General Assembly: The week ahead

Tomorrow, a large number of youth representatives will gather in Edinburgh for the General Assembly. Amongst the group are ten National Youth Assembly reps as well as those who have been sent by their presbyteries. I am one of the National Youth Assembly reps this year and it will be my third time at the General Assembly. The last time I was at the Assembly was in 2008 when I was sent by Dundee Presbytery.

The times I have spent at General Assembly in the past have always been great learning experiences for me and I am looking forward to furthering those experiences in the coming week. The first time I attended a General Assembly I was amazed, and a little overwhelmed to be honest (!), by the diversity of issues that are dealt with during the week. Issues of law, finance, sexuality, spirituality, ministry and mission, to name but a few, are dealt with throughout the debates. Another aspect to the debates is that sometimes the issues that can be very much focussed on local matters and then in other debates, matters take a much more global focus. It highlighted to me how wide the work of the Church is and how much potential there is for the Church to do amazing things!

One of the particularly great parts of being a youth rep at the General Assembly is that you spend the entire week with the other youth reps. In the past years that I have attended, I have very quickly felt like I am part of a community and that there are many people I can rely on to help out and equally, I feel like I can help the people around me at other times. We have preparation sessions every evening, prior to business the following day. This is really beneficial; it gives us a chance to get our heads around the different reports and allows us to ask and discuss questions people may have. A very safe environment is created and no question seems too small or ridiculous. We all help each other out and I am really looking forward to being part of that community again.

Whilst we form a community amongst us as youth reps, we also form an even larger community with the commissioners to the General Assembly. It’s such a great experience meeting different people from different areas and backgrounds. One of my favourite things about the Church of Scotland, and Church in general, is that I have the opportunity to speak to people of all different ages and I can be part of such varied discussion and debate.

Throughout the week there will be, as mentioned previously, numerous debates and there will be differences in opinion and people may not always agree with the outcome of these debates. There will be ups and downs. However, being part of a community means that you don’t necessarily always agree with what the other members of that community say. That doesn’t stop you being a community. This has been one the main things I have learnt as I have grown up in the Church and I hope that I can really feel part of that this week.

Lynsey Martin

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~ by Lynsey on May 19, 2011.

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