I'm supporting The Inspirational Women's Campaign because....

The verb inspire means to motivate, encourage and enthuse. So when I was asked about a woman that had inspired me I had no doubt in my mind who it was I was going to speak about. This woman has an amazing personality, a generous heart, ceaseless love, endless amounts of positivity and a lot of gumption. This woman is my mum.

My mum, like all the others across the world, is one of a kind. Yes we still have our little squabbles and yes we still have our disagreements but at the end of the day, she is the person who encourages me, motivates me and enthuses me to go out and be all things that I want to be. My mum once told me to “just be yourself, don’t worry about what everyone else is doing” at the time this seemed really odd to me, because how could I be anyone else? I was Megan, wasn’t I? But whilst growing up this was one of the most important pieces of advice that I could ever have. Whatever situation I am in, wherever I am, whoever I am with I always remember to just be myself and that’s down to my mum.

My mum also inspires me to be all the things that I didn’t think I could be, to do all the things I didn’t think I could do and to go to all the places I didn’t think I could go. Even when I don’t believe in myself it’s my mum who’s standing right behind me cheering me on. My mum has made me the person I am today, so Cheers Mum you’ve done alright. 

WELCOME 2015: A Youth Rep Post

Welcome to 2015

So this week Bx Belshaw, one of our Methodist Council Reps, has something to say....
Hi everyone,

Welcome to 2015, all of us on the team hope you have had a good New Year.
The emails have started to fly backwards and forwards between the team as we prepare to meet for the first rep meeting of 2015 at Cliff College in 2 weeks time.
We’ve already started to look at the 3Gen report to Conference in a separate day at the end of 2014. A brilliant time at looking at some of the responses you wished to make in your own communities but also challenge the wider church to take on board. This coming rep weekend I’m sure will touch in this too.

After the Rep Weekend, Andrew, Meg and myself (Bx) Will be heading down to Methodist Council, so we are all hoping the reading comes out very soon! Watch out as we tweet and instagram pictures of this… particularly as we look for the greatest carpet/flooring of the 24 hours.

What else to look forward too? Well ask your local churches, ministers and youth leaders if your area has got a big sleepover coming up and how you can get involved.
On top of all this looking forward 3Gen2015 seems like a long way a way :( so why not check out highlights of 3Gen2014 by re-looking at the TV channel https://www.youtube.com/user/3GenerateTV. You could introduce some of the topics into your youth group and send us your views, or just grab a bowl of popcorn and watch the 2015 promo video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EkSogOBPtrg.
Keep in touch

Bx (Council Rep)

Make The Time for Christmas

It's that time of year. Yes, it has come round rather fast. Christmas has this way of sneaking up on you and before you know it the days here! The CHRISTMAS has arrived!  So in true festive spirit I’ve written a...’poem’ if that’s the best way to describe it about the hectic, busy holiday that is Christmas.

Crums it’s here, it came round so fast!

How did this happen, it couldn’t be long since we celebrated it last.

Right, get the decorations, all hands on deck

In goes the turkey, brussel sprouts, Christmas pudding, check.

Santa seems to have been and delivered lots of gifts

Too bad I’ve eaten so much and can’t seem to shift.

My goodness is that the time, where has the day gone

After all that preparation it wasn’t even that long.

So once again the time has passed us by, one year Christmas might stop and actually say hi.

So, as I hope you can tell, this poem was written with quite a comedic stance on how chaotic Christmas can be. But actually I want to use this comedic poem to make a rather serious point.
Remember to stop and enjoy this Christmas. It is a time that we are suppose to celebrate, have fun and be merry. So this year, here is a challenge, try not to get stressed out about Christmas, just enjoy and have fun and don’t let the festive season pass you by.
Merry Christmas and God Bless

Heat. Happiness and Heaps of Hospitality

It was hot. And I mean not just hot....but HOT! The sort of heat that makes you really hot. Did I mention...it was hot?

If you haven’t guessed by now, in good British fashion, I’m talking about the weather and clearly not the British weather. I’m talking about the sweltering heat of Zimbabwe.

For those of you who think that it’s been quiet around here for a few weeks, it has. I’ve been away. For the past 2 weeks I have been overseas in Zimbabwe, meeting and hearing about the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe and sharing stories, ideas and thoughts between our two Methodist Churches and experiencing Zimbabwean life.  

One of the first questions I was asked when we got out there was “What did you expect?” and honestly, I didn’t really know, I had no answer. What do you expect from a country that you know little about? From a climate that is really alien to you? and from people who you had never met? I wouldn’t like to say I had no expectations, but I didn’t really have a clue what I was going into and actually that was the best way! It meant I had a really amazing surprise.

Five interesting things I learnt about Zimbabwe:

1). You can get scorpions in Zimbabwe. How do I know this? We had one in our room.

2). The best thing you can invest in on a trip to Zimbabwe is bug replant.

3). If you’re eating something that is a mixture between chicken and fish, it’s probably crocodile.

4). The sun set in Africa is one of the most beautiful things you will ever see.

5). The hospitality of people will leave you amazed. 

I was completely overwhelmed by the endless hospitality and generosity of our hosts. We were hosted by The Methodist Church in Zimbabwe Youth Department for the 12 days of our trip. They did such a good job! Although the trip was quite full on in regards to its travel and meetings, I actually wouldn’t have wanted it any other way as this enabled us to meet a huge variety of people and experience so many different things that I wouldn’t have wanted to miss.

For the first few days of our trip we stayed at the Matthew Ruskie Children’s home just outside of Harrare. We were welcomed here as family and nothing was too much of an effort for them. The children’s home is an amazing place that is run by the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe and provides residential care facilities for orphaned and vulnerable children. Whilst we were staying with them, the home faced an additional challenge with electric and running water being out of use. Whilst we were there we told that this was a regular occurrence and sometimes they could go months without power or running water. Yet, through all of this they carry on and meet each day with a smile and grace. This is something that continued to confront me throughout the trip, people’s happiness and grace. It was everywhere!

Throughout our stay in Zimbabwe we managed to travel what felt like the length and breadth of the country, sometimes spending up to 11 hours on a mini bus to try and reach the next group of people we were meeting. As I said at the beginning we met a variety of different people, from young adult groups, to the youth council, to Bishops, to Minsters, to the Boys Christian Union, Girls Christian Union, Sunday schools, rural churches, Methodist Young Disciples, the Connexional Youth President, the pupils of a Methodist school, the Connexional Youth Co-ordinator and many many more. All of these people and groups made us feel so welcome and I can’t thank them enough for their hospitality and friendship. I felt we learnt so much from them and can only hope we were able to return the favour.

Wherever we were we asked to address these various groups, telling them about ourselves and about Methodism in Great Britain. Whilst most of the time improvising what to say, I found myself repeating something which sort of just came out. I said that we are brothers and sisters in Christ. It doesn’t matter if we are in the Great Britain, in Zimbabwe or somewhere else in the world, we are all joined together in Christ and are one body. We are all disciples and are here to support and help one another in our journeys. Although this was something that seemed to come out of my mouth on a bit of a whim, I really felt this in Zimbabwe! I felt that I was a long lost sister who had come home. I felt the fellowship of Christians and specifically I felt the fellowship of Methodists.

I don’t want to mislead you in the sense that it was all work and no ‘play’, that is certainly not the case. We did have some time to explore a bit more of Zimbabwe with visits to a Game Park and an amazing trip to the stunning Victoria Falls. All of this was such a blessing but actually I found that some of my highlights were the parts where we were able to share with people and experience that fellowship.
All in all the entire trip was just amazing. A challenge at times, but that’s what made it even more amazing.  One thing I’d love to encourage people to think about in response to this is about how we welcome people? How we create fellowship? How we share with one another? How we relate to one another as Christians? We are brothers and sisters in Christ and are here to support and help one another on our faith journey. “So we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another” (Romans 12:5)


The link below is a sign post to some work already done by the Discipleship Development Group in this area of hospitality and includes a range of resources to help churches think about how they welcome others, including a course entitled ‘First Impressions Count’ http://www.methodist.org.uk/mission/welcome-and-invitation.

3Generate generates a BUZZ

Well one of the most amazing events of my year has come...and gone.

3Genereate 2014 came around awfully quickly and in some ways the weekend whizzed by. From setting up to packing down the dedicated team of volunteers and staff were completely amazing. I’ve said it once before, but I’m going to say it again. Without the volunteers and passionate staff this event would not be possible, so thank you to everyone who was involved.
For me, the entire weekend had an amazing atmosphere. What I think best describes it is a ‘buzz’. The children and young people just have such an enthusiasm for this event that it creates a buzz that is almost contagious. And I caught the it!

A particular moment that stood out in the weekend for me was the late night Saturday worship. I think the band from Cliff College do an amazing job at creating a safe space where young people can come and encounter God. For me, this is one of things that 3Genereate is about. An image that has stayed with me since the weekend is that of 3 young people praying together. At first it was just one young person, and then a friend came over and began to pray with them and after a few minutes another young person came over and prayed too.  Although it may seem quite a simply image it’s about what it represents: the desire to meet with God whilst supporting one another; that young people from across the connexion can come together and share in faith. For those of you that know me, you’ll know I love a good cry so, in true Meg fashion I found myself completely moved by this image with tears streaming down my face.
I shared a part of my testimony on Friday evening but what I failed to say was about the part that 3Generate had played in my own journey. Without 3Generate I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to explore my relationship with God. Through this event I was able to meet with God where I was...well, where I am, and I think this event does the same for other children and young people. It’s a place where we can come with all that they are, all that’s gone on, all that has happened and just meet with God in our own way.

I’ve been to my fare share of 3Gen’s and am even old enough (even though I don’t look it right?) to have attend the youth assembly and even the youth conference set up. I truly believe in the work that 3Generate does. It empowers young people, giving them a voice and creates a space where children and young people can come and encounter God.  
It was an absolute privilege to host this year’s event and to help in the planning for this special weekend. There’s so much more I want to say on this event, but for now........I’m off to Zimbabwe!
Look out for another instalment when I get back.
See you soon

what I learnt at Cliff....

*So I'm mixing my blog around this week, and although I spent an amazing weekend in Essex, that will feature in next weeks blogs. So watch this space for that. *

My Mum always told me that honesty is the best policy. So...taking her advice...

This week I’ve struggled slightly. Not because of anything that has happened or because of anything that someone might have done. Just because. Matter of fact. Just because. I know some people reading this will know exactly what I mean. That sometimes it’s just one of ‘those’ days.

So I’ve spent my week around some really lovely people at the Discipleship and Ministry ‘gathering’ (a group where lots of people get together and share lots of stuff basically). I’ve heard a lot of great things this week and I just want to share a few reflections/thoughts (please note there is no common theme running through each point)

1). Online dating. I know that’s not the first thing you expected to hear, but I actually learnt an awful lot about the world of online dating and how it works! (Kindly delivered to me by the Church and Community team) It really made me think about how our world is slowly, but surely moving onto the online forum and made me think about what things might look like in future years.

2). Cliff College offers a lot of cake!!! My waist line = suffering

3). People are all blessed with different gifts and talents and we all need to be given the potential to live out our God given identity and use our gifts.

4). And finally and maybe the most important one of all. I think that sometimes we see that sharing our vulnerable side to people is a sign of weakness. But, I think this should not be the case. In fact, if anything, I think sharing our vulnerability and fragility is something that takes great strength. Jesus showed us his vulnerability when he died for us on the cross. But I think that this vulnerability actually showed great strength because in doing so Jesus took away all our sins. So how immense is that? That in Jesus’ frailty and tenderness there was strength and power.

I think this is amazing.
An amazing picture drawn by someone amazing at the Gathering sharing their God given talent :)
Prayer: Lord I pray for everyone that I have come into contact with this week. Please bless them in the work that they do and be with them as they go back to their different parts of the country. I also pray for strength Lord. Strength to share with others ours our vulnerability and frailty. Amen.


In the early hours...

When travelling around during the early hours of the morning on trains, sometimes you tend to have a bit of time to think (when I’m not sleeping). This week, as the youth president 2015/16 application comes to a close, I’ve been thinking back about why I applied for the role.

If I’m honest, it all started with that small feeling of being isolated. I’ve grown up in the Methodist church and although my mum was a Sunday school teacher, I was always given the choice to go to church. Being 1 of 3 young people in our little rural Chapel (FYI: didn’t have running water or a toilet = Problematic) and also 1 of 10 in our congregation could sometimes be a blessing but also a challenge. As well supported as we were as young people at the Chapel, it could at times feel quite isolated. Many years ago now (because I’m old) the 3 of us young people attended a national event, now known as 3Generate, but then known as MYC. This really sparked the fire in me to do more and to be more. It was amazing to feel part of something bigger! To see that I wasn’t on my own! That there were other young Christian’s; they did exist!

Then throughout the next couple of years I had some amazing overseas opportunities as well as have opportunities to get involved in all aspects of church. This again fed my desire to help others who felt they were alone or isolated.

I’m not ashamed to say it that God has changed my heart over the past couple of years and has lead me on a path a never thought possible. But sometimes he does that doesn’t he?

2 things I want to share:

1). I just want to encourage anyone thinking of applying for the youth president role. It’s an amazing opportunity and it will change you.

2). I also really want to encourage those people who feel that they are isolated, weather by location or by relationships. You are not alone. It may at times feel like you are, but God is with you, no matter how distant you feel, He’s got you.
The rural chapel that always made me hang on for the loo!!!
Prayer: I pray for everyone thinking of applying for the youth president role. Be with them Lord in this time and guide them in their choices. I also pray for those who feel isolated. Let them feel your love and spirit surrounding them so that they may know that they are not alone.