Jane Leighton, co moderator of the Fellowship of United Reformed Youth (FURY), presented the second part of the Youth and Children’s business on the afternoon of 8 July. Citing a research paper that was presented to the 2011 Methodist Conference confirming the need for further local church engagement with adults in local churches aged between 20 and 40, she challenged the United Reformed Church to address this “missing generation” of young adults in its churches.
Mrs Leighton stated: “There is a large proportion of our society very underrepresented or even completely absent from our churches. This is a real and serious conversation that we need to have and act upon if we are not to see more and more people in this age bracket disappearing from our churches.” Urging the need for the issue to be tackled by the whole church, and not just FURY or the Youth and Children’s work committee, she quoted three statements from the URC’s Vision 2020 Framework (statements four, five and six) saying that these statements “compel [the church] to focus more energy on working with this group of people”. Mrs Leighton then proposed Resolution 33, which called for Mission Council to “address this issue and consider how to improve the integration of this age group at every level of the URC”. This resolution was passed at the URC Youth Assembly in January.
A wide-ranging discussion ensued about resolution 33, and in the discussion phase of the consensus decision-making process, former FURY moderator Victoria Paulding, accompanied by Andrew Weston, a FURY member, spoke jointly to “commend the work done on this resolution and the ethos”, but raised concerns about the need to encourage the young adults that already exist within the church. Together these Assembly members proposed a new resolution: “General Assembly instructs Mission Council to explore what provision is already in place for those leaving FURY, what the needs of those people are and how local churches can better support them.”
Assembly mostly warmed to this new resolution, but there a few blue cards were raised, indicating dissatisfaction. After much discussion, Assembly showed overwhelming support for the original resolution (33), and after further comments from the Assembly floor, Dr Jagessar discerned that “the mind of the meeting is that the two [resolutions] should be combined”.
Assembly agreed to refer the wording of the resolution to a facilitation group. The amended resolution will be brought to General Assembly during today’s business session (Monday 9 July).