The Church of England in Lancashire is to set up its first Youth Council; an opportunity for young members of the church across the County to champion the voice of the younger generation.
The Blackburn Diocesan Board of Education is proposing a 16-strong group of 13 to 18 year olds, recruited by direct application, that will raise awareness of youth culture and how this might be harnessed and engaged with by churches.
The Council will also collate and discuss the key issues affecting young people across the Diocese; act as an advisory body for the Board of Education on matters relating to youth work in churches and act as an advisory body for the Diocese on new initiatives and their impact on young people in parishes.
Members will also be asked to support churches in creating youth-accessible worship, and developing a voice for young people at parish level.
And a big challenge will be to create and assess an approval system for churches similar to The Child Friendly Church Award.
The Board of Education has put together an application form and criteria, as well as the ‘terms of reference’ for the new group.
Through the Director of Education, Stephen Whittaker, members of the DYC will also be able to advise and give feedback to the Bishop’s Leadership Team, the Bishop’s Council, the Board of Education, the Diocesan Synod and Diocesan Youth Committee.
Members of the DYC aged 16+ will also have the opportunity to serve on the Board of Education and the Youth Committee. One will serve as Vice Chair of the committee.
Members will be expected to attend six meetings in a year, including one overnight residential meeting, and additional meeting times may be needed. Meetings will usually take place on a Monday evening from 6.30-8.30pm, and will be held at different venues across the Diocese.
Stephen Whittaker said: “The DYC is an amazing opportunity for young people to champion the voice of their generation. It creates a forum in which they can raise awareness of key issues for young people and constructively challenge and advise the Diocese on how best to respond.
“One of the big hopes for the DYC is to be a catalyst for seeing change in worship to increase its accessibility for young people within the context of a multi-generational church, regardless of tradition.”
Ben Green, Diocesan Youth Adviser, added: “It will be exciting to see the impact that such a group of young people can have when given the tools to effect change in the Diocese. With the right members, the DYC can be a positive influence in helping the Church of England in Lancashire adapt to meet the needs of young people, and those of all ages, both in and outside the church to reveal God’s love, grace and hope in local communities.
“The Board of Education hopes to support the members of the DYC in their desire to offer something of value and benefit to Blackburn Diocese with integrity and credibility.
If you would like to know more about the new Youth Council, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the Youth Council page on the Board of Education website for more information and an application form.