LONDON (Reuters) – Pioneering Anglican priests in Britain are to target rappers and skateboarders in a bid to stem dwindling congregations and connect with the young.
Eager to banish the fusty image of an Establishment church full of ageing worshippers, a new breed of crusading ministers are to spread the word in nightclubs, shopping arcades and skateboarding parks.
That’s Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, caught in a familiar pose: listening. He’s doing a lot of that lately.
Some of the ideas in the story may sound radical, but there’s a practical purpose: people are out at restaurants and clubs and walking their dogs and going down to the shops and skateboarding, rather than sitting in church. And young people don’t really find that Sunday church is their cup of tea.
So how to reach them? Go out to them. And maybe, just maybe, take a look at what keeps people away in the first place.
Of course, one thing that may be happening is that people simply
don’t make time for Sunday morning worship – there are conflicts like soccer and football practice and other activities that keep many parents and their progeny away. Which is too bad, when you consider that some kids actually enjoy church activities. In some families, it’s often the youth reaching out to the church, so churches need to be ready to accept them with open arms. We have a small Christian Education program at Holy Innocents and hope to grow it larger in the coming year.
One of our youngest members loves to sit next to one of our oldest members whenever they both happen to be in attendance; this sight always makes me smile. I’d love to get a photo of them, but can’t because it would be too intrusive.
But believe me, it’s a beautiful picture.