Young Christians tackle embarrassment surrounding faith

Poverty, ethical living, sexuality, and datingnon-Christians and are among the issues young Methodists want totalk about, the Methodist Conference heard today. The Conferencealso heard that a number of nine-to-13-year-old Methodists werecoping with problems such as bullying and feeling embarrassed aboutbeing Christian.
In a report received by the Methodist Conference in Plymouth,young Methodists told older members of the Church about the needfor the Church to be a place where younger Christians can go withtheir worries. Feedback from the 14 to 17-year-olds who attendedthe 3Generate Children's and Youth Assembly in Cleobury Mortimerlast year showed that their age group was keen to debate genderimbalance in churches, and the need to create a safe space inchurches to talk about sex, climate change, violence and injustice.The Conference agreed to urge the Church to encourage young peopleto become part of 3Generate and to promote the work of the Childrenand Youth Assembly.

The report was presented to the Conference by Sam Taylor, YouthPresident, who said: "The voice of young people in the MethodistChurch is growing and we need to have the skills and knowledge inplace to make that voice effective in challenging and changing theChurch.  We want to see more and more young people becomingpart of 3Generate and we want the Church to keep communicating that3Generate is one of the best ways to do it. 3Generate is a goodmodel of participation because we get children and young peopleinvolved in planning and initiating it and that makes them feelempowered as part of a church community."

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

"It was the definition of an emotional rollercoaster; going fromlaughing to crying, to being filled with anger, to being filledwith hope. Coming home and being able to share our experiences hasbeen a real challenge, but it's also been amazing to see people getjust 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 ofchildren and young people, and how we're making a difference on anumber different levels in the Church." 


1. Photos of the debate can be found here.

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