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What does ‘creating spaces for children and young people’ look like for you?

Thursday 28th April 2022

One of the things I reflect on in both my work and volunteer context is how we create spaces and space for children and young people in our Churches.

For me this isn’t just about the physical space, it is also about our approach to intentionally create inclusive, diverse, participatory and nurturing faith formation spaces.

Recently I received a letter from a person who had been very active for many years in the Methodist Church in running youth clubs and they were asking the question; what are Methodist Churches doing to create spaces for children and young people? They had watched a programme that had been talking about the decline in funding for youth work within local communities and were thinking about their own experiences of benefiting hugely from being part of a youth organisation.

I think The Boys’ Brigade is a great response to this very challenge. It is a volunteer movement that creates important spaces in our communities for children and young people.

I have observed that in BB there are peer and intergenerational opportunities that offer conversation and dialogue and activity across the ages. The spaces are participatory and value the voice of children and young people offering opportunities to experience new things and have a go. You are not afraid to pray in these spaces or to talk about God. Your spaces grow and develop young leaders empowering young people to be active and involved now. I know I still use the skills I learnt in my teens in The Girls’ Brigade’s Young Leaders Training for my role now.

Luke 14:16-23, the Parable of the Banquet, shares the story of an invitation to a meal where the host sends out his staff to invite people from all aspects of life to come and eat as the table is open to all. Our ministry in creating spaces with children and young people is like the banquet – we create a space that is open and accessible to all with God.

What does creating a space for children and young people look like for your Church and community? What do you think the key elements are?

Penny Fuller

Penny is a member of the Brigade’s Christian Faith Group and works for the Methodist Church in Britain as Co-ordinator of Children, Youth & Family. Penny is a GB leader in her local Methodist Church and is married to a BB leader. The biggest impact on her life aged 13 was an invitation to a space created for girls in her local community called The Girls’ Brigade.

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