Category Archives: NYA

2017 National Youth Assembly Of The Church Of Scotland

As I write this the 2017 National Youth Assembly of the Church of Scotland will be getting underway in Stirling. This event is a bit different than the rest of the Assemblies on my list in that it is not the highest governing body of a Presbyterian denomination. However, I appreciate this event because it is Assembly-like in its process and provides a forum for young adults (ages 17-25) to gather and discuss contemporary issues and how they interact with society and their faith. Furthermore, their discussions and conclusions are presented to the Church of Scotland General Assembly the following May. (If you are interested in more detail, have a look at the National Youth Assembly report to the 2017 Assembly as well as their Joint Report with the Church of Scotland Guild related to inter-generational initiatives in the church.) In addition, other entities within the Kirk, like the Church of Scotland Guild (as indicted above) and the Go For It initiative work with the NYA and its leadership.

So this year’s Assembly convenes this evening, Friday 21 July and will adjourn mid-day on Monday 24 July. It will be meeting again this year at Gartmore House in Stirlingshire. The Kirk put out their story on it yesterday.

The discussion topics this year are Young People and Discipleship (which is tied in to Year of Young People 2018), Interfaith, and Priorities of the Church. The NYA Facebook page is one way to follow along with these discussions and has links to some videos related to the discussions. For Young People and Discipleship, there are some additional themes with video links, such as Participation and Leadership, Education, and Health and Well Being. There is also a video introducing the organization Interfaith Scotland related to the second discussion topic.

A belated congratulations to the incoming leadership of the NYA. They were introduced in a press release a couple months back and will begin their one-year term this evening. The incoming Moderator is Robin Downie of Lochcarron who is currently a hospitality employee – a barman to be specific – but plans to pursue a career in nursing. He has been active with church work including volunteering for six months at Blythswood Care and working at an orphanage and teaching English with the Roma community. The incoming clerk is Catriona Munro originally from Paisley but now calls Stirling home. She is active in many ways with her home church as well as with the NYA team over the last couple of years. And she has been presented with her sign of office.

Besides Facebook the best way to follow along is probably Twitter so keep an eye on the hashtag #nya2017. You should also be looking at the official NYA account (@cosy_nya) as well as the NYA Moderator Account (@nyamoderator).  The NYA will be covered by the curated account Church Scotland Voices (@churchscovoices) under the operation of Gigha Lennox for the weekend who can also be found on her personal account, @Little_isle23. The incoming officers can be followed on their personal accounts as well with Robin at @robin_downie and Catriona at @atrionacmunro. We will have an appearance of the Church of Scotland Moderator, Rt. Rev. Dr. Derek Browning, who tweets at the official account (@churchmoderator). Might see something on the Moderator’s official Facebook page as well. Other groups include the Go For It initiative who will probably be there (@GoForItcofs) and the Kirk Guild (@cofsguild). There are some foreign and ecumenical delegates to the NYA so maybe the representatives from the United Reformed Church’s Youth Assembly in January (@URC_youth) will be there again. I will also include the official Kirk account @churchscotland. Finally, keep an eye on the outoing clerk Lyndasy Kennedy (@GhettoSmurf90) and the soon-to-be former Moderator Andrew MacPherson’s personal account (@StAndrewMac).

And so, with that, we begin another exciting weekend with NYA 2017. Best wishes to the new Moderator and Clerk and to all those in attendance. Our prayers are with you. It will probably take a bit for some of their deliberations, decisions and recommendations to be processed and reported, but we look forward to hearing about those when they are ready. Have a wonderful weekend of fellowship, discernment and spiritual renewal.

 

General Assembly Season 2017

It is May 1st – Already? We have once again returned to the date on my calendar that marks the beginning of the General Assembly Season. Where has the time gone?

This is simply the list – further detail will be necessary on a number of important and interesting items of business that will come before the GA’s this year.

As always, this is the line-up as I know it – I will update as I clarify additional Assembly and Synod meetings.

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62nd General Assembly
Presbyterian Church in Taiwan
18-21 April 2017

 

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Synod
The Presbyterian Church of Eastern Australia
2-4 May 2017
Mt. Druitt, N.S.W.

 

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General Assembly
Presbyterian Church of Tasmania
16 May 2017 (begins)

 

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General Assembly
Church of Scotland
20-26 May 2017
Edinburgh

 

 

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General Assembly
Free Church of Scotland (Continuing)
22-25 May, 2017
Edinburgh

 

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General Assembly
Free Church of Scotland
22-25 May 2017
Edinburgh

 

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General Assembly
United Free Church of Scotland
31 May – 2 June 2017
Perth

 

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84th General Assembly
Orthodox Presbyterian Church
31 May – 6 June 2017
Trinity Christian College
Palos Heights, Illinois

 

Presbyterian_Church_in_Canada_(logo)143rd General Assembly
Presbyterian Church in Canada
4-7 June 2017
Queen’s University
Kingston, Ontario

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General Assembly
Presbyterian Church in Ireland
5-9 June 2017
Belfast

 

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213th Stated Meeting of the General Synod
Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church
6-8 June 2017
Bonclarken
Flat Rock, North Carolina

 


45th General Assembly
Presbyterian Church in America
12-16 June 2017
Greensboro, North Carolina

 

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General Assembly
Presbyterian Church of Queensland
18-22 June 2017
Fairholme College Toowoomba
Toowoomba
Note: The Presbyterian Church of South Australia will not hold an Assembly again this year and operates as a presbytery of PCQ

 

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142nd General Assembly
Cumberland Presbyterian Church in America
18-21 June 2017
Innisbrook Resort
Tampa, Florida
Concurrent with the Cumberland Presbyterian Church

 

cplogosmallwithtext200x200187th General Assembly
Cumberland Presbyterian Church
18-23 June 2017
Innisbrook Resort
Tampa, Florida
Concurrent with Cumberland Presbyterian Church in America


37th General Assembly
Evangelical Presbyterian Church
20-23 June 2017
Fair Oaks Presbyterian Church
Fair Oaks, California

 

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186th Synod
Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America
28-30 June 2017
Indiana Wesleyan University
Marion, Indiana

 

 

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N.S.W. State Assembly
Presbyterian Church of Australia
in the State of New South Wales

3 July 2017 (begins)
Croydon, N.S.W.

 

NYA_0National Youth Assembly
Church of Scotland
21-24 July 2017
Stirlingshire
(Technically not a governing
body, but still an Assembly I track)

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81st General Synod
Bible Presbyterian Church
3-7 August 2017
Edmonton BPC, Edmonton, Alberta

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General Assembly
Presbyterian Church of Victoria
9 – 13 October 2017

 

 

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General Assembly
Presbyterian Church in Western Australia
27 October 2017

 

These are the ones that I am tracking at the moment. I will update as appropriate. If I have missed one, or have information wrong or incomplete, please provide the appropriate information and I will update the list.

And, to make the GA season complete here are two more items…

The first is the series of articles I wrote as an introduction to Presbyterian General Assemblies seven years ago. My GA 101 series consists of the following

GA101: Preface
GA101: Introduction – Why in the world would anybody want to do it this way?
GA101: Connectionalism – The Presbyterian Big Picture
GA101: The Cast of Characters – A score card to identify the players
GA101: The Moderator – All Things In Moderation
GA101: Where does the GA business come from? – Incoming!
GA101: Doing the business of GA — Decently and in Order

Yes, what started as a six part series expanded into seven completed articles with two more unfinished ones (still) in the queue.

And finally, on to the ridiculous. Lest we take ourselves too seriously, a couple years ago I had a little fun with the General Assembly and in the post passed along the GA drinking game and GA Bingo. In addition, Allan Edwards has posted an alternate Bingo card reflecting the polity of the Presbyterian Church in America and Neil MacLennan has created one that reflects the idiosyncrasies of the Church of Scotland. Please play responsibly. 😉

One other thing is that you may have noticed a new tab on the top navigation bar for a Calendar of Presbyterian and Reformed General Assemblies, Synods and Other Events. I have just begun to populate it but hope that within the week I will have most of the items in this post, plus a few more, entered into that calendar. It is an attempt to provide a resource for those times when someone asks about a GA date well before my May 1 date for publishing this list.

So GA Junkies, go for it. It is GA season so enjoy! May you have an exciting experience over the next few months of watching us do things decently and in order!

General Assembly Season 2015

It is the First of May, the day I have traditionally used to mark the start of the General Assembly Season. (Although you will see it started a bit before that.)

There is lots of excitement ahead this year so get ready.

Here is this year’s line-up as I know it now. I will update as I clarify additional Assembly and Synod meetings.

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60th General Assembly
and 150th Anniversary of the founding
Presbyterian Church in Taiwan
7-10 April 2015

 

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Synod
The Presbyterian Church of Eastern Australia
5-7 May 2015
Mt. Druitt, N.S.W.

 

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General Assembly
Presbyterian Church of Tasmania
12 May 2015 (begins)

 

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General Assembly
Church of Scotland
16-22 May 2015
Edinburgh

 

 

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General Assembly
Free Church of Scotland Continuing
18-21 May, 2015
Edinburgh

 

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General Assembly
Free Church of Scotland
18-21 May 2015
Edinburgh

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General Assembly
Presbyterian Church of South Australia
25 May 2014 (begins)
Naracoorte, S.A.

 

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General Assembly
Presbyterian Church in Ireland
1-4 June 2015
Belfast

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82nd General Assembly
Orthodox Presbyterian Church
3-9 June 2015
Dordt College
Sioux Center, Iowa

 

Presbyterian_Church_in_Canada_(logo)141st General Assembly
Presbyterian Church in Canada
4-8 June 2015
University of British Columbia
Vancouver, B.C.

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140th General Assembly
Cumberland Presbyterian Church in America

7-10 June 2015
Huntsville, Alabama

 

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Synod
Reformed Presbyterian Church of Ireland
8-10 June 2015
Bready

 

 

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Synod
Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America
8-12 June 2015
Bonclarken
Flat Rock, North Carolina
Concurrent with the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church

 

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211th Stated Meeting of the General Synod
Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church
9-11 June 2015
Bonclarken
Flat Rock, North Carolina
Concurrent with the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America

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43rd General Assembly
Presbyterian Church in America
8-12 June 2015
Chattanooga, Tennessee
(And the logo at left was proposed last year and referred so we will see what the report back is.)

 

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General Assembly
United Free Church of Scotland
10-12 June 2015
Perth

 

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185th General Assembly
Cumberland Presbyterian Church
19-26 June 2015
Cali, Columbia

 

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35th General Assembly
Evangelical Presbyterian Church
23-27 June 2015
Orlando, Florida

 

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General Assembly
Presbyterian Church of Queensland
21-25 June 2015

 

 

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N.S.W. State Assembly
and 150th Anniversary Celebration
Presbyterian Church of Australia
in the State of New South Wales

29 June 2015 (begins)
Croydon, N.S.W.

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79th General Synod
Bible Presbyterian Church
6-11 August 2015
Cape Canaveral, Florida

NYA_0National Youth Assembly
Church of Scotland
14-17 August 2015
Stirlingshire
(Technically not a governing
body, but still an Assembly I track)

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General Assembly
Presbyterian Church of Victoria
5-8 October 2015

 

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General Assembly
Presbyterian Church in Western Australia
30 October 2015
Peppermint Grove, WA

 

And in case you were looking for one of these high-profile GA’s, they are not annual events and you will have to wait for next year:

These are the ones that I am tracking at the moment.  I will update as appropriate.  If I have missed one, or have information wrong or incomplete, please provide the appropriate information and I will update the list.

And, to make the GA season complete here are two more items…

The first is the series of articles I wrote as an introduction to Presbyterian General Assemblies seven years ago.  My GA 101 series consists of the following

GA101: Preface
GA101: Introduction – Why in the world would anybody want to do it this way?
GA101: Connectionalism – The Presbyterian Big Picture
GA101: The Cast of Characters – A score card to identify the players
GA101: The Moderator – All Things In Moderation
GA101: Where does the GA business come from? – Incoming!
GA101: Doing the business of GA — Decently and in Order

Yes, what started as a six part series expanded into seven completed articles with two more unfinished ones in the queue.  (Maybe this will give me some motivation to finish those up.)

And finally, on to the ridiculous.  Lest we take ourselves too seriously, a couple years ago I had a little fun with the General Assembly and in the post passed along the GA drinking game and GA Bingo. Please play both responsibly. 😉

So, for all the GA Junkies out there I wish you the best of GA seasons.  May you enjoy the next few months of watching us do things decently and in order!

Moderator-Designate And Clerk Announced For The National Youth Assembly

So much I could be writing about over my lunch hour today but I have to give preference to a fellow geologist…

This morning the Church of Scotland announced that the selection committee for the Church of Scotland Youth (COSY) National Youth Assembly (NYA) has chosen Ms Hanna Mary Goodlad as the 2015 NYA Moderator and Ms Catriona Muckart as the 2015 Clerk. They will be installed at, and help run, NYA 2015 and will be part of the report of the NYA deliverance to the Church of Scotland’s 2016 General Assembly.

Needless to say, the Life and Work article got my attention when their opening line about Ms Goodlad is “Hannah Mary lives in Aberdeen and works as a Geologist for an oil company.” She received her initial training at Glasgow University and did additional work at Imperial College, London.

Hanna Mary grew up in Shetland and the article says that she has been active in the church with children’s and youth work. While in London she helped at a homeless shelter, and with her church she has traveled to Tanzania to help teach at a school for deaf children. In addition, she has been a representative from the Church of Scotland to the Scottish Youth Parliament.

In the article she is quoted in part as saying:

Growing up in a small community right on the edge of Scotland gave me a hunger for the inclusion for those who feel marginalised for whatever reason: geographically or indeed socially. My aim is to be an approachable and accessible leader for the young folk already within our Kirk but I also want to also reach out to the young people across the breadth of Scotland who want a connection with the Kirk, at whatever level that may be.

I am passionate about the Church of Scotland, passionate about the never ending good works of our Kirk and I am passionate about Christ. It is my desire to see the position of young people within the Church of Scotland grow. We are an accepting, open group of young Christians with our love of Christ and one another under pinning everything we do.

Ms Catriona Muckart, the new Clerk, hails from the village of Clashmore and is currently a member of Dornoch Cathedral. She is in her third year of school at the University of Stirling studying sociology and criminology. We are told “In her spare time she enjoys kayaking, she says perhaps with more enthusiasm than skill!”

Ms Muckart is quoted as saying:

I’m very humbled to have been selected as the next clerk of the NYA and am excited about what the role will bring. I’m looking forward to working with Hannah and the rest of the NYA during my year as clerk and journeying with them in faith.

We congratulate Heather Mary and Catriona on this honor and extend our prayers to them as they prepare for and help lead the NYA, as well as for the remainder of the year as they represent the NYA within the Kirk. And we certainly look forward to hearing more about the themes for the NYA next August. Best wishes.

UPDATE: The Church of Scotland main site has issued their announcement of the appointments.

And while the article is subscription based at least we have the great headline from The Press and Journal

Aberdeen scientist appointed to lead Kirk’s national youth assembly

2014 National Youth Assembly Of The Church Of Scotland

NYA 14

National Youth Assembly 2014

It is once again the time of year for the National Youth Assembly of the Church of Scotland. This annual meeting takes the deliberative process seriously and gathers the younger members of the church, those in the 17 to 25 age range, for a weekend of discussion and deliberation as well as connecting through some fun and fellowship.

And this is a milestone year for the Assembly as it meets for the 20th time. This year’s Moderator, Rachel Hutcheson, commented on the anniversary in the Kirk news article: “This forum, over 20 years, has become the best way for young people within the Church to have their voice heard.”

This year’s overall theme is “My Father’s House” and under that there will be four topics of discussion and debate that will form the recommendations that participants will take back to their churches and presbyteries and that will make up the NYA deliverance to the 2015 General Assembly. Those discussion topics are: How do we worship? How should the church spend it’s money? How can we do ministry intergenerationally? How will we support Christians in the Middle East? The workshop streams are titled Pray, Train, Do, Bible, Church.

The Assembly gets under way this evening, Friday 15 August, at Gartmore House in Stirlingshire, and will continue until Monday morning 18 August.

Some years live streaming is available but considering the meeting facilities and that I have seen no mention of streaming I don’t think it looks promising.

As for social media, it looks like Twitter will be the primary vehicle. There is the NYA account at @cosy_nya to watch as well as the official Church of Scotland feed (@churchscotland) and the official publication Life and Work (@cofslifeandwork). The hashtag is announced as #nya14. although I am seeing #nya2014 in use as well. As for individuals, the Moderator of this year’s Assembly is Rachel Hutcheson (@rach_hutcheson) and the Clerk is John Haston (@johndhaston). It is also worth following past Moderator Lynsey Martin (@lynsey1889). We will see who else might provide some interest insights.

UPDATE: One day in I would add the Rev. Liz Crumlish who is writing about NYA on her blog Journalling and tweets at @eacbug. And the #NYA2014 hashtag seems to be getting more use.

Advance coverage and information about this year’s Assembly includes the Church of Scotland article, another from their publication Life and Work, Information from the Resourcing Mission page, and the NYA 2014 flyer.

While there has been some live updates in the past on the COSY Blog, that was not active last year, but maybe it will be revived. Otherwise, we follow along on Twitter and wait for press releases, articles and next year’s Blue Book.

So our best wishes and prayers for a fun, enlightening, meaningful and productive experience for all the participants this year. And prayers for Rachel and John as they lead the body.

[Personal update: I am back from my summer vacation and getting back into the routine of writing so the blog will come alive again. I am also adjusting to the new blogging platform so if things are not as neat and orderly right away sorry about that and please bear with me.]

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Church Of Scotland 2014 National Youth Assembly Moderator And Clerk

This past week the Church of Scotland announced the choice of Moderator and Clerk for the 2014 National Youth Assembly.

The Moderator will be Ms Rachel Hutcheson, a member of Old High St. Stephen’s Church of Inverness. She has a good background in the workings of the Kirk having been involved in Church of Scotland Youth (CoSY) for the last six years and during that time participated in four National Youth Assemblies. In addition, she has served as a youth delegate from the Presbytery of Inverness to the General Assembly four times. She is active in her local church as a youth group leader and a member of the Worship Team. She has also helped with the wider church as staff for three National Children’s Assemblies.

She is a student at the University of Aberdeen working on an MA in Education. From one of the bio’s I had to look up her summer pastime of Munro Bagging and found it to be mountain climbing a particular set of peaks very much like the 46ers that I grew up working on.

The Clerk will be Mr. John Haston, an active elder from Abbotsgrange Parish Church in Grangemouth where he serves as the Sunday
School Superintendent, EV3NT co-ordinator, choir member, Boys Brigade helper and a committee member of the
men’s association. He serves the Presbytery of Falkirk as a corresponding youth member and assessor elder for another congregation. (Polity note: when a congregation can not form its own session the governing council is composed of outside assessor elders like other branches might have an organizing committee or an administrative commission.)

He has been to two previous National Youth Assemblies and he will be serving as a youth delegate to the General Assembly for the second time this May.

There is coverage of the announcement from both the Church of Scotland news article as well as a briefer article, but with pictures, from the Kirk’s magazine Life and Work. At this time the COSY page for Moderator and Clerk includes both the current officers as well as the most detailed bios of each of the designees.

The National Youth Assembly will be held 15-18 August and the theme is “My Father’s House.” In the quotes in the Life and Work article Rachel helps to unpack this a little:

“The Church is going through challenging times so we must take time to
reflect on who we are and where we are going. This year at NYA we will
be exploring how we worship. We will discuss how we think the Church
should be spending its money. We will be investigating how we can do
ministry intergenerationally and finally, how we can support Christians
in the Middle East. As we join together to celebrate 20 fabulous years
of NYA I hope delegates will feel empowered and strengthened in their
faith.”

(And I have to give a nod of approval to the coffee cup – OK, hot beverage cup – in the graphics.)

We congratulate Rachel and John on their selection as the officers of the National Youth Assembly and wish them well and offer our prayers as they prepare for the meeting and to represent the Assembly in the following year. Furthermore, we pray for the Assembly as a whole and eagerly look forward to their mutual discernment on the topics to be discussed.

National Youth Assembly 2013 – Church Of Scotland

As I am writing this the 2013 edition of the National Youth Assembly of the Church of Scotland is getting under way. This is a program of the Church of Scotland Youth ministry (COSY).

Regular readers know that I think highly of this event because of the way that it has engaged the young people of the church in substantive discussions about topics important to them, to the Kirk and to Scotland.

This year is a bit different and I am looking forward to how it works out. Instead of three or four topics related to church and society, this year’s theme is “Who do you say I am?” The specific topics to be discussed include: What is it do be me? What is it to be in The Church of Scotland? What is it to be Scottish?

I don’t know if this will be developed into deliverances for the next CofS General Assembly in the Spring, but I look forward to following the process. The COSY NYA page does say that the format will be a bit different: “For NYA 2013 our focus will be shifting from debates to other forms of learning and decision making.”

The Assembly begins at 5 PM local time on Friday 16 August at the West Park Conference Centre in Dundee. It will conclude about 5 PM on Monday 19 August.

There is a web page in the COSY area on the NYA Moderator RE Lynsey Martin and Clerk Esther Nisbet. (I wrote bit on both of them earlier in the spring) There is also a Kirk news article about the Assembly that was released today.

One fact that reinforces that this will be a different sort of NYA is the minimum amount of advanced information posted on the internet. In the past the COSY Blog is the best source of information but it has not been updated since the final deliverances were posted after the last NYA.

Often there is live streaming of the NYA but I have not seen a link for this year’s Assembly yet. I will update here if I find it but with the format changes it may have been eliminated if the number of good streaming opportunities is minimal.

So we shall keep an eye on Twitter for the action, developments, commentary and links. It appears that both #nya13 and #nya2013 are in use for this meeting — the former follows the pattern from previous years while the latter is being used by official types. The official Twitter account is @cosy_nya and the main church feed is @churchscotland. In addition, the Moderator of the General Assembly, the Rt. Rev. Lorna Hood (@moderatorchurch), will be leading worship on Monday and she has been retweeting some NYA related info. I will update with others as the meeting develops.

Finally, one interesting feature of this meeting is a bit of a discussion that has developed around it.  Yesterday, Michael Mair, a candidate for the ministry who anticipates being ordained shortly and becoming the youngest minister in the Church of Scotland, wrote a column in the Herald Scotland about the lack of young people in the Kirk and about how the NYA should help the church take young people seriously. It carried the implication that taking young people seriously would help bring more of them back to the Church of Scotland. He says of the Assembly:

Therefore, I am pleading with the Church. Take these young people and
their ideas seriously. The National Youth Assembly is not important
merely because it is a meeting place for young Christians. In addition
it is a melting pot from which wonderful insightful and brilliant ideas
are born. They deserve to be heard.

His column got a response from Free Church of Scotland minister David Robertson in a piece published on the Free Church website. While not directly commenting on the NYA, Rev. Robertson challenged soon-to-be-Rev. Mair’s basic premise about the lack of youth and instead argued that the problem is systemic to the Kirk and derives from the fact “…that it is committing a not so slow suicide by drinking the Kool-Aid of liberal theology and poisoning itself to death.”

Well, I have found NYA to be an important and relevant event in the life of the Kirk even if there are larger issues to be dealt with. So, my best wishes to the young people participating in the NYA this weekend and I am looking forward to hearing how this year’s event goes and what comes out of it.