Around 160 delegates were ‘buzzing’ with new ideas and thoughts on the subject of nurturing faith with families, after a lively and pacey schedule of presentations and workshops at the Church of England’s national baptism conference, ‘Continue the Amazing Journey: Families and Faith After Baptism’.
Held in October at The Hayes Conference Centre in Derbyshire, the 24 hour event offered succinct presentations alongside a choice of 12 more in depth workshops. Experts offered reflection and advice on a range of subjects such as engaging families in worship, the hidden treasure of toddler groups, Communion involving children and the importance of dads and father figures when keeping in touch after a baptism. All workshops pointed to ministry ideas that would encourage, engage and grow the family of the church.
In a feedback session, one delegate said: “The fact that the majority of families actually want the church to keep in touch with them is great news, and gives me confidence to try a few of the suggestions we’ve talked about.”
Another had taken on board the message that persistence works, and not to be discouraged when families don’t respond to church invitations at first: “It’s good to be reminded that this ministry is all about quality of friendship and relationship, which builds up over time and with persistence, but that contact doesn’t need to be an overwhelming workload either. The balance of quick-win practical suggestions alongside longer term relational approaches has been incredibly helpful to think about too.”
Head of Church of England Life Events, the Revd Sandra Millar, said there were so many important and useful aspects of ministry to families that were discussed, a full report and some useful Downloads have been made available on the Church Support Hub.
“Some details from the workshops and other presentations, ideas, videos to watch and some facts and figures are included . There were some things brought to this conference that are too valuable to miss.”