All-female leadership team makes history at URC Youth Assembly

Katie Henderson Hannah Jones an Natalie GibbsFor the first time in its history, the United Reformed Church Youth Assembly has an all-female leadership team.

URC YA 2018 took place from 19 to 21 January at Whitemoor Lakes, Alrewas, Staffordshire, where Hannah Jones was welcomed as its Moderator, succeeding Dan Morrell.

Helping Hannah to make URC history were Natalie Gibbs and Katie Henderson, who are both Assembly Moderators-elect.

‘I really am looking forward to my year as Moderator,’ Hannah said. ‘We have a lot of work ahead of us. Not only is 2018 a General Assembly year, but we have What Do You Think? and the youth presence (The Big Speak Out) at GA to think about. Many great resolutions came out of Youth Assembly [YA], which will lead to a lot of work for the URC youth executive. We created a new role – the Equality and Diversity Representative –  whose job will be to act as an ambassador for minority groups and ensure they are not excluded in any way.’

Discussions also included the age of people attending YA, and this issue was agreed to be included in the Children and Youth Work review. A resolution was also passed for synods to be asked to contribute to the URC work at Greenbelt, particularly for youth.

The weekend provided young people with the opportunity to focus on Jesus, share in community with others, and explore what it means to be Church together. 

Dr Sam Richards, Head of Children and Youth, said the event saw a 30% increase on last year’s attendance.

‘There was certainly a sense of purpose and interest amongst the young people attending,’ she said.

‘This year marks 100 years since some women got the vote in this country, and an all-female leadership team for the first time in YA’s history is a fantastic achievement. The weekend was a full-on mix of business, worship, seminars, workshops, group sessions and keynote speeches as well as some well-earned down time in the late-night programme of games, karaoke, open mic and much more.’

Hannah continued: ‘It was a fantastic weekend with lots of great discussions and ideas shared. Thanks were also expressed to our Immediate Past Moderator Dan Morrell for all his work.’

February marks the 100th anniversary of the Representation of the People Act 1918, which gave some women over the age of 30 the right to vote for the first time. December marks 100 years since the first general election in which women voted in the UK.

YA used to be called Fellowship of United Reformed Youth (FURY) before it underwent a restructure to become the URC Youth Executive. Under FURY, there have been several periods where all-female leadership teams have led the assembly.   

(Picture: From left, Katie Henderson, Hannah Jones, and Natalie Gibbs)