Well, I promised something positive about the Methodist Church, and I will stick to that. There may be a little bit of a rant to start with, but it’s just background.
So, having been involved in the Methodist Church locally all my life, at District level since 2006 and Connexionally since 2007, I have had many ups and downs. And the YPS has been involved in much of it. For those of you who don’t know, the YPS (Youth Participation Strategy) is the Methodist Church’s big money idea to improve participation of young people across all levels of the Church and wider world.
At MYC 06 I thought it was a very good idea, but very complicated, By MYC 08, I was very passionate about it, had very high hopes and joined the reference group and was on a real high. Within 10 months I was back down, lost all faith in it and despairing for young Methodists. With the cuts made to it at Methodist Conference 2010, I thought it was the beginning of the end…
But recently my faith has been restored in it, at least at a District level. Wales Synod has been very supportive of young people since I got involved in 2006. But last week I got a call from my minister. He explained that the Synod wanted to have a young person as one of its reps to Conference 2011, and would I like to do it. I said yes! Wales is also sending two reps to MYA2010 (which all Districts ‘must’ but many don’t) as well as supporting others to go by giving them some funding. Also Wales has just employed a new Synod Youth Enabler, funded fully from its own pockets to run alongside the 10 across Britain that are paid by the Connexion.
All this shows that the Wales Synod is committing to giving young people a true voice, not a tokenistic, patronising ‘oh aren’t the young people good’ voice. A true, representative voice that will hopefully allow the Methodist Church in Wales to lead the way and, one can only hope, reverse the declining numbers of young people and the ‘missing generation’.
Jesus said "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” I truly hope that this is the first step towards the Church becoming like children, and being what Jesus calls it to be.