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What do we think we are doing when we welcome (or fail to welcome) children into our churches? Are we investing in potential future churchgoers, or are we accepting that the Church is made up of believers of all types including all ages? How often do we hear people say, ‘Children are the Church of tomorrow’? Aren’t they, rather, an important part of the Church today?
I am delighted to be able to publish some excellent articles on this topic in this issue of The Reader. Rona Orme, who has invaluable experience both of ministry with young children herself and in facilitating best practice in others, was very clear about the importance of the word ‘with’ instead of ‘to’ in the theme subtitle for this issue. She gives good, practical advice on how best to use the opportunities that working with children provides. Chris Andrew and John Cowen provide a solution to the frequent lament that many children are too busy with sport to ‘bother’ with churchgoing, and Pauline Lovelock celebrates the innate spirituality of the young – something that is all too often dismissed.
Older children and teenagers present completely different challenges to ministers – but Mike Kelly revels in these. His article encourages us to embrace the joys to be found in working with this energetic, questioning age group. We are also encouraged to remember that even young people might be chosen and called by God, and to participate in ‘The Great Vocations Conversation’ being pioneered by the Church of England.
The remaining feature articles should interest Readers working with every age group, from schoolchildren to the very elderly. Richard Appleton urges us to ensure we both give and receive criticism in a spirit of Christian love and humility, while Giles Morrison opens a window on what is a difficult area for many – the strange, parallel universe of social media. Chris Hudson and Jane Briggs are both concerned with how we might best commemorate the Armistice this November, in a manner that is relevant to our congregations a century on.
The role of Readers in a number of different fields is celebrated, particularly in Russell Stannard’s article which demonstrates that science, faith and ministry can all enhance each other, and in Katherine Bloomer’s description of her ministry and its context.
Our book features and reviews are a valued part of every Reader magazine. In this issue we not only feature a new resource for working with children, we also profile its author, Dr Sharon Moughtin-Mumby.
As I write this, I am of course already preparing to roll up my sleeves for work on the final issue of 2018. The theme for this is Preaching on Paul, and copy is needed by the middle of August. Themes planned for 2019 are Safeguarding and keeping safe (copy needed by the middle of November); Celebrating fifty years of women in Reader ministry (copy needed by the middle of February); What next for lay ministry? (copy needed by mid-May) and the Psalms (for which I will need copy early next August). Please do carry on writing about other topics too – email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your ideas.
With best wishes
Editorial - RICHENDA MILTON-DAWS
Message from Bishop Martyn - THE RT REVD MARTYN SNOW
THEME – MINISTERING WITH THE YOUNG
Ministering with children - RONA ORME
Project Touchline – playing on God’s team - CHRIS ANDREW AND JOHN COWEN
Awakening children’s spirituality - PAULINE LOVELOCK
Ministry with young people - MIKE KELLY
Talking vocations with the young - CHURCH OF ENGLAND MINISTRY DIVISION
Criticism and the ‘ministry of rebuke’ - RICHARD APPLETON
Social media and ministry - GILES MORRISON
The trouble with Remembrance in 2018 - CHRIS HUDSON
War and remembrance - JANE BRIGGS
God, science, and the media - RUSSELL STANNARD
BOOKS AND RESOURCES
Book extract: Diddy Disciples - SHARON MOUGHTIN-MUMBY
Revd Dr Sharon Moughtin-Mumby
Resources for working with the young
Reader ministry in context
A Narrative of Hope:
Lay Ministry and Renewal & Reform
Pentecost – the new parish church of Heathcote - Henry Jerwood
Letters from Readers
Postscript - MARION GRAY