Making the most of Children in the Shadows

27th January 2022

The Clewer Initiative

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Children in the Shadows is a five-week interactive pop-up Lent resource. Each week includes definitions, statistics, insight from frontline experts (both written and on film), examples of current good practice, and suggestions of how individuals and churches can make a significant contribution to extending care and strengthening resilience and resistance in their communities.

Through the course, we work through Luke 18 and discuss how Jesus’ interactions and parables can inspire our response. Each session closes with a prayer to draw our reflections together and the words of two new hymns, written for The Clewer Initiative by Sheena Evans and Simon Hancock.

Week-by-week summary

  • Week 1 explores the different forms of child exploitation and the scale of the issue in the UK
  • Week 2 shines a light on the suffering and isolation faced by the children of modern slavery victims and the parents of child victims. Each group is affected by the trauma and exploitation in different ways and requires specialised care and support
  • In Weeks 3 and 4, there is a particular focus upon county lines – one of the fastest expanding areas of child exploitation in the UK
  • In the final week, we provide a global perspective and consider our responsibilities as privileged citizens in a vulnerable world

You can work through Children in the Shadows on your own or in a group.


How to use Children in the Shadows in a small group

The resource has been designed to help explore the realities of child exploitation and encourage people to consider making an appropriate and effective response. Through the Lenten discipline, we pray it will help us refine our priorities and practices in discipleship.

Each session begins by providing some information, and it would be useful to invite participants to share their reactions, and any other insights or experiences from their own knowledge and contacts.

At the heart of each session is a Bible study. Why not try reading the passage out loud, perhaps inviting people to go round the group, each reading successive verses. There is a small section suggesting how the passage might provide a helpful perspective, and then a few questions which seek to open up reflection and prayer. We hope that by exploring the details and dynamics of the scripture text in relation to the issues, challenges and possible responses will arise.

The Bible study is followed by a prayer for the week. You could ask someone to read the prayer aloud, and then give the group a few minutes of silence for further prayer and reflection.

The last section introduces further resources in terms of ideas and actions that could be pursued. You could suggest that participants report back next week on their progress and reflections.

At the end of the session, we recommend:

- Summarising any important ideas and actions that participants could consider taking away for further prayer and as possible follow up

- A second reading of the prayer which follows the Bible study, and then closing with the Lord’s prayer, and the Grace.

- Depending upon musical abilities and inclinations, you could invite people to sing the hymn for the week! Or you could simply listen to the YouTube link. One of the hymns has been specially written for us.

To find out more about Children in the Shadows or to download the course material, visit https://theclewerinitiative.or...

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