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|In my report to Synod this year I would like to concentrate on the aims of the Diocesan Youth programme and how we have set about achieving these. The aims of the Diocesan Youth programme are to:
a) encourage spiritual development and relational fellowship among young people within the Diocesan area
b) encourage young people to make decisions for themselves and promote their own development
c ) reach other young people within the Diocesan area and enable them to become involved in youth activities
d) provide fun, friendship and shoring through meetings, activities, events and outings
e) enlarge young peoples' experiences of the church and Christian activities
A dedicated team of adults, along with myself, who form our Youth Action Group, has carried out this work. They are: David Dow, Fay Lamont and Fiona McRitchie.
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The Youth Forum is drawn from all churches actively involved with young people and together with the Youth Action Group they plan and implement the programme that was as follows.
a) Entertaining others - The youth brought Christmas cheer to the residents of a nursing home in panto costume, singing carols and bearing home made gifts.
b) Ten Pin Bowling - 17 young people exhibiting differing styles competed for a Bowling Shield, which we inherited. Hopefully this will become an annual event.
c) Blind date! - With whom? An evening of love and laughter mixed with thoughts and a date with Jesus.
d) Activity Day - Second choice to Compass but Wet and wild!
e) Diocesan Picnic - 850th Celebration of the Diocese where the youth showed the skills in stewarding, litter collection and manning some stalls.
f) Mystery Plays - Mysteriously turned into Street Theatre performed in the City Square. The young people put together drama, dance, and music to celebrate Pentecost. This was a good opportunity for the Diocese to see the youth inaction and for the young people to display their talents in outreach in the City Square. They were very brave too! This was the first modelling of our new Diocesan Logo on Sweatshirt and T-Shirt designed in a competition.
g) 3 - Diocesan Youth Visit - A BBQ introducing the guests and their hosts was a wonderful Diocesan experience on a glorious summer evening. The residential week was an experience of living together and meeting with different cultures, which led to much laughter, tears and lasting friendships. Cross cultural sharing and learning together indeed! Many letters, cards, e-mails have been sent and received over the last three months and even a 'phone call from Swaziland. Shared experiences in worship helped the youth from the 3 Diocese to lead worship in St. Andrew's, Brechin as well the nightly Discovery Times and a final Eucharist celebrated by Bishop Neville, using a Chalice and Plate made for us by one of the Americans.
h) Camp-o-Treat - Another 24hours of sharing together and being the family of the church at our Retreat Centre in Glenesk. The weather was kinder to us this year and the girls revelled in swimming in the river. (some fully clad!)
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We feel the aims and objectives of Diocesan Youth for the year have been achieved by the following:
a) The sense of togetherness built up last year has been sustained and strengthened. A more confident group has emerged because of this and was very evident as they hosted their visitors from Iowa and Swaziland.
b) The Youth Forum has encouraged them to support one another and to face the consequences of their decisions. One member of the Youth Forum represents the others on the Provincial Youth Network.
c) They have found laughter and tears drawing them together and this, along with the variety of the programme, has enabled them to build up a trust in each other.
d) Experiencing the culture and worship from Iowa and Swaziland has broadened our youth outlook and experience of other churches in the world. We have been encouraged by the comments from our young people on the programme we had planned. A selection of which follow.
"We need to do more of this" (Entertaining others)
"What are they leading us into now?"(Blind Date)
"Something I'll never forget. Lean on me."
"Just one question. When can we come and visit you guys?"
"Gonna miss you all. Let the Lord purify your hearts."
"You have made me see light in my life."
"Never give up." (3 Diocesan Visit)
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Numbers were maintained throughout the year and although our programme has had success with the youth already contacted, we feel have failed to reach the boys and the older youth of the Diocese. We know our programme has been set up for this age group but if there are older youth who would like to play a part in leading please get in touch. Spiritual growth has been evidenced by the young peoples' increasing ability to lead worship suitable to different occasions and in different places. They have also shared their gifts and talents with one another. They have involved their parents, who with others, including us, have been encouraged by the young peoples' faith and enthusiasm. As has our Mission Board and Bishop who are very encouraging and supportive of our youth programme. Thank you all.
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A programme has been planned for the next year with, hopefully, a pilgrimage to Taize, National Pentecost event at Murrayfield, our yearly Retreat and does anyone really want to let us loose on their church? Well you know all you have to do is ask! Sporty events are catered for by Bowling Shield competition and a visit to Compass Outdoor Centre.
Our last meeting for this year is to think about the Millennium Bug and where we go from here into a new millennium as young people of the Diocese?
3 Diocesan Visit