Youth and children’s ministry leaders from across Connor Diocese came together at St Patrick’s, Broughshane, on Saturday September 3 to be encouraged and resourced for the year ahead. [Photo Gallery below]
The event was organised by Diocesan Youth Officer Christina Baillie and Children’s Ministry Development Officer Victoria Jackson. Leaders from 11 different parishes and parish groups attended the event, which included separate workshop sessions in children’s ministry and youth ministry.
After a welcome from Victoria, the Bishop of Connor, the Rt Rev George Davison, added his own welcome, and thanked all those present for all they do. “I hope it is a morning you will find helpful and something that will equip you for the work you do in the parishes you serve,” he said.
“That work is some of the most important that is done in the life of the Church. When children are little, they take in so much, but you are doing so much more than just teaching them the facts. When you meet with the children and young people in your parish, you are engaging in the enormous privilege of introducing them to Jesus.
“To do what you do is not just down to the skills you have and the resources you pick up, it is being able to share something that means something to you. Nurture your own relationship with Jesus, that is the greatest gift you will give to the young person you are working with.”
Bishop George prayed for those present and the work they do.
Christina told the gathering that many great things were happening across the diocese in a real mix of parishes. “This morning you will have the opportunity to share your experiences and to discuss the reality and the challenges,” she said.
Representatives of two parishes spoke about their work with children and young people – Johnny and Kirsty from Ballyrashane and Killdollagh outlined the activities they provided through the parish Sunday Club and youth group, and Amanda and Dennis from Ahoghill and Portlenone spoke about the work of the Kids Zone group – which had continued through the Covid-19 pandemic, engaging children via Zoom – and the youth fellowship. This, they said, had not been so successful online, but is now meeting regularly.
The speakers said that providing teaching and opportunities for young people was a great way of connecting with families and the wider church congregation, and stressed that volunteers are key to running programmes for children and young people.
The youth ministry workshop was led by Christina, while the session on children’s ministry was led by Victoria and Emma Thompson from Prayer Spaces in Schools.
The event finished with lunch.
Parishes represented included: