Congregations across Scotland are empowering their young people to have their say in various aspects of church life. Throughout March, young people led Easter worship services, elected their own officials for the National Youth Assembly, and voted on project grant allocation.
Young people lead worship across Scotland
Flemington Hallside Parish Church officially launched their Year of Young People at a Stand up for Sunday service.
This special service focused on the theme of 'One Church, One Body'. The young people did an excellent job of planning, leading and preaching the message in a tangible way. They also thanked the older people for their amazing support and encouragement. Church members commented that there was a real atmosphere of God at work.
It was such a joy to work with the young people organising the service and the greatest response came from three high school students who asked when they can lead worship again. What a blessing for our young people to help shape our worship together!
Church member of Portobello and Joppa Parish Church
Young people led Palm Sunday service
Portobello and Joppa Parish Church had an inspiring and uplifting all age Palm Sunday service. This was the first time the young people, from the youth group and the breakfast club, planned and led the whole service.
A Malawian dancer and a drama
Kirkwall East Church launched the Year of Young people during a very interactive Boys' Brigade service. A talented Malawian dancer stole the show during the worship, a group of children performed a drama called Story of the Three Trees, two Boys' Brigade members read the Gospel lesson, and eight people of different ages read aloud the Charter for Children and Young People affirmations.
Shapinsay Kirk also launched their Year of Young People by reading out a few of the affirmations from the Charter for Children and Young People.
Youth empowered in grant funding allocation
St. Madoes and Kinfauns Parish Church and Ayr: St Columba Church hosted participatory budgeting events where local people, including children aged 8+, voted on how to allocate small grants within their communities.
The event was rewarding for all involved, particularly for the young people who felt their voices were being heard, one young person said "Nobody usually asks us what we think".
Project Leader at Lochside Mission and Outreach, Dylan Harper, presented a cheque to Robbie and Megan, who won £750 for their holiday project. Lochside Mission's Holiday Project and the South Ayrshire Foodbank are just two of the seven projects which won funding at the event. Each of the churches received an overall grant of £4500.
National Youth Work Awards
Two projects supported by the Church of Scotland have been recognised by YouthLink Scotland's National Youth Work Awards for their outstanding work with young people.
St Paul's Youth Forum, based in Provanmill in Glasgow, and Arran Youth Foundations won the 'Inspirational Leader' and 'Mental Health and Wellbeing' categories respectively. Both organisations receive continuation grants from the Kirk's Go For It fund.
PEEK (Possibilities for Each and Every Kid) and Perth and District YMCA were runner-ups in Team of the Year. Alistair Whitelaw from the Boys' Brigade also received a Lifetime Achievement Award.
National Youth Assembly Moderator and Clerk elected
The upcoming Moderator and Clerk for the National Youth Assembly were announced this month. Tamsin Dingwall will begin her role as Moderator in August 2018 and Seonaid Knox will join her as the new Clerk.
On her forthcoming time in office, Tamsin said "I would like to help other young people new to faith and NYA see what amazing things they can achieve with such an amazingly supportive Church."
Seonaid also commented "I'm not afraid of hard work and recognise that it won't always be plain sailing, but that's what makes the future exciting. The National Youth Assembly – and Church of Scotland as a whole – are forward-thinking, progressive entities that I'm thrilled to be a part of."
Your stories from March
Chalmers Parish Church ran a Rumble in the Jungle Holiday Club! They learned about Daniel's strong faith in God that helped him survive the lions' den. A huge team effort and much fun had by all.
Maryhill Parish Church launched their Community Directory, with involvement of children and young people. The directory lists all kinds of activities and is aimed at people of all ages, from children and teenangers to senior citizens.
8th Airdrie Girls' Brigade won a Through the Decades competition for juniors to celebrate 125 years of Girls' Brigade. Each company had seven minutes to present a chosen decade; singing, dancing and telling their story. The winners' company was founded in 1942 and focused their presentation on war time Britain.
Carnwath Parish Church and Carstairs Parish Church each launched the Year of Young People with special services. The Boys' Brigade, Girls' Brigade, the Net Youth Group, Messy Church and S Club were all invited to attend. "We included the Charter in our launch service. The format of the service made for fun intergenerational worship - in a village that is working on greater engagement with young people."
Cramond Kirk in Edinburgh held a packed service in March with uniformed organisations taking part in the worship. The Kirk Session then held a seminar in which they listened to the young people and explored their plans for the Year of Young People. On Easter Sunday they also held a baptismal service with teenagers Callum and Jennifer sharing the liturgy and children Victoria and George also participating.
Polwarth Parish Church started a collaboration with George Watson's College Junior School. The teachers and pupils from five Primary 6 classes spent time at the church as part of their education on well-being, a major part of the curriculum for February. The children walked around the labyrinth, talked about their relationships using various exercises and the opportunity for personal reflection. The sanctuary was transformed for the occasion and the event was organised and run by the Labyrinth Group working closely with the teachers in the planning. It was an unqualified success and highly praised.
Church of Scotland presbyteries across Scotland embraced young people with an array of events. West Lothian held a Year of Young People celebration event for all ages including music, worship, games, craft, and sports. Edinburgh Presbytery bought a copy of the Learn Children and Youth Publication for every church. Lothian had a Refresh event and took young people to the Reboot Apologetics Day in Edinburgh. Lenzie Union are hosting a number of young people from the USA- lots of fun and events happening.