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Young Worship Leaders

Three members of SPY, along with a young person from a neighbouring deanery, took part in a first for Truro Diocese on Saturday 22 April 2023.

Lydia Remick, reader and Lay Ministries Development Officer, who provides training for adult Local Worship Leaders (LWL), led the first workshop to train young people who are interested in the role of Young Worship Leader (YWL).

The course involves four, two hour workshops. Each young person has a LWL as a mentor, who will meet them informally every month or so, to give the young person the chance to express what was covered at the workshops, ask questions and hear about leading worship from a person who regularly does just that.

Training Young People to Lead

In the first session, the group explored what it means to worship and what characteristics are required to lead a church community in worship. The young people asked questions, answered questions and raised super ideas. There was more discussion than writing but the young people wanted to make a few notes.

After completing the course, and with the backing of the PCC, young people can be commissioned as a YWL and be supported by their mentor to help lead worship at church services. The young people will go through the basic level of online safeguarding training, with their mentor or parents, before being commissioned. Two churches have already made a request for newly appointed YWLs to help lead a service, with support from Lydia, priests, readers and LWLs.

What worship is and what it can be like

The second workshop was about sections that make up a service of worship.

An invitation was given to draw “strange things I have seen in church”. Pictures showed magnet fishing, bouncy castles, lit brazier, silent disco and snow machine and Titanic plaque.

Our next stop was in church. After watching a short video about singing, as one way to worship God, we walked around church to remind ourselves of other things involved in a service of worship. Standing behind the altar we thought of Holy Communion; in the pulpit and at the lectern we thought of sermons and talks and Bible readings and intercessory prayers; we smelt incense; standing around the font we shared the meaning of baptism and discussed art within worship such as the stations on the cross and icons.

We headed back for refreshments and explored further what is included in a worship service.

Rev’d Sophie, Lydia and Ry showed us literature they brought along, including orders of service, lectionary, prayer books and many more!

One was called “The Dramatised Bible” which has many chapters of the Bible written in script form. The Bible doesn’t simply have to be read at a service, it could be read in parts, acted and involve costumes to enhance the story, as done by ‘Open the Book’.

Parts of the “Service of the Word” are preparation, Bible and Creeds, prayers and blessing. We now know that section E of “Common Worship” gives lots of Creeds that can be used in a service, depending on who going to attend. There is a lot of choice. Only priests can celebrate Holy Communion, but the “Service of the Word” can be led by lay people.

Lydia asked us if we’d heard of ‘Lego Church’ and ‘Messy Church’. We watched short videos about both. Attendees make characters after hearing a Bible story at Lego Church. Sophie told us about ‘Wild Church’, ‘Adventure Church’ and ‘Breakfast Church’. There’s also ‘Muddy Church’ and ‘Sunday Active’.

We suggested ‘Pokémon Church’, ‘Manga Church’ and ‘Play-Doh Church’. We felt we could invite our friends to any of the “Churches” as they are fun and incorporate all the parts needed for a service of the word.

Play-Doh was made into a monster during the workshop but after hearing about Lego Church, the next Play-Doh masterpiece showed Adam, Eve, snake and an apple from Genesis chapter 3.

Time was given for reflection. We started to plan a service for YWLs to finalise and lead after their commissioning.

Lydia invited Ry to lead the group’s final prayer. What a fitting way to end the session.

Leading Well

Two questions got us off to a great start in the third workshop of the Young Worship Leader (YWL) course:

How can we lead well? What might we need to practice in order to lead well?

We read a fictitious account of a church service to notice what went wrong! Key points for leading well were expressed:

1 Communication is key.

2 Be prepared.

3 Order of proceedings matter.

4 Arrive in plenty of time.

5 Check sound system is on and working.

6 Check hymn numbers with organist.

7 Check layout of chairs in chancel.

8 Speak with the congregation informally before the service.

9 Start on time.

10 Ensure everyone can hear - speak slower than usual, give pauses, be clear, project your voice and annunciation.

11 Check all involved know their role and where they stand.

12 Offer a very warm welcome with a joyful voice.

13 Make actions invitational, for example, "I invite you to stand, if you are able, for our first hymn."

14 Give page number in the order of service after times of not referring to the service sheet.

15 If mistakes are made with a reading, carry on, no need to apologise.

It would be good to be aware if Sunday School is running and if the sidespersons have toy bags with soft items inside for babies and toddlers.

Can and should one person lead everything in a service? We said: “No.” It’s good to involve as many people as possible so they can contribute. We listed those involved in one Sunday service: church cleaners, refreshment providers, bellringers, sidespersons, churchwardens, Sunday School team, music providers, choir, minister, Local Worship Leaders, YWLs, servers, readers, intercessors, those who present items for Communion and those involved, for example, the person who holds the chalice and the linen washers.

Both young people at the training session took the opportunity to practice giving a welcome or reading a prayer. Their was a lovely tone to their voices, which were clear and full of expression. They were encouraged to notice how leaders use their voice in different ways in church, for example, the welcome and notices are different to Bible readings and different again to intercessions. Also to try out speaking into a mic.

There’s no specific robe for YWL. They can’t serve and act as YWL in the same service. They are not to give the talk. However, after completing training in giving a talk and how to write and say intercessory prayers, YWL can do these roles too.

The Commissioning service will take place on Sunday 17 September, 4pm, in St. Petroc’s Church, Bodmin. The Ven Kelly Betteridge (Archdeacon of Bodmin and Director of Intergenerational Church) will lead the non-Eucharistic service. YWLs will be commissioned alongside newly trained Local Worship Leaders, Local Pastoral Ministers and those being recommissioned.

We played Pictionary before the start and during the break.

Final Workshop

Prayer was the topic of the final session. We investigated when and how Jesus prayed.

We shared pizzas together to mark and celebrate the course. Certificates and Bibles were presented. Adult leaders increased their knowledge alongside the young people and Lydia kindly presented Barbara with a copy of The Dramatised Bible. This will be useful when YWL and SPY help lead services.

Sophie, Rose, Lindy and Dave contributed to the workshops alongside Lydia. Roland and Marion acted as mentors

Commissioning of Young Worship Leaders

Sunday 1 October 2023, in St. Petroc's Church, many gathered to see two young people being commissioned as YWLs.

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