Protection and nurture of children and young people
‘You shall put these words of mine in your heart and soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and fix them as an emblem on your forehead. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise.’ (Deut 11:18,19)
‘Give justice to the weak and the orphan; maintain the rights of the lowly and the destitute.’ (Ps 82:3)
‘Let the little children come to me; do not stop them, for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs.’ (Mark 10:14)
‘We affirm that we minister to the whole community, including young and old. The history of Anglicanism has been characterized by a tradition of pastoral care which has centred around the care of persons through the various transitions in the life cycle. … In the indaba process there was expressed a particular concern for children and young people in the life of the Church. At the same time, it was acknowledged that many of the attempts to engage young people have been ineffective. Some models and understandings of young people are outdated. There is need for a greater effort to find fresh expressions of ministry with and to young people, and a sense of zeal and passion for their inclusion in the life of the church. There is also a recognition of the fact that young people are not only an integral part of the life of the Church, but, with their idealism, enthusiasm and creativity, can also make a positive contribution to the evangelistic work of the Church.’
‘Jesus called the children to himself, and in our time we must extend our charity to the children of the world. Sexual exploitation in its varied expressions must not be tolerated. We work for the day when child pornography and the commercial sexualisation of children come to an end. In God’s kingdom no child will serve as a soldier, or slave, or labourer, but be set free from poverty, violence and their many manifestations.’
– Indaba Reflections, paragraphs 26 and 47, (Lambeth Conference 2008)
The task team comments: “It is human nature to protect and provide for those we hold most precious, and that’s especially true when it comes to children. However, helping young people fulfil their potential and teaching them to be responsible, successful adults have become enormous challenges… The church has a role to play in nurturing young people to be responsible adults in the world.”
The task team identifies several goals:
- To strengthen the current ministry of young people at parish, diocesan, and Provincial level
- To connect children and young people with Jesus Christ and the Church
- To protect children and young people
- To connect young people with the mission of the Church in the world
- To promote the preservation and strengthening of families
- To promote the protection, development, and well-being of children in general.
These are followed by several objectives:
- To gather and share information
- To work with any young people’s organisation that works best with young people
- To develop and make available resources for children and young people, and parish and campus ministry
- To provide youth ministry training to chaplains, rectors, lay ministers, parish staff, and other diocesan organisations
- To provide programmes for children and young people
- To coordinate children’s and young people’s events and activities
- To assist campus chaplains in their mission and pastoral care with students
Seven priorities in young people’s ministry are then identified:
Evangelism: to reach out to young people who are not involved in the life of the Christian community, and invite them into a relationship with Jesus Christ and the faith community.
Prayer and worship: to enable young people to grow in their personal spirituality, and to provide a variety of worship experiences to deepen their relationships in community; to involve young people in the worship of the Church.
Community life: to build Christian community with young people through programmes and relationships that promote openness, trust, respect, co-operation, honesty, responsibility, and service; to create an atmosphere in which young people feel confident to bring their struggles, questions, and joys.
Leadership development: to develop, support, and use the leadership abilities and personal gifts of youth and adults in youth ministry; to involve young people in decision-making in the church; and to equip young people for church leader-ship.
Advocacy: to interpret the needs of young people, especially in the areas of injustice towards children and youth; to act with or on behalf of young people for a change in the systems that create injustice; to give young people a voice and empower them to address the social problems they face.
Guidance and counsel / Pastoral care: to provide support, education, resources, and counsel for decision-making, crisis intervention, and prevention, using well-trained chaplains.
Networking: to provide a space for young people to form relationships with different organisations and people in the Anglican Church and more broadly, using student conferences, workshops, social networks, and other events. This can also create opportunities for young people to meet people whom they can benefit in their careers one day.
The task team identifies a range of actions that the Anglican Students’ Federation and the Provincial Youth Council need to undertake, often in partnership with others.