United Reformed Church Youth Assembly 2024 roundup

by Jason Woo

“Story, Story, Story” was the theme of United Reformed Church Youth Assembly 2024, held at Whitemoore Lakes in Staffordshire, 26-28 January.

Throughout the weekend, the Youth Assembly explored the theme through personal storytelling and engaged in a range of workshops including drama, short-form video, and Bible study.

Two keynotes were delivered by the Rev. Rosalind Selby and Tessa Henry-Robinson which helped members of Youth Assembly ponder their place in God’s story but also God’s place in theirs, as well as what it means to be created in God’s image.

There were opportunities to learn more about Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories with a live linkup with Samuel in Jerusalem for a workshop and Bible study.

Hilarious late-night entertainment by poet Harry Baker allowed the Youth Assembly to hear other stories. A mix of different late-night activities including Godly Play and Lego Church, sports and games, ensured there was plenty to do in the evening.

Heather Moore inducted as Youth Assembly Moderator 2024-2025

“I’m thrilled to be taking over the role of Moderator for the next year. Obviously, we have a massive change ahead of us as the Youth Assembly moves to a later date and new venue, but this presents us with a fantastic opportunity to try new things with the program and move the event in a new direction,” said Moore.

“In my role I also hope to increase and strengthen our ecumenical relationships, hopefully with the planning of a new event for young people. Overall, though, my hope is that Youth Assembly and other United Reformed Church Youth spaces are a place where young people can gather in fellowship and grow in their relationship with God as their authentic selves.”

Maya Withall of Wessex Synod elected Moderator 2024-2025

Withall, 17, became a Christian through her local Pilots Company and has been part of the United Reformed Church since she was seven.  She has also been the Wessex Synod Representative on the Youth Executive for the past three years and the Green Apostle, engaging with the United Reformed Church Net Zero task group and other environmental projects.

Withall said: “Coming from a non-Christian background the United Reformed Church has been where I found and grew faith. I am passionate about enabling other young people to do this.”

Jadan Turner of North Western Synod elected Assembly Executive and General Assembly Rep

Turner is 18-years-old and currently a business admin apprentice at her local council, where she is developing skills in communication and understanding how larger organisations work. In her spare time, Turner plays with a first section brass band and enjoys watching motorsports. She has attended General Assembly twice and her confidence has grown from just being present and voting, to contributing to the discussions and asking questions.

“Having been involved with my local church and the wider synod, I have developed a passion for the voice of the youth within the United Reformed Church being heard, and to make sure that they feel empowered in the same way that I do,” said Turner.

Philippa Osei steps down as Youth Moderator (2023-2024)

In her end-of-term speech, Philippa Osei, who made history by becoming Youth Assembly’s first Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic Moderator, said: “It’s the end! I am both relieved and grateful and also sad to be leaving this pivotal period of my life so far. Through the encouragement of my friends here at Youth Assembly, I took [the role] on and do not regret my decision!”

As Youth Moderator, Osei has blazed trails, from organising the Youth Assembly to attending Greenbelt and hosting events at the youth tent. All these have made Osei stronger in her faith and expanded her horizons.

“The skills I have gained over the past two years as Moderator-Elect and then Moderator will serve me well going forward,” declared Osei, “I give all the glory to God.”

The event was closed with the induction of the new Youth Executive who will pave the way for a different Youth Assembly with the change of venue next year to King’s Park Conference Centre in Northampton.

The report is abridged and reproduced with permission. Click here to read the full article.

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