Youth ministry in Wellington receives a shake-up

WELLINGTON — Youth ministry in the Wellington archdiocese has received a shake-up, with a renewed focus on mentoring and training to be implemented from early next year.
A review document looking at resourcing across the archdiocese concluded funds ought to be channelled more towards supporting those already working with young people.
The project manager of a transitional team charged with enacting the review’s recommendations, Daniel Siave, said the review had consulted with all stakeholders involved in youth ministry in order to find the best way to allocate resources.
“I’m not denying that there [was] enough work there, but was the distribution fair for everyone is one of the questions the review was looking at,” he said.
The review proposed changes, not to the aims of youth ministry, but to the method of its delivery.
“The goals of Catholic ministry with young people are documented . . . We do not need to spend the time coming up with a new destination, but we do need to review our strategies,” the report said.
It identified the 11-30 age bracket as the area of youth ministry, which equates to just under 23,000 people across the archdiocese.
Mr Siave said a new-look team recommended by the review would be reduced to two and a half full-time positions with a greater emphasis on mentoring those involved in youth ministry across the archdiocese.
The team was due to start early in 2013, with a focus “much more on training and supporting those who are doing that ministry”.
A mentoring role would alleviate some of the difficulties associated with ministering personally to a group whose subsets ranged from school children to married couples with children of their own, Mr Siave said.
One key initiative suggested by the review was an internship programme aimed at involving young people in the running of youth ministry in each parish.
Previously the structure of the youth and young adult ministry was heavily centred on Wellington’s tertiary institutions.
Five full-time positions were shared between six to seven people, based at Victoria University’s tertiary chaplaincy or the archdiocese’s Youth and Young Adult Ministry Office.
“It was very centralised, when you think about the fact that the diocese covers from Kaikoura to Levin.”
Engaging communities was a key focus of the new youth ministry, and successful programmes such as the Young Catholic Leaders would continue through 2012 and into 2013, Mr Siave said.
“Community has been one of the things we’ve pushed a lot, I think community goes hand-in-hand with Christianity.”
The new team would continue to consult with stakeholders about how the review was being implemented, he said.

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Michael Otto

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