Bye-bye blog

Apart from a short Christmas message next week this is the last blog as my contract as Children and  Youth Work Coordinator for St Davids Diocese comes to an end. Therefore I’d like to share some of my favourite memories with you…

– Commissioning

My time as Diocesan Children and Youth Work Coordinator began with a commissioning service in St Davids Cathedral in January 2016. This was a joyful occasion with many family and friends and important way of setting the role in a context of vocation, mission and ministry within the Diocese.

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– Experience Advent/Easter

The seasonal events have been a huge part of the last three years, marking out the seasons and showing how easy it is to begin work with children through engaging with a local school. Working with Lampeter will always be a special memory as they were so willing to try this very early on in my role and in a new phase for them

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– Visiting groups

Visiting groups has also been a great joy and I am so pleased to have been to nearly all groups which meet across the Diocese and always to receive a warm welcome. There are so many highlights and joys but particular thanks to Little Fishes in Spittal who have included me so well in their ‘family’ and Llandovery youth group – who I only visited once but who welcomed me with warmth, cake and hot chocolate and I just felt like I belonged. This has definitely been the norm for my experience of visiting groups in the Diocese.

– Spree 2016

Another ambitious early project was a visit to Spree in 2016. It was a fantastic time with over 50 young people from the Diocese gathering together. A sunny day and a great memory!

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– Summer Salt

Summer Salt began in summer 2016 and has grown, developed and spread since then. The idea of ‘popping up’ in areas where children and families gather and sharing stories, crafts, games and other ways of sharing the good news of Jesus is a great one and I have particularly fond memories of working with lots of families on the beach in Borth across several summers, as well as sharing in this project in a number of different areas reaching hundreds of children and families.

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– Messy Church roadshow 2016

In autumn 2016 I travelled around the Diocese and launched 5 new Messy Churches through this roadshow. Sharing the message of God’s providential goodness through the season of Harvest it has been a joy to see the harvest of this work continuing since then.

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– Youth Forum

The youth forum was another ambitious project. The Church in Wales wanted to establish a Provincial Youth Forum to attend Governing Body in April 2017 so I set up a Diocesan Youth Forum who met for the first time at Diocesan Conference 2016. They are a fantastic group of young people who have made an enormous contribution already to the life of the Diocese as well as representing other young people at Diocesan and Provincial events.

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– Youth events

My time in the Diocese has been peppered with fantastic youth events. I have a great passion for bringing young people together and encouraging them in faith and friendship. Some particular highlights are the activity day we had a Llain in the North of the Diocese and the many bowling events which have brought together so many young people and established long term friendships.

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– Messy Advent

Messy Advent in December 2016 was a huge success with many Messy Churches, Sunday Schools and other groups supporting this celebration. We had an excellent time engaging in crafts, activities and worship together.

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– Team

All of the work would not have been possible without the help and support of a fantastic team. We have had regular away days but our day of prayer and planning each January has been a definite highlight. Praying for children and young people all across the Diocese in St Davids Cathedral has been an important and beautiful way to begin each year. Thank you team!

– Youth residential

I really can’t describe how important this piece of work has been for the Diocese. Two take a Diocesan Youth Residential two years’ running and grow from 25 to 30 young people attending has been a wonderful experience for everyone involved – leaders and young people. This experience is crucial for young people in their journey of faith and I am just delighted to have been a small part of some of those journeys.

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– Party at the Palace 2017

A fantastic event for children, young people and families to come together, celebrate and meet their new Bishop. The rain didn’t stop the feeling of togetherness and we enjoyed worship, activities, a BBQ and much time to celebrate the Diocesan family.

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– Sports days

In the summer of 2017 we trialled an opportunity for archdeaconries to come together to run events for children and had a sports day event in Llandysul, Milford Haven and Dafen. These proved very successful and the children enjoyed thinking about what it means to ‘run the race’ on Jesus’ team!

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– Light parties

In a similar way these opportunities to reach children and families with the message of Jesus the light of the world have grown. This autumn we had archidiaconal light parties which reached over 100 children with that message!

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– Training days

Our training days have all been great events and helped enable and equip clergy and laity with resources, experience and new ways of ministering with children and young people. We have found that these have often served more than that purpose and just the opportunity to come together has been such a positive one. Our Messy Meet Ups are a particular example of that where community has grown. Our SALT training day in July 2018 was also another great opportunity for sharing and networking.

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– Ascension Day 2018

For me, big groups of children worshipping together is such a powerful experience and Ascension Day 2018 was an amazing time of exploring the theme of water in the Bible. A special memory of the day was the children singing ‘Let the River Flow’

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– Holiday clubs

From offering support to run ‘one day’ holiday clubs in 2016 to helping to run 3 week-long holiday clubs this summer has been a great development. Holiday clubs offer a unique opportunity for consistent relationship building and teaching. I will always remember being part of Crosshands holiday club, not least because they hit me in the face with a pie!

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– County Show

Another summer time memory is working at the County Show – this summer for three days – which offers an opportunity for engagement with huge numbers of children and families. What a great week we had!

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And as the sun sets on my time in Wales…these are just a few highlights for me of the amazing time I have had ministering among you in St Davids Diocese and I am glad to be able to share them with you. Of course, there are many more and I want to thank you all for your generosity, hospitality, prayer and support.

Please do keep in touch clarewilliamsyouthwork@gmail.com

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