Part of the reason for the recent lack of blog activity is because I was waiting for the end of a string of events to report on them all in one blog! Partway through the string I realised that it goes on until about mid-October! So I’ve cut the string in half and am now reporting on what Sandy and I have been getting up to in the past month or so!
General Assembly was, in the eyes of the URC Youth Moderators, a great success. We had a great time discerning the will of God with the other U26 reps and the rest of GA. General Assembly wasn’t just a chance for making decisions, but also for building networks, fellowship and, yes, fun! It was fantastic to see so many of the young people care for and take ownership of the decisions being made. Many contributed in one form or another to the debates, often realising that you don’t have to be a public speaker to contribute and, if you have any problems, it’s ok to ask for help. Sandy and I were proud mother hens! ‘What Do You Think?’, our pre-Assembly event for U26 reps, was a great chance for the U26 reps to familiarise themselves with the workings of General Assembly, the resolutions, and each other! Some, who had never been to a URC Youth event before, seemed encapsulated by the idea of a Youth Assembly, so I hope to see some of you (you know who you are!) in January.
I don’t plan on using this blog as a report of what happened at GA, since visiting www.urc.org.uk would give you a much more comprehensive overview. But one notable item that affects young people is the removal of the requirement to be a formal member of the United Reformed Church to attend and participate in General Assembly or Mission Council. This is a big step forward for our denomination as it has now acknowledged the varying, ever-changing and, often, challenging situations in which young people find themselves between the ages of 16 and 25. As a result, Assembly feels that it is unfair for there to be a membership requirement for young people to participate when often that is the last thing on their minds!
At the beginning of August, Sandy and I joined a gathering of young people, at Church House, from the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan where we listened to presentations from various Church House staff, as well as Alan Yates, Lay Moderator of GA, about the work that they do on behalf of the URC. It was great to share, in both directions, good stories of mission in local communities and across the world as well as to connect with young people like us living thousands of miles away! It reminded me of a prayer written by two young people from the UK and one from Taiwan during North Western Synod’s visit to the Chiayi Presbytery last year…
Next week, I’m off to Stirling to represent URC Youth at the Church of Scotland National Youth Assembly. One of the main topics of discussion is Mental Health. So I’ll be hoping to share with the Assembly the (successful) experiences of URC Youth, especially given that our conversations have brought about real and meaningful change throughout the denomination following the resolution at Youth Assembly 2014.
I’d also like to take this opportunity to wish everyone luck as they receive GCSE and A-level results. Remember that God is with you and you have the prayers of both Sandy and myself. Exams are certainly not the be all and end all!