For the past 18 months, the Diocese of Peterborough has been one of only six ‘Trailblazer’ dioceses within the Church of England to take up the Growing Faith initiative.
Growing Faith seeks to bring together the three spheres of church, school and households – in how we think and in what we do – and we have been appointed to champion the relationships between faith in these three spheres. The aim is to inspire our parishes to grow deeper in these relationships, and we are encouraging all our parishes and schools to engage with this vision.
The Gen2 Children and Youth team are leading on Growing Faith in our diocese but working closely with all diocesan teams, the Diocesan Board of Education (DBE) and senior leadership.
Now, before you think “Not another project!”, think again. This is a new way of thinking about how we engage with children, young people and families. It requires a culture change in the whole Church – and indeed in our diocese – where we seek to look at everything we do, and every decision we make, through the lens of what it means for children, young people and families.
Growing Faith is underpinned by the belief that the intersections of church, household and school are the ideal places where Christ is encountered and faith is grown for children and young people. It is guided by three values:
- Connected Communities
Faith grows in community and each sphere has a unique role to play, but together we generate stronger and intergenerational relationships that nurture faith.
- Spiritual Encounters
Faith begins and is sustained by encounters with God, and is rooted when we tell the story of those encounters.
- Imaginative Practices
We need to find new ways of being church together in different spaces in order to meet the challenge of reaching children and young people.
Canon Pete White, Director of Children and Youth, explains the impact of Growing Faith so far in our diocese:
“We are encouraging parishes to be aware of the ideas and to reflect on how their mission and ministry can work in the intersections. We are focussing on work with schools – working with our Mission team and the DBE on this – as well as working more closely across teams and departments.
“We’re including training on Growing Faith in our Lay training courses and our Curate training, and asking all clergy to make contact with their local school (Church or community school) to offer support and help.
“We’re also producing resources to support parishes to deliver Collective Worship and Assemblies, and we’ve developed a partnership with the Care for the Family – Kitchen Table project to support faith at home.
“In addition, we have 13 ‘hub groups’ bringing youth and children’s workers together to support one another, share ideas and resources.
“In short, we are trying to encourage everyone to consider every decision and action through the lens of the effect on children and young people.”
This video from the National Institute for Christian Education Research, based on their ‘Faith in the Nexus’ report, explains how faith can grow within these intersections.
Please pray for our Gen2 team as they continue to lead this important vision.