First Retreat for CYFM Network of Leaders

 on June 9, 2023

The children, youth, and family ministry (CYFM) network of leaders celebrated three years by gathering at St. John’s Elora for a retreat in April. Eleven ministry leaders from across the diocese journeyed to the beautiful town of Elora on a Friday evening. As people arrived there were hugs, bursting hellos, and an excited energy. For many, it was the first time they had met one another in person. The CYFM Network of Leaders have been meeting over the last three years online through Zoom. This retreat was an opportunity for celebration, learning, and rest for the dedicated and passionate CYFM leaders who have worked incredibly hard throughout the pandemic.

As per the request of the leaders, the learning resource selected for the retreat was an introduction to Godly Play. Godly Play is a well-known children and family ministry resource that has been taught, shared, and offered across the world for many years.  Judy Steers, chaplain at St. John’s Kilmarnock and Godly Play instructor, led the group through a full session, invited leaders to practise stories, and facilitated a “make it yourself” Godly Play build. Alison Steele, CYFM coordinator from St. David’s Welland, also offered her expertise and helped lead the sessions, as she has been offering Godly Play at her parish on Sundays over the past year. She was trained through the pandemic and has loved watching the children of her parish absorb biblical stories in a new way that encourages play and wondering.

The leaders were able to connect with one another and catch up over delicious meals. The group also honoured one of the members, Donna Ellis, CYFM coordinator, St. John’s Ancaster, who is retiring in September after twenty-seven years of ministry. The Network of Leaders has been a true blessing for ministry leaders as it has become a community that prays for each other, shares resources and ministry initiatives, celebrates one another through life’s milestones, and is a place for people to share challenges and hard realities.  This group continues to grow and welcomes new people.

We give thanks for the support of the diocese, which encourages this network to grow and flourish!

If you are interested in joining the Children, Youth, and Family Network of Leaders please contact: [email protected]

  • Sarah Bird

    Sarah Bird is Program Consultant for Children, Youth, and Family Ministry for the Diocese of Niagara. Sarah’s work upholds loving and inclusive faith communities that welcome diverse families including children of varying abilities, faith experiences, and church affiliation.

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