It doesn’t seem any time since I travelled to Aberdeen back in June 2018 when I first heard about the prospect of the position becoming available. Having never been to the city before I was keen to see what it was like. However, within seconds of stepping off the train I had a strong feeling that it would be the right move.
The verses that I kept coming back to at the time were from Psalm 48: 12-14.
“Walk about Zion, go around her,
count her towers,
13 consider well her ramparts,
view her citadels,
that you may tell of them
to the next generation.
14 For this God is our God for ever and ever;
he will be our guide even to the end”
In many ways that’s the task that lies ahead – getting to know the city and beginning to understand the pressures that young people face in Aberdeen. In doing so, it will help us to find relevant ways of sharing the Good News with local youngsters.
As an Executive Committee we plan to conduct a 3 month research project with young people and their families to help us gain a clear understanding of the types of activities they are likely to engage in. We’ve recently applied to the Go For It Fund to make this happen.
As well as better understanding local young people and their needs, there is also a practical element in how we manage our resources. There is little point investing our time and finances into activities, that had we done the research we would have realised It's not something young want or need.
Since taking up the post I’ve been meeting with volunteers across the four congregations to get a better understanding of the work already taking place; connecting with other youth organisations like the YMCA; and had conversations with each of the local schools.
I recently had the opportunity to visit a number of P7 and P6 classes at Ashley Road, as well as the opportunity to have a conversation with Senior Managers at Ashley Road and Mile End about specific pieces of work I might be able to lead in each of the school communities. This includes a weekly lunchtime S.U group and a P7 transitions video making project.
During January and February I also had to the opportunity to delivera series of assemblies on ‘Valuing Others’ at the Grammar School, as well as leading a number of first year classes on the theme ‘Where is God?’.
I’m excited as the work begins to take shape and hopeful that we can develop work with young people across Aberdeen that is both meaningful and relevant. I’m sure there will be challenges ahead too but I’m very much looking forward to sharing the journey with you.
Jay Thomas, Youth Ministry Leader
Aberdeen West End Churches