The Church of Ireland Youth Department – with support from the Priorities Fund and the Fabric and Development Fund – has created a Young Leaders in Ministry Fund to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Disestablishment and to support the Church’s ministry in the future.
The fund will provide individual young people with small but significant bursaries to enable them to apply for teams, training and placements that might otherwise have been financially challenging. This is an Ireland-wide project that will hopefully support more than 100 people each year for the next three years at least. Applicants will need to demonstrate their current involvement in ministry in the Church of Ireland.
Bishop Pat Storey commented: “As President of CIYD, I am delighted with the new opportunities that this Young Leaders in Ministry Fund will provide. Young people will be enabled to seek new adventures and fresh challenges which they could not otherwise do. All applications will be assessed for their potential contribution to church life and the individual’s own faith journey. We are very grateful to the Priorities Fund and the Fabric and Development Fund for their support and vision for this new project.”
Application forms are available online at www.ciyd.org and the first closing date for applications is Saturday, 15th June 2019.
Across Ireland, many opportunities are available to help older teenagers and young adults to develop their skills in leadership, engage in ministry and mission, grow in faith and serve the wider Church. However, one of the significant barriers to their participation in such opportunities is the financial undertaking involved. This can be particularly the case where potential participants in these opportunities come from lower income backgrounds.
Finding Faith in Ireland – the 2017 Barna research report into the experiences of teenagers and young people in the Republic – indicates that attendance at Christian events and trips is significantly more likely to encourage personal faith and church attendance. However, CIYD is also aware, anecdotally, of young people who are discouraged from attendance because of financial barriers.
The potential for a bursary of this kind could be evident across the following areas:
- Leadership and ministry development– There are more and more opportunities for young people to develop their leadership and ministry, and a bursary that awards even a small proportion of the costs can make the difference between a young person applying or not, therefore leading to more young people with leadership skills.
- Direct support for training –There are several good quality providers of training and other ministry development opportunities (including the Church of Ireland) for young people and young adults. It makes sense to provide financial support to encourage more individuals from the Church of Ireland to undertake existing opportunities, both within and beyond the Church.
- Retention of young adults– Young people aged between 15 and 25 are the most likely to leave our Church, and this is also the age range which is least evident in church attendance. For young adults considering a role in leadership or mission, having the financial support of their Church behind them would be significant in strengthening their relationship with the Church of Ireland.
- Future involvement of young adults– Any amount awarded would follow an application process to outline the current involvement of the young person and also would have to demonstrate how the team, course or training would be of missional benefit to the Church. At a stage in life in and around college or university years, when many young adults may consider leaving the Church, this could be significant.
- Developing church leaders– Every young adult going through this process will be added to a contact database for other opportunities. This will allow CIYD to help young adults progress through other areas of training and mission with the hope that some would be encouraged to consider lay ministry and training for ordination.
The photograph above shows National Youth Officer Simon Henry, Archbishop Richard Clarke, Bishop Pat Storey and Steve Grasham, Youth Ministry Development Officer (Southern Region) promoting the Young Leaders in Ministry Fund at the 2019 General Synod.