Over 200 people attended this year’s Bishop’s headline conference with the theme focused on engaging with children and families in your church and communities.
The aim was to equip parishes with the tools to enable them to successfully engage with families so they can develop their worshipping communities.
Keynote Speakers included Mary Hawes, National Children & Youth Adviser for the Church of England, Revd Canon Dr Sandra Millar, Head of Projects and Developments: Life events and Bob Hartman, renowned author and storyteller.
Bishop Paul said “It was great to Open the Box on the important topic of engaging with children and young families on Saturday. From the creativity of Bob Hartman to the wisdom of Mary Hawes and Sandra Millar there was plenty to ponder and take back to congregations and parishes. To those who were there I repeat my challenge. What one thing will you now do in your church as a result of being part of the day? To those who weren’t there I extend that challenge. How can you do something to change the way we engage so we can have more young people knowing Jesus and seeing more justice in their world.”
Sue Mitchell, Children and Families Missioner who organised the event said “It was really encouraging to see so many people willing to give up a precious Saturday morning to discover more about the importance of connecting with the children and families in our churches and communities. With such passionate speakers, it was hard not to feel inspired, step out of the box and be challenged do one single action that could make a Bigger difference to the children and families we work with.“
Comments collected from attendees included “Well done!!! Saturday was such an amazing event. It was a real privilege to be there. There was so much challenge, information, inspiration and encouragement squeezed into those few hours....it was amazing! The message was so strong and clear. A fantastic combination of speakers. Well done!!!”
“A huge thank you again for Saturday; it was such a fantastic turn out and a brilliant opportunity to meet some passionate individuals. The content was really helpful too for my own small involvement in children’s ministry – so thank you for the chance to soak up some great teaching. I was struck by how well structured and tailored Open the Box was; I loved the idea of brunch, brilliant for a grey Saturday morning! Thank you”