Thought for the month
Why Youth Work is Vital
Andrew Wedge – Youth Leader
Youth work took me from a traditional Young Church setting, where I was brought by my parents each week, to one where I was engaged with church life and my faith. More importantly, going to church became my own decision. I remember getting in the Youth Fellowship (YF) mini bus on a Sunday night and heading off for what was really a random adventure somewhere around Fife. Beach trips, walks into the woods, swimming, chips, water fights, hikes, chips, hitting sticks, BBQs, cinema trips and chips to name just a few. YF when I was a delegate brought together the few sporadic young teenagers from across Dunfermline, the villages and even as far north as Kinross into one group. The most common feeling amongst young Christians (or teenagers who are simply considering faith) is one of feeling alone, isolated and rare in an ever increasing secular society. Bringing together one teenager from each church created a group that could lean on or support each other through the journey into faith and adulthood, a community still in touch that now stretches across the globe to Australia, Dubai, Edinburgh and London, to name just a few.
These same ingredients are the ones we have used to continue YF today. We still meet on a Sunday night just after six, we still go on random adventures across Fife and we still eat copious amounts of food (mainly chips). What we have done however is join up with our neighbours in Kirkcaldy. At the Provincial Youth Committees (PYC) youth week held at Glenalmond a couple years ago we met and invited a delegate from Kirkcaldy to join the YF in Dunfermline so they didn’t feel like the only teenager. We then spoke with the Revd. Christine Fraser and created what we now more aptly call the Fife Cluster YF, where we take it in turns to travel to each church or many of Fife’s tourist spots in between. The PYC youth week symbolically brings together the crosses of the 7 Dioceses (plus one representing our international delegates) of our province; they come and fit together and bring our youth together as one larger family.
We have ourselves gone from having a YF made of three families and mainly siblings to one of many families, more than 12 who turn up regularly and with a real energy and passion for their individual journeys through faith. Since then not only has the group come together but they have achieved so much. 14 of the 15 people in the photo below from across our whole Diocese who went to Glenalmond came from the Fife Custer YF. Many now stand on church committees and groups, some stand on Vestry, one is even on the nominating committee for our new Bishop. Three of our youth leaders attend Glenalmond but also the many youth events throughout the year across Scotland. Our YF has spoken at Synod passionately about their faith and wanting to be involved at every level; they have attended events with other denominations and represented our whole Pisky church across the globe. We even a have a member who is now the chair of the PYC.
These young adults have a deep faith, personal to them but glowing to see. They are articulate, connected, talented and passionate whilst also having a huge amount of energy and creativity to enable our churches to grow. The YF doesn’t belong to one church, to a set of leaders or even our YF rector Christine, it belongs to all of the congregations across our Diocese. It belongs to all of us because it is part of all of us. Many rectors tell me they can’t have a YF, they can’t do youth work because there are no teenagers or just one or two – but simply taking the one or two out for a coffee or some food (free food always got me interested) once a month is a youth group. We are in a very fortunate position that we have a group that is growing and set to grow even more (due to members of our young churches growing up). I ask you to feel proud and take ownership of these young adults who are from our local area, engage with them, support them and know simply talking to them or turning up to the events they run, like some of you did for the Area Council service that they hosted in Kirkcaldy last month, is all you need to do to fire and enable their faith.
Sermon by our Rector, the Revd Alison Cozens Sunday 8th October 2017.
Jesus said, ’Have you never read in the scriptures, The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone: this was the Lord’s doing and it was amazing in our eyes?’
A few weeks ago both at the Area Council service in Kirkcaldy and at the service here on Sunday 20th August, our young people invited us to think about something amazing God has done or shown to us in our lives recently.
So I wonder if you can think for a moment of something amazing or wonderful that God has revealed to you, some inspiration or insight or encouragement.
The chief priests and the Pharisees hearing Jesus’ parables were amazed by him and in fact they wanted to arrest him but they feared the crowds because the crowds regarded Jesus as a prophet.
All major religions have at their heart ‘eat, pray, love’, but at the heart of our Christian religion we have the Ten Commandments given to Moses on the mountain top and recorded in the book of Exodus which we heard read today.
We become like the chief priests and the Pharisees if we believe that by keeping all the rules we shall enter the kingdom of God.
The young St Paul was a rising star among the Jewish community. He was a stickler for the law but then on the Damascus road he encountered the risen Christ and his life was changed for ever!
What St Paul teaches us in the letter to the Philippians which we heard read this morning is that knowing Christ is all that matters, and that following Christ, even if that means enduring suffering for his sake, is all that matters.
In my experience God often comes to us when we least expect it and God often speaks to us in ways that are quite amazing.
If we are listening to God and to the voice of the Holy Spirit in our hearts and souls then we will often be amazed, amazed by God’s love and care for each and every one of us in our daily lives.
When I was in Leiceister, I had the headquarters of Barbara Butler’s
Christians Aware in my parish. Barbara’s husband Tom Butler was Bishop of Leicester sometime back. They kindly send me their quarterly magazine which dropped through my letter box this week
And in it my good friend Canon Andrew Wingate reflects upon 40 years of knowing and visiting India and the very great changes that have occurred in that country over that time. As a young man just after this first curacy Andrew went to teach in Tamil Nadu and he was exposed to the great injustice of the caste system and he has continued to fight for equality for the Dalits, the Untouchables.
Often a new experience in youth, a fresh expression of community, can have profound effects on a person’s life and clearly those who go to the Glen youth camp each summer have just such an experience and returning to ordinary congregations is going to be disappointing by comparison.
But then again I think a lot of ministry is about the bridging the gaps for people who experience God in different ways and people who think or believe differently from us.
I would like to recommend to you two films that I have seen recently:-
The first is Viceroy’s House a magnificent wide screen vista movie told with an autobiographical slant by the director about the partition of India 70 years ago. Apart from its political agenda, it tells the story of how people from different backgrounds can sometimes come together or fall apart.
The second film, the Butler, also has an autobiographical slant; it tells the story of one black man’s journey from the cotton fields of the deep south of America to butler in the White House concluding with a meeting with Barack Obama.
Both America and India have known racial tension and violence on a scale unfamiliar to us but there are lessons to be learned for civil society as we all seek to engage prayerfully and respectfully as people of faith with our neighbours from different cultures and backgrounds.
If we have a strong and rooted faith then I believe as Christian people we can engage with integrity with those who are different from us.
So I wonder what it is that God has revealed to you which you have found amazing recently?
‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone: this was the Lord’s doing and it is amazing in our eyes.’
Let us pray:
Almighty God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified; mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the Cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit one God now and for ever.
The Ractor read this out on Sunday 29th October during the services at Rosyth and Dunfermline:
‘Earlier this year I was invited by the Archdeacon of Birmingham to look at a parish in inner city Birmingham. After much prayer and reflection Peter and I have decided to accept God’s call to move and on Sunday 18th February 2018 I will be licensed as Priest in Charge of St George’s church Newtown and the church of St Paul and St Silas Lozells, subject to a satisfactory Disclosure.
So today I am announcing my resignation as your Rector here, a little more over the twelve weeks’ notice required by the constitution. My last service in Rosyth will be on Sunday 21st January ay 9.30am and in Dunfermline on Sunday 28th January at 11am.
Please pray for Peter and myself as we prepare to take up this challenging ministry in a diverse and international community and I will pray for you all here too.’
The Rev’d Alison Cozens
We would like to keep in our thoughts and prayers our family in Christ who meet this week in Edinburgh to discuss the business of our church. Many of our congregation are also playing a leading role at this years Synod as voting reps, helping administer the event, as keynote speakers or just attending and commenting online from the public gallery. We would like to especially think of our young adults who are not only representing our congregation but the youth voice from across our province.
Representatives from dioceses across Scotland gather in Edinburgh for the annual meeting of the General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church, which takes place on 8-10 June at St Paul’s and St George’s Church, York Place, Edinburgh.
The first key item of business on this year’s agenda was the second – and final – reading of a proposed alteration to the Church’s Canon on Marriage. This proposal removed the doctrinal clause which states that marriage is between a man and a woman. The voting process on the canonical change required a two thirds majority in each ‘house’ of Bishops, Clergy and Laity.
The vote in favour of altering the church’s Canon on Marriage removed the definition that marriage is between a man and a woman and added a new section that acknowledges that there are different understandings of marriage which now allows clergy to solemnise marriage between same sex couples as well as couples of the opposite sex. The revised canon also stipulates that no member of clergy will be required to solemnise a marriage against their conscience. – See more at: this link.
Outgoing Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church the Most Rev David Chillingworth, who is also Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld and Dunblane said:
“In the life of the church, end points are often also starting points. This is a momentous step. By removing gender from our marriage canon, our church now affirms that a same sex couple are not just married but are married in the sight of God. They can ‘leave and cleave’. They can express in marriage a commitment to lifelong faithfulness to one another and to the belief that a calling to marriage is for them too a calling to love, forgiveness, sacrifice, truth. A new chapter opens up – inclusion has taken a particular form.
But this same decision is difficult and hurtful for others whose integrity in faith tells them that this decision is unscriptural and profoundly wrong. For them this new chapter will feel like an exclusion – as if their church has moved away from them. So the journey which we now begin must also be a journey of reconciliation.”
The following two days of General Synod will see a range of topics and issues debated, including a report on Climate Change Action and Fossil Fuel Investments by the Church in Society committee; and a look at how the Church can move forward in its Mission. Please pray for all those involved in the full range of topics and discussions that they may all walk hand in hand with Christ and each other on what can be a difficult road.
This advent join us for our festive season, we have a range of additional services from the traditional nativity to the popular family Christingle service. Our busy Midnight mass service in the centre of Dunfermline is a fantastic way to celebrate the birth of Christ. We also have two services on Christmas morning, a said communion from the old Scottish Prayer book before a family service at 1000h where you are asked to bring along your favourite present!