David and I spent this weekend at the Methodist Youth Assembly which was held at
I was impressed by the large number of young people that had been involved organising the Assembly and who continued to act as stewards on the day. All the sessions (or Logins) were facilitated by young people trained for the task. The many senior members of the Connexional Team who came to support the event sat on beanbags in a corridor and acted as advisors only when called on to do so. This was very much an event that empowered young people to speak and be heard.
Login sessions covered a range of subjects including youth violence, sexuality, God and me, self esteem, equality and diversity, you and your rights and vocation. There can have been few Presidents of the Conference who were invited to attend a discussion group led by young people because he was “the expert on sex”.
Later in the day login extra sessions were added to discuss topics requested by those attending, including exploring Christianity in a multi-faith world, and considering the challenges that being in a relationship with someone who is not a Christian brings. All the sessions were well attended and by all accounts lively and thoughtful.
Throughout the weekend the process of selecting the next Youth President took place. Youth Assembly members were introduced to 5 possible candidates for the role and after a series of interviews and an initial election they were left to make a choice between 2. This morning Pete Brady, from
Pete was inducted during the morning worship that took place in the splendidly ornate chapel in the College. I can’t imagine that the ancient catholic saints that look down from the stained glass windows could have witnessed worship quite like this very often. The chapel was packed with young people as well as members of all ages from nearby Methodist circuits. The powerful and dynamic service followed the theme for the weekend, “be something beautiful...for you, for the world, with God”. We were reminded that God saw the worth in all people, whatever they looked like, and picking up a theme I articulated at Conference, God calls us all to work and witness wherever we find ourselves.
It concluded a very successful weekend and I’m sure that even those that had long journeys back home left uplifted and inspired.