Monday, November 1, 2010

MYA 2010

Ok, today we are back on the subject of Methodism, one of my favourites…

On the 19th of November, Methodist Youth Assembly 2010 kicks off just outside Swindon, and I am happy to say I will be there. It’ll be my first MYA/MYC that I won’t be there in any official capacity (I was a District Rep in 2006, Planning Team 07, Youth Exec 08 and Facilitator 09). It is going to be a good weekend, although the travelling will be a bit of a killer. I am looking forward to meeting old friends, making new ones and hopefully influencing the Methodist Church for the better. It is great that the Methodist Church does support the voices of young people and does listen to them. But the pessimist in me wonders how much longer it will last.

Why do I say this? Well, this year, for the first time, you could monitor the sale of tickets online, as they were sold through an internet site. And at midnight last night the booking closed. And out of 350 tickets they have sold a grand total of… 155! Not even half. Now I am not going to speculate as to why the sales are so low, because I honestly don’t know. But I am worried how it will look to the ‘Big’ Conference (the governing body of the Church). In 2008 Conference fully committed to a total restructuring of Methodist Youth, and pledged £4.4m for the initial five years of the Youth Participation Strategy. At Conference 2010 this budget was halved, killing of any idea of a full time young person working in each District, and even cutting the Youth President’s roll to part-time. Questions were being asked of the value for money of the YPS, especially in such a hard economic environment.

So how will Conference see this massive drop in the numbers of young people attending its main youth event? In 2007 we had 230ish people, 2008 was about 250, and last year was massively over booked with about 310. Again, I don’t know what has happened, but I know what Conference might say. ‘We have spent millions of pounds, and young people don’t seem bothered. So let’s cut our losses, pull the money and spend it on something else which is looking more successful.’ I will admit I am generally scared this may happen, and I’ll fight it tooth and nail (I will be at Conference 2011, see my earlier post). I know I am thinking well ahead, but it could happen. Possibly short-sightedness and money-saving exercises could, no WILL, be disastrous for the future of Methodist Youth and ultimately the Methodist Church. I have heard (and said) this so much, but young people aren’t the church of tomorrow, they are the church of today. Yes numbers might be low, but then if there is nothing for them to get involved with then numbers will just keep dropping.

I’m not sure how to finish this post, other than if you do want to come to MYA 2010 and didn’t book a ticket, try and get one! Ring up the Children and Youth Team, email them whatever. But it would be great to get a lot more people there. Who knows, it could save the Methodist Church…

1 comment:

  1. Just a comment about the MYA numbers, there are number of people who will not appear on the system because they are helping to run the weekend, facilitators, stewards, opps etc. who will partake in the weekend, as well as help to run it.