Youth President 2017-18 Inaugural Address

Michael Pryke, 18, has been welcomed as the new YouthPresident of the Methodist Church with a service at Oswald ElliottHall, Stamford.

This important role in the life of the Church will see Michaelrepresent thousands of young people across the UK, both at home andabroad.

Michael has taken up his new role following an election thattook place at last year's 3Generate, the Methodist Children andYouth Assembly; taking over from the previous Youth President, TimAnnan.

In his inaugural address, Michael thanked former Youth PresidentTim Annan for his work over the past year before moving on to hisown priorities and motivations for the year ahead.

"Every young person has a gift, a skill, a talent, they canoffer the Church. Yet we do not take them up on it. And too oftenyoung people are looked down on because we are young," Michaelsaid.

"It's time that we engage with the issues, to not be pushedto the back of the queue or line and to not be looked down on… Wehave the ability to make the changes that we want to see."


You can watch Michael's inaugural address below, scroll down forthe complete text, or clickhere for the audio-only version. 


My grandmother always used to say to me that patience is avirtue.

It is a virtue I have not yet learnt.

For a number of months now I have had to say that I am the YouthPresident Elect, or Designate - I'm not quite sure which I'm meantto say - and that I have to be patient to wait to say the nextsentence.

My name is Michael Christopher Pryke and I am the YouthPresident.

For those of you who know me know I can ramble on for days aboutwhat I'd like to be able to do in my year. But in my order ofservice I was given a few months ago, Andy put 'a brief word'.Which I think is his way of telling me to get on with it.

I'd like to start by congratulating Tim on his year and I'm surethat everyone will join me in wishing you the best in yourfuture endeavours.

I'm a great fan of the reading that Tim just gave to us: "Don'tlet anybody look down on you because you are young, but set anexample for the believers". Especially that last bit, "setan example for the believers."

Often it's people older than us that set the examples for us,mothers, fathers, grandparents, teachers or ministers, all set anexample to us. But it's rare that a young person in the life of theChurch sets an example. And yet young people are so important inthe life of the Church, yet sometimes we are denied the voice we dotruly deserve. I have been very fortunate and very lucky in my lifeto have been given such a prominent role in the Church, but it ismy wish, my hope, that every young person could have theopportunities that I have had. Every young person has a gift, askill, a talent, they can offer the Church. Yet we do not take themup on it. And too often young people are looked down on because weare young. 

It is my aim within my year in office to challenge this.

The Collins dictionary says: 'If you set an example, youencourage or inspire people by your behaviour to behave or act in asimilar way'. My challenge this year is to inspire.To inspire young people about the Church. From thereI'd like to see young people start to inspire the church itself, ona local, circuit, district, national and even an internationallevel. 

It's time that we engage with the issues, to not be pushed tothe back of the queue or line and to not be looked downon. 

Now is the time that we can say that we are proud to be youngMethodists, because we have a voice. We have the ability to makethe changes that we want to see.

Within my year in office, I wish to focus on the theme of hope.We live in an age where it seems that we have lost all hope, and wesee in the news these negative stories, we forget there isalways... there is always a light at the end of thetunnel. 

I decided to focus on this theme after going to Kenyawith Karabuni Children and meeting them and meeting a woman.Now she lived in a small shack. Not even the size of the front tworows here. And we walked to where she lived. There was a smallchild playing outside in the dust. The ground was hard. There wasshards of glass and all other things on the floor and she had noshoes on. She was playing with these plastic bags crushed togetherto make a football. And she just seemed so happy. So gleefuldespite the situation and circumstances that life had thrown ather. Her mother invited us into her home and said: "Ah, I see youhave met my daughter Hope" and that has just stuck with me.

That we are so lucky in this country and I feel that we take forgranted all that we have. So let us remember tobe grateful for what we do have. Let us remember that nomatter what life may throw at us, there is always hope.

Now when it comes to picking a hymn, I am very traditional, andI do love good organ music. And also as Methodists we aresurrounded by some brilliant hymns, so it is rather hard. 'And canit be' comes to mind, speaking of the amazing love that God givesfor us. I used 'Thine be the Glory' as my confirmation hymn. Orperhaps I could use 'All people that on earth do dwell.' But afteran awful lot of deliberation, and mum telling me that 'All thingsbright and beautiful' is not an acceptable choice. 

I settled on a hymn by Frances Jane van Alstyne. It speaks ofthe great things God has done for us and I am very thankfulfor the opportunity that God has given to me thisyear.

So to coin a phrase that I do rather like, as Methodism was bornin song we shall sing: 'To God be the glory, great things He hasdone.'