Page 3 - Moravian Messenger September 2018
P. 3

This year at Synod the Youth Representatives were Josh Cooper from the Royton congregation and Katie Biggs from Fairfield. Despite the Lancashire accent of the representatives, with Josh's experience as a Summer Camp leader and Katie's position on the Provincial Youth and Children's Committee we were hopefully able to represent the whole Province.
I am sure that Josh and I will not be the only ones to say that there was a real feel of hopefulness and excitement during the weekend. Discussions were inspiring and open; there was the opportunity to discuss serious issues impacting our church from human sexuality to the church's future. These conversations and debates though, despite their occasionally controversial natures, were done in kindness and in the spirit of fellowship and grace. As Youth Representatives we felt our voices were not only heard but that we could contribute valuably to the discussions.
In an effort to get more youth voices participating at this higher level of governance of the church, Josh and I brought a proposal to the Synod for a Moravian Youth Forum (otherwise known as My Forum). The event for young people aged 14-26 aims to bring the community together to discuss how Synod functions, what the provincial committees do and
prompt discussion so that they can bring any proposals they wish to the next Synod. This gives our young people a chance to have their voice heard, and I have a feeling that you won't be able to put them back in their box afterwards.
This was not the only really exciting proposal brought forward. The encouragement for churches to stop using single use plastics was a particularly great moment of the Synod. As Christians we have a responsibility to consider how our lifestyles impact upon the natural and animal world, and as a society we are becoming increasingly aware of the hugely destructive power of plastic on ecosystems. Like the championing of free trade products in the past, discouraging the use of single use plastic is a way that we as churches can use our commercial power, and our power as an example in our communities, to put our weight behind a moral and environmental cause. We are one of the first churches in the UK to seek to go entirely single use plastic free by 2020 and to be able to vote on the passing of this at Synod was a real highlight for us as Youth Representatives.
This year at Synod, we were not only voting on proposals or listening to reports, we also elected a bishop. As soon as PEC brought the proposal to elect another
Bishop, there was a lot of discussion in free time regarding the length of the election process and its strenuous and perhaps stressful nature. Yet the prayerful and grace led manner in which Sarah was elected was both a very spiritual and moving experience. It was a moment when I was proud to be Moravian and felt part of our history and community leading back with the line of bishops who have been elected before.
As always, a key part of the weekend was not just the voting, but the fellowship shared amongst those there. There were representatives from a range of denominations as well as our partners in the wider Unity. Personally I found my discussions with Jared, Jan and Erdmute and their stories of Moravian work around the world particularly inspiring. I left many of my conversations over the weekend fired up and ready for action during the inter-synodal period - which is surely exactly what Synod wishes to achieve.
It was my second time as a Youth Representative and Josh's first. We were hopefully a team to be reckoned with and demonstrated how much it is possible to represent the young people of our church effectively. We loved every minute of it.
Sr Katie Biggs and Br Josh Cooper
Synod 2018 Report
from the Youth Representatives
© Sr Sarah Groves

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