evening of Friday 21st December. The service was well received, so thank you to all those who took part in any way.
These ‘Elder’ shepherds were amongst the more mature cast members.....I won’t say ‘Guess who!’
Wednesday July 15th 2020 at 7pm via Zoom - See Link Below
Many of you will, by now, have had a go at Zoom and become quite proficient when chatting to family and friends, but the prospect of participating with people whom I had never met before was somewhat daunting.
However, an “e” ticket duly registered for and an invite to join the meeting received, I settled myself by my laptop on Wednesday evening.
I discovered that 45 participants had signed up and only discovered after the event that a number, including Lesley, were unable to access the meeting.
The meeting was hosted by the Children’s and Youth Work Committee Convenor who began with a prayer and, before introducing the various presentations, did mention that in all of these the URC were acutely aware of the lack of ethnicity and wanted it to be noted that the URC is an inclusive Church.
Mission Council at the General assembly
Three RESOLUTIONS had been made for and by the Children and Youth Work Committee of the URC which were briefly as follows:
1. The first concerned environmental issues and the climate emergency with an aim to reduce our carbon footprint. As Christians, we are called to be stewards of the planet and It proposed that, personally, and by taking little steps, simple recycling tasks should be highlighted and churches were urged to aim to gain awards: AROCHA ECO Church.
2. The second resolution highlighted FUSION K and the Student Christian Movement at colleges and universities. By linking up, young people are kept involved with the Church and worship.
3. The Third was the Children and Youth Friendly Church Scheme (previously Award). The Children and Young People’s Development team(CYDO) had spent time working on this scheme, which involves a process of reflection and engagement, an examination of what we do to welcome children and young people, or values, hopes and dreams and a consideration of how we can continue to grow whilst celebrating where we are.
Prayers were offered giving thanks for our young people especially during a time of change.
The Lundie Memorial Award for Young People under 26.
Two of the recent recipients of this award told us what they had done to be nominated for the award and said how pleased they were to receive it. Both awardees were of school age and wholeheartedly involved themselves in Christian life both at home and showed their concern for Christians abroad. A link to the presentation will be at the end of the report.
The 5 Year Strategy
This strategy is entitled: Fanning the Flame and is now in its second year. It aims to unite under one umbrella the 0-25 year olds with themes entitled “One body”, “One common ground”. The regional CYDOs have reshaped their teams and produced resources, this year for 0-5 year olds and their families.
Conferences are to be held later in the year associated with this. The aim is to increase inclusivity.
Responding to Coronavirus
The Head of Children’s and Youth Work has been considering the effects of the Coronavirus especially where children are concerned and talked about the long, and short, term effects, both for social development and mental health. She highlighted that in the future there could be questions concerning employment prospects and the rise in poverty. In response to the virus, many churches have provided resources for creative activities for children, online groups and, when possible, enabled pastoral visits to families.
Guidance for Churches for Young People
A number of links were highlighted to programmes/resources for different age groups:
For 18+ on Youtube “Trialogue” is to be found providing opportunities for Bible Study and discussion about key social issues. This is weekly at 7pm.
There is a dedicated Facebook page for the work of Children’s and Young People’s Development team.
“Friends on Faith Adventures” for 5-11 year olds has taken the idea from Pilots and revamped its format. It is bible based providing detailed resources.
Linked to the above there is also “Families on Faith Adventures@Home” which provides resources for young families to worship and learn together at home. It is for children aged up to 11.
Stories and Questions in the Breakout Rooms
The participants were then divided into small groups in Breakout Rooms for a ten minute session of discussion. There were four in my group which was led by the CYDO from the Wessex Synod, Ruth and two gentlemen who were ministers.
The conversation was interesting and revolved around National, Regional and Local issues. Lockdown and its impact was high on our agenda and the feeling generated was that now churches have been given a good opportunity for change, particularly with families. A new approach to Messy Church is being researched and was presented with a move to discipling instead of feeding into mainstream services; seeing it instead of being an event at church, but another form of church.
The various groups reconvened as the celebration drew to a close. It had been just that, a celebration: an opportunity to highlight all the good that is currently occurring in the URC and proposals for the continuation of further development of work with our Children and Young People- Our Future.
The meeting closed with a thanks from the incoming Children and Youth Work Committee Convenor who led us in prayer.
Here is the link to the event: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gAOwv-oOzZM
Permission has been given to share as widely as possible.
Report compiled by Trish Reilly.
On the initial advertising for this conference, the information had indicated that it would be useful for those who would be operating youth groups out of Church premises during the pandemic, however, as the conference progressed, it was evident that it was more aimed towards those wishing to undertake detached youth work. It was hosted by the URC Children’s and Youth Work convenor, Sam Richards. The speaker was Tim Evans from Worth Unlimited, a national community, dedicated to inspiring hope together by making it possible for great people to do great things. As a national Christian charity and social enterprise, they equip and support people to harness their passions, gifts, skills and talents to be locally rooted enablers of hope and transformation, providing the practical and legal framework they need.
To explain, detached youth work is out in the community and takes place where young people are at. It involves informal and social education and responds to needs and opportunities. It is different from outreach, which involves going out to meet young people with a view to bringing them into the Church buildings. However, the phrase was used of detached youth work and meeting young people in their environment that, “It’s their turf, but it’s also God’s turf.” You are starting where young people are at, so it is the right place to be. Young people do not find it unusual to meet up outside, in the park, woods or bus shelter. Wherever their gathering point may be.
In detached youth work, there is no responsibility for a building or venue, such as when a youth club operates in a church or hall. There can be more equal power dynamics as the adult is not present as a leader, or teacher. The adult is there as the young peoples’ guest. It is worth remembering that Jesus went and met people outside – this was where he spent time with people. Like him, we would get to see what people are up to in the world, not asking them to come to our buildings and conform to our conventions. Detached youth work is all about building relationships and trust with young people. They are not consumers or service users; they are doing life as it is lived. Therefore, from the youth worker there should be a long-term commitment to building relationships.
What skills and qualities are needed to be a detached youth worker? The person would need to have a high level of self confidence as approaching and engaging with a group of young people in the outside world quite frankly takes guts! As adults we are naturally wary of approaching young people, sometimes due to our preconceived ideas about their behaviour, but more realistically because in a world dominated by safeguarding that adults and young people are far more aware of their boundaries. However, assuming interaction takes places, the youth worker would need to have positive and open body language, good listening skills using open questioning techniques. The advice was to spend more time listening than talking. Obviously, a youth worker would not want to outstay their welcome when engaging with a group, so knowing when to withdraw is an important skill. There can also be obvious challenges in entering into a group so embracing the unexpected is essential. After all, as an adult with a group of young people, we are the unexpected!
How to get started? Firstly, it is advisable to survey the local community to see what is already being offered. Carry out a community profile to see where amenities are and where young people are already congregating. Observation is a useful tool to work out the habits of the young people in the locality. Then obviously official structures would need to be put in place. These would include safeguarding and risk assessments, emergency contacts and an exit plan. It is recommended that this type is work is not undertaken alone but in pairs or groups. A hoodie or lanyard could be worn showing the name of the person and the organisation. On making that first contact with a group, a suggestion was to take a football, or a dog as a conversation opener. Introduce yourselves, exchange names and explain who you are.
Examples of where detached youth work has been successful are where groups have taken a gazebo and served hot chocolates to groups of young people, then engaging in conversation Turning up at a regular time not only shows commitment but builds trust with a group. During these times of social distancing, possibilities are to walk and talk with groups, having doorstep conversations and setting challenges in the neighbourhood.
What could it mean for us at Trinity? At present, our youth work ends when children leave the youth club aged 12. We retain a few children, usually older brothers and sisters, and encourage those who assist to achieve their Duke of Edinburgh service awards. In previous productions, there have been teenage cast members and backstage crew. However, it is not these children that detached youth work is aimed at. It is those for whom home is not a very nice place to be and shivering in a bus stop or the park is preferable. From observation, the one of the strong points of the congregation at Trinity is that they are extremely good at engaging with young people, at being that listening supportive and interested ear. I know from when my own children and the children of others return, their names, interests and occupations are remembered and there is a genuine interest in their lives. Maybe we can go out and do that in the community.
At a time when the youth club is in a hiatus, we should be thinking forwards as to how we can best serve the people in our local community and maybe we shouldn’t be worrying about how many young people we have in worship but think how we can be active Christians and be like Jesus – out meeting people where they are.