The Church of Scotland delivers some of the most “creative and innovative” youth work in the country, the Deputy First Minister has said.
John Swinney said young people make an “invaluable contribution” to society and the Kirk is at the forefront of providing opportunities for them to thrive.
He made the remarks ahead of the first Church of Scotland reception to be held in the Scottish Parliament’s Garden Lobby tonight (Tuesday) to mark the Year of Young People.
Mr Swinney said:
“The Church of Scotland has been incredibly active in 2018’s Year of Young People.
“It has run events and celebrations throughout the year at local, presbytery and national levels and delivering some of the most creative and innovate youth work in Scotland.
“This has highlighted the invaluable contribution young people make in Scotland, and the significant role of the Church in helping to achieve this.”
A total of 10 groups from across Scotland, which are involved in groundbreaking youth work supported by the Kirk, one of the largest volunteering organisations in the country, will showcase their work.
The event will be attended by MSPs, young people and staff from across Church-supported projects, members of the National Youth Assembly, Youth Parliament and Young Scot as well as experts involved in education and welfare.
The reception will be compered by Tamsin Dingwall, Moderator of the National Youth Assembly of the Church of Scotland.
“I am really excited about the event Celebrating Young People and am looking forward to learning about what has been going on across Scotland,” she said.
“I think it’s very important to recognise good work being done by, and with, young people to ensure they are encouraged to continue positive work as they progress in life within and outwith the Church.
“What they do today will shape themselves and the Church in the future.”
The reception has been sponsored by West of Scotland Green MSP Ross Greer, a member of Bearsden Cross Church in East Dunbartsonshire.
“The Year of Young People is an amazing opportunity for Scotland to celebrate the incredible contributions our children and young people make to their communities and society,” he said.
“Nowhere is this more true than in the Church of Scotland, where across the length and breadth of the country there are young people leading amazing work; from community foodbanks to climate justice projects to campaigns to protect their friends from deportation.
“It’s a terrible cliché to say that young people are the future when they, we, are here right now, contributing so much to the Church’s present.
“It’s a privilege to be able to mark that in the Scottish Parliament.”
Representatives from the Kirk’s Go For It Fund, its 64 Priority Area congregations and social care arm, CrossReach, will also be addressing the audience.
Entertainment will be provided by youth broadcasting project Bolt FM.
Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, Rt Rev Susan Brown, said:
“The Church is present in every community of Scotland, providing a wide range of activities for people of all ages, old and young.
“The young people I meet as a parish minister in Dornoch are outstanding and they give me hope for the future of our community and nation.
“As Moderator, I have been privileged to meet many other young people in every part of Scotland; they are equally inspiring.”
Mrs Brown said churches the length and breadth of Scotland open their arms to young and old people alike, providing opportunities to talk together, to eat, to socialise and boost well-being.
“Young people have always been involved in these projects and often they have initiated the best of them,” she added.
“As we celebrate the contribution which young people are making to Scotland in this Year of Young People, I would want to pay particular tribute to the resilience of young people.
“Young people who are supporting family members, striving to overcome poor mental and physical health and struggling every day to overcome poverty and injustice.”