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Diocese of Guildford Awarded £3.2m to Support Young People Who Want to Explore Faith

Published on: 4 Sep, 2023
Updated on: 5 Sep, 2023

The Diocese of Guildford has been awarded £3.2 million by the Church of England (CofE) to create a programme that supports young people who want to explore faith.

The diocese says the programme, Youth Catalyst, is one of five projects to have received the funding from the CofE’s Strategic Mission and Ministry Investment Board.

Alastair Etheridge is leading the project and said: “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.

“We’ll be building a team, working with schools, putting on big events for everyone and creating smaller groups for those young people who want to explore faith further.”

The Diocese of Guildford is one of five dioceses to receive funding for young people who want to explore faith. The total amount the Church of England is awarding is £13 million. Picture: Church of England website.

The Revd 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!”

The diocese adds that the first phase of the programme will place youth ministers in three Church of England secondary schools and one state secondary school, recruit and train four church-based apprentice youth leaders and train four existing youth ministers.

The programme will also recruit a team to lead high-quality youth worship gatherings across the diocese.

It will also 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 of England.

This first phase will test and refine how it all works, to be expanded in a second phase over a 10-year period.

Over the next year, the diocese will be recruiting four school hub leaders, who will be youth ministry experts and be based in secondary schools, a worship and social media team, and four apprentice youth leaders based in its churches.

The roles will on listed on the Diocese of Guildford’s website.

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