What a year this has been (again)!
Last year when I reported that the youth and children’s programme in the diocese was still halted little did I know that a year later I’d be reporting that very little has changed in that regard. The diocesan schools’ service went onto Zoom in October and all the schools had children taking part in the service. Each school signed in and we had our service virtually, but in such a way that we could interact. Some schools chose to record their segments and send them to me. I learnt very quickly how to screen share on Zoom fin order to play these recordings at the appropriate point in service. Some schools chose to do their segments ‘live’ and Bishop Patrick preached for us and had opportunity to bid the schools of which he had been patron farewell. My thanks to the teachers for helping make this happen and their work in recording and preparing their kids to take part in the service.
The Confirmation Day and Diocesan Fun Day this year haven’t happened once again and the return visit of the young people who had so generously hosted us in Inverness in 2019 has been put on the back burner.
As COVID restrictions have fully lifted now in our schools it is a delight to see children mixing again outside their ‘bubbles’ and ‘pods’ and life in school returning to normal. Recognition must go to the hard working teachers and others in the Church of Ireland schools in our diocese who met the task of educating our children through the pandemic, in a year of changing guidelines and restrictions. Their steadfastness and patience in supporting our children is commendable. To them we owe a debt of gratitude.
My thanks as Youth and Children’s Ministry Co-ordinator to all who play a part, however small, in the support of this ministry. We really cannot do this without you. A huge thank you to Steve Brickenden, who stepped down as Youth Officer during the year. He has been the energy and backbone behind all the youth work in the diocese for very many years and we thank him for all his service in the diocese to the glory of God. Thank you also to the Bishop and Diocesan Council who support this important ministry.
We are looking forward to the year ahead in the hope that some of our regular events might be able to happen and with our dioceses coming together we hope that we’ll be able to look to a future where our youth and children’s ministry can embrace the whole of our new united diocese.
Canon Jennifer McWhirter
Diocesan Children & Youth Co-Ordinator