Children’s & Youth Champions

Children and youth ministry is growing in our diocese. We have more and more churches asking for support and advice so we need to create a framework that helps us to keep growing in a sustainable way. So we have begun creating a new team of Children & Youth Champions that ensures there are local people in every deanery that are available to encourage, equip, resource and challenge churches in their ministry with children and young people.

Just as the early church had to expand their leadership in response to growth (Acts 6), the Gen2 are creating a team of Children & Youth Champions that ensures there are local people in every deanery that are on the ground and available to encourage, equip, resource and challenge churches in their ministry with children and young people.

What is the role?

Diocese of Peterborough Children & Youth Champion – a local adviser on general questions about children and/or youth ministry or a specialist in a particular field, e.g. messy church, schools ministry.

The all new Champions will:

 – be available to advise and support Churches in their area (This could be a geographical area (e.g. a Benefice or Deanery), or an area of expertise (e.g a specialism of some sort) across the whole Diocese).

– use their gifts and skills to help us grow Children & Youth Ministry in other local Churches

– journey alongside Churches as they seek to flourish and grow

– join with us in praying for the Churches in their area.

– work alongside others to create opportunities for people to gather for networking, celebration and training.


 Our first gathering of Children & Youth Champions was in April at Bouverie Court (Northampton), where we welcomed Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury. 

Our second gathering will be at the inaugural Gen2 Conference on Saturday 29th June at King’s Park Conference Centre (Northampton), where Bishop Donald will be authorising and praying for all of our Champions. 

Gen2 Conference 2019 4 squares snip

Who and Where are our new Champions?

Introducing our first cohort of Champions from across the Diocese. They are listed below by Archdeaconry and Deanery (local area) and where they have expressed a particular specialism or passion for a particular area of Children’s or Youth Ministry this is indicated.

If you would like to get in touch with a Champion for advice, to observe their practice or simply to link up for support and prayer, please get in touch with Chad (Oakham Archdeaconry) or Becky (Northampton Archdeaconry) and we will put you in touch.

Oakham Archdeaconry


Andy Silley

Emma Kirby Gen2 Project Children/Toddler Groups/Families/Intergenerational


Andy Clark Youth/Bible Teaching

Andy Stillwell Youth

Chris Watts Gen2 Project Youth

Jo Batch Children/Prayer Spaces

Nick Wills

Tom Houston


Emma Croxon SEN/Care/Fostering

Rosie Benn Youth

Sue Merrifield Early Years


Jason Royce Souster Youth


Newton Gatambia-Kibiringi Youth


Deborah Marsh

Northampton Archdeaconry


Lesley Tomalin Children/Open the Book/Prayer Spaces/Experience

Sheila Robertson Children/all age/schools


Lesley Palmer Early years/All age worship/Familes/Tweenagers


James Yates NAYC

Greater Northampton

Anne Quinn Children/Primary Schools

Bren Hamilton “Experience” /puppet ministry/schools

Charlotte Nobbs CMC Messy Church

Evie McNally Toddler Groups

Lisa Holland Prayer Spaces

Mell Efde Urban Youth /discipleship/outreach/mental health

Nick Lambert Dad’s/ Parenting/Bible teaching

Tracy Barford Children/Bible teaching/discipleship/mental health


Claire Reetz  Gen2 Project Children/schools/pre-school/All age worship

Denise Matthews Youth/residentials

Paula Challen all ages/consultancy


Chris Dommett Youth

Deborah Rush Preschoolers/Messy Church/youth groups

Michelle Cotton Messy Church/Start up/schools

Sarah Howes Gen2 Project Youth/outtreach/start up/ resources

Across Diocese

Philip Evans Mental Health

Sam Brailsford Early Years

Rachel Newman Early Years

Top Tips

At the Gen2 Conference some of our Champions bravely faced the 45 second challenge and shared a Top Tip or Key Resource. Here are all those tips, plus extras from others who weren’t there or who didn’t fancy being got by the Nerf guns!!

Get on Pinterest, so many great ideas on there!

Deborah R

I’ve recently run “Experience Easter” with Our Associate Priest and found that worked really well with our two primary schools.

Lesley T

My youth top tip would be karaoke! Make use of the church sound system, download some karaoke songs onto your laptop and have a karaoke session 😀 You can also use props like wigs, hats, glasses etc. Young people often feel braver to give it a go in small groups but it’s good fun and builds confidence. Also gets young people used to the idea of singing in church and may encourage someone to join a youthband/ worship group.

Sarah H

I guess my big thing would be the value of doing family visits where I encourage parents to bring up their children to know Jesus and help equip them on how to do this. There is huge value in meeting up with parents 121 (in my case with the Dads) to read the Bible together and share lives/encourage each other/be honest etc… 

Nick L

1) Don’t look for or worry about being the leaders that fit the youth worker image,  some of the best youth leaders I know have been the older ladies who want to make a cup of tea. They often are the most dedicated in prayer for the young people and overflowing in love.  

2) Dont let fear get in the way of a God idea, yes we need to be practical before we start a new project, but remember in our weakness people see God’s strength.  If God has given you a vision then he wants and wills it to succeed, your apparent weakness could be the thing that turns a young person to God. 

3) if you have at least 1 young person engaged and feeling loved, cared for and valued in your church you are doing great youth work for God and his kingdom.

Chris D

For me, children’s ministry is all about welcome. It’s being there for the children and families in your parish, young and old, and helping them to encounter the open arms of Jesus, regardless of their faith. It’s  sharing the Good News Jesus has for them in an open and honest way; people are in need of love and acceptance; Jesus’ love will do the rest!

Evie M

I am known as the cardboard box lady as I accumulate quality cardboard boxes of all sizes in our attic – they are invaluable! At Messy Church we have built boats, Batmobiles for superheroes, shelters for ‘travellers’, the walls of Jericho, barriers to seeing Jesus, etc etc. Dunelm are very helpful in supplying long cardboard tubes ( insides of material rolls) if you forewarn them and maybe collect on a Monday morning early. Mushroom boxes are handy for Easter gardens, the ‘sower’s’ fields in the parable, for holding supplies for craft sessions etc. Balloons are invaluable for indoor ‘physical’ games where space is limited.

Lesley P

My tip would be about ‘getting’ into schools and the easiest way is often to ask if there is anything that a church person could do for them, i.e. reading with children, making cakes for the staff room etc. I do think that once you’ve got a foot in the door, most schools are open to accepting more.

Anne Q

–          When running a group make sure you are set up before people arrive; have someone on the door who welcomes everyone & always make sure you say goodbye to every single parent and child

–          Inter-generational relationships are key to Sunday welcome… Grannies and Grandads are amazing volunteers & essential to the Sunday ‘warm welcome’ families need

–          Take your sandwiches and eat them with the school staff at lunchtime or go with cake / biscuits at break time.

–          Just because something worked well in one context and a book has been published doesn’t mean it’ll work exactly the same in your context – know your context, do your research, advertise and review

Paula C

If you have an installed a/v system for worship, consider a photo-roll of children’s activities before the service. Using baptism family photos at a Baptism, is particularly appreciated, and there are opportunities in the powerpoint liturgy to slip in a cute photo or two.

No a/v? No Techy skills? No problem? I hadn’t either! We used portable equipment and learnt as we went along.

It has made a tremendous difference to our family worship.

Sheila R

I’d recommend a book called ‘God and Me’ by Penny Boshoff : ‘A child-centred way of learning about God’s love’. It has 365 daily devotions based on familiar childhood situations. It’s great to use at home with children. It has a huge variety of subjects from sharing, feeling sad, caring for pets to parties and sunny days. Each page has a picture, a comment, a prayer and a bible reference. I also find it useful as a basis of ideas for ‘Teddies and Toast’ our pre-school children and carers weekday group.

Bren H

Watch them! See what they like, see how they respond to God’s love and just how they are.

Jesus said we should be like them so we should ask ourselves how we can be more childlike rather than wishing they could be like us.

More trusting? More exuberant? More active? Noisier? Just watch them.

Sue M

Faith at home is my passion especially as I have a 9 and 12 year old and the majority of our children at church are aged 7 to 14. Parenting for faith seemed a lot more natural and easier when they were under 7 but somewhere over the past 4 years they have changed our parenting has changed our lifestyle has changed. So my top tip is keep praying as prayer takes the confidence off ourselves and onto God and have faith God is watering our tweenagers as we try and work it out. 

Emma C