Building on the success of the Church in the Province of the West Indies (CPWI) third Provincial Youth Gathering, held in Grenada from 16 to 23 July, the Province and the Anglican Alliance hosted two in-depth training events for 30 young people from across the West Indies.
Half the group explored the ideas of Church Community Mobilization (CCM); the other half experienced an introductory workshop on the Agents of Change curriculum. Over five days, the groups reflected and planned how they could transform their churches and communities through a community project and then how to put their plans into action.
The empowerment of youth is a global priority of the Anglican Alliance, having been identified as an area for urgent attention in all of its regional consultations.
Anglican Alliance facilitator for the Caribbean, Clifton Nedd, said: “These workshops have really helped to equip young people to implement the plans that they discussed during the Youth Gathering. We hope that this will result in the successful implementation of Youth Gathering decisions.”
Agents of Change is an online learning programme that equips global Anglicans who are on the frontline of community development. It was developed by the Anglican Alliance in collaboration with the UK’s Open University. The course covers consultation; inclusion; protecting vulnerable people; governance; finance; work programming; and reconciliation. The programme is now being finetuned, and will be launched in early 2017.
Church Community Mobilisation facilitates transformation in churches and their communities by working with the local church to develop a vision of positive change which the church can achieve by using its own assets.
Sometimes called Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) or Umoja (“Together” in Kiswahili), this approach is being adopted widely by Anglican churches all over Africa, Asia and the Pacific.
One youth participant in the workshop commented that: “The workshop will encourage the youths in my church and community to never give up, to be innovative, listen well, accept God, build a stronger relationship with him . . . and build a godly nation.”
Another participant stated: “As a result of this informative workshop, I intend to have a meeting with my parish priest to lay out the ideas, localise and prioritise which ones need urgent implementation. I will see that a theatre group is formed in my parish.”
Isobel Owen, programme officer of the Anglican Alliance, attended the workshops. She said: “It has been very exciting to see the vibrant response of young people to these two exciting workshops in Grenada. Church Community Mobilisation and the Agents of Change programme are two key strategies for the Anglican Alliance to support dioceses and local parishes to develop skills for holistic mission among church leaders, women’s groups and youth.”
The Rev. Rachel Carnegie, co-executive director of the Anglican Alliance, said: “We are very grateful to the bishops of the Province of the West Indies for encouraging youth participation in these activities and will follow the young people’s next steps with interest.”
Adapted from The Anglican Communion News Service