National Youth Assembly chooses new youth moderator and clerk

A Highland barman who is in training for the Celtman extreme triathlon has been chosen to represent the voice of young people in the Church of Scotland as the Youth Moderator for 2017-18.

Robin Downie
Robin Downie speaking at the 2016 National Youth Assembly

Robin Downie, 21, who works at the Strathcarron Hotel in his hometown of Lochcarron, was appointed to the role by delegates to the Kirk’s National Youth Assembly.

Robin will work with Catriona Munro, 25, who was chosen as the NYA Clerk. Originally from Paisley Catriona now works as a greeting card merchandiser in the Stirling area.

They will take up their positions during the opening session of NYA 2017 in July and will serve for a year.

The Youth Moderator chairs discussions at the annual National Youth Assembly, which will take place this year at Gartmore House, near Stirling, from 21—24 July.

During the year Robin and Catriona will also work with a team of youth representatives from across Scotland to express the views of young people in the church.

The pair will represent the NYA at events and encourage young people to take an active role in the National Councils and Committees of the Church.

The Youth Moderator also writes and delivers a report to the Church of Scotland’s General Assembly.

Robin Downie

At the moment, Robin is training for the Celtman extreme triathlon, one of the toughest triathlons in the world. Last year he spent 10 weeks travelling to Taiwan, Bulgaria, Greece, Kosovo, Macedonia, Denmark and Iceland.

A supporter of Hibernian Football Club, he also enjoys playing and watching rugby.

A church member at Applecross Lochcarron, Torriden Church of Scotland Robin says his next move will be to pursue studies in nursing.

Robin’s Christian faith led him to spend 6 months volunteering for the charity Blythswood Care, after leaving school. He worked in an orphanage and as an English teacher with the Roma community.

He has also helped run Christian summer camps in Bulgaria, Taiwan, Romania and Scotland and preached his first sermon last year in Bulgaria.

Robin says:

“I'm delighted about being elected as the next Youth Moderator and represent the Presbytery of Lochcarron-Skye.

“The National Youth Assembly is full of great ideas and discussions which I'm excited about discussing with the rest of the church and putting into action. I have attended the previous two National Youth Assemblies.

“It is such a great event in getting Christians from all over the country to discuss God and meet other Christians their own age. I know it will be a challenging year, yet an exciting year, and I believe anything is possible when you work with God.

“Although it is not one of our main topics I am especially looking forward to the discussion on refugees having spent a few days last summer working with the refugees in Greece.

“I’m also looking forward to leading the discussions of Interfaith, Priorities of the Church and Year of the Young Person.

“I'm really looking forward to taking on the role and working with the rest of the youth rep team once they have been elected in the summer. I am also looking forward to working with the Clerk Catriona Munro who I know will do a fantastic job.

“I’m currently living in Lochcarron on the west coast of Scotland, but I am planning to move to the central belt in September to study nursing. I am looking forward to meeting more people in the church, and working together for the glory of God.”

Catriona Munro

Catriona Munro
Catriona Munro

With ministers and church organists in her family, Catriona was baptised and grew up in Sandyford Church (now Martyr’s Sandyford) in Paisley.

Now as a member of St. Columba’s in Stirling, Catriona is involved in the Education and Learning Group, leads the Bible Class and is the chair of the Eco Team

In 2015 she was offered a place as youth rep for Stirling Presbytery at the General Assembly, and has since attended two additional Assemblies. She has served twice as a youth rep and says she is looking forward to serving this year as clerk.

Catriona enjoys creative writing and never leaves the house without a book.

Catriona says

“It is a period of change for the church. With the future uncertain, there is huge scope for new opportunities, new ideas and new perspectives.< p> “I like to welcome change, the challenges change can bring and the rewards it can reap; and I am particularly looking forward to exploring this period of change within this role.

“I know Robin will be excellent in his role as moderator, and I’m greatly looking forward to working with him and our team of youth reps through the year.

“NYA is such an important opportunity for young people in the church to engage with one another and with the church in the wider sense.

“I would hope to see NYA continue to bring young adults together in in faith and fellowship to make a positive impact on the church today.”

Youth invited to attend NYA 2017

Young people aged 17-25 who have a connection to the Church of Scotland are invited to consider attending the National Youth Assembly. This year’s event will include discussions on:

  • Young people and discipleship
  • Interfaith
  • Priorities of the Church