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)