09 July 2008

Church to make major investment in youth engagement

The Methodist Conference has agreed to invest more than £4 million in a major initiative to develop and enhance the participation of young people in the life of the Church.

The Church's Youth Participation Strategy is a five-year initiative involving a specialist team of youth workers and young people employed to address how the Church engages with youth culture on local and national levels. Each Methodist district will receive a grant for the part-time employment of a young person aged 16-23. For most of their time these Youth Enablers will work within their district, but a proportion of their time will be used for national initiatives. Each year every district will take on a new 'Mission Possible' project proposed by young people and designed to put the Gospel into action in local communities.

Mike Seaton, Under 19's Team Leader for the Church, says; 'Young people need to be empowered to live as Christians, to witness to their peers and to participate as equals in the Church. Participation is all about involvement - it can be anything from providing opinions to setting agendas and decision making. In adopting this report, the Church is making a huge investment for future engagement with young people and youth culture. This decision demonstrates that the Church is serious about bringing youth participation into the heart of the life of the Church.'

District Youth Enablers will be supported by Connexional Participation Workers and seven full-time regional Participation Workers (five in England and one each in Scotland and Wales).

Conference received the report and endorsed its recommendations. The pilot project will begin in September with an ongoing programme of monitoring and evaluation with a full report in 2011.

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