Photo Credit: Youth Cafe group, Holy Trinity Church, Minsterley
Attracting young people to engage and get involved with the church can be a big challenge. The Revd. Greg Smith, Vicar of St. George’s, Pontesbury and Holy Trinity, Minsterley along with Deanery Intergenerational Missioner, Mark Hackney, are passionate about serving young people in the church. Both seized an opportunity post lockdown to host a regular café church in Holy Trinity Minsterley, part of the Pontesbury and Stiperstones Group of Churches in South Shropshire.
The youth cafe church started in September 2021, once lockdown restrictions eased with the group meeting every Monday after school at Holy Trinity, Minsterley. “The idea is to provide a safe place with a good atmosphere and food where young people aged 12 to 14 can chill out and chat with friends inside the church.” Explains Mark Hackney, Deanery Intergenerational Missioner, Hereford Diocese.
"When we started our first Youth Café meeting, we only had three people. It quickly grew as word got around, and by October, we had eighteen young people. Since Christmas, we regularly host nearly twenty-five young people each week. The Youth Café enables us to invest in and build relationships with these young people. It's all about the relationships."
"There's a positive response from the local community too. We can see this from the kind gesture of the church's window cleaner. He pays for pizzas to be delivered every Monday for the young people to eat and enjoy. It's a really encouraging and generous gesture of kindness. The young people love it"
Most of the young people who regularly come to the Youth Café are not members of the church, "they don't turn up on Sundays, and we don't expect them to," explains Greg. "But the cafe is an excellent place for them to become part of the church community, know and be known by our church leaders, and make friends in a safe place."
"As we build relationships with these young people, we see how trust is growing, enabling us to talk about deeper issues that affect them in their everyday lives."
"It has grown by word of mouth. Each week, young people bring their friends, confident to recommend our church as a safe place to be."
“We hope to put on a play specially written for the Youth Café Church next month. This Easter, the young people will showcase this to family, friends, and the wider community.”
To find out more details about Youth Café, please contact The Reverend Greg Smith.
Tel: 07902 794653