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Youth Column: Challenges and Joys

Youth Column: Challenges and Joys

Wednesday February 6

In the second of our series of columns written by younger people in the Church of Scotland, Gemma King looks at growing up in the Church.


Being a young person in the Church of Scotland today involves both lots of challenges and opportunities.

One of the main challenges for me has been making the transition from being a child/teenager to being an adult. For me this was more challenging than for some of my friends as I did not leave home/church to go to university. While most of my friends who went away to university came back and were seen as adults, I did not have that clear break. It has taken people in my Church longer to come around to seeing me as an adult.

However, at a national level I have been given so much support and so many opportunities. For me the most important way in which I have had the opportunity to be involved at a national level is the National Youth Assembly. I attended my first NYA seven years ago and have been back every year since. I always enjoy catching up with old friends as well as making new ones each year. NYA for me is always a weekend of learning and fellowship. Each year the input sessions and listening to others enables me to learn so much about such a wide range of topics. Over the seven years I have felt more and more enabled and equipped to be actively involved in the Church.

Serving as a Youth Representative of the NYA has given me an amazing insight into the workings of the Church. Working through the year as a Youth Representative of the NYA I have attended lots of different events and meetings as well as meeting many different people in the Church. This year the Youth Rep working group which I am serving on, Being Ecumenical, mirrors the Ecumenical Relations Committee so I, alongside my fellow group members, have had the opportunity to work with the Ecumenical Relations Committee and share ideas.

I have been fortunate to serve as a Youth Representative at two General Assemblies and will serve for a third time. Each year has been different from the last and I have learnt lots about how decisions are made in the Church. The Youth Representatives at the General Assembly have a different perspective on proceedings to other commissioners. As many of the members of the staff team supporting the Youth Reps have attended the General Assembly every year we are well informed about the history and background of the different debates. The prep sessions ensure that we are well prepared if we want to speak.

Serving as a Youth Rep at the General Assembly has also given me the opportunity to meet many of the former Moderators and hear their stories and views – one of the events the Youth Reps are invited to during General Assembly week is the Beating Retreat and reception at Holyrood Palace. While we are there the Youth Reps have the tradition of playing “Moderator Bingo”. We compete to see who can meet the most former Moderators with extra points given for meeting other dignitaries of the Church. It is always great to hear their stories.

Despite the challenges I have at times experienced I have been given so many opportunities to do things and meet people because I am a young person in the Church. So many people have encouraged me in my faith and in my life in the Church, enabling me to do things I did not think that I was capable of doing.


If you are under 30 and involved in the Church of Scotland, and would be interested in writing for this column, please email us on magazine@lifeandwork.org


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