3Generate is on the Horizon


Happy Monday one and all! 3Generate is fast approaching. After months of discernment, discussion and prayer, not to mention the sheer amount of man hours, it all comes together this weekend. You may be a young person attending the event, or a parent sending their child, or a church sending a group to this weekend. Or maybe you don’t have anyone you know attending the event. Regardless, I’m sure that you would all keep 3Generate in your thoughts and prayers this week. To help with this, here is a plan for daily prayer this week, to help guide your thoughts and prayers for the event.

Tim

Monday:

In the lead up to 3Generate this weekend, we particularly remember the 8-11’s stream in our thoughts and prayers today.

We pray for the streams sessions and activities. The Speak Out session Saturday morning, which includes groups looking at Big Questions (looking at the big tricky questions), An uneven playing field (Living in a world of inequality) and being Uniquely Different (celebrating and valuing our differences and similarities) and more. The Engage session Saturday afternoon will look at themes around Living in Conflict (getting along when we don’t always agree), Valuing who I am (Looking after myself) and Transitions (making and dealing with changes) to name a few. Saturday early evening session called Respond will give chances for the young people to reflect and respond to discussions and activities they had that day.

On Sunday, the stream will participate in voting for who they think should be their Youth President from the candidates. They will also have time to produce their own Manifesto for their age stream, pulling together the issues that they feel passionately about.

We pray for the friendships that will be formed, the fellowship that will be present over this weekend and the faith of these young people is built up and they come away from this weekend wanting to be Agents of Change in our local churches.

Tuesday:

In the lead up to 3Generate this weekend, we particularly remember the 11-18’s stream in our thoughts and prayers today.

We pray for the stream sessions and activities. The ‘Go’ sessions on Saturday are split between discussion sessions and creative sessions. Both of these types of sessions will be looking at a myriad of different topics and themes, with some of topics titled Extremism, Re:think, It’s So Unfair, If I ruled the World, If I ruled the Church and more. The afternoon will be spent in worship and in Facilitated sessions. It’s time to reflect and hear about the issues that are on the hearts and minds of the young people. In the evening, the 11-18’s have the opportunity to hear from these year’s Youth President candidates and vote on them in a balloted election.

On Sunday, the 11-18’s join in worship with the 8-11’s and the 18-23’s for all age worship, titled “Meet Jesus…” before going into their “Grow” sessions for the remainder of their time at 3Generate.

We pray that every young person that comes this weekend is challenged and grows in thinking and spirit over the weekend, that connections are made between young people from different parts of our Connexion and that God be at the centre of their time this weekend.

Wednesday:

In the lead up to 3Generate this weekend, we particularly remember the 18-23’s stream in our thoughts and prayers today.

This year, the stream begins with a short series of TED talks on topics such as Community and Calling. These will be the basis for discussion and conversation throughout the morning, allowing the delegates to explore the themes of the talks with those who gave them.

The afternoon will be filled with skills based workshops on making practical change within each delegates world, be it self, peer group, church and community or even the world.

Saturday will be rounded off by a time of relaxation and laughter as the stream hosts a “Canapes, Cocktail and Candidates” evening. This will be time for the delegates to meet and have conversations with this year’s Youth President Candidates and vote on them, while having street food, mocktails and a pub quiz! At the end of the day, there will also be a late night communion, offering time of quiet and reflection while coming together as a community in communion.

After joining with the other age streams for worship on the Sunday morning, the 18-23’s will be drawing up their streams manifesto, while also having time of reflection and prayer, ending their time at 3Generate with worship with The Well stream.

We prayer and thank God for the opportunity for this age stream to come together, for the discussions and fellowship they will have during 3Generate, and that they go from 3Generate renewed and passionate to be the change in the community they want to see.

Thursday:

In the lead up to 3Generate this weekend, we particularly remember The Well stream in our thoughts and prayers today.

The Well stream offers opportunity for Children, Youth, Schools and Family workers to come together over the weekend to meet other workers, develop their ministries and have a time of spiritual development.

On the Saturday, the Well will be having a time of professional development in the morning, attending talks on topics such as Children’s Spirituality, Self-Esteem and Self Harm and We Are Family. The afternoon will be opportunity in the first half to attend workshops on Re-imagine Church and Godly Play. The later part of the afternoon will be a time of Open Space, with times of reflections and discussions with the President, Vice President and 3Generate Representatives.

Sunday gives chance for delegates to ether use the activates at PGL or go on a Prayer walk. After a time of evaluation, the stream will have a discussion and conversation session with the current Youth President about what has been happening over the weekend in the other age streams. Before leaving, the stream will be joining with the 18-23’s for a time of worship.

We pray that over this weekend, each and every delegate from the Well stream find time to reflect and grow in their ministry, to find support in a wider community of contemporises and go from the weekend refreshed and filled to do God’s work within our local communities.

Friday:

In the lead up to 3Generate this weekend, I’ve asked all week to hold each stream in your prayers each day. Today is the day, the event starts!

We pray and thank God for the incredible hard work and time that our 3Generate shapers, facilitators and volunteers have put into the programme this weekend. We pray for all those attending this weekend to ensure that all goes smoothly.

Pray for the safe travel of all those volunteers and delegates that are coming today to 3Generate from all over the UK. Pray that all apprehensions that people may have about coming to 3Generate are quashed and that each and every delegate and volunteer knows that they are in a safe, loving and supportive community.

We pray for each contributor over this weekend. Pray that their sessions go off without a hitch, that any nerves are quietened and that God speaks through them to the delegates this weekend.

We prayer for every community and church that has a delegates attending 3Generate. Pray that each delegate be a stone in a pond that causes a ripple, that the ripple be the change that spread out across the community from each and every person.

Finally, we pray that in all the discussions and sessions, events and activities, worship and times of quiet that God be present in it all.

What Kind of Day it has been.

I had no intention to have this be my first blog post as Youth President. In fact, my first post was planning to be a verbatim copy of what I said at my induction service as a way of introducing myself to you all. Something with a bit of a positive edge to it. You will get that soon, but for now, let me comment on what is all on our minds this day.

Earlier this year, the UK had, what is called a Referendum Vote. It's more commonly known around the world as the 'Brexit' vote. It was also the first time I stayed up to hear the results of the vote live. It was me and two good friends sat in my parents living room, eating junk food and drinking tea. Being the political geeks and children of the modern culture that we are, we had multiple screens with various news sources showing us the reaction from the population. The moment that Farage uttered his "Independence Day" speech I, like 48.8% of the population of the U.K., felt angry, upset and dumbstruck at what had happened. At the time I would also have said I felt betrayed by the population of the U.K. that voted to leave purely on the grounds of fear and hate. Now many who voted Leave did so for many reasons, some well-founded and thought out. However, it should be noted that in the immediate 24 hours after the vote happened, the phrase “What does it mean to leave the EU?” had at least a 200% increase in searches on Google.

I imagine that a number of young people in America are going to bed today or waking up feeling much like I did earlier this year.

From the start, let me make it clear: Donald Trump was democratically elected President of the United States. He stood, he campaigned and he was elected by a majority.

That being said.

The whole election campaign in the USA, like Britain before it, has been marred by fear, hate and misinformation

For example: Donald Trump advocated for people at his rallies to attack protesters. He made obscene references to his anatomy during a televised debate. He called Mexican immigrants rapists. Called for the attacked and killing of terrorist’s families. He continually makes disparaging and misogynistic comments towards women. He continually stoked the fear and hatred of Muslims in the USA. He advocated the use of Water Boarding and worse when interrogating prisoners. He has called refugees the ‘Trojan Horse’ for Isis. He makes racist comments about Mexicans, Chinese and Syrians and more. And that is scratching the surface barely of what this serious presidential candidate has been talking about on the campaign trail, in televised debates and interviews.

I’m not going to pretend to be happy at this election outcome. I don’t think anyone can pretend to be happy at this outcome. In the middle of this fear, hatred, confusion and suffering though, the thoughts of all those who voted against Trump are highlighted by Van Jones, a CNN anchor:

“People have talked about a miracle – I’m hearing a nightmare.

It’s hard to be a parent tonight for a lot of us. You tell your kids, ‘Don’t be a bully.’ You tell your kids, ‘Don’t be a bigot.’ You tell your kids, ‘Do your homework and be prepared.’ Then you have this outcome, and you have people putting children to bed tonight and they’re afraid of breakfast.

They’re afraid of, ‘How do I explain this to my children?’ I have Muslim friends who are texting me tonight saying, ‘Should I leave my country?’ I have families of immigrants that are terrified tonight.

Donald Trump has a responsibility tonight to come out and reassure people that he is going to be the president of all people who he insulted and offended and bashed aside. When you say you want your country back, you got a lot of people who feel that were not represented well either but we don’t want to feel that someone has been elected by throwing away some of us to appeal more deeply to others.” – Van Jones (http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/tv/news/van-jones-calls-trump-s-surprise-victory-a-whitelash-against-a-changing-country-a7406511.html)

His comments sum up what many Americans are feeling right now. His comments sum up what I and many other British people were feeling on June 23rd. I want to say to Americans to not worry, it’s not as bad as it could be. But I can’t honestly do that.

In the week following the Brexit vote, 6,193 hate crimes were reported in the week after Brexit. It should be noted that between 80-99% of hate crime goes unreported. There was also a 213% rise in hate crime on those who were disabled during the same period. In addition, domestic abuse, rape and sexual offences crime went up 10%. Worse still, a Polish gentleman named Arek Jozwik was beaten to death because he was Polish.

America has voted and elected a man who openly uses the platform he has to promote fear and hate towards these groups and more. What scares me is that if these crimes happened in Britain, who is to say that they won’t happen in America?

I pray that I’m wrong. I pray that Americans come together after this putrid election. I pray that Americans who didn’t vote for Trump will have the strength of character and resolve to carry on being the great human beings they wish to be.

Humanity, for all its flaws, comes together best when it seems we are in the darkest places. We rally around one another. We find joy and laughter in the small moments. We rise up against injustice. In the face of fear and intolerance we, as a species, stand united. We stand up to bullies. We work hard for our rest. We find the strength to carry on.

So, my American Brothers and Sisters, hold your politicians to account. Speak up to those who use fear, intolerance and hatred as a platform. Support those who are being marginalised. Remember that love, compassion and understanding will change the world. Be the one person that stands against the crowd if needs be. Do what you feel right in your heart. Be the love you know you want to see in your community.

Craig Gaffney- Who am I?


Introduction Blog-Who am I?

Wow, It seems so long ago now that I was elected Methodist Youth President at 3Generate 2014. Here I am now, sat in Methodist Church house, a week into the new job, writing my first blog. What a journey it has been and what an amazing journey it will continue to be. God has remained consistent and faithful through it all. I pray now that he would use me, that this role would be done in his strength and not mine, all for his glory.

I thought I would take this initial opportunity to introduce myself and give you some background information on your current Youth President. I was adopted at a very young age by a wonderful couple: Jane and Steve. My mum who is now a Methodist minister instilled Christian values in me and dragged (literally on some occasions) me to church on a regular basis.  At the age of 10 I rebelled against this forced commitment to the Church and I refused to go. The only connection I had with Church was a youth club in Oadby, Leicestershire who ran summer camps once a year. At the age of 12 I gave my life to God and my life was changed; for all of about a week. Routines and old habits crept back in and life went back to normal.  My faith and commitment to God vanished until the following years summer camp when I once again reaffirmed my commitment to Christ. This became a continuous cycle until I began my GCSE’s and I openly professed my faith to my friends. My faith became real, a daily relationship with God. This doesn’t mean that I stopped making mistakes, or that I was the perfect Christian- I definitely wasn’t! But I understood the love of God. The opportunity arose to do work experience during year 10 and I spent an amazing week working alongside St. Phillips Centre in Leicester who work developing inter-faith relations. This helped me grow in the knowledge of my faith and the acceptance of those around me. Later that year I went to Sweden with St. Phillips Centre, helping to begin an inter-faith programme in Gothenburg.

After GCSE’s we moved house, Mum had been ordained and her first appointment was 40 minutes away in Rugby. The busy town seemed a long way away from the quiet fields of Kibworth in rural Leicestershire. It was a hard time for us all, but God was at work. I began my A-levels at Lawrence Sheriff School, joined a rugby club and started a church. For the first time in ages I was regularly attending Church and enjoying it! I even started going twice a day! It was during this time that my faith matured, I began to grow and God began to reveal more of himself to me. Following the completion of my A-levels and after feeling God tell me no to go to university at Soul Survivor 2 summers previous, I planned to do what I always felt called to: work with young people. I had been doing voluntary youth work for just over two years by this point and I loved it, I felt God call me to go and bring ‘Hope to the hopeless’ in line with my passion for social justice and young people. What better place to do that than in Sierra Leone-West Africa. Six months later I was a changed man, I had seen so much. Volunteering in the slums outside Freetown led into Orphanage work in Panaji in India, throughout every new experience God revealed more of himself to me.

Prior to my work abroad I was part of the interviewing panel for a One Programme Participant in my local Methodist Church- during this process a member of the connexional team came to facilitate the interview, she told me about the programme, the Rep roles and the Youth President. It was from this moment- almost 2 years before I applied that God showed me the plan. I prayed into it, my mum prayed into it and we both felt God point towards the youth president role as where he wants me. Come November 2014, after lots of stress, panic and arguing with God, I was elected Youth President 2015/16. Since that time I have worked as a youth/schools worker, gone on trial as a local preacher, lead worship, done a social justice project with Tearfund and worked in a primary school. All this, I hope, will have prepared me for what lies ahead in this coming year. Above all I learnt- God is loving, faithful and has it all in control!

It would be my pleasure as Youth President to come and visit any events you have got going on in your local area. Please send me any invites to gaffneyc@methodistchurch.org.uk and we’ll see if we can fit them into my diary. (it’s filling up fast!)

For now, this is Craig, signing out!

@youthpresident





Dream Big, but Engage Bigger...

I started off the year so well with my  blog but as things seem to have progressed and things pop up my blog seems to fall by the waste. Sorry for that.

Blogging is not a great gift of mine, I think party due to my dyslexia but also because I'm worried I don't have anything interesting enough to say! I wonder if you guys have ever felt that? That you just don't have anything good to say? 

I'm not sure if what Im about to say is any good really, but I'm still going to say it.

On Tuesday I visited Rydal Penros School in North Wales, Colwyn Bay. This is a Methodist independent school, and it was really cool to go and be a part of their day. I led an assembly about dreaming for a better world and how we can use our gifts and talents to bring about change. This then led on nicely to helping year 5's write some very inspiring new lyrics to uptown funk around helping the world. But the part of visit that really struck me was about how engaged and aware the children were around the general election. When asked questions around who were the main parties? When was the general election taking place? Who formed the previous government? A lot of hands shot up. I found this really interesting and actually rather inspiring that our children and young people are so aware of the environment around them.

With the general election coming up this week, I just want to encourage and remind people to get up and vote and go engage with what is happening in our country. We can all dream for a better world but sometimes we need to get up and do something about it.

I'm supporting The Inspirational Women's Campaign because....

The verb inspire means to motivate, encourage and enthuse. So when I was asked about a woman that had inspired me I had no doubt in my mind who it was I was going to speak about. This woman has an amazing personality, a generous heart, ceaseless love, endless amounts of positivity and a lot of gumption. This woman is my mum.

My mum, like all the others across the world, is one of a kind. Yes we still have our little squabbles and yes we still have our disagreements but at the end of the day, she is the person who encourages me, motivates me and enthuses me to go out and be all things that I want to be. My mum once told me to “just be yourself, don’t worry about what everyone else is doing” at the time this seemed really odd to me, because how could I be anyone else? I was Megan, wasn’t I? But whilst growing up this was one of the most important pieces of advice that I could ever have. Whatever situation I am in, wherever I am, whoever I am with I always remember to just be myself and that’s down to my mum.

My mum also inspires me to be all the things that I didn’t think I could be, to do all the things I didn’t think I could do and to go to all the places I didn’t think I could go. Even when I don’t believe in myself it’s my mum who’s standing right behind me cheering me on. My mum has made me the person I am today, so Cheers Mum you’ve done alright. 

WELCOME 2015: A Youth Rep Post

Welcome to 2015

So this week Bx Belshaw, one of our Methodist Council Reps, has something to say....
 
 
 
Hi everyone,

Welcome to 2015, all of us on the team hope you have had a good New Year.
The emails have started to fly backwards and forwards between the team as we prepare to meet for the first rep meeting of 2015 at Cliff College in 2 weeks time.
We’ve already started to look at the 3Gen report to Conference in a separate day at the end of 2014. A brilliant time at looking at some of the responses you wished to make in your own communities but also challenge the wider church to take on board. This coming rep weekend I’m sure will touch in this too.


After the Rep Weekend, Andrew, Meg and myself (Bx) Will be heading down to Methodist Council, so we are all hoping the reading comes out very soon! Watch out as we tweet and instagram pictures of this… particularly as we look for the greatest carpet/flooring of the 24 hours.


What else to look forward too? Well ask your local churches, ministers and youth leaders if your area has got a big sleepover coming up and how you can get involved.
On top of all this looking forward 3Gen2015 seems like a long way a way :( so why not check out highlights of 3Gen2014 by re-looking at the TV channel https://www.youtube.com/user/3GenerateTV. You could introduce some of the topics into your youth group and send us your views, or just grab a bowl of popcorn and watch the 2015 promo video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EkSogOBPtrg.
Keep in touch

Bx (Council Rep)

Make The Time for Christmas

It's that time of year. Yes, it has come round rather fast. Christmas has this way of sneaking up on you and before you know it the days here! The CHRISTMAS has arrived!  So in true festive spirit I’ve written a...’poem’ if that’s the best way to describe it about the hectic, busy holiday that is Christmas.

Crums it’s here, it came round so fast!

How did this happen, it couldn’t be long since we celebrated it last.

Right, get the decorations, all hands on deck

In goes the turkey, brussel sprouts, Christmas pudding, check.

Santa seems to have been and delivered lots of gifts

Too bad I’ve eaten so much and can’t seem to shift.

My goodness is that the time, where has the day gone

After all that preparation it wasn’t even that long.

So once again the time has passed us by, one year Christmas might stop and actually say hi.


So, as I hope you can tell, this poem was written with quite a comedic stance on how chaotic Christmas can be. But actually I want to use this comedic poem to make a rather serious point.
Remember to stop and enjoy this Christmas. It is a time that we are suppose to celebrate, have fun and be merry. So this year, here is a challenge, try not to get stressed out about Christmas, just enjoy and have fun and don’t let the festive season pass you by.
Merry Christmas and God Bless