CYMFed: Hello, our name is...
Blogged by James Preece on 1st December 2009
I blogged a couple of weeks ago about CYMFed and how having asked them for the names of their board members I had left it a week and got no response.
Since then, David Beresford has come back to me to say that he's been busy but he's happy to provide the names of the CYMFed board...
The CYMFed board is not a secret or a mystery.
The chair is Fr Dominic Howarth, (Brentwood)
The vice chair is Danny Curtin, (YCW)
As Chair of CAYMA, I am also on the board
Other members are Johnny Toryusen (Southwark), Fr Dermott Donnelly (Hexham and Newcastle), Rachel Romain (Bishops Conference), Mrg Andrew Faley (Bishops Conference), Becky Barber (Plymouth), Fr Martin Donnelly (Cardiff), Fr Michael White (Birmingham).
As I remember the board was made up to best cover the geographic spread of our church and the diversity of the organisations.
More recently I received an email from Fr Dominic Howarth the chair of CYMFed, he asked me to publish it in full by way of a clarification and I am happy to do so (probably something to do with how unkind I am)...
I write to you as chair of CYMFed. I wish that you had emailed directly before posting about us – it would have been easy to have allayed your concerns.
I attach a list of members, current as at autumn 2009. As you will see, there is a representative from every Diocese, and from many Movements, Organisations and Religious Orders: numbers are growing as those we are not yet in touch with contact us to become members as word of CYMFed spreads. Far from being “shadowy” we are completely open, and we hope that everyone working in Youth Ministry will have a way into CYMFed through their local Diocese, or through the particular Movement, Organisation or Religious Order of which they are part.
Your fellow blogger who has written about the absence within CYMFed of the characteristics of religious movements is entirely correct, for the simple reason that CYMFed is not, in itself, a Movement. We bring together a wide range of charisms, to share good practice and develop national opportunities such as the Congress.
CYMFed members are all volunteers, doing what we do nationally as we have a shared passion for Youth Ministry and believe that a national conversation can bear great fruit. In addition to the Congress we are also developing an online training programme for those working in parishes. We can only do such things by working together. I do appreciate that our website, www.cymfed.org, needs more updating: those running the site are doing so in amongst busy and pressured roles. Just to get the Congress publicity up and running was a huge task, and was our priority in recent weeks.
The existence of CYMFed is fully endorsed by the Bishops because they see the value of what we are doing. In case you have not yet seen it, I am pleased to provide you with the Press Release produced by Bishops’ Conference following their November meeting, and quoted at the end of this email.
I hope that this is now sufficient information for you. I am sorry that as I am Diocesan Youth Chaplain, Chair of CYMFed, and work in a parish with three churches, four schools and a hospital for which I share a 24 hour on call pager, I cannot enter into significant correspondence on this blog. I hope that the fruits of CYMFed will speak for themselves in the weeks and months ahead and I encourage you and all those with a passion for Youth Ministry to come to the Congress in February.
Yours with prayers
Fr Dominic Howarth, MA, STL (Rome)
This is the press release that Fr Dominic included...
For immediate release – 22 November 2009
New Youth Advisory Body commended by Bishops
A new youth advisory body has been set up to “form and serve the Catholic Youth Ministry community in England and Wales.” The Catholic Youth ministry Federation (CYMFed) brings together Youth Service Directors, representatives from New Movements, Organisations and Religious Orders working nationally with young people, and Bishop Kieran Conry in his capacity as Bishop for Youth.
It was endorsed by the Bishops’ Conference at their Low Week Meeting in April 2009 and has now become an integral part of the Department for Evangelisation and Catechesis. At the recent November meeting of the Bishops of England and Wales, CYMFed was commended for their work to date.
Chair of CYMFed and Chaplain to the Brentwood Catholic Youth Service, Fr Dominic Howarth said: “The wisdom and expertise gathered around the table at full CYMFed meetings is priceless. There are people working in urban and rural settings, and people with particular charisms from Orders like the Salesians and Movements like YCW and Youth 2000. The level and depth of people’s knowledge, coupled with the shared desire to move Catholic Youth Ministry forward in strong and purposeful ways, makes CYMFed a pleasure to be part of, and time well spent. CYMFed provides the opportunity to share good practice, fresh ideas, friendship and support, and there are also things that are possible when the whole Catholic Youth Ministry community work together that we cannot achieve alone.”
Bishop Kieran Conry said: “CYMFed is a great initiative, which the Bishops are very pleased to support. Working with CYMFed it is easy to see the hope, dynamism and purpose that are present in what we are offering for young people within the Church. Having CYMFed as our key advisers in this area means that the Bishops are directly in touch with those working with young people across the country, and this is an invaluable resource for us.”
CYMFed has already attracted a £9,000 grant to develop an online training programme for those working with young people at Parish, Deanery or Diocesan level in partnership with Ushaw College. The course will be modular, very accessible, and it is hoped launched in September 2010.
The new youth advisory body has also attracted internationally acclaimed speakers for the first Congress for Catholics working with young people, set to take place on February 27th 2010. “We have set our hope on the living God” will be headlined by Fr Timothy Radcliffe, Abbot Christopher Jamison, Archbishop Vincent Nichols and Bob and Maggie McCarty. The McCartys have worked in Catholic Youth Ministry in America for over 25 years and Bob is President of the American equivalent of CYMFed, working with over 170 American Dioceses.
Finally, Fr Howarth provided a list of the full CYMFed membership...
Bishop for Youth Rt Rev Kieran Conry
Arundel & Brighton Ray Mooney
Birmingham Fr Michael White*
Brentwood Fr Dominic Howarth*
Cardiff Fr Martin Donnelly*
East Anglia Hamish MacQueen
Hallam Judi Shimmell
Hexham & Newcastle Fr Dermott Donnelly*
Lancaster Ruth Corless
Leeds Anna Cowell
Liverpool Fr Stephen Pritchard
Menevia Fr Ceirion Gilbert
Middlesbrough Fiona Moffat
Northampton Avril Baigent
Nottingham Fr Joe Wheat
Plymouth Rebecca Barber
Portsmouth Dave Hill
Salford Lorraine Leonard
Shrewsbury Dave Fitton
Southwark John Toryusen*
Westminster Dave Burke
Wrexham Angela Gregory
Residential Retreat Centres John Toryusen*
CAYMA Chair Rebecca Barber*
British Jesuits Fr Dave Stewart
CAFOD Monica Conmee
Pax Christi To be advised
Salesians Fr Bob Gardner
Sion Community To be advised
YCW Danny Curtin*
Youth 2000 Hannah Vaughan-Spruce
Youth SVP Awaiting appointment
Bishops’ Conference Rachel Romain
The people with * are the board members:
Rt Rev Kieran Conry Bishop for Youth, ex officio
Fr Dominic Howarth Chair Province of Westminster
Danny Curtin Vice Chair Organisations and Movements
Rebecca Barber Secretary CAYMA Chair
John Toryusen Treasurer Province of Southwark & Residential Retreat Centres
Fr Michael White Board Member Province of Birmingham
Fr Dermott Donnelly Board Member Province of Liverpool
Fr Martin Donnelly Board Member Province of Cardiff
Rachel Romain Bishops’ Conference Youth Ministry Administrator, ex officio
I'll leave it there for now. The fact that we didn't even know the names of the CYMFed board was only one of my concerns and I have made Fr Howarth aware of the others.
I think in the interests of fair play I should give him a bit longer to respond before I blog about those.