The National Youth Assembly is a decision-making platform within the Church of Scotland and is led by the NYA Moderator and Clerk, both elected by their peers.
The Moderator chairs the Assembly, and ensures a safe place is maintained for all delegates to air their views, while ensuring conversations remain productive and pertinent to the key topics. While the Moderator chairs, the Clerk supports their role, ensuring accurate records of the discussions are made, that through the year they can both produce an accurate report of proceedings to be presented at the General Assembly. There is also plenty of opportunity for the Moderator and Clerk to get involved at local, national and international levels over their term.
Role of NYA Moderator
Each year a young adult is selected to take on the role of National Youth Assembly Moderator. The role involves chairing the discussions that take place at that years NYA event, collating a record of the event and producing a report for the General Assembly.
Throughout the year the Moderator works with the team of youth reps to explore how the discussions will be followed up and the voice of young people can be heard throughout the year. They also represent the NYA at various events and encourage young people to take an active role in the National Councils and Committees of the Church. Each Moderator takes on the role at an NYA event and holds it for the following year until the next person takes over at the next NYA event.
Robin Downie began his role as NYA Moderator in July 2017. Robin is particularly looking forward to leading discussions on refugees, interfaith, priorities of the church, and Year of Young People.
Robin recently moved to Stirling to study nursing having grown up in Lochcarron. Last year he represented the Church of Scotland in Taiwan which he felt was a fantastic experience meeting and working with Christians from all over the world. When Robin left school he spent 6 months volunteering for the charity Blythswood Care, where he worked in an orphanage and, as an English teacher with the Roma community. He has helped run Christian summer camps in Bulgaria, Taiwan, Romania and Scotland and preached his first sermon last year in Bulgaria.
Robin says “I'm delighted about being elected as the next Youth Moderator and represent the presbytery of Lochcarron-Skye. I'm really looking forward to taking on the role and working with the rest of the youth rep team once they have been elected in the summer. I am also looking forward to working with the Clerk Cartriona Munro who I know will do a fantastic job.
The National Youth Assembly is full of great ideas and discussions which I'm excited about discussing with the rest of the church and putting into action. It is such a great event in getting Christian's from all over the country to discuss God and meet other Christians their own age. I know it will be a challenging year, yet an exciting year, and I believe anything is possible when you work with God."
- Andrew MacPherson (2016-2017)
- Hannah Mary Goodlad (2015-2016)
- Rachel Hutcheson (2014-2015)
- Lynsey Martin (2013-2014)
- Euan Patterson (2012-2013)
- Amanda Phillip (2011-2012)
- Kim Wood (2010-2011)
- Iain McLarty (2008-2010)
Role of NYA Clerk
Each year a young adult is selected to take on the role of National Youth Assembly Clerk. This role involves supporting the NYA Moderator, producing reports to be presented at the General Assembly and getting involved in the Church at local, national and international levels.
Since 2013 another person has been selected to take on the role of clerk serving alongside the Moderator. While primarily a supportive role, the clerk is just as vital to proceedings and offers those - whose leadership skills are best utilised behind the scenes - an opportunity to be involved.
With ministers and church organists running in the family, it’s no surprise Catriona has grown up in the church. Baptised and brought up in Sandyford Church (now Martyr’s Sandyford) in Paisley, Catriona is now a member of St. Columba’s in her adopted home town of Stirling. Involved in the Education and Learning Group, leading the Bible Class and chair of the Eco Team, the church has now become a large part of her life.
In 2015 she was offered a place as youth rep for Stirling presbytery at the General Assembly, where she discovered National Youth Assembly. She has been to both assemblies since, been a youth rep twice and is extremely looking forward to serving this year as clerk. Away from the church, Catriona works in the greeting card industry as a merchandiser across several stores in the Stirling area. She enjoys creative writing and never leaves the house without a book.
Catriona says “It is a period of change for the church. With the future uncertain, there is huge scope for new opportunities, new ideas and new perspectives. I like to welcome change, the challenges change can bring and the rewards it can reap; and I am particularly looking forward to exploring this period of change within this role. I know Robin will be excellent in his role as moderator, and I’m greatly looking forward to working with him and our team of youth reps through the year. NYA is such an important opportunity for young people in the church to engage with one another and with the church in the wider sense. I would hope to see NYA continue to bring young adults together in in faith and fellowship to make a positive impact on the church today.”
- Lyndsay Kennedy (2016-2017)
- Catriona Muckart (2015-2016)
- John Haston (2014-2015)
- Esther Nisbet (2013-2014)
NYA Youth Reps
Each year 18 people are selected from attendees at the NYA to serve alongside the Moderator and Clerk as youth reps. Their role is to continue the work discussed at the assembly, represent the NYA at presbytery meetings, Guild groups, churches and youth groups, and to encourage more young people to get involved. Nine of these youth reps are chosen to represent the NYA at the General Assembly, alongside the Moderator.
The youth reps for 2017 are Blythe Rodger, Chris Fett-Worsfold, Connor MacFadyen, Emma Vaughan, Esther Nisbet, Euan Robb, Fraser Borland, Gillian Campbell, Grant Petrie, Hannah Dunlop, Jenny Bisset, John Urquhart, Rachel Hunter, Seonaid Knox, Susan MacFarlane, Tamsin Dingwall and Tara Shannon.
For the past few years the NYA have had the privilege to be involved with the Scottish Youth Parliament (SYP). Every two years two people are elected to serve as MSYPs representing the Church of Scotland. This is a great opportunity for the church to get its voice heard in the wider community and be seen as politically engaged and active.
Our MSYPs for June 2017 – June 2019 are Connor MacFadyen and Rebecca Craig.
"One of our many tasks as Church of Scotland representatives is to communicate the work of the parliament to the young people of the Church. We use social media to conduct polls and gather the opinions of young Christians across the nation, then we take these results to SYP sittings.
"Sittings also take different forms, through our membership of various committees and working groups as well as appearing at SYP, voting on behalf of the young people in the Kirk when it comes to motions and making the voice of the Church of Scotland youth heard throughout debates.
"Our second role is to educate and inform. We have inivted members to ask us questions and enquire; this has helped members understand what we believe in and how the Kirk works. It’s a privilege to know we are taking the voice of our young people into secular society and ensuring that we are heard, especially when it’s often hard to be listened to as a young person."