Monday, 29 November 2010

No one under 40?

The Band With No Name is greeted with enthusiasm during Gracefest 2010 at Ripon

One of the myths that is around about rural life is that there 'aren't many young people'. (I hear that said by churches approximately once a day.) Actually one source of research suggests that under 16's account for only 0.9% less of the population in rural areas than in urban ones. It is true that the 16-24 year old age range migrate to the towns and cities in large numbers, but 43.4% of all migrants to the counrtyside are aged between 25 and 44.  There's young and there's young, I suppose. But all this suggests that, even though we do have an aging population in the region, there ought to be quite a few under 40's around. And I think the evidence of my eyes tells me this is so! So I was interested when our Children and Young People's Officer told me about a conversation he had had with NYCC's Children's Strategy and Commissioning Officer who alerted him to the fact that there are young families who are isolated and perhaps needing help across the area, especially in the Ripon, Wensleydale and Richmond areas. On Sunday, at Sharow, the congregation was collecting toys for churches to distribute over Christmas and this got me to thinking about what we can do to support and encourage older young people and particularly young parents. Some of our churches have after school activities (not necessarily - indeed, often not - in church) and many of these result in parents coming to pick children up and stopping to chat, join in with activites and share refreshments. Several of these 'clubs' are bigger and more regularly attended than Sunday services. It's very good when the lines between Sunday worship and community celebration get blurred like this and great fun when the church goes to where people are.

1 comment:

  1. I've really been interested in reading this post, because as a young Christian the issue fascinates me! I've often been involved in parishes where I'm the youngest by far, and whilst the older generations often long for young people to be around, there's often an uncertainty as to how to attract young people and who takes responsibility for the task. Where the congregation is ageing there is arguably less opportunity/ability to go and meet the young within the community and yet we've seen through Mission Shaped Church that sometimes traditional Sunday worship often simply doesn't work. Since I currently attend a parish like this, I can't help but wonder how to respond to the lack of young people within our congregation, knowing full well that many simply are cut off from the church, but are willing to make the link with an extended arm!

    I must admit, however, that as a 'young person' (at the age of 22) I really loathe applying that term to myself... I'd rather just be considered an adult, as I am in both lifestyle and law! Beyond my own distaste to it, however, it can be utterly confusing as what defines a young person. There's a massive difference in the initiatives for a 13 year old and an 18 year old, never mind trying to reach beyond that towards 30 and 40 year olds... it's something I come across often in my studying, and I can't help wonder how to break through the confusion in its application!

    But anyway, I am sorry to ramble... I'm enjoying reading your blog!

    God bless,
    Faith x