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Growing Faith: resource pack for churches and schools - Diocese of Derby 2022
This resource pack was created following the Churches and Schools Survey of 2021.
It is designed to support and encourage all churches as they aim to put Growing Faith at the heart of their parish priorities.
The first document listed is the contents of the pack.
Please read this first. It shows how the resource is divided into eight parts.
The contents document lists the areas covered by each of these eight documents. For example, if you were looking for information around collective worship, you will see that this heading is no.1 on document C).
If you open document C), you will find that the first section lists resources and ideas around the area of collective worship.
Please contact Sarah.firstname.lastname@example.org if you need any assistance or if there is an area which doesn't seem to be covered.
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The wording around the national aim to grow young disciples is important.
As a church we are aiming to encourage discipleship and a growing spirituality in children and young people. For the faith that is grown to be lasting we are striving to develop youth ministry across the diocese.
As strategic lead for youth ministry, Revd Aidan Watson is here to support youth workers, both paid and volunteer, across the diocese.
Please get in touch by emailing email@example.com
Below is a series of links for starting, developing and growing youth ministry in your church.
Our colleagues at the Dioceses of Bath & Wells and Bristol have produced some excellent downloadable confirmation resources.
If you have a young person or a group of young people you are preparing for confirmation and would like to use this resource, then click here to have a look and download your own version.
A fantastic resource for any Christian working with young people, the youthscape podcast has several years-worth of episodes covering a range of areas so there will be plenty for your context to learn. Find on any major podcast platform or here https://www.youthscape.co.uk/podcast
Various fantastic organisations exist to support churches in running activities for young people with varying levels of faith involvement. Some of our recommendations include:-
Youthscape – originally working Luton, YS now has a national focus and is leading the way in research and innovation for Christian youthwork - https://www.youthscape.co.uk/
Scripture Union – in addition to their decades of church based youth and children’s resources, they are focussing most of their work resourcing churches to reach the 95% of children and young people nationally who have no connection with church - https://content.scriptureunion.org.uk/resources-activities
The RSCM – for more traditional contexts church choirs can provide a way of engaging with young people, including developing them as young leaders. https://www.rscm.org.uk/learn-with-us/
Urban Saints Energize - Thousands of engaging and adaptable biblical sessions, training articles and support resources - https://www.urbansaints.org/what-we-do/online-resources
Living Out Love – a youth group resource
Our colleagues in Birmingham diocese have created a series of short films to help young people think through issues of sexuality, gender, relationships, and justice based on the six pastoral principles which are:
- Acknowledging Prejudice
- Speaking into silence
- Addressing ignorance
- Casting out fear
- Admitting hypocrisy
- Paying attention to power
They come in two versions a 30 min and 60 min versions, they can be used all together or as stand-alone sessions. To download your free copy click here.
Bishop’s Youth Council
The Bishop’s Youth Council exists to hear the voices of young people in the decision-making processes of the diocese. It is made up of 16-25 year olds across the diocese and is invited to feed recommendations into Bishop’s council and Diocesan Synod. The council is overseen by Ben Martin (Lay Pioneer and Bishop’s Council Member) and Rev. Aidan Watson (Strategic Youth Lead). As well as having their voices heard, members are invested in as young leaders in the church.
If you or a young person you know are interested in hearing more about youth council then email firstname.lastname@example.org
Valley Cids - an independent Christian charity based in Derbyshire, committed to serving children, young people and families through out-reach work in schools and the wider community. https://www.valleycids.co.uk/
The Peak Centre – A Christian-run activity centre in the Peak district that gives preference to young people - https://www.peakcentre.org.uk/
As a diocese we seek to facilitate training of youth leaders, both paid and volunteer. We are keen to invest in potential youth leaders, and anticipate that more will be announced on this shortly.
Alternatively, members of the diocesan staff are ordained/licensed lay readers and can come preach/speak to churches about the place of youth ministry in the church. If you would like to do a training day with your volunteer team(s) or to discuss options, then contact email@example.com
Across the diocese we are setting up or supporting regional networks of paid/volunteer youth workers. If this would interest you then email firstname.lastname@example.org
We also work with Missional Church Youth Network – an organisation seeking to enable local schools, churches and community projects to work together to reimagine church with young people. We facilitate a Learning Community in order that youth leaders and volunteers can come together for training, encouragement, prayer and support as they build for the future. https://www.mycn.org.uk/
Introducing the Diocese of Derby’s Disability Inclusion Action Group (DIAG)
Disability inclusion and access is taken very seriously by the Diocese of Derby.
Volunteers, with a range of disabilities and challenges, who all share the passion of making positive change across the diocese launched the DIAG to support the diocese and parishes to become as inclusive to disabled people as they possibly can be.
Our work is focused around three key themes - Attitude, Access, and Agency.
These themes arise from the paper ‘Disabling Church’ researched and written by Cptn Tim Rourke, which was received and endorsed by Diocesan Synod in October 2021.
The report focused on changing attitudes towards disabled people, improving access to all the church’s activities, and ensuring disabled people are enabled to exercise agency by participating at all levels in church life and governance.
The group meet regularly and is chaired by Carl Veal. The group always welcomes interest and/or enquiries from congregation and churches across the diocese.
What can we do for you?
We view our purpose as serving the needs of the disabled within the Diocese of Derby.
All of our activities and tools are designed by the group towards making the lives of those with challenges easier within the churches across our diocese.
Our information is intended for all the people of the diocese; clergy, church leaders and parishoners alike and currently includes:
- The provision of accessibility advice and you may contact us directly at email@example.com. We would love to hear from you.
- As we progress, we will be offering seminars both online and in groups – keep a look out for announcements.
- We can offer advice based on the very personal experiences of living with a range of disabilities. The members of the diag group are comprised of volunteers mostly with disability or multiple disabilities of some form.
We are currently working on making available a Braille print toolkit; and a BSL toolkit which willl include how to engage British Sign Language (BSL) interpreters. We are also liiking into access to completing a successful accessibility audit through an audit toolkit.
NB: All contact is treated in confidence and information will only be shared with express consent.
We’d love to hear from you as your thoughts and experiences of church life and disability are important in developing best practice.
So whether you’re an individual with ‘lived’ or ‘caring' experience of disability, or a church, or community organisation, do get in contact with us.
We love to hear of new projects and events, and if you want to get more involved then we're always welcoming to new members joining our steering group.
DIAG related stories on the Diocese of Derby website
Please note - unless otherwise stated, events listed here are external and not endorsed by the Diocese of Derby but we are happy to share the information on them.
Disability Awareness Sunday Service
Sunday, 24 September 2023, 10.30am.
St Cuthbert’s Church, Doveridge.
Disability Awareness Sunday [webpage]
All Stand brochure [PDF]
Songs, hymns, and carols in British Sign Language (BSL) signed by Deaf Christians.
Global Accessibility Awareness Day
Thursday, 18 May 2023. Purpose of the day is to get everyone talking, thinking and learning about digital access and inclusion, and the more than One Billion people with disabilities/impairments.
Through the Roof
A registered charity that exists to transform lives through Jesus with disabled people.
Christian Aid is asking people to join the global day of action on Saturday, 6 November, as people around the world take to the streets to march together for climate justice.
Many walks and marches are planned throughout the country, and for those who are unable or prefer not to join an organised event, there is the opportunity to join a virtual march, for which thousands have already registered.
The COP26 climate talks provide a unique opportunity for the nation to call on the UK Prime Minister and world leaders to take action that will end climate injustice.
Christian says our leaders must:
- increase financial support to the world’s poorest countries to confront the climate crisis take action
- limit global temperature rises to 1.5C
- take action to stop the expansion of fossil fuel energy and to support clean energy
Find out more on the Christian Aid website.
There could hardly be a more practical programme of support for the most deprived in the world than that chosen by Bishop Libby this year. Supporting destitute and abandoned girls from the streets of Kolkata will acheive so much. Not only to rescue these vulnerable children and young adults from the risk of exploitation, sickness and malnutrition but also to educate and equip them for a future where they can contribute to the development of their communities and nurture the next generation. I have seen at first hand and know the abject circumstances from which they are being assisted. Please give generously.
Beth Honey is Pioneer Minister in the Derwent Ward and co-leader of a growing fresh expressions called Derwent Oak.
Here she describes how the seed of a simple plan has grown into a fully-fledged Christian community.
An oak tree takes a long time to grow, and in many ways, it was an excellent choice for the name of a new expression of Christian community on an outer estate.
Once it grows it is solid, stable, can last for centuries, but it takes time, and you need to give it space when you are establishing it.
Getting to know the area where you live and dwell is vital when growing a fresh expression of church.
This is not project management, but disciple-making and listening to the Holy Spirit.
What we have learned has been about getting under the skin of this place and getting to know our neighbours.
Our FX, ‘Derwent Oak’, began with a simple plan (yes, strategy is still permitted in the world of organic church life!) to see five new disciples in our initial five years, and to see the multiplication of small communities beginning to worship in ways that are natural to life here, and led by people who know the place, and could make a significant change.
What has emerged since we began in 2014 has surprised us, challenged us, tested us and brought new people to be part of Derwent Oak who have taken us beyond these initial thoughts so that we have had to learn to let go of first dreams and give them over to God.
He has consistently taught us that he is already here, in the beauty and complexity of this community of faith that he is growing.
We formed partnerships with other church and community groups on both food and mental health projects.
We are now working on community gardening and a community transport extension.
We meet to pray in a church building, as well as outdoors and in homes.
We have a central weekly gathering, which in pre-covid times met in homes, and has come to be known as ‘Together’.
Its roots were simply in sharing a cuppa, and this led to shared cooking and eating, and then into bread and wine roughly once a month.
We shared stories, reflections, prayers, and a time of planning events for our wider community to let them know that we are all loved. ‘You are loved’ has become our central and simple summary of the good news.
We have hosted bonfires, art galleries, a gig in the garden, pop up art, prayer tents, a Derwent day out across venues (that this year will be the first Derwent community event post-covid), summer youth schemes in partnership with Aspire and Derbyshire Cricket, fun days, Christmas plays and outdoor events, and through lockdown, the garden provided a focus of prayer through online requests for candles to be lit.
As Derwent Oak became more well known locally, we found that those who had had some experience of church life in the past ‘came out of the woodwork’ and asked us a little more about church.
We decided to experiment with meeting on Sundays once a month, which started just before lockdown, and hope to restart later in 2021, and this is led from the original group from Derwent Oak, with lay pioneer support.
We are also now part of a wider fellowship of churches in this part of the city, including a church plant, a thriving parish church and another fresh expression community.
We want to take our place in the mixed ecology of what is growing and to give and receive as part of that.
Through the most recent lockdown, another new group based around offering some mental health sessions online was formed, which is now growing into an online community that may well develop into an in-person community.
Along with Aspire, we also offer Walking Buddies - local residents offer to meet and walk with people as they begin to beat anxiety in emerging from lockdown.
This new group is connecting to the Diocese of Derby Greenhouse and part of that learning community across the county.
Although there’s been growth, the pandemic has hit the FX and local communities here very hard.
Almost symbolically, at the start of lockdown, we had tree surgeons working in our garden and they decimated the trees - for the health of the trees and the area, but it made us feel exposed. It felt like something like that had happened to all our work.
Now in the seventh year of the life of this fresh expression we are at the point of hosting and enabling and sharing the creative fruit of Derwent Oak, and tending and tidying unexpected growth.
Perhaps it is possible to be strong and vulnerable at the same time, to both need support and to be able to offer resource, to be in the place of death and growth at once.
That is one of the key lessons that Derwent Oak continues to teach me as a leader.
And, to always ask for help before you offer it in any community.
That we are living through an unprecedented world situation has sadly already become a cliché. But that need not distract us from the truth that people are suffering in our own communities additionally to their usual experience and in new ways, hence the Bishop’s Harvest Appeal.
Nevertheless we remain privileged both medically by NHS provision for all and socially through the welfare state, whatever their shortcomings and regardless of politics; nothing is perfect! However from a Christian perspective we must recognise that this is a global medical, social and economic pandemic and these cascading events affect many societies in far greater ways than has been or will be felt within our experience in the UK. Very many will have their lives profoundly threatened and be forced to endure much more than their usual deprivation. Others are threatened by those who would take advantage of this time to increase exploitation thus intensifying misery. These are not mere theoretical possibilities but, sadly, are already present realities.
If we in our democratic and advanced economy were not prepared for this emergency imagine what has happened in communities whose traditional way of life has already been hit by economic globalisation compounded by climate changes. Anti-Slavery.org describes how already vulnerable people are put in jeopardy. For example over a million garment workers have been laid off in Bangladesh with little or no government safety net and similar crises are unfolding in Cambodia, India and Myanmar. Such situations present huge risks, in addition to Covid-19 itself, in terms of debt bondage and people trafficking.
A further obvious example, highlighted in the latest edition of ‘Tear Times’, is the 1.5 million Syrian refugees sheltering in Lebanon, facing the pandemic and now severely affected by the crisis caused by the massive explosion disrupting life in its capital, Beirut, on the 4th of August and fire on the 10th.
This is indeed a global crisis which could be overwhelming but for Christians it should not, because we love one another and care about all who suffer, not only ‘our own’. So what should we do? A practical way to express that love might be to pray and contribute to Archbishop Welby’s recently launched ‘Together in Unity’ Covid-19 appeal for vulnerable communities across the Anglican Communion under the Anglican Alliance relief and development agency. This will support the work that Provinces are facilitating amongst some of the most deprived and vulnerable within their nations in conjunction with UNICEF, Red Cross and Mothers’ Union and many of the agencies whose logos appear below.
Investigate, pray and be generous; that will also boost your mental health and accrue many other beneficial outcomes as well!