One of the positive trends for the Church’s ministry during the lockdown is that youth ministry, in its widest sense, has never stopped. Many churches, leaders and youth workers across Ireland have supported – and continue to support – young people in creative and innovative ways. It’s a testament to their faith in God, passion, and their resilience and commitment.
The Church of Ireland Youth Department (CIYD) has now published guidance on how – on a carefully managed and phased basis – churches can restart youth ministry activities over the coming weeks.
Introducing the guidance, Bishop Pat Storey writes: “As President of CIYD, I am delighted to support our new protocols for youth ministry on the gradual return to face to face youth work. Everyone has done an amazing job of trying to carry on and up skill on virtual means of communication! Some of this will continue but inevitably as the lockdown eases, we will be resuming some activities. Of course, these will always adhere to government guidelines in each jurisdiction. So, thank you for all your efforts and please read the document carefully.”
The 15–page document encourages leaders to look to restart youth ministry activities, however small, without any unnecessary delays, based on the latest government advice at the time – for the good of our young people’s socialisation, faith development and mental health. It includes several practical for getting a group’s youth ministry ‘up and running’ again.
All guidance is indicative and is subject to ongoing public health advice and a step–by–step risk assessment which should be carried out on an ongoing basis by each organisation/group, in line with the Church of Ireland’s Return to In–Church Worship Protocols for RoI and NI resource.
All activities should have regard to all other relevant requirements and good practice, and all phases should be carried out in line with social distancing measures as advised by both governments, which may evolve over time.
The guidance from CIYD is available at https://ciyd.org/wp-content/uploads/GUIDANCE-FOR-RESUMING-YOUTH-MINISTRY.pdf