Diocese of Portsmouth

    Our diocese chosen as Growing Faith hub

    Children and Young People
    24 April 2023

    OUR diocese is one of 12 learning hubs for the national Church of England’s Growing Faith movement.

    This is the drive to put children, young people and families instinctively at the heart of the mission and ministry of the Church, by changing its culture. The vision is for churches, schools and households to work together to help children, young people and families enjoy life in all its fullness.

    Many of our parishes already have good links between their congregations and schools, with teams leading regular collective worship or acting as School Pastors. Many also have good links between the congregations and local families, organising toddler groups, Messy Church, or family fun days that reach out to the local community.

    The idea of Growing Faith is to take that a stage further, with churches, schools and families working collaboratively and intentionally, so that every aspect of mission and ministry is seen through the lens of what that means for children and young people. The investment from the national C of E in the resources to achieve this will be vital in helping to meet its commitment to double the number of young disciples in the Church by 2030.

    Research has also shown how important this age group is – when practising Christians were asked at what age their came to faith, 40 per cent did so before the age of five, 16 per cent between the ages of five and 10, and 20 per cent between the ages of 11 and 18.

    Portsmouth and Winchester dioceses have now been selected and resourced, as one of 12 regional Learning Hubs where some of this work will be piloted, from June 2023.

    Our diocese will identify a small number of pilot parishes, which will be given resources to develop their work in this area further. Some will expand their existing work, while others will be inspired to find new ways to bring church, school and family together.

    We've put together some short videos that showcase what our diocese is already doing to help link together church, school and families, some of which are below:

    Part of the Growing Faith strand in both dioceses will be a project called ‘Chatting Faith’. Our education team aim to help families to discuss the Christian faith effectively with children, by providing resources to enable reflection on story books.

    Our Growing Faith champion, Jeff Williams, said: “We are aiming to respond to research that says that many families do not find it easy to share effectively the Christian faith with their children and grandchildren.

    “Our project is about ‘normalising’ conversations about God, faith and the Bible, and one aspect of the project is using secular but meaningful story books that already exist in our schools, and offering parents some resources and ideas to reflect on these stories through a Christian lens. We hope that when trialled and refined, many parishes and families will be keen to use this resource, that accompanies books in your local school, and indeed, you may have at home already!”

    The C of E’s Growing Faith Foundation is led by Lucy Moore, who founded Messy Church at St Wilfrid’s, Cowplain, in 2004. It has now developed into a global initiative that is used by many different countries and denominations.

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