A major research project will reveal the scope of families work in the majority of UK Churches. Exploring the Family Ministry Landscape is thought to be the first project of its kind in the UK and will look at what churches are doing to support families, as well as the range of training and resources that are already available for families work.
"Families come in all shapes and sizes, and society's understanding of what 'family' means has changed over the years," said Gail Adcock, Families Ministries Development Officer (Discipleship and Ministries) for the Methodist Church, who is taking a lead on the research. "Whatever a family looks like, the Church should care about and seek to support that family in life and in faith. We hope that this project will help us to see how that is already happening and learn how we can do it better."
"Family matters," added the Rt Rev Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham, "whether it's a single parent family, blended families, immigrant families or everything in between. The Church has a duty to support people in their relationships and in the challenges they face. We haven't got it all figured out just yet - and I hope this project will help us learn and grow as a community of faith for whom family matters."
Exploring the Family Ministry Landscape is a partnership between the Methodist Church in Britain and the Consultative Group on Ministry Among Children (CGMC). CGMC is a network of CTBI and brings together all those with national responsibility for work with children in churches and Christian charities for the major Christian Churches in the UK, including the Church of England, Methodist Church, the United Reformed Church and the Baptist Union of Great Britain. The research project is due to report in Autumn 2015
"CGMC seeks to inspire people to act as advocates and change makers in children's and family ministry for all of our churches and organisations," said CGMC's Moderator, Penny Fuller. "This project is an ecumenical collaboration that seeks to challenge and support those who equip and resource the development of ministry with families."
Gail Adcock is also conducting more in-depth research into families work within the British Methodist Church, which will report this Autumn. This will include regional consultation events on 17 June (Warrington), 24 June (Leeds), 8 July (Harpenden), 19 September (South West) and 22 September (London)