01 July 2021
In her report to the Methodist Conference, Youth President Phoebe Parkin detailed the impact of the pandemic on young lives and spoke of how young people should be not just heard in their churches, but listened to.
The report highlights how the Methodist Church has responded to the pandemic, working alongside the young people to provide a range of worship opportunities and resources.
3Generate, the annual Children and Youth Assembly of the Methodist Church took a different form and became 3Generate365, a year-round process of engagement with children and young people in their local setting to enable them to listen to God, discern what God is saying, deepen their faith and be confident in being evangelists sharing their faith with others.
3Generate365 creates continuous dialogue and action between children and young people and the Church in a local, circuit, district and connexional context. The theme for the year, “Tune In”, focused on children and young people tuning in to God. Nineteen District Ambassadors across seventeen districts have helped the team achieve the aims of 3Generate365 and helped children and young people explore their response to the pandemic and lockdown.
As part of 3Generate365, Fridays@5:17 were launched. Inspired by 1 Thessalonians 5:17, which reads “never stop praying”, this is a time for children and young people across the Connexion to stop, pray and listen to God. The 3Generate app has been relaunched and has been downloaded more than 500 times.
During the last year the Youth President and Youth Reps have adapted their work to be done online visiting over 50 youth groups, across 20 districts, chatting and sharing ideas.
In her speech to Conference Phoebe reaffirmed that young people are not the Church of the future, they are Church now, saying, “This isn’t about the Conference listening to a report each year and voting through some resolutions. Whilst this is a really important part of the Methodist Church’s engagement with children and young people, we need local churches, circuits and districts to be in conversation with children and young people all year round.
“We need every church member within every context to work with and alongside children and young people to enable and equip them to be agents of change as God calls them to be. This is about all of us, all members of the Body of Christ, working, praying and being in fellowship together.”
The Conference voted to lament the stresses and traumas experienced by young people during the pandemic and directs ministers with pastoral oversight to review how pastoral care might be more intentionally and actively offered to children and young people.