The Church of England’s national baptism conference, ‘Continue the Amazing Journey: Families and Faith After Baptism’ was held in October 2018 at The Hayes Conference Centre in Derbyshire. It was co-hosted by Sandra Millar and Mary Hawes, drawing on the key messages from the Life Events team and the good practice in work with children and families, encouraged and supported across the church. At the heart of everything on offer during the conference, churches have been encouraged to have confidence, to build relationship, and above all, to keep in contact with families, whether met through a christening, a toddler group or church.
Practitioners shared their insights 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 through follow-up after baptisms.
The 160 delegates who attended were ‘buzzing’ with new ideas and thoughts after a lively and pacey schedule over 24 hours.
On day one, National Children & Youth Adviser Mary Hawes welcomed delegates, after which there was a renewal of baptism promises. Sandra Millar then outlined the challenges of ministry to families and the implications facing the church without action and engagement.
In the evening the focus moved to practical ideas for communicating with churches and families. Life Events Writer & Editor Ruth Green explained all that’s on offer on the Church Support Hub and how the team will keep in touch with news.
IT Manager Tom Pearson then spoke about the value of social media, how to keep in touch while still being compliant with GDPR (watch Tom’s reassuring video here). The evening ended with information about the Church of England’s national Christmas campaign, and how families can be involved – and then involved a free drink at the bar!
The conference ended with a keynote speech by Dave Male, linking the work with families to the wider vision of Evangelism and Discipleship. “Dave challenged us to stop worrying about recipes, and start using the ingredients we have to create something new. It was inspiring,” said one delegate. View and Download the slides.
The 24 hours concluded with a simple Eucharist – here’s the outline.
There were six workshops to choose from on Day 1 of the conference. Here’s a list of them all with synopsis to help you remember the key points.
More synopsis and slides from the five additional workshops on Day 2.
Thank you for telling us what you thought about the conference and how it makes a difference to your Life Events ministry. Here are some snippets from what you’ve told us.