“Toddler Groups grow churches as well as children!", was the headline of a Church Times article written before the Covid pandemic, focussing on the church’s ministry supporting young families.
As we come out of the pandemic, how do we reconnect with young families, support new parents and continue contacts made at baptism and Christening services? What are the opportunities that a fresh start gives for toddler ministry, and how do we go about it? Are there new priorities to consider?
‘Helping young families reconnect with church’, on Wednesday, April 28 from 7.00pm to 8.30pm, is a Zoom meeting for church leaders (whether lay or ordained) as well as those coordinating toddler groups. Join members of the Children, Young People and Families team (CYP&F) as they share and discuss creative ideas, experiences and collective wisdom gathered from a series of toddler leader meetings held over the past year.
Organiser, Anne Carter, of the CYP&F team, says, “‘Helping young families reconnect with church’ will be a practical evening of ideas and discussion as we consider how to start, or restart, our ministry with young families.
"Sadly this is often seen as a ‘Cinderella’ area of the church’s ministry, consigned to a dusty church room with little investment or support.
"Recent reports have shown that this often overlooked ministry is one of the most important ways of connecting with our communities.”
During the pandemic issues of mental wellbeing and isolation have become major issues for society. The Jubilee Plus charity reported that, “church toddler groups provide support for parents and carers who are desperate to escape their own four walls…. to the average mother, the toddler group provides an opportunity to meet friends and an additional way to socialise their children."
"But for some - especially those silently suffering from mental illness or on low incomes (or struggling due to other circumstances) - the group can provide a lifeline.”
Anne adds, “Churches have an important role in the community, hosting, welcoming, baptising, supporting, and caring for local families.
"We know that families find it hard to survive without support; emotionally, physically, mentally, financially, practically, and spiritually. During the pandemic, we have heard how local leaders have been able to maintain contact with families, pray for them, send messages and gifts and even supply food and clothing.
"There has been a real sense that they are joining in God’s work – the ‘Misseo Dei’. We want to learn from the past year and look ahead to how we can reach out and support our young families in a changed landscape.”
Join the Zoom meeting for leaders, 'Helping young families reconnect with church', on Wednesday, April 28 from 7.00pm to 8.30pm.
To book a place please contact childrenyouth [at] leeds.anglican.org and receive the Zoom link.