Stuart Radcliffe: Youth Assembly Chaplain 2018

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Stuart Radcliffe

When Dan Morrell asked me to be Chaplain to Youth Executive and Youth Assembly I was honoured, and yet at the same time I was a little fearful if I’m honest.

I was at a point in my ministry where I had reached a crossroads. From where I am now, I recognise that it was time to move on. I had, however, perhaps become a little comfortable where I was and was reluctant to take risks. Working with the young people of the United Reformed Church soon put paid to that. Far from needing to be fearful, I entered into a warm and generous community where I was instantly welcomed and also encouraged. I was taken somewhat by surprise as I had expected that to be my job, and yet was reminded that as well as offering ministry we need to be ready to accept it, even when it comes from places you don’t expect.

My time as chaplain was for me transformational. It gave me enormous hope for the church. I was privileged to work with a group of people who believed that the Gospel could transform lives. It gave me back my belief and my passion to take the risks needed to see that happen. It led me to apply for my new role as Missional Discipleship Enabler for Mersey Synod, from where I hope that I can encourage others to live lives that also offer the hope of the Gospel.

So, I encourage you, make friends with the young people of your churches, don’t think of them as the church of tomorrow but instead I beg you recognise the ministry they exercise today and receive the gifts that they have to offer.

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