NYA2008 days 3 & 4

The rest of Sunday’s session went ok I think.  We got into some of the upside to Open Source church and talked about how we could use social media to continue (or start) conversations like we have with Facebook and Twitter.

Sunday night was Christmas!!!  We had a full Christmas dinner with turkey and all the trimmings followed by a Hootenany, a party where people get up and entertain the masses.  It was great fun with ‘The Unknown Magician’ and Ishbel’s completion of Tam O’Shanter definately the highlights.

Monday was debate day.  The deliverences (motions or statements) were presented by Avril for Healthy Relationships, Me for Media, Kenny for Sustainable Living and Angus for Future Church and you can see them on the wiki.

There was lots of discussion and lots more around the social media one than I thought there might be.  People were really in favour of the church engaging with the web and the communication tools available.  We suggested a weekly ‘sabbath’ from tech to remind us that face to face relationships are important and that we shouldn’t be at the beck and call of our email.  I got the feeling people didn’t really get the idea of a sabbath with some people thinking we were suggesting not using technology on a Sunday.

We tried using twitter as a back-channel with NYA2008 as our keyword and put the feed on screens at either side of the room.  It worked really well… but around lunchtime got very silly in a hurry and was pretty distracting so the screens went off.  As you will see from the previous post we got pretty prolific… and made it to the top of Twitter’s trending list.

Thoughts of moving on filled the end of the day.  We recognised Robert Paton, a young disabled man who through his faith, his dignity and his quiet persistence has changed both the Youth Assembly and the General Assembly to places which are much more aware and welcoming of people with disability.  Robert has reached the grand old age of 25 and is too old to return next year.  He was presented a ‘Friend of the Youth Assembly’ award and during communion he and those others who are too old to come back next year were annointed and prayed for as the step out beyond the community into the next phase of their church life.

Communion ended the day and included another great input from Mark Yaconelli. It was great to meet Mark and I wish I had more time to speak to him.  I met his dad Mike years ago and suggested that Mike come to Youth Assembly.  We met at Greenbelt and even though Mike was 10 minutes from doing a session to hundreds of people he insisted we go and find somewhere we could sit and talk.  Most people give you their agent’s email address, but not Mike.

Mark Yaconelli

Mike sadly died just six weeks after his trip to Scotland and Mark told us how much the chance to visit Scotland had meant to his father.  Mark was presented with the same gifts we presented to his dad, a bottle of finest Scotch whisky and a quaiche, a Scottish cup of friendship.  A fitting gift for a gifted man.

It’s too soon to reflect with much clarity on the weekend but there are some things that will probably occupy my thoughts over the next while:

Did the new debate structure work?  The programme felt too full… was that just me or was more space needed?  Are deliverences the best was for Youth Assembly to say what it thinks?  If they are, is there a way to not spend all of the discussion changing a word here and there?  Could the debate teams have been a little more informed?

My personal reflection would be that I didn’t seen to have time.  I’d have liked to speak to more people, especially Mike.  I’d have liked to relax a bit more but I think that may be my fault.  I did get to spend a little time with Neil, Laura and Chris and I valued that.

My favourite part?  Staff worship, especially the first service where we were commissioned.  Linda created a space where we were affirmed and equipped and valued and heard beautiful words and thoughts from the Psalms.

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