A couple of weeks ago, I trundled down to Newcastle station with my very full suitcase. My destination – Birmingham, for 3Generate, the Methodist Youth Assembly.
3Generate this year took place in the NEC in Birmingham and welcomed 750 young people, 250 youth leaders and a team of 180 staff and volunteers. The event was set up like a little town with different venues e.g. “The Theatre” which did music and drama activities, “The Chapel” which hosted worship and prayer, etc. “The Town Hall” venue, which focussed around themes of politics and democracy, were hosting a series of debates, and I was asked to lead a debate on behalf of CCND around the theme of War and Peace (as opposed to specifically nuclear weapons) so I chose the question “should we have an army?”. About 15 young people took part across the debate, ranging in age from primary school age to young adults, and excellent points were made on both sides. They voted at the end on which side they thought won – the pro-army side won, but actually I think the debate did achieve what it set out to: the participants demonstrated real critical thinking skills and came up with some very creative ideas! And it got them talking about issues of war and peace.
After the debate I led a peace-crane making session. Some of the participants from the debate decided to leave, but a smaller group enabled us to have a good chat, and also several of the volunteers in that venue wanted to get involved and make a peace crane! So I got to chat with them quite a bit too.
We were also offered the chance to have a stall – as I had various other commitments over the weekend as I was also attending the event in other capacities, it had to be the kind of stall that I could set up and leave. I made a board with a question saying ‘Jesus said “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” How can we be peacemakers in our everyday lives? Leave a comment, take a badge!’ There was a lot more engagement with this than I expected there to be – see photo for some of the comments that were left – and it brought me so much joy every time I spotted someone wearing a CCND badge to know that they’d engaged with our stall.
Overall it was a fantastic weekend – it was wonderful to meet so many young Christians with hearts for justice, and to see God at work in their lives. It felt an especially poignant event after Covid-19 has prevented such gatherings for so long. I was proud to play a small part in the event and (literally) be flying the CCND banner there!
Liddy is one of two Christian CND interns this year. The interns are available for workshops, more information and contact here.