This August, as last year, I shall be spending a week with sixty young people on a Pathfinder venture, a Christian youth camp, up in North Devon. If I walk to the top of the field I can just about get a mobile phone signal (so can claim to be at work) but somehow the life of the Diocese seems remote amid the energetic activities and noisy exuberance of excited groups of 11 – 14 year olds.
In church on Sunday mornings and in halls and schools during the week, hundreds of groups of children and young people meet across Devon to have fun together and to learn about Jesus. They are led by an unsung army of Sunday School teachers, children’s workers and youth leaders who give their time to love, care for and teach those entrusted to them, planting seeds of faith that last a lifetime. Some enjoyed a weekend at Lee Abbey last month to renew their vision. All will enjoy a break from their responsibilities in this holiday month.
The same goes for the teachers and pupils in the 130 church schools in the Diocese. These are not ‘faith schools’ in the sense often used by the media but schools which serve the whole of their communities as part of our Christian concern for the whole of life, body, mind and spirit. Through assemblies, ‘Open the Book’, after-school clubs and other initiatives, we have the opportunity to tell the story of God’s activity in the world.
In his prayer for the church in Thessalonica, the apostle Paul remembered: “Your work of faith and labour of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” We give thanks for the faith, love and hope of those who nurture the young people of this county in the Christian faith, and pray that we might all find a renewal of vision for the service of Christ among young and old.
+Nick McKinnel, Bishop of Crediton