•September 3, 2012 • 1 Comment
The final deliverance for 2012 focussed on the issue of domestic abuse. We were grateful to Scottish Women’s Aid for facilitating our discussions and giving us all a lot to think about.
National Youth Assembly 13th August 2012
The National Youth Assembly:
- believes that all forms of domestic abuse are wrong regardless of gender, age, sexual orientation or any other factor.
- affirms the Church’s conviction that domestic abuse “must be seen to be addressed specifically within the fuller agenda of violence against women” (General Assembly 2012). However, the NYA also notes that the adopted definition of domestic abuse by the Church still recognises that domestic abuse is perpetrated against men and draws awareness to this fact.
- urges the youth reps and Scottish Youth Parliament reps to lobby the Scottish Government to include violence perpetrated against men within their definition of domestic abuse.
- urges its male delegates to sign the Amnesty International White Ribbon Campaign.
- recognises that domestic abuse affects children, as well as men and women, and commits to challenging it within their own communities through open discussion.
- recognises the fact that domestic abuse is not limited to physical abuse and takes a number of different forms which are each a damaging reality.
- draws attention to the Church’s 2003 report on domestic abuse and believes that promoting this to the wider Church could bring positive change.
- believes that delegates and the wider Church should show a Christ like compassion for those affected by domestic abuse.
- believes that the grace of Christ offers forgiveness to abusers.
- believes that no individual should feel trapped in an abusive marriage or relationship by shame or religious expectation.
- acknowledges the reality of domestic abuse in the Church community, including in ministers’ relationships, and believes that awareness must be raised at a congregational level and that provision of pastoral care and support should be provided.
- urges churches to be more vocal in their communities about the support and pastoral care that is available for both victims and perpetrators, and to raise awareness of the issue of domestic abuse.
- recognises that the reaction of congregations to individuals and their families who are experiencing or have experienced domestic abuse can be either healing and helpful or incredibly damaging and therefore, the NYA encourages congregations and individuals to examine their reactions and be sensitive on this issue.
- believes it is imperative that ministers, elders, deacons and lay leaders are better equipped to effectively respond pastorally to domestic abuse.
- encourages congregations and Kirk Sessions to provide long term pastoral care to those who have suffered domestic abuse as they attempt to continue with their lives.
- encourages congregations to explore appropriate boundaries and responsibilities within relationships and marriage.
- acknowledges the Guild’s prayer resources and encourages the Church to research further resources for ministries in regard to dealing with domestic abuse both within and outwith their ministries and parishes with the overall aim of awareness raising and preventing it from occurring.
- commends and encourages continued partnership with Scottish Women’s Aid, The Guild, the Church and Society Council, the Safeguarding Committee and Church members on their work done on raising awareness of and combating domestic abuse.
- encourages the youth reps to work with the Mission and Discipleship Council in engaging with the Domestic Abuse Action Plan produced by the Church and Society Council.
- encourages the Church and Society Council to lobby local government in regard to education enabling individuals to recognise and tackle abusive relationships with strategies for how to seek help.
- believes that the media should take a more responsible attitude towards domestic abuse and gender stereotypes whilst recognising that initial progress is already being made.
- instructs the youth reps to explore the idea of organising an interfaith event during the 16 days of Activism on Violence in conjunction with the Mission and Discipleship Council and the Church’s Interfaith Worker.
 This campaign may also be signed by females.
 Church and Nation 2003 report on Domestic abuse available from firstname.lastname@example.org
•September 3, 2012 • Leave a Comment
Here is the second deliverance from NYA 2012. This followed on after excellent input from the Church of Scotland HIV Programme. The NYA is incredibly grateful for help from the Programme both during and after the Assembly with regards to the issues that arose from the debate.
National Youth Assembly 12th August 2012
Debate 2: HIV
The National Youth Assembly:
- believes that Jesus loves everyone equally and unconditionally. The NYA believes that the whole Church should show this unconditional love towards those living with HIV.
- opposes stigma of all kinds and encourages congregations to engage with the issue of HIV with the aim of reducing discrimination against those affected.
- encourages congregations to pray for healing, care and justice for all infected and affected by HIV.
- commends the work of the Church of Scotland HIV Programme and offers their support for future projects.
- instructs its youth reps to consider fundraising events for the HIV Programme such as an NYA reunion event.
- asks the Church of Scotland HIV Programme to reinstate and expand the Peer Education programme. The NYA encourages delegates to be involved with this programme.
- encourages the HIV Programme to develop theological materials for raising awareness of issues around HIV to facilitate open discussion and help people gain a deeper understanding.
- commends the work of the World Mission Council in tackling the multiple difficulties faced by all individuals living with HIV and instructs the youth reps to seek advice from them on how the NYA can have influence in regard to this issue.
- instructs its Scottish Youth Parliament Reps to take the issue of HIV to the Scottish Youth Parliament with the aim of standardising and improving education in schools.
- instructs the youth reps to seek advice from the Scottish Churches Parliamentary Office with a view to lobbying the UK Government to place the issue of HIV higher on their agenda.
- instructs the youth reps to draft a petition to the UK Government to encourage financial contributions to the Global Fund  to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria.
- instructs its youth reps to research whether the UK Government is actively seeking the removal of restrictions on people who are living with HIV from entering and residing in certain territories or countries and to campaign for this to happen if it does not already. This should be done with a view to reporting back to delegates.
- encourages Church members to lobby their MEPs on issues of needle exchange in Europe and on making HIV a major issue of policy in the coming Parliamentary session.
- encourages individual churches and presbyteries to be in partnership with NHS Trusts and other local organisations to raise awareness of the reality of HIV.
- encourages the Church and Society Council and the HIV Programme to examine the work of pharmaceutical companies providing ARV drugs, and to lobby appropriately for their responsible ethical production and distribution.
- requests that the “Idiot’s Guide to Ethical Living” includes sections on the behaviour of companies in regards to ARV drugs/breast milk and monopolising/contamination of clean water supplies.
- believes that ignorance about HIV is the root problem of the stigma associated with HIV. The NYA encourages its members, congregations and schools to utilise HIV resources from the HIV Programme and relevant charities to facilitate regular, open discussion amongst youth and inter-generational groups.
- believes education around HIV issues should focus on global implications and social justice in addition to those of personal issue.
- encourages delegates to lead their congregations in events such as “Souper Sunday” and encourages alternatives such as “Sundae Sunday” or “Softplay Sunday” in order to raise awareness in all age groups within local communities and organisations.
- commits to taking action for World Aids Day on 1st December be this on a small or large scale – for example selling ribbons, holding events, raising awareness using social media, writing to MPs/MSPs/MEPs, or prayer.
- highlights the problem of isolation experienced by those living with HIV and urges churches to reach out to those in their communities for whom this is a reality.
- acknowledges the power of language, and urges the Church to be more sensitive and aware of its rhetoric surrounding the issue of HIV.
- encourages congregations to be more involved with the issues surrounding HIV and Aids by having dedicated and informed prayer days.
 See Deliverance 1, Tax Avoidance and Evasion 11th August 2012, section 16
•September 3, 2012 • Leave a Comment
The deliverances from the National Youth Assembly 2012 are finally finished and will be posted in three separate posts. You can find deliverances from past NYAs over on the right hand side of this blog. Deliverances from this year will eventually be linked across there so that they are easily accessible. For now, here is the first deliverance which covers the issues of unfair tax avoidance and evasion. The Youth Assembly were grateful for the debate input from Christian Aid. This deliverance only covers some of what was said during the debate. The NYA have elected 20 youth reps to represent the NYA throughout the year to carry out some of the work mentioned in these statements.
National Youth Assembly 11th August 2012
Tax Evasion and Avoidance
The National Youth Assembly:
- recognises that generosity is a spiritual gift. Delegates challenge individuals to pay taxes with a spirit of generosity and in full transparency.
- challenges individuals to pay taxes to a full extent with transparency willingly as a moral and legal responsibility.
- seeks to approach issues of Church and society with an attitude of positive transformation. The NYA will encourage a “We can” spirit, not just a “We need to” spirit.
- believes that openness leads to understanding and that the issue of taxes and finance need to be discussed in public without using jargon, in an accessible way in a conversation led by the Church of Scotland.
- believes that there is an absence of adequate financial education in the school curriculum and urges the government to address this.
- commends to the wider Church the Christian Aid campaigns on tax evasion and unfair avoidance as well as the joint 2010 report of the Church of Scotland and Christian Aid.
- encourages congregations to engage with Christian Aid campaigns and education resources in regard to tax justice and to consider an annual awareness raising event similar to “Souper Sunday”.
- encourages the Church and Society Council to continue to be vocal and active on issues surrounding the scandal of tax evasion and unfair avoidance, and more fundamentally, the culture surrounding it.
- commits to bringing issues of tax evasion and unfair avoidance to the Scottish Youth Parliament.
- encourages congregations to consider boycotting companies who avoid tax unfairly and to campaign on this issue.
- believes it is imperative that the Church of Scotland and its members work towards investing and banking only with corporations whose investments are ethical.
- notes the importance of taking a global approach to tackling tax evasion and unfair avoidance and encourages the Church of Scotland to work with other churches and ecumenical bodies on this issue.
- commends the work of Christian Aid in regard to transparency within trade.
- affirms the work the Church already does in relation to fair trade and commits further to promoting it including using fairly traded products in all churches.
- believes tax incentives should be offered on ethical products.
- instructs the elected youth reps to research and compile existing information and resources and to prepare and make available to the COSY family an “Idiot’s Guide to Living Ethically”.
•August 22, 2012 • Leave a Comment
Alastair Ross from Greenbank Parish, Edinburgh shares his thoughts about NYA 2012…
Even though I’d never been before, I could sense that the NYA was going to be something of a special weekend – not only for being something I have long craved (debating current issues with diverse peers while bringing a Christian perspective into play, no matter our individual strength of conviction), but also on something of a personal level too. I am pleased to say it did not disappoint! Despite some initial nerves (and consistently disorientating déjà vu) I began to settle into the non-stop rhythm of the weekend (Bambelela and the other songs helped with this greatly), meeting some amazing people and making new friends along the way.
The small groups setup was probably one of the best organisational ideas I’ve seen in regards to a debate and as such I hope to see this emulated elsewhere. As for the events outwith the main debates, I felt overwhelmed by the choice of the workshops and didn’t want to have to choose only one of them to go to (what a nice problem to have!). Also, the late night discussions (‘The Great Divide’) were some of the most open, frank and enlightening discussions in which I have ever partaken, covering topics usually considered too taboo to be talked about by members of the church.
Despite not listening to the advice of not staying up late three nights in a row (I didn’t want to miss a thing), I was just too wired from the past few days and too uplifted by personal revelation to care: I can honestly say I have never had such an ingratiating, liberating and rejuvenating experience and pray that next year’s NYA brings the same sense of community and love as it did this year.
•August 22, 2012 • Leave a Comment
Andrew Morrison from Claremont Parish Church, East Kilbride, shares some thoughts about NYA 2012:
“When we worship together as a community of living Christians, we do not worship alone, we worship with all the company of heaven.” ~ Marianne H. Micks.
That quotation completely sums up my experience of worship at NYA this year, you could totally sense the presence of God in all that we did! Worship was certainly an integral part of the NYA weekend, with 7 group worship sessions, and many other option-times given throughout the weekend to worship in a variety of ways – all of which were wonderful and engaging.
Unfortunately, worship at Church can, at times, feel lifeless and dull. I certainly can say they’ve been times at Church where I really wanted to worship with all my heart, but the music, ambience and surroundings just didn’t feel very “worshipful” at all. However, this was completely different from the worship at NYA.
We sang our hearts out to God along with the fantastic 7 piece band that led us in worship each session. Many of the contemporary songs were completely new to most of us, but that didn’t stop us giving our all to God.
We heard scripture and the life of Jesus being told in a new and engaging way. No longer were they just stories about some guy found in a big confusing book, but they told the life of this amazing man, the works he did, the love he showed and the grace he offers.
We sang African songs of hope and adoration. One of our favourites was “Bambelela”, which means “Never Give Up/Hold on (to Jesus)” which we sang in rounds at various points during worship. Most of us were singing it for days it was that good!
There were opportunities for interactive worship, with candles, prayer and art and more. We had a “U2-charist” (i.e. communion with U2 songs instead of traditional worship songs & hymns) which I think made us all think about how we can worship God not just in Church, or whilst doing the traditional “Christian things” (Bible reading, worship music and prayer). We even had the Moderator of the General Assembly come and sing “Listen For The Gospel” to us after speaking to us on the last morning!
The varied worship programme was something we are all really thankful to the NYA staff for doing. We could worship in the way that suited us; we didn’t have to stick to the same format all the time. I’m confident that God really communicated his presence to us through this, giving us all a real passion to go out to our Churches with a renewed sense of the living, loving God that we all worship. Bambelela!
•August 21, 2012 • Leave a Comment
John Haston from Abbotsgrange Parish Church, Grangemouth, shares his thoughts about NYA 2012…
This was my first experience of NYA this year and I LOVED IT!!! I honestly didn’t want to go home, we had a lot of fun and I have made a ton of new friends, but this weekend has given me a closer relationship with God. I feel a lot happier with myself. Before I came to NYA, I felt lonely, unloved and felt I couldn’t break through the barrier I had, but through prayer and praise, I have broke through. My friends and family have noticed a change in my life and now all I want to do is work for our God.
Can’t wait for the year ahead, I hope there are a lot more changes in my life.
•August 19, 2012 • Leave a Comment
Fraser Ellis from Gorbals Parish Church, Glasgow, shares some of his NYA experience…
Another year, another NYA. Last year was my first year at the NYA and I never knew how much it would change my view on the church until now. Getting involved with the NYA happened when I heard about from two fellow younger members of my Church who were involved with the Church and the NYA in some form. So if it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t have been back.
This year it was great that I knew what to do so everything was second nature, especially singing African songs as my church loves that (even though the majority of which are over the age of 55). I never thought that Mungu ni mwema would be replaced but thanks to Bambelala/Never Give Up I have something I could teach my church on a Sunday. The workshops were great too although I really wanted to go to all of them but there wasn’t enough time so I went for the easy options, EQUIP on Saturday and Something Sporty on Sunday. I saw a rugby ball when we met for the Something Sporty and thought brilliant but it turned out to be Italian Volleyball and Rounders. However like any good sports person I had a visit to our world-class comedic first aid team when I managed to scrape my elbow just before lunchtime. But other than that the weekend was fab.
Now I can’t wait for next year just to see if I’m still as clumsy.