As a major part of its work in Parish Development, the Church of Ireland General Synod Board of Education (Northern Ireland) gives a high priority to supporting and developing Children’s Ministry.
The support and development is in two main areas:
(A) The Archbishop’s Challenge
- an Award Scheme for Young Members from age 7 upwards
(B) Leader Training
The Secretary of the Board, acts as Director of The Archbishop’s Challenge. He advises five Diocesan Support Teams of clergy and laity who organise leader training and provide support for leaders and Young Members completing the challenge.
The aims of The Archbishop’s Challenge are to:
- introduce Young Members to the tradition, teaching and worship of their Church
- encourage Young Members to grow in faith within their status as baptised members of their Church
- encourage Young Members to remain active and committed members of their Church
The Archbishop’s Challenge can be completed:
- by a Young Member singly
- in a group in Sunday School or youth organisation, or a Challenge group
- at home
or in a combination of these.
There are three Awards:
Bronze for ages 7+
Silver for ages 10+
Gold for ages 12+
The Award is made when three Units are completed at any of the Bronze, Silver or Gold Award levels.
A Unit has three areas:
- Project Activity.
- Service to the Parish community.
A Project Activity is completed by:
- the Young Member being guided through a topic using a variety of learning activities.
- a report being presented at the conclusion of the project. This may be written or presented in other media.
- Handbook of guidelines for clergy, parents and leaders.
- Handbook of suggestions for service to the Parish Community.
- Record of achievement booklet for each Young Member.
- Promotional leaflets.
- Resource packs for Project Activity areas.
See Publishing Programme for details.
Leader Training courses are organised periodically and on request from parishes and rural deaneries. The training at present comprises of two types:
- an introduction to Children’s Ministry.
- events for leaders to introduce specific project activity kits for The Archbishop’s Challenge.