As youth input into the General Assemblies of the different Presbyterian branches go, each has its own particular flavor. In the Church of Scotland the National Youth Assembly meets a full nine months before the GA and through a multi-day deliberative process of their own they write deliverances that contain material that will be presented directly to the commissioners at the Assembly in their own report. In the case with the Young Adult Advisory Delegates of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), they do not meet beforehand but during the Assembly they gather
in the evenings late at night and hear about the issues the Assembly is considering.
The PCI SPUD Overnight is a bit of both of these. While it does not directly generate business of its own to go to Assembly, it is a time of deliberative consideration of items that will be considered by the Assembly just over a month later. It is a time of discussion and providing input and feedback to the Assembly, through their representatives. The discussions are wider ranging then just the business of the Assembly and also aim to equip the attendees to work back in their home congregations. And yes, there is time for a bit of fun as well.
This year’s Overnight kicks off at 7 PM local time today, 24 April, at the Faith Mission Centre in Portadown, Northern Ireland, and runs until 9 PM the next day. Each congregation is invited to send representatives to the event.
The SPUD web page includes a short video about the event and the presenter, Helen from the SPUD working group, specifically mentions topics within the church like outreach, community, and youth leadership, as well as the wider societal issues such as “abortion, the conscience clause and sexuality.”
If you want to follow along on social media the starting points are the PCI SPUD Youth Assembly Facebook page and their Twitter feed @pciSPUD. They are promoting the hashtag #useyourvoice, but it is not exclusive to this event. Other official Twitter feeds that might be active during the event are the one for PCI YAC – the church’s Youth And Children Board of which SPUD is a part – at @PCIYAC, as well as the church’s official assembly feed at @pciassembly.
It is worth noting that SPUD is active throughout the year in many different ways, as you can see on their PCI YAC web page. In particular, their GA Fringe event was a success last year so they will be doing it again this year. And in addition to this Overnight event, they did regional events with the SPUD On Tour theme.
So as the SPUD delegates gather we wish them a good weekend of discussion and fun and look forward to their input at the Assembly in just over a month.