WMC: February 2017
The 3Generate event for young Methodists took place over the weekend of the 25 and 27 November, with more young people than ever before taking part.
The event has more than doubled in size over the last two years with close to 700 young Methodists and youth leaders gathered for fellowship and fun at the PGL Adventure Centre in Swindon. Young people from 8 to 23 came from across the UK to mix worship and activities with discussion and debate. Presentations and talks on topics for older groups included well-being and social justice while younger groups considered what church could look like if they were in charge.
Several of our young people went and these are some of their reactions:
'I enjoyed staying at 3Generate and I hope to go this year too. I liked some of the worship and it was fun voting for the new youth president. I slept in a dorm with 3 other girls and that was really fun. I enjoyed doing the outdoor activities despite it being freezing cold! The inflatables in the big barn were really good fun!' Emily Kent
'This was a great weekend where we all met new friends and learnt new things. There were great activities at the PGL centre and grounds including mountain biking, abseiling and zip wires to name a few. As well as this there were fun and thought provoking services with great music! I think we all had a lot of fun and can't wait till next year!' James Kent
'We had a fantastic time at 3 Generate. We only went for the day last year, but it was even better staying for the whole weekend. It was great to meet new people and to make friends. We're keeping in touch by text. The PGL centre was very good and the food was delicious.
We took part in discussions about world issues, "Grow" sessions about young people and faith, and outdoor activities. We really enjoyed Giant Swing: it's an extremely high swing that suddenly lets you drop from a height — really scary but fun! The zip wire activity was also exhilarating.
The best thing about 3 Generate was being with so many young Christians. The worship sessions were really lively and thought-provoking and it was amazing to have all those young people together. We are definitely going again next year!'
Chris & Charlotte
Penny Fuller, Methodist Church and Community Development Co-ordinator with responsibility for the event explained:
"The growth is so exciting, we were fully booked in some age groups. We will need to look at how we go forward to accommodate the growth. This is a very consultative event. We ask the children to help design the programme through groups that meet throughout the UK. It's very diverse so we have to cater for such a wide age range."
"This year we have put additional focus on ensuring we are as accessible as possible. Our specialist volunteers have been providing additional support to those with learning difficulties, physical limitations or in need of additional emotional help."
While there was a lot of fun, faith and fellowship with adventurous outdoor activates and silent discos, there was also an emphasis placed on worship and debate. A range of opportunities were also available for young people to choose how they wished to worship with art through to late night communion. Discussions were held in all age groups to ensure that children were heard.
The current Youth President Tim Annan, who was elected at last year's 3Generate said, "We come together to worship God and discuss the issues important to us as young Christians.
"Our resolutions impact the wider church as we can feed directly into the Methodist Conference, helping local churches engage with young people on issues. Refugees, prayer, relationships are just some of the topics we tackled."
Elections were held for the next youth president with five candidates taking part. The candidates were asked questions by young voters during hustings and, produced promotional videos and displays as part of their election campaigns.
Michael Pryke, from Stamford in Lincolnshire, was elected as the Methodist Youth President Designate. Michael is keen for young people to participate in the life of the church, taking up roles that suit their gifts and to develop new styles of worship.
"I'm deeply honoured to have been chosen to take up this role and I'd like to thank all the people who helped and supported me with the election," said Michael. "Young people need to be a voice of change. We are not just what is next, we are now and our voice counts."
Michael will begin his role next summer, taking over from Tim Annan in September 2017.
"3Gen is one of the most vital parts of the church," said Rachel Lampard, Vice President of the Methodist Conference who spoke at the event. "Young people are part of the Church themselves. Our youth work is led and driven by young people. Here they realise they are part of a bigger Church. They can enjoy themselves, ask questions, explore their faith and grow as Christians and individuals."
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