23 October 2006

New focus for the journeys of children and young people in the Methodist Church

Calling for fresh thinking about the role of children and young people in the Methodist Church, two new resources offer support and encouragement to youth and children's workers and invite Methodists to work together as a church of all ages.

The MethodistChildren Journey and MAYC Curriculum documents set out a vision for the Church's work with children and young people, highlight core values and show the support that is available for local churches. Describing this work as an activity for the whole Church, not just youth and children's workers, the resources seek to encourage and enable children and young people to consider the experiences and influences of both the Church and society as they undertake their own journey.

Steve Pearce, Methodist Children's Secretary, says: 'We're really excited about the new opportunities that are around at the moment and the way so many parts of our church are responding to them. Children are challenging us to respond creatively to the technology, arts and social issues of the 21st century. The signs are that the Church is up to the task, when members take Jesus seriously, put children in the centre and learn to change and become more like them. These documents outline the steps in that process and come out of a commitment to listening and responding to children and young people and trying to find out what they want and need.'

The MethodistChildren Journey identifies three key areas for the journey to progress well Ð learning, prayer and serving the community and God's world. It also features worksheets designed to help individuals and groups reflect on the 'destination' towards which their children's work is travelling with practical steps for churches, circuits and districts.

The MAYC (formerly the Methodist Association of Youth Clubs) Curriculum Journey focuses on the importance of helping young people to develop fully in all aspects of life and encouraging them to participate fully in church and community life. It highlights the need for political and informal education, as well as support for youth workers and a renewed focus on spiritual development.

Mike Seaton, MAYC Secretary, said; 'Over the past sixty years MAYCs understanding of young people and the issues facing them has evolved. The Curriculum helps youth workers and Churches understand the purpose of Methodist youth work and what needs to be in place to enable young people to reach to their full potential. It is not an easy task and there is not a quick solution but youth work is important for our Church, our communities and most importantly for young people'.

Both MAYC and Methodist Children have an ongoing commitment to continue to develop and offer training and resources and to encourage the participation of children and young people, challenging them to explore and express their faith, enabling them to share their stories, make choices and influence their world. For more information, visit www.mayc.info or www.methodistchildren.org.uk.

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