September Update

We are in September 2014 already, and I have been Moderator for eight months out of my twelve month post, but what an eight months it has been. Since January I have attended, one Mission Council, two Children and Youth Work Committee meetings, two FURY Advisory Board meetings, two Children and Youth Work Committee Task Group meetings, Wessex Synod Summer Camp, What Do You Think?, General Assembly, as well as the occasional specialist meeting. When combined with the hundreds of emails that have been sent and the hours spent on the phone, it has been a very busy eight months, but I have thoroughly enjoyed it.

Although I have enjoyed attending all these meetings and events, my highlight has to be What Do You Think? and General Assembly. It was a proud moment for me, being a passionate Welshman and opening General Assembly hosted in Wales, by carrying the cross that was created by the young people of the URC. From beginning to end I felt so honoured to be FURY Moderator for this experience, to start the week with a group of fellow under 26 Synod Reps discussing situations and issues within the URC, and hearing their responses and opinions to these conversations. I knew after this experience that the young people of the URC were well represented and that their voice would be heard in General Assembly.

The cross created by the young people of the URC.
The cross created by the young people of the URC.

I wasn’t wrong: during General Assembly the young people in attendance spoke wisely and informatively, becoming a vital and much welcomed group of participants at the Assembly. At this point I felt so humble that little old me could be the Moderator of such an amazing group of young people who are proud of their faith and have a passion to have an input in which direction the denomination travels. I was invited to attend the ecumenical and international guests’ meal, and sitting alongside the General Assembly Moderators and representatives from different countries and denominations was such a wonderful experience and opportunity to speak to a wide variety of people.

Alongside these networking opportunities, I was invited to speak to the Children and Youth Work Committee report and second a resolution. It was a great honour for me to stand in front of the Assembly representing the young people of the URC and bring forward a resolution which had originated at Youth Assembly. The resolution was brought by a group of passionate young people, who want to see the URC break the stigma surrounding mental ill health. I am pleased to say that this resolution was passed unanimously. As General Assembly came to a close I felt so proud to be part of the URC Youth and so excited for what lays ahead for us all.

We have now entered a new academic year, and with it comes a combined Children and Youth Work Committee and FURY Advisory Board meeting where a lot of final decisions will be made regarding Youth Assembly 2015 and even some for Youth Assembly 2016. Mission Council will be held in November, where we will be discussing the decisions made at General Assembly and then we will be in the final run up to Youth Assembly 2015. I have thoroughly enjoyed this past eight months and I look forward to continuing representing the young people of the URC in the upcoming four months.

God Bless and talk soon,

Matthew Barkley

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