Time running out to register for National Youth Assembly 2016

Andrew MacPherson and Hannah Mary Goodlad,
Andrew MacPherson and Hannah Mary Goodlad, the incoming and outgoing Moderators of the National Youth Assembly

Time is running out to register attendance at this year’s National Youth Assembly, with applications due to be in by 18 July. The annual gathering is aimed at young people with a church connection who are aged 17 to 25. It’s held in a former country house in Stirlingshire over four days, starting on Friday August 19th. It’s a chance to make friends, discuss the big issues of the day, share worship and hang out with like-minded people.

This year the Assembly will be led by Andrew MacPherson, who begins his year as Moderator of the Youth Assembly at the event. Andrew says one of the major issues he’ll be highlighting throughout his year is support for young people with mental health issues. “The National Youth Assembly is a brilliant place to discuss the things that really matter, and come up with solutions that could make a difference. In 2015 we looked at climate change, and one of the outcomes was sending a group to Paris for the climate change talks in December. This year I hope we can tackle some of the challenges facing young people with mental health problems. I’ve seen friends struggle to find adequate support, and I am sure we can make a difference. I’ve already seen evidence people in power listen to the church, and we can use that to help people overcome the stigma attached to mental illness.”

The weekend consists of discussions, workshops, worship and social activities. It’s supported by a team of staff led by Young People and Young Adult’s Development Worker, Suzi Farrant. “The Assembly is all about young people getting involved in the decision making of the church and making connections in an environment where they can feel relaxed and comfortable. We’re there to make sure things run smoothly, and provide any support that might be needed. My favourite part of the weekend is seeing the young people flourish in their faith and as leaders as they experience new things together; there’s nothing quite like an NYA late night worship session for enabling us all to experience God afresh. We welcome anyone with a church connection, whether you’re a regular attender or maybe connected through the Girls or Boys Brigade. We’d love to see you there.”

Outgoing NYA moderator, Hannah Mary Goodlad, has had an exceptional year which has included participating in visits to London, Cairo, and, most recently, Bosnia. Her agenda was set through the outcomes of the last Youth Assembly, which gave her a platform to speak out for change which culminated in her address to this year’s General Assembly. She says it’s been an incredible experience. "I really have had the best and the busiest year of my life to date. It was such a privilege to lead the National Youth Assembly in 2015 and to lead the team oy youth reps for the remainder of my year has been brilliant. The National Youth Assembly is vital for engagement. It serves a purpose to inspire us, equip us and set us upon a course of activism to create a space to bring about positive change within our own communities and churches. Everyone at the National Youth Assembly has a passion for justice at their hearts. It's an inspiring movement to be part of. I would encourage any young person out there who has a desire to learn more about the Church of Scotland and faith to come along. Get involved, you will not regret it!"