Bishop Paul is urging all parishes to make sure they participate in this year’s headline Bishop's conference on engaging with families and young children will unlock several ways to reach a new generation.
Every year our Diocese aims to hold at least one headline conference aimed at supporting parishes in critical areas of their mission and ministry. Last year we held the well-attended and received ‘Making it Easier’ conference. This year, on Saturday 7th October, we’re exploring how we engage with families and young children through this excellent Open the Box conference.
The conference will be introduced by Bishop Paul and features the national and international expertise of Mary Hawes (Church of England Children’s and Youth Adviser); Sandra Miller (who spearheads the national baptism project); and bestselling author and master story teller Bob Hartman.
“If there is one conference your parish should send a representative to then this is it” stated the bishop. “We have an opportunity to learn from some of the finest practitioners and we need to make the best of this opportunity. By coming you will gain at least one practical, common sense idea that you can use in your context to engage with young children and their families. I know that you will be keen to learn new ideas from our invited experts.”
Bishop Paul added, “As a church, we all-too-often miss opportunities that are presented to us. Christenings/baptisms are one of our most significant moments to reach a wide community. If we can learn to build on a provision that people genuinely come and ask us for, then we can show more people the bigger difference that Jesus can make in their lives and that of their families, and we can continue to grow a bigger church. This conference will show how we can start to build connections.”
“Children and young people are not the next generation. They are the present generation - this generation - and we need to reach out and engage them. I encourage every parish to come to Open the Box and to unlock the many rich ways you can engage and grow.”
Sue Mitchell, Children and Families Missioner, who’s pivotal in organising the conference on behalf of the Bishop said:
“If you’ve not already booked a place for your parish, we’d urge you to do so. We’ve already got a lot of parishes booked on, so places are filling up fast. As Bishop Paul says, every parish needs to make sure they’ve got a representative at this year’s conference. We’re really looking forward to the day. It will be a great way to build on the good work already going on in our Diocese.”