In 2020, we awarded Missional Youth Church Network (MYCN) £200,000 funding to significantly expand its reach, helping churches, schools and youth groups to create more churches for young people, with a particular focus on supporting ‘non-churched’ young people from disadvantaged areas.
Over the last year there has been lots going on within MYCN, but here are some of the latest highlights:
Youth workers get the chance to have a Q&A with the Archbishop of York
On 10th December 2021, Missional Youth Church was able to gather the network in a hybrid meeting online and at Bishopthorpe Palace, with a special appearance from the Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell.
Andy Milne, Director of MYCN, said: “It was just great to bring so many people together to share what’s been happening with their work with young people.
“The team has worked hard to introduce the technology to enhance the experience of those joining us online, which is really important in helping us develop our learning community and to create authentic participation.”
It was a great opportunity for Archbishop Stephen Cottrell to hear directly from youth workers in a variety of settings across the UK.
The youth workers were able to pose questions directly to the Archbishop and hear from him just how important youth work is in the mission of the Church of England.
The MYCN team is now running online MOT sessions for youth teams and preparing for a hybrid residential at Wydale Hall in March.
A new youth church in the West Midlands
Penny’s Youth Café is named after a much-loved youth leader at Knowle Parish Church who sadly died in July 2018. The team was able to take over a disused shop in the village to set up the space for local young people to drop in after school. They also meet there on a Sunday for a dedicated youth space that has evolved into a youth church over the last year.
The Youth Minister, Paul, said: “We were able to work within Covid rules and restrictions applied to cafés and restaurants, which helped us to re-engage with the young people at a time when they really wanted to meet with their friends after lockdown.”
The need for the café has been great and has enabled young people from one family in particular to gather with their friends at Penny’s Café Youth Church after their Mum died in November 2021. This showed how important belonging to the group has been for the young people, to be a community, to support and comfort one another, and to come together in the presence of God.
Paul said: “MYCN has helped me and the team to reflect on how we can develop a stronger community within and around the Youth Café. The training has been really valuable and the personal mentoring helped us to establish the Youth Church.
“We look forward to continuing to work closely with MYCN so that we can provide support to any other churches who might consider setting up a Youth Church similar to Penny’s Youth Café.”
How MYCN is helping youth leaders
Lucy is a youth leader serving the four rural benefices of Helmsley, Ampleforth, Kirkdale and the Byland Churches in North Yorkshire. Lucy started her role in 2020 during the height of the pandemic.
Emerging from lockdown restrictions has felt like a new start for Lucy as she has been able to get out and about and meet people face-to-face.
Lucy meets regularly with a small group of young people who have been meeting together since before the pandemic. This has been a time of real relationship building and they have had some great conversations so far.
Lucy’s role also involves working with under 11s and she has many opportunities to go into primary schools and assist churches with their children’s work. She is mindful of how she balances her time so that she has the capacity to look ahead, building strong foundations so that she can grow her work amongst older young people.
Lucy said: “Being part of the Missional Youth Church Network Learning Community has been really encouraging. It has helped me see beyond my rural setting and understand the bigger picture of youth work. By sharing experiences with others it has helped me think about approaching my work in different ways.”