Young people across Scotland are continuing to take part and lead services throughout the month of April. Children served their congregations communion for the first time, gave presentations at the Interfaith Youth Conference, and visited Ireland for the Girls' Brigade Europe's 125th birthday celebrations.
Thank you to all congregations and presbyteries who contributed to this month's Year of Young People stories.
Interfaith Youth Conference
Church of Scotland youth worker Gigha Lennox and Mahrukh Shaukat from Amina Muslim Women's Resource Centre spoke at the Interfaith Scotland conference on Radicalisation and Reconciliation about their time in Rwanda last year.
Easter and Communion
Children served the bread for the first time during communion at Dalmuir Barclay Parish Church. Young people were also able to receive bread and wine during the service.
One congregation member said, "The service wasn't perfect, it was busy, special and different. An eleven-year-old boy – who I have known since he was a toddler – gave me a piece of bread, and it was a very powerful moment for me."
Monifieth Parish Church ran a special Easter story time and egg hunt in the churchyard, particularly for our families whose children have been baptised or blessed in the Church.
A little girl who comes to Dalgety Parish Church's Messy Church was discussing world religion with her class at school. The teacher asked them what religions they had heard of and she proudly said "Messy Church"
Helensburgh Parish Church involved all ages in looking at the different crosses in church and homes, throughout Lent. Children decorated the Easter cross with flowers and a message of ‘He is Risen'. The children then served the bread as part of the communion service.
Children at St. David's High Kirk in Dundee created the Easter Story out of plasticine.
The church youth group at Alvie and Insh Church in Kincraig had five children aged ten to thirteen plan and lead a whole church service recently. The service was a Mission Aviation themed service. They served bacon rolls afterwards and raised over £200.
The future of God's Church is in safe hands
Two young people have been preparing and delivering the children's service, sermon and prayers at Mossneuk Parish Church in East Kilbride over the past year. Lindsay (21) and Sarah (17) have led four services so far and tend to relate bible stories to current world events.
One congregation member commented, "Our charge at Mossneuk in East Kilbride went into vacancy last June and - in so doing - God has released an energy into our congregation through these two young people."
The presbytery clerk and his wife attended one of the services and said what he experienced that day reinforced his belief that the future of God's Church is in safe hands.
Attendance numbers at Kids Kirk in Chalmers Memorial Church have risen from 13 young people in 2013 to over 80 today. The group meet on Saturday mornings eight times a year and young people have commented, "Kids Kirk is amazing", "Why can't we do it every Saturday?", and "Can my friends come?"
"At a recent session of Youth Kirk, one of the young people suddenly saw the connection between all the activities, games, discussions and bible passages. She was so keen to acknowledge this and proud of herself that she could see the reason and purpose of what we had been doing that evening."
Youth Work Working Wonders
Mayfield Salisbury Parish Church recently recruited a youth worker to help develop youth work in their ministry. They have now started a Sunday evening youth club in which P6-S1 and S2-S6 each have their own programme of games and discussion, but join for a meal in the middle.
It's been exciting to see so many youth getting involved and bringing their friends, and we are building and strengthening relationships.
On the last Sunday evening of every month, the regular evening service becomes an intergenerational youth worship night, with contemporary music and interactive prayer for ‘the young and the young at heart.' On the first Sunday morning of each month, the Breakfast Club gives the aged 12-16 Sunday school class an additional twenty minutes for deeper discussion and reflection over breakfast. The Church has also partnered with Amnesty International for their ‘Write for Rights' campaign in December. Additionally, social events for the youth have included a BBQ and bonfire, gingerbread build-off and a night out 10-pin bowling.
Your Stories from April
Lenzie Union Parish Church had a visit from nine students and a professor from Colorado Christian University. The group participated in Lenzie Union's Sunday service along with 1st Lenzie Boys' Brigade, 1st Lenzie Girls' Brigade, LUPC Youth Café, Stirling University Christian Union and the Lenzie and Kirkintilloch ACTS Cross Walk.
Aberdeen A ten-year-old from a local congregation completed a sixteen mile sponsored cycle from Aberdeen to Banchory and raised over £500 for Christian Aid.
Coldingham and St. Abbs Parish Church are developing ongoing links between other community groups and the congregation.
St Andrew's Church Clermiston involved local schools and uniformed groups in their Eco Sunday Service.
Boys Brigade Scotland are fundraising throughout the year for a playground in the St Andrews Refugee Services School in Cairo – a World Mission supported project.
Attendance has risen at Eyemouth Parish Church's Sunday Club. The congregation is building relationships with local families whose only involvement with the church is the monthly Messy Church.
Priority Areas held a 'Lark in the Park' fun filled community day with activities for all the family.
Hamilton Presbytery held a ‘Praise in the Park' event.
Cathcart Youth Ministry and Greyfriars Lanark held very successful Holiday Clubs using the Polar Explorers resource book.