Today is Youth Day. On June 16 we remember the Soweto Uprisings and those brave students who stood against injustice and inequality. It is also an opportunity to affirm the place and role of young people in society and in working for change. Our Methodist Connexion has set the vision for the year as 'Shaping tomorrow, Today' by making this year the year of children and youth. And as synods, circuits and societies we have been encouraged to consider the place we give to children and young people in our church community – do we relegate them to 'the church of tomorrow' or do we recognise and affirm children and youth as active participants in the life of our community today?
Ministry with children and youth today is not a simple task, and so at UMC we feel strongly that we invest in our young people by equipping them and those who minister with them in any way we can. As part of this, a number of our children's ministry team attended the Godly Play training that took place in Pinetown recently. Godly Play is an approach to the spirituality of children that aims to give young people the language and means to express their experiences of God, rather than assuming children are empty vessels we need to fill. The team who went on the training have come back so excited about Godly Play, and have already started using Godly Play in our children's church. I encourage you to find one of the team members and chat to them about Godly Play and all that is happening in our children and youth ministries.
For many years, our children's ministry has shared space with So High Pre-Primary, and while this has had its advantages (namely the awesome playground) it has been difficult to create a sense of belonging and inclusion in a space that is not their own. Our planned new building is part of our intentional effort to communicate in practical ways that we value children and young people in this community, in that these spaces will be used for children's ministry on Sundays, with one room being set up as a Godly Play room. There are many ways you can join us in affirming the place of young people in this church – through being part of our children's ministry team, or praying for and encouraging those who are, acknowledging our children on Sundays and supporting the new building project.
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