Young Christians tackle embarrassment surrounding faith

Poverty, ethical living, sexuality, and dating non-Christians and are among the issues young Methodists want to talk about, the Methodist Conference heard today. The Conference also heard that a number of nine-to-13-year-old Methodists were coping with problems such as bullying and feeling embarrassed about being Christian.
 
In a report received by the Methodist Conference in Plymouth, young Methodists told older members of the Church about the need for the Church to be a place where younger Christians can go with their worries. Feedback from the 14 to 17-year-olds who attended the 3Generate Children's and Youth Assembly in Cleobury Mortimer last year showed that their age group was keen to debate gender imbalance in churches, and the need to create a safe space in churches to talk about sex, climate change, violence and injustice. The Conference agreed to urge the Church to encourage young people to become part of 3Generate and to promote the work of the Children and Youth Assembly.

The report was presented to the Conference by Sam Taylor, Youth President, who said: "The voice of young people in the Methodist Church is growing and we need to have the skills and knowledge in place to make that voice effective in challenging and changing the Church.  We want to see more and more young people becoming part of 3Generate and we want the Church to keep communicating that 3Generate is one of the best ways to do it. 3Generate is a good model of participation because we get children and young people involved in planning and initiating it and that makes them feel empowered as part of a church community."

In 2010 the Youth Assembly passed a resolution agreeing to support young people wanting to learn more about what was happening in the Holy Land. This year Sam Taylor and a group of young Methodists shared what they had learned from a week-long visit to Israel and Palestine with other young people across the Church. "The former President of Conference, Revd Alison Tomlin, and I travelled with six young Methodists to sample a bit of what life is like in the Holy Land," Sam said. "We visited both sides of the wall, met people of all ages, and were blown away by what we saw.

"It was the definition of an emotional rollercoaster; going from laughing to crying, to being filled with anger, to being filled with hope. Coming home and being able to share our experiences has been a real challenge, but it's also been amazing to see people get just as fired up as us about wanting to make a difference there. This is just one example of how we're responding to the needs of children and young people, and how we're making a difference on a number different levels in the Church." 

Notes:

1. Photos of the debate can be found here.

2. Interview with One Programme Participants (young people invovlved in Church life) can be found here.

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