Thursday, February 16, 2017

What I would have said in synod today

As a member of the house of clergy, I was reticent about contributing to this debate (and after a time stopped standing to speak so this is now posted here)

As a curate in my third year, it’s not that long ago, that I was a member of the laity who was not also a member of the clergy.

As a diocese I’m proud that Worcester has a diocesan children’s and youth council that can produce committed young Christians like Sarah Maxfield-Phillips who spoke earlier in this debate and wish we had such youth councils in every diocese and indeed in every parish.

I welcome the enthusiasm behind this report, I only wish it attended more closely not only to young people but to the many lay people in our churches who work with them.

As a former church youthworker, you might expect me to be proudest of one member of our youth group who is currently training for ordination but the primary goal of work with children and young people is not to make them all into clergyMbut to develop an:
“engaged, whole-life, robust lay discipleship” as the report puts it.
to follow the call that God places on their lives in whatever field that might be.
So therefore, I am so proud that former members of our youth group now include artists, designers,
an IT project manager, a photographer with the Norwegian Refugee Council, an app designer, an engineer in the merchant navy, a social care worker, an equal access rights campaigner an English language teacher with the British Council, a research scientist and I could go on as I’m sure could anyone who has worked with young people in the church.

Seven years ago in GS1769, for Growth, we called the church at national, diocesan and parish level to
“transformationMboth in the church and the world, and to recognise and enable the capacity of children and young people to be agents of change both for themselves and for others.”

Lasy year our Rooted in the Church research told us that young people in our churches want “positions of responsibility and leadership.”and a “greater “voice and vote” on decision-making bodies such as PCCs and Synods.

Today’s report says
“The needs and perspectives  of  lay  people  are  not  well  heard, listened to, understood or acted  on”

Those of young people are even less so.

When are we going to set them free?

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