The Annual Children's Ethos Conference has been running now for 7 years. It is always planned and organised by children for children and grows in size each year.
We are leaders from Bishop Bridgeman Ethos Group, we would like to share with you the impact our Ethos group and our Ethos conference has had over the last 10 years. Our first Ethos conference took place July 2013 after our Ethos group had been established for 2 years.
Our mission was, and still is, to support other children in schools throughout the diocese. To support them in setting up an ethos group and providing them with as many different ideas as we could to enable them to promote Christian values, respect and love of all.
What will you experience at and Ethos Conference? It is a conference planned and written by children for children, though Canon Pilling is always there for help and advice, and shopping!.
Children take part in 8 workshops throughout the day, on Christian values, spirituality, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism and Hinduism.
We always start the day with worship, planned by our Ethos leaders. Children attending all receive a prayer bag with a number of activities.
Our last 2 conferences have been interfaith. Our mission is to promote love for all and acceptance of all religions and a time to develop your own spirituality and relationship with God.
The 120 children and VIP guests are given the BEST goodie BAG ever!. All the workshops provide the children with a leaflet. In our prayer workshop children release real butterflies and in our Nativity and Easter prayer spaces children ride on real donkey role playing the story.
We have a double decker bus on the yard for our prayer bus.
So what is the impact of 7 Ethos Conferences and 10 years of Ethos work?
• We have had schools from Crosthwaite in Cumbria to schools from Wales.
• Each year 30+ schools book on, we have over 100 schools that have attended. (if we count the schools that have come more than once we have had 234 bookings)
• We analyse the evaluation forms each year to continue to improve and develop our conference.
• 95% of schools visited now have their own ethos group and have even carried out an ethos conference with 3 or 4 schools together.
• We were asked to think about prayer spaces 3 years ago. The last 2 conferences have had 11 prayer gazebos that are set up from 3am in the morning by Canon. Pilling and an amazing group of staff.
• We interview children and adults at our conferences to see how it is impacting on them and what they will take back to their school.
• We have been a case study as part of the Church of England’s publication ‘Fruits of the Spirit’.
• We have encouraged many children to become leaders in their community.
• Children at BB can talk confidently about their spirituality.
• We have written and published 2 books.
• Book one – Building, Driving and Living Values has sold 2,000 copies across the North West, Wales, some churches and even hospitals.
• Book 2-developing children’s spirituality has sold 1,500 copies also.
• Book 3- supporting children’s prayer life, we are in the middle of writing, it will be launched at our next conference on 5th & 6th July 2022.
• The books have impacted on Ethos groups. We know this through letters we receive and the feedback from our conferences.
How has our Ethos work impacted on adults?
• Sometimes adults under estimate what children can do! We want to show adults just what we can do and the questions we can answer.
• We have presented to adults on many topics some of which are: our journey as an Ethos group, 10 top tips in starting an Ethos group, children’s spirituality and how to deliver worship.
Being in Ethos for a number of years has enabled us to be more confident, become servant leaders and work for the good of our community. We preached a sermon on courageous advocacy and servant leadership.
St Luke 1:37 says, “Faith does not make things easy, it makes them possible!” Everyone in our Ethos group is a service star, supporting and helping others in school and in our community.