Norfolk churches attract more young people
2009: Norfolk’s Anglican
churches are bucking the national trend with a large rise in the number of under-16s attending church according to a new report.
The new figures from the Church of England show average weekly attendance up 11% (2,800) and highest weekly attendance up 19% (5,700) in the Diocese of Norwich.
Among all age groups, the Diocese also performed well with average weekly (+3% at 22,100), Sunday (+1% at 19,600) and highest weekly attendances (+9% at 32,200) also going up.
These Norwich rises buck figures from across the country, which show weekly and Sunday attendance of under 16s falling by 4% and no change amongst all ages.
Diocese youth and children’s administrator, Tricia Elson, attributes the rise to creative and innovative youth projects and the dedication of youth workers and volunteers.
Tricia said: “Credit must go to our hundreds of youth and children’s workers, most of whom are volunteers. These figures are the result of their committed work in reaching out and building relationships with children and young people.
“The weekly rises reflects the rise in after-school, mid-week and holiday activities being offered. Being such a rural diocese has its disadvantages but it can make it easier to get to know the children in your community. Much of the work with the under 16s is small-scale but together amounts to a great deal. Churches with their army of volunteers are supporting and reaching out to young people in new ways and it’s bringing results.”
Last year the diocese received nearly £19,000 from the Youth Evangelism Fund which was used for a hand bell ringing group, a puppet team and starting youth clubs in the parishes of Ludham, Catfield, Potter Heigham and Hickling.
Innovative youth projects include a developing café church called Xpressions in the Chet Valley (pictured above), where children and families worker, Alison Ball, said: “Seeing God grow the number of families who have made the café their church has been fantastic. It has been very encouraging to see many of the original families coming on a Sunday morning having discovered the café.”
The diocese is also currently working on a youth networking website, where young people will be able to find out more about the Christian faith and ask questions about Christianity.
St John’s, King’s Lynn, have begun an after-school Messy Church, building on the interest and momentum created by ‘Bright Light Night ’ an alternative Hallowe’en party.
Popular Christian band, thebandwithnoname, will be performing at Norwich Cathedral in October 2009 in an event organised by the Church of England Youth Task Force.