Church to make major investment in youth engagement

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

The Church's Youth Participation Strategy is a five-yearinitiative involving a specialist team of youth workers and youngpeople employed to address how the Church engages with youthculture on local and national levels. Each Methodist district willreceive a grant for the part-time employment of a young person aged16-23. For most of their time these Youth Enablers will work withintheir district, but a proportion of their time will be used fornational initiatives. Each year every district will take on a new'Mission Possible' project proposed by young people and designed toput the Gospel into action in local communities.

Mike Seaton, Under 19's Team Leader for the Church, says; 'Youngpeople need to be empowered to live as Christians, to witness totheir peers and to participate as equals in the Church.Participation is all about involvement - it can be anything fromproviding opinions to setting agendas and decision making. Inadopting this report, the Church is making a huge investment forfuture engagement with young people and youth culture. Thisdecision demonstrates that the Church is serious about bringingyouth participation into the heart of the life of theChurch.'

District Youth Enablers will be supported by ConnexionalParticipation Workers and seven full-time regional ParticipationWorkers (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 programmeof monitoring and evaluation with a full report in 2011.