Methodist Young People Heard at Conference
04 July 2016
Young people have had their views heard at the
Methodist Conference held at Methodist Central Hall, Westminster
with a call for the Church to help them explore issues of faith and
Children and young Methodists have used this year's Methodist
Conference to highlight the issues they would like the Church to
help them think about. The topics include the environment, poverty,
bullying, accessibility and the refugee crisis. The young people's
views were the result of discussion and debate at last November's
3Generate event, where close to 600 young Methodists aged 8-23
gathered together to worship, learn and make decisions about how
the Church should represent them.
On Monday 4 July, the Methodist Conference, the Church's governing
body, directed the Connexional Leaders Forum and Methodist Council
to take forward the themes highlighted by the report and monitor
progress, requesting a report on the work by April 2017.
The subjects highlighted by the report are to be explored
under the theme of Wonderfully Made with the
topics of Wonderful Me, Wonderful
Church, Wonderful World and
Wonderfully Prophetic. Over the coming years these
themes will be reflected in the programmes for
Wonderful Me focuses on the individual, ensuring
young people are welcomed into their Church, are engaged in the
life of the Church and that they are supported in times of need;
emotionally, physically and spiritually.
Wonderful Church encourages the Church to discuss
challenging topics around sex and relationships, death and politics
and to ensure that churches are positive places where all can love
and be loved.
Wonderful World asks the Church to look outwards
and provide a prayerful and missional response to issues such as
war, homelessness and climate change.
Wonderfully Prophetic requests that the
Church seeks a prophetic voice to its work, internally and
Discussions were streamed between three age groups, 8 - 11, 11 -
18 and 18 - 23 to ensure that the event was accessible for all
children and young people with discussions tailored for each age
The 8 - 11 group focused their thoughts around the Church,
community and world, expressing their desire to play an active role
in Church activities and to explore their faith, to help others and
to care for the environment. The children wanted support to
consider where God can be found in an increasingly complex
The 11 - 18 stream produced a manifesto that encouraged
discussions around same sex marriage, war, bullying, refugees and
ensuring that churches and worship are accessible for
The oldest group, between 18 and 23, considered that the Church
should explore questions around loving their enemies, speaking out
on behalf of marginalised groups and to use the language of love to
challenge poverty. The group also wanted to highlight integration
and participation of younger people in Church life.
The current Youth President, Craig Gaffney, was appointed at the
3Generate event in November and commented: "The Methodist Church
has a great tradition of listening to its young people. It is great
to see that what we think is being taken seriously by the Church
and that we are given the freedom to reach our own conclusions on
what our priorities should be.
"The topics we discussed will ensure that the Church responds to
the issues that are concerning young people and supports us in what
our responses should be as young Christians.
"The support of the Conference will ensure that the wider Church
takes our concerns and priorities into account in its work and
1.Craig Gaffney, and members of the 3Generate Team, are available
for interview upon request.
2.The Youth President is a paid, annual appointment voted for by
the young people themselves at 3Generate, formerly the Methodist
Children & Youth Assembly.
3.3Generate is an annual action-packed weekend for hearing the
voice of children and young people across the Methodist Church,
focussing on fun, faith and friends. For more information,
see their website
4.A photograph of Craig Gaffney can be downloaded on the