World Council of Churches enthused by example of Child Friendly Church

Sue Mitchell, children and families missioner, was invited to speak at a conference on children’s rights held by the World Council of Churches (WCC) and Unicef. We spoke to Sue about her experience at the conference and the next steps that will be involved.

Sue Mitchell and colleague Caroline Collins, Sefton Deanery Family worker journeyed to Geneva for the World Council of Churches (WCC) conference 'A stronger voice for children's rights' on 19th November. They ran a marketplace style presentation in the ‘World Café’ and then Sue spoke about the Child Friendly Church Award scheme run by the Diocese of Liverpool.

We asked how she felt upon her return from the conference.

Sue said “It was a humbling experience and a real privilege to meet with so many gifted people who are working so hard to improve the place of children throughout the world. I was blown away by the interest shown in the presentation of Child Friendly Church, Unicef stated that everyone should be doing this. It was mind-blowing really.”
So does this mean that our initiative of Child Friendly Church Award is ‘going global’?

“People from all over the world, from countries such as Pakistan and India were engaging me in conversation about the award system we developed. I shared what we have done and learnt over the years. Keeping the process simple and engaging churches throughout their journey was what I wanted them to take away from our discussions.”

Sue shared learnings from our diocese that impressed so much that she will now be part of the advisory group of experts that will help development of 'Principles & Tools for Child Friendly Churches' a joint global effort between WCC and the charity Unicef.

“I am delighted to be representing the Diocese of Liverpool in such an important consultation process. I will be working with some really dedicated and talented people and giving them advice. Children need a voice and they need to be heard. It is so important that there is a stronger voice for children’s rights and they are comfortable, welcome and safeguarding is paramount. The future depends on how we treat our children.”

The next steps for Sue now will be her involvement with the consultation process over the coming months and the 'Principles & Tools for Child Friendly Churches' will be launched by the WCC and Unicef in June 2016 to churches around the world.