28 May 2009

Church dedicates resources to children and young people

The Methodist Church has continued its commitment to empowering young people with the appointment of a Youth Participation Development Officer.

Jude Levermore will dedicate her time in the newly-created post to enabling young people engage in the life of the Church and their communities.

Jude, whose previous job involved working with socially excluded young people at The Witney Ecumenical Youth Trust in West Oxfordshire, said she was really excited about the challenge.

"The Methodist Church has recognised that without the involvement of young people, there is not much hope for the Church," said Jude.

"The vision is to renew the Church through young people. Participation is all about getting young people involved at every level. As a society, we have lost the ability to hear what young people say. That is part of the breakdown in society. We have become frightened of young people and actually they have so much energy and potential. As a society, we have stifled their ability to change the world."

Jude will coordinate a regional participation network as well as making sure that the annual Youth Assembly works as planned and that young people's voices are listened to. As part of the Methodist Church's £4 million Youth Participation Strategy launched last year, gap year students will be given the opportunity to work on projects tailored to their interests, be it rural work or work combating gun and knife crime.

"It is all about developing the potential of young people to serve God and their communities," said Jude. "The community is where Methodism started; it is a social action gospel movement for social change through an encounter with God. It is about allowing young people to make a difference."

Mike Seaton, Director of Children and Youth, said: "The appointment of Jude as the youth participation development officer is an exciting and essential step forward in the implementation of this project. Jude joins the team with a vast amount of experience in managing complex projects, Christian youth work in a range of open and church-based settings and developing and delivering professional training for workers."

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