of eight to twenty eight travelled from across the Methodist Connexion to attended 3Generate: Children and Youth Assembly which was held at the Pioneer Centre, Cleobury Mortimer in Shropshire.
3Generate, to many may only be a word, but to me it is much much more. Last year at 3Generate I was elected by the Children and Young people at the event to represent them as Methodist Youth President. Admittedly at the time I didn’t really truly know what ‘I was getting myself in for’ but as my year is progressing I truly believe that this is God’s call on my life in this current moment in time.
As I arrived at 3Generate on the Friday afternoon (I didn’t get off to the best of starts as my I missed my first train!) amongst the chaos of setting up for the event with projectors, games, posters strewn across the floor, I truly felt as part of a team. Do you ever get where, there is chaos going on around you and you are just standing there not knowing what to do with yourself? ...No? Maybe that’s just me, but preparing for the event, I had things to do (whether that may have been carrying boxes or even just opening doors for people) I felt like I was needed and without sounding too emotional it was the first time I felt needed like that in a chaotic context.
In a blink of an eye, the delegates started to arrive at 7pm and I saw old faces (who attended 3Generate last year) and new faces of people who were attending 3Generate for the first time. I felt truly at home, although initially I was worried that I wouldn’t have my fellow OPPs with me (before my year as Youth President, I was a One Programme Participation for the Methodist Church which was part of the Youth Participation Strategy and my project was the Southlands Venture at the University of Roehampton- where I empowered students to volunteer, campaign and fundraise within the local area, during my year as an OPP there were 16 other OPPs working across the connexion), I felt truly at home. Walking up and down the halls of the Pioneer centre I was met with smiles and warm embraces- too be honest I smiled so much that weekend that my jaw actually ached!
During my introduction speech of the Friday night I was soo nervous as it was the first time I had ever spoken to a large crowd and I was worried that when I would ask for volunteers that no one would respond. But to this day I am so grateful that the delegates came to my aid on numerous occasions. I could not have asked for a better audience (they even laughed at my jokes) and even when my video links didn’t work they stayed engaged throughout.
My time at 3Generate this year was completely different from my experience last year where I ‘campaigning’ as a Youth President Candidate (I must have only attended one ‘login’ session!) but I am grateful that I had the experience to be more involved in the event this year – I have never felt so maternal in my life until now! 3Generate has become so special to me.
Every year 3Generate adapts and evolves following on from feedback from the delegates at the event, through the Big SleepOver resource and from Shaper groups involving children and youth workers. The Big SleepOver resource from this year’s 3Generate will be available at: Big SleepOver Resource from the end of February so please do get your Church involved! Following on from the feedback, logins, workshops, worship and sofa chats were catered specifically to three different age streams: 8- 11, 11-18 (school year) and 18-23. The topics chosen for discussion in logins and sofa sessions are carefully selected each year from the views and recommendations.
This year we covered a range of subjects including: stress, bullying, self-esteem, understanding Mental Health, the ‘F’ words- friendship, family and faith, relationships, spiritual gifts, interfaith relationships and identity. The voice of children and young people following on these sessions and throughout the whole of 3Generate is integral to the wider Methodist Church as they form the basis of resolutions that may be passed forward to Conference or can be discussed further at the next 3Generate in 2014.
On the Sunday morning everyone I am sure was pretty knackered following on from the login sessions, debates, worship by the Sounds of Salvation, the late night bonfire, games, activities (which included the high ropes!), fellowship, plus MORE the day before (Saturday). But there was more in store (that all rhymed!) with worship by the Psalm drummers and by some of the students from Cliff College. We somehow mustered the energy (gladly!) to elect the next Youth President- Megan Thomas- She will begin her year in September 2014! So do keep her in your prayers and thoughts! We also elected 3Generate representatives to support the reps elected before 3Generate this year, the 3GenReps are:
Methodist Conference Reps: Paul Parker (18 +), Jasmine Dempsey and Joshua Williamson (15-18s)
Methodist Council Reps: Rebecca Belshaw, Megan Bunce and Andrew Fairlamb
British Youth Council Reps: Rachel Alison, Andrew Harper, Abby Watterson, Tom Williamson and myself (Tamara Wray)
Ecumenical Reps: Emma Johnson (18 +) and Yambanashe Chisango (15-18)
So please do keep all these representatives in your prayers and follow their blog 3GenReps Blog and twitter page @3GenReps!
3Generate is an event which will always be special to me and even after my year as Youth President I will definitely volunteer to help out in any way that I can. It has given me a renewed hope for the future of the ‘Church’. It seems that every week there is yet another article, document highlighting that the Church is in decline and is ‘dying out’, the fellowship and the love that I felt over the weekend strongly refutes these claims. I feel truly blessed to say that I played a small part in 3Generate 2013.
Thank you to all who made 3Generate 2013 happen this year: God, the staff, the volunteers, the delegates, the worship team without you all this event could not have happened. Also a special thanks to Ruth Gee (President of the Methodist Conference) and Daleep Mukarji (Vice President of the Methodist Conference) who also attended the event. Please do promote 3Generate within your local Churches, Circuits, and Districts as there is still room for more delegates next year, booking for 3Generate 2014 opens in the summer 2014.
Also do look out for the Children and Youth Assembly (3Generate) report which I am in the process of typing up and will present to Methodist Conference June 2014. In the meantime do look at the report for Children and Youth Assembly report 2012 produced by Youth President 2012-13 Hayley Moss and reports for the previous years are also available :)
Until next time...