Breaking new ground for youth in the Methodist Church

Young people are on the verge of becoming empowered byground-breaking changes that will be the talk of this year'sMethodist Youth Conference.

Around 150 16 to 23-year-olds will celebrate the launch of the £4million Youth Participation Strategy (YPS) at Kings Park ConferenceCentre in Northampton from November 21 to 23.

YPS was conceived by Youth Conference and will enable young peopleto become involved in making decisions about the direction of thechurch on a level never seen before.

The strategy will see 32 young people employed in new, part-timesalaried posts as District Youth Enablers across the MethodistChurch in Britain and one young person employed in a full-timesalaried post as Youth President.

This is the first time salaried positions have been specificallytargeted at the 16 to 23-year-olds in order that young people helpguide the direction of the church.

The Youth Conference, which came into being in 1995, will electthe Youth President who will be tasked with being a representativeand spokesperson for young people in the church.

Chair of the Youth Conference, Sarah Malik, 20, said: 'This is thefirst stepping stone of the YPS with young people actuallyparticipating in the Methodist Church. "With the new system, therewill be lots of support in place to help young people who want tomake a difference.'

President Brian Caveney, 23, said: 'Within this next year therewill be changes to the whole Connexion as to how young people canget involved on every level. That is all down to YPS and it isexciting. I think when it gets going fully in September 2009 itwill be very empowering for young people.'

Youth violence will also be a returning item on the YouthConference's agenda. At The Methodist Church Conference inScarborough in July 2008, members accepted the Youth ConferenceResolution to investigate how local churches could address theissues that lead to violence among young people, including knifecrime. In response to this, members from the existing YouthExecutive, the Association of Black Methodist Youth and three youngpeople elected by Youth Conference will form part of a group whowill take this resolution forward.

There are still a few places left for young people wanting toattend Methodist Youth Conference. To book, check outwww.youthconference.co.uk