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Young people give their views at CIYD’s first Youth Forum

Some of the young diocesan representatives at the Church of Ireland Youth Forum explain their ideas for church design to the youth leaders.
Some of the young diocesan representatives at the Church of Ireland Youth Forum explain their ideas for church design to the youth leaders.


Young people from throughout the Church of Ireland converged on the City North Hotel, near Dublin, on Saturday (January 20) for CIYD’s first Church of Ireland Youth Forum.

The forum was attended by young representatives and youth leaders from almost every diocese. The event was officially opened by the Archbishop of Armagh, the Most Revd Dr Richard Clarke, who also launched CIYD’s Lent resource, Fuel.

Throughout the day young people debated issues affecting them and looked at ways of encouraging and supporting youth participation. They also looked at ways of facilitating change and taking action as well as how young people could be supported on their spiritual journeys. They were facilitated by Captain Nic Sheppard of Church Army and Mrs Sally Sheppard who ran an engaging and interesting programme.

Launching Fuel, Archbishop Clarke said that the Lent resource asked the questions: “What does God want of me?” and “How does God want to use me?”

“The word of God is often driving us out into the world. Very often today we ask ‘What use is this to me?’ but the word of God should drive us out into the world and allow us to ask ‘What use am I to God?’,” the Archbishop said.

Archbishop Clarke said that Lent could be seen as a time for getting rid of things. “Lent for us is about getting rid of what we do not need and, more importantly, getting rid of what we are not – the pretence and the emphasis on the image we want to project to others. That is not what the Gospel is about. Rather we should focus on being ourselves because it is by being ourselves that God can work with us.

Fuel brings us through the Gospel of John which all the time is asking us to dig deeper. It helps to use the Scriptures and dig deeper with yourself and Jesus Christ. It invites you to pray and ask questions of God and of yourself. As you go through this you will be leaving behind what you do not need and what you are not,” he stated.

National Youth Officer with CIYD, Simon Henry, said the Youth Forum provided an exciting opportunity to bring young people together for the first time. He added that it was a pilot project and he, Steve Grasham and Barbara Swann of CIYD hoped it would develop further.

Throughout the day, under the stewardship of Nic and Sally, the young people engaged in fun games and serious discussions. As part of the a ‘conversation café’ they debated a number of questions looking at what is good about young people getting together and what makes it harder or easier for that to happen. They talked about the big issues of concern for young people and about their priorities. They then looked at their own spiritual journeys and what they had found exciting and inspiring, difficult and helpful and what they gained from being part of a church community.

As the forum drew to a close the young diocesan representatives spoke about what they would like to see for their church. Among their aspirations were greater equality in the church, involvement of young people in church services, a church beyond walls, provision for people with disabilities, welcome for groups on the fringes, ways for young people to express their faith, increased variety and spread for youth groups, all age sermons, greater use of technology and more leadership opportunities for young people.

More photos from the Youth Forum are available here.

Article and photos by Lynn Glanville, Diocesan Communications Officer for Dublin and Glendalough.

Please click here for more information on Fuel (including how to order the resource).

Contact Details

Issued by Church of Ireland Youth Department


Church of Ireland House
61–67 Donegall Street
028 9082 8890



Simon Henry

Church of Ireland Youth Officer
Church of Ireland House
61–67 Donegall Street

Steve Grasham

Youth Ministry Development Officer (Southern Region)
Church of Ireland House
Church Avenue
Dublin 6
D06 CF67