Those who were present either at the recent Circuit Meeting or the recent District Synod, will be familiar with the phrase, "Be Courageous..." It is the theme for 2019/20 for both 3Generate (the Methodist Youth and Children's Conference) and for our District.
The young people at the 3Gen Conference last year challenged the church to think and then act on some big themes – some of which we are already responding to and some which we have yet to engage with... Here's a summary:
The children and young people... have spoken out. Trusting that God is with us, we want to be a part of a Church that knows, shows and shares God's Love. Therefore, together we want to:
o Take action on homelessness in local areas
o Look after the environment by:
o Using less plastic
o Picking up litter
o Seek those who are lonely & struggling and do something to help them
o Create safe spaces inside and outside the Church, where people don't judge, but listen and offer support
o Be creative and varied in how we worship God
o Get to know and learn about people in our local communities so that we:
o Build relationships
o Break down barriers
o Stop prejudice
And then today, I watched as Greta Thunberg delivered her speech to the UN Climate Action Summit and the passion that she shared, both in what she said and how she said it... The UN Secretary-General said that leaders should not come to the summit with beautiful words, but with concrete plans to, inter alia, reach carbon neutrality by 2050. If change is to happen, then action is called for now, otherwise it will be too late.
In the same way, within the kingdom of God of which we are a part and which we represent to the world, if we want to reverse the decline of the recent decades, dare to suggest to the world that the Christian church, along with other world faiths, has an important and directing role to play in all aspects of human life and that we are serious about changing things so that all may experience the gift of life "in all its fullness" as Jesus tells us he came to give and promote, then we need to act in this respect also.
So, how will you be courageous in the coming year? How will you engage with the god news of the gospel and respond to the many challenges facing the human race?
Watch this space for some ideas!!