In the summer the General Assembly of the URC passed a resolution to ‘reaffirm its commitment to tackle the stigma surrounding mental health’ which was brought by URC Youth. The resolution continued to request that General Assembly and Synods encourage elders and leaders of local churches to consider becoming trained in Mental Health First Aid.
On Saturday 29 October a group of young people aged 12 – 20 years gathered to reflect on, and share ideas together about the role of the local church in supporting the mental health and wellbeing of their members and the people in the local community. The decision was unanimous – YES, the local church definitely has a role to play. We split into smaller groups to discuss what this support might look like and to think about what the important things are that leaders of churches need to consider. The groups fed back their top 3 talking points which were collated and will be shared more widely for other young people across the synod to consider and add their comments. The feedback from the groups spoke of the unconditional love and acceptance that Jesus demonstrated and the pastoral care that churches offer. There was a great sense that our churches needed to be safe places for people to share openly and honestly with no ‘labels’ or ‘judgement’ and the young people recognised the importance of asking intentional questions about how people are feeling.
The young people shared a very focused hour working together on this and sharing about the things that cause them worry and stress. These things included failing exams, having enough time to fit ‘everything’ in, the care of the planet, the current political situation in the UK, equal rights for all and worry about loved ones.
After lunch we went to the trampoline park to play together and to let off some steam before we all headed home.
The Yorkshire Synod Youth FORUM is open to all young people connected with a URC church with a desire and a heart to engage in conversations about the church, faith and relevant topics. We would love to welcome more young people from across the synod to be and to share together. Look out for dates for the 2023 Youth FORUM in March, July & October.