Jo Wetherall, Growing Faith and Spiritualty Officer for the Diocese of Gloucester, shares the way churches can reconnect with families and children through the Growing Faith initiative.
“Many times, throughout church history, people in different ministries knew that their role was simply to do exactly what the people before them had done.
“There have also been times of reformation – of being re-formed – as Lucy Moore, head of the Growing Faith Foundation, says, ‘We are living out our varied ministries in different times, a season when we constantly question, strive, seek, lament, reimagine, pioneer with no guarantee of success and step out into the unknown every day.'”
The Church of England’s Growing Faith initiative began in 2019 to promote partnership between the church, school and household, to encourage and nurture Christian faith in those of all ages within those communities.
Jo says, “For many churches, the lament is ‘We have no children and families in our congregations’. Re-forming opens up opportunity to stop asking ‘Why don’t families and children come to church on Sunday?’ and instead ask ‘Where can we go to share God’s love with children and families?’
“This changes our focus and is where Growing Faith invites us to look at places of connection and relationships where we can have a continuity of presence. Three natural places are home, church and school, but there are others, local environmental groups, uniformed organisations, community toddler groups for example, which are full of opportunity and possibility.
“So imagine … a men’s group based on Lego building, where men feel able to discuss life and faith as they build together. This exists in Cheltenham and has grown from an afternoon Lego club for children and families. Or, how about running out of posies on Mothering Sunday because your warm space/community coffee has enabled conversation across generations and people have felt encouraged to join seasonal worship?
“Growing Faith enables whole families to participate in Bible stories and have conversations which show how parents and children connect with the stories. This has happened through an after-school club using Godly Play where a parent now wants to train as a Godly Play storyteller.
“Now imagine what this could look like where you are … Re-forming can sound daunting, but Growing Faith is there to enable and encourage you.”
If you’d like to know more about Growing Faith, please contact Jo Wetherall at ku.o1701613154c.coi1701613154dsolg1701613154@llar1701613154ehtew1701613154j1701613154or Barrie Voyce, Senior Youth Connector, at ku.gr1701613154o.coi1701613154dsolg1701613154@ecyo1701613154vb1701613154