From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
Youth Ministry Workers From The Church of Scotland
04 May 1996 16:06:07
96049 Youth Ministry Workers From The Church of Scotland
by Julian Shipp
LOUISVILLE, Ky.--Three people engaged in youth ministry for the Church of
Scotland toured Louisville, Ky., Jan. 19-24, and included a visit to the
The visitors, Steve Mallon, Kathy Hooke and Campbell Bell, said that
in their conversations with youth throughout Scotland they have found that
many young people are spiritually aware, but most do not view the church as
the locus for working out their spirituality.
Mallon, Hooke and Bell minister to youth on two fronts: They work with
local colleges and universities to provide leadership training for youth,
and they give youth a greater voice in the denomination by training young
adult leaders at the congregational level. Mallon, Hooke and Bell said they
work with youth ages 12 to 25.
"We had heard that the issues facing young people [in the U.S.A.] were
very similar to the ones facing youth back home," said Hooke, a youth
adviser in Glasgow. "So we wanted to see how the [Presbyterian Church
(U.S.A.)] is responding to this and how the church is trying to integrate
young people into the life of the congregation.
"We've been talking about things like violence, drug abuse and alcohol
abuse," Hooke added. "And other things, too, like social attitudes, racism
Of particular interest to the Scottish visitors was last year's
Presbyterian Youth Triennium, a record-setting event held in West
Lafayette, Ind., that attracted more than 5,600 young people from all over
The Triennium is held every three years and was created by the
denominational staff of the former United Presbyterian Church in the
U.S.A., the former Presbyterian Church in the U.S., the Cumberland
Presbyterian Church and the Presbyterian Church in Canada.
Bell, who is responsible for teaching certified youth ministry
training courses, said the Church of Scotland has similar youth activities,
including "Youth Night," a celebration that occurs after the General
Assembly. He said the Church of Scotland also conducts youth assemblies
every three years.
Mallon, who is the national youth adviser for the Church of Scotland,
said one of the greatest challenges he faces in conducting youth ministry
is forming long-term relationships with young people. He said gaining their
confidence is not easily achieved, since many young people are cynical of
mainstream religion or view religion as something "irrelevant to their
"You have to have confidence to build relationships with young
people," Mallon said. "And I think what all of us are trying to do is
connect with young people and engage them in a manner that they might have
an understanding of God."
"In terms of young people identifying with the church and seeing it as
having relevancy to them -- we don't see that happening that much," Hooke
said. "In small groups like Bible studies, for example, you need to find
what means of worship works for them and try to get them in the spirit of
The three visitors stopped in Louisville on their way to the 1996
Young Life Conference in Orlando, Fla. Bell said he hopes to both raise
his own awareness of youth issues and share his experiences with other
international delegates from different areas of the world, including
Africa, the Far East and South America.
"I think one of the interesting things for me will be to see whether
or not we have become a global village with the influx of technology that
has taken over many parts of the world," Bell said. "But we've been very
encouraged by everyone we've met so far. They've been very honest and open
During their stay in Louisville, Hooke, Mallon and Campbell also
visited Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Southern Baptist
Theological Seminary, Cedar Ridge Camp, Actors Theater of Louisville, and
several local Presbyterian congregations.
They met with several national staff members at the Presbyterian
Center, particularly those who work in the Christian Education Program Area
of the Congregational Ministries Division.
"Young Life" is a nonprofit, nondenominational mission organization
whose purpose is to show adolescents Jesus Christ and his relevance to
modern life. It has served teenagers for 50 years and now operates in some
440 communities in the United States and Canada and 32 overseas countries.
For more information contact Presbyterian News Service
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Louisville, KY 40202
phone 502-569-5504 fax 502-569-8073
E-mail PCUSA.NEWS@pcusa.org Web page: http://www.pcusa.org
Browse month . . .
Browse month (sort by Source) . . .
Advanced Search & Browse . . .