It may be commonplace nowadays for churches to provide entertainment for children while the adults meet and worship, but a church in Windlesham is flipping this idea on its head, offering regular ‘parent workshops’ during its Friday night youth club.
Each term, the youth ministry team at St John the Baptist church hosts a discussion on a relevant theme in young people’s lives today – for example, sex, self-esteem, alcohol and drugs. With guest speakers often leading the sessions to provide specialist information, the aim is to inform, equip and support parents (and grandparents) so they are able to respond well should these issues affect their children.
In March, more than 20 attendees listened to diocesan health and wellbeing adviser, Suzette Jones, speak on the topic of young people’s mental health. She will return in June to talk about self-harm – an issue becoming increasingly prevalent in teenagers.
Oli Deeks, St John’s youth worker, commented on the success of the initiative:
“When we first started, the workshops were attended by a handful of mums and dads from the church, but I wanted to reach further and to help parents outside our congregation too. Holding the sessions during our Friday youth club has seen numbers double.
“Parents know they will have to come back to collect their teens in a couple of hours so it makes sense that they stay, with good coffee, refreshments and high quality talks about important issues affecting young people today. They are the key stakeholders in their children’s lives and we need to support them in every way possible.”
To find out about more about the youth work at St John’s see www.windleshamchurch.org.uk/connections/youth or follow their Facebook and Instagram pages @youth_sjb_windlesham
Suzette Jones is part of the communities engagement team, who support and enable parishes to ‘love thy neighbour’ as they connect with their community. For more information on how the team can help your parish, see: www.cofeguildford.org.uk/cet or call 01483 790324.