Young Methodists challenge Church to broaden its horizons

Young people have highlighted ways in which churches can be more open and accessible to all, regardless of age or sexuality.

Young Methodists have asked the 2009 Methodist Conference in Wolverhampton to train preachers in leading services which can speak to young people in ways relevant to their lives. The Conference welcomed the Youth Conference's report and committed to explore the possibility of making funding available for such training.

Sarah Malik, Youth Conference President, said: "Being able to relate to young people is quite a skill and so it should be part of preacher training. Young people have needs in worship and this resolution is about young people being valued and recognised by the Church."

The report also requested that vocational programmes could be aimed at young people to equip them for ordained and lay ministry in the Church.

"The vocational programmes are already open to everyone but they are quite specific and a lot of people attempt them but don't finish them," said Sarah. "If they become more accessible to young people then they will be more accessible to everyone."

Young Methodists also asked the Conference to help resource conversations among church leaders and congregations on the 1993 Resolutions on Human Sexuality, which emphasise that the Church is open to everyone, regardless of sexuality.

Sarah said: "It has not been the reality for all young people that churches have been open to people of all sexualities. Young people want to be able to raise these issues and talk about them with their ministers and pastors, but many feel that they aren't able to."

The Youth Conference report to Conference informed members that human sexuality had been an important item of its business this year.

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