THREE manifestos published by the Children and Youth Assembly of the Methodist Church put concerns about the environment, the refugee crisis, and the poverty gap at the top of the agenda for the Church. The manifestos are by children aged up to 11, teenagers, and young adults, and list the topics they want to discuss, and hear more of, in church.
The lists were compiled after research at the Church’s Children and Youth Assembly: 3Generate. Nearly 600 children and young people attended last year’s assembly, in November. It is the first time that their concerns have been collected and published in this way.
The youngest group, eight- to 11-year-olds, wanted to talk about the environment and global conflict, as well as personal issues such as bullying, and coping with change, including family break-up. They also asked for more time to explore their own questions about God, and what being a Christian means.
The Methodist teenagers’ manifesto called for discussions about same-sex marriage, the use of prayer as a response to war and conflict, welcoming migrants and asylum-seekers, dealing with bullying, and accessibility for those with disabilities.
The third document, put together by 18- to 23-year-olds, called for a defined and co-ordinated response to the refugee crisis, leading on the response to climate change, challenging the poverty gap, and questioning representations in the media or elsewhere of marginalised groups, such as migrants or young people.
The Youth President of the Methodist Church, Craig Gaffney, said: “It is vital that everyone in the Church engages with the voice of young people and the topics close to their hearts. All of the issues raised should be important to the whole Church and its membership, and should be a regular focus for any Christian living out their faith.
“It’s encouraging to see that the young people of the Methodist Church are so passionate about social and global issues. I am proud to be part of a Church where even our youngest members have a heart for those in need.”
Mr Gaffney, a Methodist youth worker, was elected Youth President last year after spending nine months volunteering as a missionary in Sierra Leone and at a Christian orphanage in India.
Resources to help Methodist churches respond to the manifestos are being published on the Church’s website, www.methodist.org.uk/3generate.