The parish has a long-established history of youth work from the St Andrew's Sunday School League Team that is now known as Fulham Football Club - to our community youth work on the local estates... St Andrew's has been and continues to be a place that journeys with young people throughout adolescence, offering hospitality, welcome, affirmation and encouragement.
The community youth club (led by Banny who joined the team at the end of 2021) has been established for just over 5 years. Pre-pandemic, attendance averaged 40-50 young people, although this is currently smaller, with around 15 young people joining regularly. Nevertheless, the youth club now continues to grow as more and more young people are returning and new teenagers are joining. Several times a year trips also take place, including an annual residential for those who otherwise would not get a holiday out of the city.
There is also a church youth group (led by Jacob and Julia) which meets roughly fortnightly, to explore faith, questions of life and more. Pre-pandemic, this saw around 12 young people regularly taking part, although this is currently smaller too. We're working to re-envision this ministry and serve our existing cohort (ages 12-18) and those who have since reached this age.
Youth Ministry in Communion (YMIC)
One of the most recent and exciting additions to our ministry is Youth Ministry in Communion: a new and exciting project being run out of St Andrew’s in partnership with over 10 churches (and growing) within London and further afield.
Youth ministry in the Church of England faces a significant challenge. The church’s disengagement and diminished attendance among young people is striking, which is exacerbated by a lack of resourcing and a lack of youth workers. This challenge is especially apparent in churches within the liturgical and sacramental traditions of the Church of England.
According to a General Synod report in 2019, church decline is faster amongst under 16’s than any other generation. Moreover, the spread of young people in churches is diminishing, with 6% of churches accounting for 44% of all 0-16’s who attend church. For those churches with larger numbers of young people, 71% of these are within evangelical settings, with only 10% within the sacramental tradition. There is, therefore, a clear need for more intensive resourcing of youth ministry, especially on a local basis amongst sacramental and liturgical churches.
Photo: YMIC event at St Philip's Earls Court in 2021.
Photo: Young person receiving communion at the first ever YMIC event at All Saints Fulham in July 2021.
Youth Ministry in Communion (YMIC) is a new project pioneering collaborative sacramental youth ministry. This cross-parish youth network has been established as a pilot project to test ideas and evaluate an effective working model for sacramental youth mission and ministry, with the aim of sharing learning and practice across the Church of England. You can check out a small feature film the C of E did on us over at the Church of England's Instagram account.
The network began in Easter 2021, with initial commitments made by several parishes across three Kensington Area deaneries, within the Diocese of London. However, as the project has grown and developed, an increasing number of parishes have come from further afield in other deaneries, including those in other dioceses.
1. Attractive Large-Scale Youth Events
One of the foundations of the project is good youth provision. Central to this is the delivery of three annual large-scale youth events (Advent, Easter, and Summer), attracting secondary school-age young people, both those who are regular members of our partner parishes, as well as those with no or limited connection to church.
These gatherings offer high quality, exciting, and engaging youth events, and, crucially, provide a critical mass for parishes to invite young people to attend, as well as giving a platform to stimulate and encourage their local youth work. The hosting of these events rotates around the different partner parish venues.
We also offer an annual residential in the Autumn half-term. Our first residential will be with the Taizé Community in France, and we are looking into the possibility of attending Greenbelt Festival in 2023. The annual residentials complement the large-scale events by providing a context in which to deepen relationships and explore faith over an extended period of time.
The residentials also focus on developing young leaders from amongst the young people themselves. At present, the only residential opportunities within a more sacramental tradition are to Walsingham (the National Youth Pilgrimage). However, Walsingham presents a challenge for female clergy.
3. Local Development
The Co-Ordinating Youth Worker (Jacob Holme) will support, encourage, and assist partner parishes in developing their local youth ministry. Central to Jacob’s role is enabling partner parishes to host smaller joint youth events (i.e. with neighbouring partner parishes) to form a more localised base from which to grow youth work.
We have also obtained funding to recruit a minimum of two part-time youth workers to be placed within partner parishes. These youth workers will also support the wider network, especially in the planning and delivery of the large-scale youth events.
4. Peer Support Network/ Learning Community
A long-term aim is to develop a support network for clergy and laity involved in youth work. This will be a space for people to gather in person and join remotely to share, support, and pray for one another, whilst being equipped with the skills, resources, and confidence to do youth ministry in their context.
We will also provide opportunities for training delivered in partnership with other organisations.
Recognising the lack of available resources for youth ministry within the sacramental tradition, we seek to develop context-appropriate resources for youth discipleship and evangelism.
A Confirmation Course is currently under trial, with a longer-term ambition of developing a video-based discipleship course suitable for the sacramental tradition.
It is expected that the next Vicar of St Andrew’s will not only understand but wholeheartedly support and engage with this initiative. The previous Vicar had been crucial in setting up this project and had chaired its management group. It is anticipated that the next Vicar of the parish might do the same and engage with the project on a management level.