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£3.2 million for Youth Catalyst Project

We’ve been awarded £3.2m by the Church of England to create a bold programme to support young people who want to explore faith.

The newly appointed Programme Lead, Alastair Etheridge, explains why we’re launching Youth Catalyst: “The number of young people in our churches do not reflect the communities they are in. We talked with young people, churches and other organisations working with young people. We found that the way many young people found safe spaces to gather and explore faith in our churches in the past doesn’t work for this generation. A different approach was needed. Thank you to everyone who has spoken with me and given their time and knowledge to help us develop what that programme could look like.

“Youth Catalyst puts the needs and wants of young people at the centre. We’ll be building a team, working with and in schools, putting on big events for everyone and creating smaller groups for young people who want to explore faith.”

The programme is one of five projects across the nation to have received funding from the Strategic Mission and Ministry Investment Board.

This first phase will test and refine how it all works, to be expanded in a second phase. We will work closely with churches and schools to place youth ministers in three Church of England secondary schools and one state secondary school, recruit and train four church-based apprentice youth ministers and train four existing youth ministers. The programme will also recruit a team to lead high-quality youth worship gatherings across the diocese.

The programme will train volunteer youth leaders and offer one-year internships to young people who want to see if they would like to work for the Church.

Alastair continued: “It is our hope that through this programme we can strengthen, build, and support churches across the diocese to reach young people and disciple them so they can know Jesus for themselves and share the good news with their friends.”

Reverend Ben Beecroft, Vicar at St Paul's Church Addlestone, said: “I’m really excited about how this project will help to create a church that welcomes and empowers young people today. We want them to feel confident and courageous in sharing their faith with their school communities, their families and friends. We’re inspired by a Bible verse (Philippians 1:14) that says we should dare to live and tell others about Jesus when filled with God's love and power. That’s our dream and goal!”


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