The Conversation continues in 2018
7/8 December 2018 // St. Paul’s Church Canterbury

The Conversation: re-imagining ministry with children and young people through FaithFormation and Community.

BOOK your place now!

The Conversation is returning- a gathering that will continue to curate space for cutting-edge, innovative, even risky conversations about children, young people and the church. We are still asking the question: How can we change the dominant church culture from ‘conquering and keeping’ to ‘nurturing and releasing’ the children and young people in our communities?

The Conversation brings people together who are open to change; to reimagine God’s good news for this generation and all generations together, who want children and young people to come into a life-enhancing, transforming and life-long encounter with Christ. We are so excited about our second event that will enable us to dig deeper into our underlying themes of encounter and rhythm as we explore how faith is formed, how we tell stories and how what it means to be an intergenerational community of faith.

The Conversation won’t provide answers or ‘the next new thing to do’ – together our conversation will take us deeper that we might be:
More open
More inclusive
More able to hear
More reliant on God’s grace
More like the body of Christ (without any missing limbs)

The Conversation: re-imagining ministry with children and young people through faithformation and community.

Click here to book your place


hosted bycropped-header-logo-clcl

Panel 1


These are just a few of our contributors for The Conversation in 2018 who will be helping us have good conversations…

JOHN ROBERTOThere is just not another John Roberto. He serves Vibrant Faith as the project coordinator for our Certificate and Innovation Labs programs. In addition, John is a sought after speaker and workshop leader.

There is no one who comes at the process of the formation of faith with such an extensive grasp of past and current research AND a vision for the future. We are so grateful to have him giving those insights to you through Vibrant Faith. John’s publications include books, articles, and his own Lifelong Faith Journal.

John has been and continues to be an innovator in Catholic Religious Education and Youth Ministry. John is best known for his practical application of the vision and theory for ministry with and for people of all ages and stages in their lifelong growth in faith with a particular expertise in formation praxis for youth in the teen age years. He founded the Northeast Center for Youth Ministry, later knows as the Center for Youth Ministry Development that continues today as the Center for Ministry Development. More recent endeavors have focused on strategies for implementing a vision for lifelong faith formation and developing ministry approaches for the 21st Century.

John is married to Linda, and they have three adult children and three grandchildren.

bethBeth Barnett is a post-colonial, post-Christendom, post-modern Australian practitioner, teacher, artist and resource writer. Thinking about, theologising, facilitating and advocating for children and families, as both vulnerable and vibrant participators in the community of the cosmos, of which Jesus is the resurrected and revealed Lord, has been at the heart of Beth’s service in pastoral, local mission and denominational consulting roles. She is currently completing a doctorate in New Testament studies, reconsidering the hermeneutical marginalization of ‘images of the child’ in Pauline literature, and discourses of maturity, development and power.

Beth blogs at multivocality: “some people know me as a musician, some as a teacher, some as an advocate and resourcer in Children and Families ministry and mission. Some people know me as a prophet, some a theologian, some a writer. The people I care most about in the world know me as a mum, a wife, a sister, a friend. I guess it depends where we met on the journey…I hope to you, whoever you are, I am a fellow traveller, who walks the path of peace and an agent of grace.”

BEX LEWISAndrew McDonough
Andrew McDonough is the author and illustrator of the popular Lost Sheep stories used in churches and schools around the world. Andrew belongs to the WestCare community, an inner city mission working amongst the homeless, supporting people struggling with addictions and advocating for refugees. He regularly visits school & churches to tell stories, conduct workshops, preach and lead all-age worship services. His passion is to provide high quality biblical storytelling resources to children’s workers, pastors and parents. His 32 books include Cecil the Lost Sheep, The Image of God, and his latest title Jesus was a Refugee. Andrew’s Australian, trained as a Baptist Pastor, married to Roslyn and they have three adult children.
You’ll find Andrew’s stories at

stewartStewart Cutler is a husband, dad, stepdad, son, brother…

Stuart returns to curate our worship across both days of The Conversation. He is also a Youth and Children’s Work Trainer with over 20 years of experience working with volunteers, students and professionals in the Christian Church and in communities around Scotland. And happens to be an ordained minister with the United Reformed Church.

Panel 2


FRIDAY – Conversations around FAITH FORMATION
A full day with worship throughout curated by Stewart Cutler.

How do we enable Faith Formation?
A day spent exploring what ‘faith formation’ means for ministry with children and young people. Day 1 of The Conversation will include some thinking on what an ‘intergenerational approach’ to ministry might bring to the conversation; what effect our choice of language has on how faith is or isn’t formed; and how our times of gathered worship play into the process. The day will be, as expected, an interwoven mix of conversations; including presentations, ‘open space’ where anyone can offer a way to talk about how faith is formed and an evening event focusing on the art of storytelling.

Registration from 09.30am
Close at 5pm

Three sessions with two speakers sharing on the same topic and space for discussion, questions and reflection:

1. Why do ministry intergenerationally?
John Roberto and Gail Adcock
If we desire to see younger generations exploring faith for themselves we need to consider where they will encounter God, how they are encouraged explicitly and implicitly to engage with faith and what role an interaction between generations might offer that process.
2. Why worry about words?
Anne Richards and Neville Emslie
What effect does our language have on how faith is formed within our communities of faith? Do we ask questions that encourage, challenge and shape that faith forming process? What if our stories and theology were intimately interwoven to help generations explore faith together?

3. And then we gathered…
Ian MacDonald and Dean Pusey
Our communities are often defined and described by the way in which they gather to worship. What does that gathering offer to the process faith formation? We may need to critique the nature of those gatherings in our aspiration to be communities of faith for people of all ages, bank accounts and colours.

A fourth session titled “Conversation Space” where all are invited to share insights, ideas and questions

A chance to eat and relax together
Arrive from 6.45pm for 7pm start
Andrew McDonough and Beth Barnett will lead a storytelling masterclass on how to use stories and storytelling for adults, beyond merely just ‘for children’.

more details to follow soon

SATURDAY – Conversations around COMMUNITY
The conversation about reimagining ministry with children and young people inevitably includes a need to explore the community within which that ministry is envisioned. How do we imagine our communities and what needs reimagining for them to be places where faith formation across and between generations is evident? Not merely in what is planned, programmed and put on but in the attitudes and actions of the members of that community. How would we know that a community is more interested in the forming of faith for all of its members than its own survival?

Another full and varied day with worship curated by Stewart Cutler throughout. In the morning two more sessions with speakers, questions and reflection.
Registration from 09.30am
Close at 5pm

1. “From conquer and capture to nurture and release”
Andrew McDonough and Yvonne Morris
How can a community embrace an undefended, even risky, culture that nurtures a formation of faith without expectation or judgement? What would it look like for a community to focus not on its own success or sustainability but the deep exploring of faith of all its members?

2. Seeing the community beyond our walls
Alison Webster and Mike Harrowing
It is an oft expressed intention, even a stated reality that churches exist for those who live and work beyond its walls. Is this really possible? Are there systemic attitudes or actions that make this more less possible? Are there opportunities beyond our church buildings and church gatherings to see ministry between and across generations in action?

Then the afternoon will consist of a number of short presentations in the style of Pecha Kucha, each of which will have a subsequent workshop to explore the ideas in more depth.

Panel 3


The Conversation might be just for you if you are… :
  • A Youth & Children’s Ministry volunteer or minister
  • Involved in the strategic development of ministry with children and young people in your church context
  • in ministry generally and interested in finding out more about faith formation with and alongside children & young people in community
  • part of an organisation, charity or agency interested in the faith of younger generations


  • 10 good ideas
  • Answers
  • To just sit passively
  • To have your preconceptions confirmed
  • To have everyone agreeing with you
  • To get a programme or resource to solve all your problems
  • To be challenged
  • To get fresh perspectives
  • To be surprised
  • To join in
  • To disagree well
  • To talk about being the kind of church where children and young people are seen as fellow pilgrims 
  • To hear the unexpected

The Conversation is organised by ‘The C Team’: an ecumenical group who wanted to explore ministry with children and young people that focuses on faith formation and nurture for today’s changed and changing society.

Mary Hawes –
Penny Fuller –
Yvonne Morris –
Murray Wilkinson –


hosted by diocant