Church dedicates resources to children and young people

The Methodist Church has continued its commitment to empoweringyoung people with the appointment of a Youth ParticipationDevelopment Officer.

Jude Levermore will dedicate her time in the newly-created post toenabling young people engage in the life of the Church and theircommunities.

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

"The Methodist Church has recognised that without the involvementof young people, there is not much hope for the Church," saidJude.

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

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

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

Mike Seaton, Director of Children and Youth, said: "The appointmentof Jude as the youth participation development officer is anexciting and essential step forward in the implementation of thisproject. Jude joins the team with a vast amount of experience inmanaging complex projects, Christian youth work in a range of openand church-based settings and developing and deliveringprofessional training for workers."