The Churches Ministry Group among Children (CGMC) Network was recently hosted in Belfast by Connor Diocesan Training Co-ordinator Peter Hamill.
The group is made up of senior practitioners in children’s ministry from across the UK. Participants included representatives from the Church of England, United Reformed Church, Methodist Church, Scripture Union, Bible Reading Fellowship, Church in Wales, Salvation Army, Moravian Church, Church of Ireland, Church Lads and Girls Brigade, Girls Brigade, and Assemblies of God.
As part of the programme the group debated the role of children’s ministry in the formation training for ordained ministry. This debate was hosted in Edgehill College and the Rev Dr Maurice Elliott, Director of Church of Ireland Theological Institute, and the Rev Janet Unsworth, Director of Studies at Edgehill College, gave input to the session. The group was heartened by the clear thought both speakers had put into integrating children’s ministry into the curriculum for theological formation.
The group also met with a range of political parties and explored some of the issues with the past, and this included a visit to Stormont. On their final day the group visited two projects in Rathcoole estate with Patricia Lewsley, Children’s Commissioner for Northern Ireland.
Penny Fuller from the Methodist Youth and Children’s department in London said afterwards: “Thank you for all you did to facilitate such a wide and interesting programme enabling us to engage with different aspects of children’s ministry in Northern Ireland.”
Martin Payne has penned a reflection on behalf of the CGMC on the 48-hour conference and this can be read in full here.
CGMC meets twice a year in different parts of the UK to share ideas and resources and to learn about different approaches to children’s ministry. At this recent meeting in November, Peter Hamill was made Moderator of CGMC and will serve in this chairing role for three years.