Youthful delegates gather ahead of 16th Assembly
May 6, 2022
Twenty youthful members of the 16th Assembly have gathered today ahead of the beginning of the reconvened meeting.
The pre-Assembly gathering is an opportunity for youthful members to build community, share their hopes and gain insights into how the meeting works. Members under 30 make up one in 10 members of the Assembly and are drawn from every Synod.
Steve Molkentin from the Synod of NSW/ACT, who co-hosted the gathering with Erin Mawhinney from the Synod of Queensland, said it was a great privilege to create a space where youthful members could share openly and honestly.
“It’s vital to our young people that they are given the opportunity to be in community, and that the church take seriously advocating for and encouraging their leadership opportunities through participation in councils like the Assembly.”
For its final session the gathering was joined by President Rev Sharon Hollis and Assembly General Secretary Colleen Geyer, who fielded questions about the process and shared their own hopes for the meeting.
Rev Hollis said the gathering was an important way of valuing the Assembly’s younger members and helping them prepare to engage in the work of the meeting.
“As an intergenerational church we live open and ready to hear how the Spirit is speaking through our young people. It is important that they feel emboldened to participate.”
“Their wisdom provides much inspiration and prompting for the discernment of the Church. I’m excited to see how they will engage.”
Ms Geyer encouraged the youthful members of the meeting to have courage and be bold in making their contributions.
“At this meeting we’re thinking about where God is calling the Uniting Church, and the future of the Uniting Church – in which you will be the leaders. So please speak. Offer your wisdom and insights.”
Rev Hollis led communion to close the gathering, sharing a passage from 1 Corinthians 13 and speaking of the Assembly theme which invites members to reflect on how God’s love dwells with and shapes us.
“This passage is one of many reminding us that love is the greatest gift of God, and the greatest gift we can offer each other.”
The gathering then prayed for the President and General Secretary as they prepare to take key leadership roles for the next three days.