Young people gather in Budapest to explore past and future of Kirk

Young people from across the Church of Scotland met in Budapest this month to explore the beginning of the Reformation 500 years ago and exchange ideas about how the Kirk can reform today.

Rev Aaron C Stevens, minister at St Columba's Church of Scotland in Budapest, recounts the experience.

Young people from across the world gathered in Budapest to discuss the past and future of the Church of Scotland.

“With the theme of ‘Semper Reformanda: Always Reforming’ the event was the latest meeting of the International Presbytery’s ‘Youth Presbytery’ started years ago as one way to minister to youth while encouraging them to be more involved in the leadership of the church.

"Although the churches they represented are in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Lausanne, Paris Bochum, Brussels and Budapest, many of the young people are residing in those cities for their studies and come from even further afield, including the United States, Canada, Indonesia, New Zealand and Syria.

"One participant noted how some of them come from international families, making the gathering even more diverse. Young people from the Reformed Church in Hungary were also there to represent the Church of Scotland’s local partner.

"As a way to make the theme of continuous reformation more tangible, the young people rotated through three workshops: 'Bibliodrama and Changing of Names' (to reflect on reforming ourselves), 'Doodling and Local Change' ( to reflect on reforming in our local church), and 'Reformation Then and Now: Making Signs about What to Keep, What to Change and What the Church Must Stop Doing' (thinking about church and change in the wider sense).

"National Youth Assembly member Kearstin Bailey commented: 'I’m so thrilled with how everything has turned out! Everyone is loving it and has really gotten something out of it-it’s been wonderful to see the group bond and discuss so much.'

"Ryan Whitlow, of the Scots Kirk in Lausanne, said it succinctly, “Yo, it was great.”

"The weekend gave youth a chance to express a variety of opinions and closed with the youth leading Sunday worship at St. Columba’s Budapest.

"With pastoral support they had selected the hymns, written the prayers, chosen the scriptures and prepared a reflection. And while the young people were thanking the congregation for hosting them, the church was thanking them for leading worship.

"The event lasted from Friday evening to Sunday noon, but, based on the enthusiasm generated, the impact will be unfolding for quite some time."

Visit the St Columba's Church of Scotland website.