Young people in congregations across Scotland have been tackling heavy topics as part of the Year of Young People. From a young woman in Glasgow discussing her struggle with anxiety to young people at the Conference of European Churches in Serbia delving into witness, justice and hospitality.
Anxiety and the Cross
Mary, a young woman at Flemington Hallside Parish Church in Glasgow, shared her incredible story with her congregation as part of the Sunday morning youth service.
Mary discussed her struggles with anxiety and how she trusts in God to help her through. She talked about the little ‘x' in the word anxiety and how it reminds her of Jesus on the cross – of his unconditional love and acceptance.
Many congregation members were overwhelmed by her slightly nervous storytelling and were truly inspired by her bravery and honesty.
Multigenerational nine mile walk
Shetland Presbytery held a Routing 4 Youth event with a multigenerational nine mile walk, cycle or run through the stunning Tingwall valley followed by a lunch in a community hall. Robin Downie and Catriona Munro from the National Youth Assembly spoke at the event.
There was a Celebration of Youth evening event providing a chance to get to know one another and celebrate the gifts the young people of Shetland have to offer in a slightly warmer and drier setting.
On the Sunday morning they spoke to the congregation of St. Columba's about the National Youth Assembly and the involvement of young people in the church.
Praying for young people
World Mission prayer cards are being used by churches and families to pray with and about children.
"It is good to be able to pray for such a wide range of individual young people using their own words. We use a card each night at bedtime with our children and pray for the young person of the day, along with the other people we pray for!"
My Church is a place for everybody
The young people at Helensburgh Parish Church shared what church means to them in a wonderful new video. Some of the children said ‘my Church is like a big family' and ‘my Church is a place for everybody'.
Witness, justice and hospitality in Serbia
Connor Macfadyen from the National Youth Assembly attended the pre-assembly youth event for the Conference of European Churches in Serbia.
The young people reflected on youth contributions for the future of Europe plenary, their participation in the Church and shared the concerns and priorities of their generation, as well as their experiences on the themes of witness, justice, and hospitality.
Church minibus story wins competition
Currie Kirk, Edinburgh – a group of boys from the local high school won a writing competition in which they had to write about a local charity. Their story was about how the Church's minibus helps older people get to church on Sunday and to other weekly activities
Shetland Presbytery has appointed a children and youth worker to support all the Church of Scotland congregations with their engagement and ministry with young people.
St Madoes and Kinfauns Parish Church in the Presbytery of Perth received a Go For It grant to provide sports programmes for all ages, particularly men and boys with little or no church connection, in a rural area lacking in amenities.
Whitehills Church in Buchan got the Sunday School involved in rubbish picking after an event in the village. The young people enjoyed being out in nature and they enjoyed ice-cream as a treat after the hard work was done.
St Andrews Leckie, Peebles invited members of the congregation to be interviewed by the Sunday morning group. The interviewees discussed handling doubt, personal reflection and involvement in church.
Brechin Cathedral is using a Church of Scotland Go For It grant to provide weekly drama groups and a summer drama holiday club for local school pupils, culminating in community performances of dramatised Bible stories.
Helensburgh Church thanked all volunteers with their youth and children and gave them all certificates. These included Girls Brigade, Boys Brigade, Messy Church and safeguarding.
Lothian Presbytery held an afternoon of outdoor activities, followed by dinner and evening worship at the Lighthouse Church.
Colinton Church, Edinburgh held a special end-of-term service for children and their families, followed by coffee and cake.
Kirkton Church, Carluke had a special Children's Day service with presentations of books to children.
Stenhouse and Canon in Falkirk held a special celebratory service for all volunteers supporting children and young people.
In East Ayrshire, six churches ran a celebration Sunday for primary-aged children on the theme of the Road to Emmaus as one of their Year of Young People events. They had drama, games and food.