Young West Indies Anglicans to be Agents of Change

8 August 2016

Building on the success of the Church in the Province of the West Indies third Provincial Youth Gathering, held in Grenada from 16 to 23 July, the Province and the Anglican Alliance hosted two in-depth training events for 30 young people from across the West Indies.

Half the group explored the ideas of Church Community Mobilisation (CCM); the other half experienced an introductory workshop on the Agents of Change curriculum. Over five days the groups reflected and planned how they could transform their churches and communities through a community project and then how to put their plans in to action.

Supporting the empowerment of youth is a global priority of the Anglican Alliance, having been identified as a key priority in all of its regional consultations.

Grenada workshopAnglican Alliance facilitator for the Caribbean, Clifton Nedd, said: “These workshops have really helped to equip young people to implement the plans that they discussed during the youth gathering. We hope that this will result in the successful implementation of youth gathering decisions.”

Agents of Change is an online learning programme that equips global Anglicans who are on the frontline of community development. It was developed by the Anglican Alliance in collaboration with the UK’s Open University.

The course of seven modules enables participants to develop the skills and knowledge they need to set up a development project in their local community. The course covers: consultation; inclusion; protecting vulnerable people; governance; finance; work programming; and reconciliation.

Following the pilot phase, the Agents of Change programme is now being finalised for launching in early 2017. This phase of its development is being supported by the J C Flowers Foundation.

Church Community Mobilisation brings about transformation to churches and their communities by working with the local church to develop a vision of positive change for their local community which can be achieved by themselves using their own assets.

Sometimes called Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) or Umoja (“Together” in Kiswahili), this approach is being adopted widely by Anglican churches all over Africa, Asia and the Pacific.

Grenada workshop prayersShaquille Charles from Trinidad, a youth participant in the West Indies workshop, commented that the CCM approach “can build a stronger relationship between the church and the community so that the Five Marks of Mission can be met and so create a world pleasing to God.

“The workshop will encourage the youths in my church and community so as to never give up, to be innovative, listen well, accept God, build a stronger relationship with him . . . and build a godly nation,” the young person added.

Alex Cumberbatch, a participant from Grenada, stated: “As a result of this informative workshop, I intend to have a meeting with my parish priest laying out the ideas and localising and prioritising which ones need urgent implementation. I will see that a theatre group is formed in my parish.”

Isobel Owen, programme officer of the Anglican Alliance, attended the workshops. She said: “It has been very exciting to see the vibrant response of young people to these two exciting workshops in Grenada. Church Community Mobilisation and the Agents of Change programme are two key strategies for the Anglican Alliance to support dioceses and local parishes to develop skills for holistic mission, amongst church leaders, women’s groups and youth.“

The Revd Rachel Carnegie, co-executive director of the Anglican Alliance, said: “We are very grateful to the bishops of the Province of the West Indies for encouraging youth participation in these activities and will follow the young people’s next steps with interest.”

To learn more about the Anglican Alliance’s work with Church Community Mobilisation see:

http://www.anglicanalliance.org/development/church-community-mobilisation

To learn more about Church Community Mobilisation (CCM) see:

http://www.tearfund.org/en/about_us/what_we_do_and_where/initiatives/umoja

To learn more about Agents of Change and to enrol on a course see:

http://www.anglicanalliance.org/agentsofchange

To learn more about the Provincial Youth Gathering of the Church in the Province of the West Indies see: www.cpwiyouth.org

Pictured:
Top: Group planning during Agents of Change training
Middle: “Lowering the stick” – a group game to teach communication and working together to achieve a goal
Bottom: Participants reflect on their aspirations for their communities before they return home by placing candles and nutmegs on a map of the Caribbean region.