The Methodist Youth Assembly (3Generate) took place from 30th September – 2nd October at the NEC in Birmingham. This event saw over 1000 young people along with their youth workers and a large workforce of volunteers come together from across the UK and even beyond, with visitors from Ireland, Spain and Rwanda. The event was set up like a little town, with venues such as the park, the town hall, and the theatre. Christian CND was taking part in a venue called “On the Margins” which, as well as being geographically on the margins of the event, was set up like a warzone and had a programme around the theme of peacemaking.
Christian CND was on the programme for three events: a workshop, a TED-style talk, and as part of a panel discussion called “The Big Conversation”.
The workshop (pictured) went well, and was one of the highest attended in the venue. Interestingly, the vast majority of the attendees were teenage boys who were fascinated by weapons – but who were all very against us having them! The talk, “what does the Bible say about war?” (love that they gave me such an easy straightforward topic to talk about!) also went well, and it was interesting to hear the other talks in the series that were also taking place.
The last thing Christian CND was involved in was a panel around the theme of what it means to be a peacemaker – and despite this being scheduled at the same time as dinner, the young people who attended were really engaged and we had some great conversations. The other organisations represented on the panel were the Fellowship of Reconciliation, Place for Hope, Remembering Srebrenica, All We Can, and the Methodist Armed Forces Chaplaincy, so there were lots of different insights provided.
As well as these events CCND had a small stall set up with our resources, which I had to leave unmanned but it seemed to get a lot of uptake – and it was great at dinner one evening to look up and see someone on the next table wearing a CCND badge!
Across the weekend the On the Margins venue hosted many other events, including slam poetry workshops, evening prayers, and a “peace picnic” with guests from Rwanda, who talked about the Rwandan genocide – which was a truly special discussion.
On the whole the event was definitely a success for CCND – but it was also a great success in general. 3Generate reminded me of the prophetic voice of children and young people and how important it is that we see them as equals in the body of Christ.