Youth worker to help shape European children’s ministry

ECCE planning group news bannerA member of the United Reformed Church’s (URC) children’s and youth work team has been selected for a coveted place in an international children’s ministry.

Lorraine Webb, Programme Officer for Children’s and Youth Work is now part of the European Conference on Christian Education’s (ECCE) steering committee, planning and preparing for the next conference which will take place in 2022 in Budapest, Hungary.

The conference is held every three years, and most recently took place between 25-29 March in Berlin, attended by 86 representatives from 16 countries.

Lorraine said: ‘I’m so excited to be part of something across Europe. It has fired me up. It feels like God has put me there doing this at a time when the experiences I’ve had equip me for the role.’

The ECCE exists to bring those involved in Christian education and children’s ministry across Europe together to discuss vision and practice, share experiences and develop resources.

‘The conference is amazing,’ continued Lorraine. ‘We get to see how children’s ministry is moving forward in different countries and share challenges, ideas and new developments.

‘One of the challenges most discussed this year was around gender identities and sexuality.’

But Lorraine adds that this is an added reason for the Church to be excited.

‘The URC is miles and miles ahead than churches in other countries,’ she explained. ‘In regard to transgender issues, one of the European delegates said to me that we don’t realise how lucky we are to just be able to say that word [transgender] in church.

‘Another common issue across Europe is that ministry is needing to be redirected, not to thinking about numbers of young people within the church congregation on a Sunday morning, but rather reaching out to families from the community who have moved away from churches or have no experience of faith.’

Lorraine’s ability to speak five languages – German, French, Dutch, Turkish, and Latin – was an added bonus for the role.

‘My language skills will enable me to easily engage with delegates from other countries and my involvement will enable me to influence discussion about support for children in other countries struggling with gender identities and other issues.’

Lorraine also hopes to create international opportunities for URC youths and create links between groups of young people.

‘Some of our young people have already been invited to the Star Point Conference in Hungary which is the Hungarian equivalent of the URC Youth Assembly,’ she added.

‘The ECCE is a great mine of resources and inspiration where so many ideas can be put in the melting pot. I’m grateful to be part of it.’

Picture: The new steering group for ECCE 2022. From left to right, Nicole Awais (Switzerland), Agnes Pangyanszky (Hungary),  Thomas Volz (Germany), Kerstin Othmer (Germany),  Lorraine Webb (UK), Aled Davies (Wales), Kaisa Aitlahti (Finland).
Published: 1 May 2019