On 7 May Church Mission Society, with Frontier Youth Trust, will be hosting a day on pioneering with youth and children. It will be a great opportunity for church or community youth, children and families workers to be inspired and encouraged by hearing stories from innovative practitioners. There will be resources recommended and available to buy, as well as time for discussing points raised by the different contributors and networking with others in this area of ministry.
We’ll kick off the day with worship led by Eleanor King who creates church for children using soft play. Our first keynote speakers are Jane Barrett and Belinda Ngugi. Jane Barrett currently works as a branch leader for Worth Unlimited in east Birmingham and north Solihull. She has been in youth work for over 15 years and is the co-founder of Listen Threads a young women’s social enterprise. She is passionate about how enterprise can impact young people’s lives and is committed to not just working with young people, but sharing life with them.
Belinda provides a space of hope and support for teenage mums in East London. Providing a safe, non-judgemental space for pregnant and new mums’ who are experiencing mental and emotional health difficulties and family hardship. In an area with high social deprivation, unaffordable housing and with the lowest proportion of white British in England and Wales, there are many challenges and barriers to breakdown. Belinda will share some of her experiences and learning’s in providing hope in her community and engaging with different cultures.
The next speaker, Sara Barron is an accredited Baptist minister and until recently she has had a pioneering ministry on a large council estate near Portsmouth where she lived for 16 years. Sara is a trustee of Incarnate Network, National Estate Churches Network, and Estates Evangelism Task group. Sara works half time as development worker for CURBS, which resources, trains and supports children’s workers in urban and estate areas. Having recently moved to Looe in Cornwall, Sara is spending a year of missional listening in this new context before embarking on pioneer ministry in Looe. Following Sara, James Fawcett will share his experience of engaging with young people in various capacities over the last 18+ years. He lives in Hackney, East London.
After lunch there will be workshops with some input and then discussion. One will be facilitated by Debs North who is a youth worker in North Devon specialising in sex education, PSHE and mental health work. She is passionate about enthusing and resourcing anyone who works with or has contact with young people to normalise talking about relationships, sex, mental health, and all aspects of being human and whole. Her website is www.lemonjellyyouthwork.org.
Another workshop is to be led by Rachel Summers. A teacher by trade, Rachel moved from teaching in primary schools, through doing work one-to-one with excluded teens, to retraining as a forest school practitioner. She now delivers forest school sessions to nurseries, schools, and the general public. Rachel’s website can be found at www.curiouswilds.co.uk and she says of her session, “I’ll talk about the forest church movement, my journey towards this, and what worshipping outside looks like in my context.”
Kathy Bland will be doing a workshop on why Messy church is pioneering with plenty of stories, practical tips and inspiration to spark creativity along the way. Kathy is Messy Church Regional Coordinator for Herefordshire and has led Messy Church in Leominster for eight years, where she is now a licensed lay pioneer.
The fourth workshop facilitator is Andy Milne, who has recently been appointed to head up Missional Youth Church Network. With wife Tracy, Andy pioneered Sorted, a fresh expression among young people. He is also a Church Army Evangelist and author of The DNA of Pioneer Ministry (SCM, 2016) which tells the story of Sorted and offers insights into pioneering. We’ll end the day with worship led by Church in Wales Ordained Pioneer, Matt Davis.
The cost of tickets for the day are £20 and this includes lunch and refreshments. The event will run from 10am to 4pm and takes place at Church Mission Society, Watlington Rd, Oxford OX4 6BZ.