A letter from the Archdeacon of Dudley for February

Do you, like me, love to see people of all ages growing in faith and enjoying the love of God?

One of our four priorities within the Kingdom People vision is to increase our engagement with children, young people and their families across the diocese. Our newly formed team of Calling Young Disciples Mission Enablers are already having an impact in their host parishes and further afield. We now have six, working under the leadership of Project Director Ruth Walker, the final two having started in January.

I have been greatly encouraged to hear stories emerging as this creative team build relationships with congregations and both equip them, and help them to think differently!

Adam, for example, tells of how Messy Church is developing parish-wide as resources and talents are pooled and how it’s being increasingly seen as an additional congregation rather than something to feed into the 9.30 am service.

Anne, Helen and Amy have enthused about the willingness to try something new from people who haven’t been on the radar of clergy, people who have had a ‘holy unrest’. The introduction of a Mission Enabler to poke and shake things up has helped to revive the fire in people. They have had ‘God moments’, when children, young people and adults have spoken about God and faith, and there has been a strong sense of God preparing the way in the places where they’re allocated. They have seen evidence of where people have been working beneath the surface to progress the Kingdom People ethos and are now ready and willing to move with the tide.

Alongside the work of this team, as well as that of our Youth Officer, Simon and Children’s Officer, Emma, we also had the privilege of a day’s training from Lucy Moore on how to keep the discipleship focus of Messy Church in November. Nearly a hundred people were inspired and enthused to take their Messy Churches to the next level, and from some of the tweets I saw leading up to Christmas, this had excellent results.

I long to see churches across the diocese truly engaging with all ages effectively – our churches need to be multi-generational if they are to reflect the welcome of God’s kingdom. I am looking forward to many more encouraging stories as we intentionally focus on this, and hope that all those families who packed out our special Christmas services will be invited back for other events soon. Please join me in praying for the work of the Calling Young Disciples Team, and our Diocesan Youth and Children’s Officers, giving thanks for seeds sown, green shoots appearing, and the promise of more to come. I am sure we have an exciting year ahead!

Nikki Groarke
Archdeacon of Dudley

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