When I first started working for the United Reformed Church I was told about this event called “FURY Assembly” – a weekend where young people got together and discussed issues and challenges facing them (and the Church). It was, allegedly, a weekend at which young people took the lead and any adults were there purely to support.
The reality turned out to be something quite different. Whilst, for the most part, young people ran the weekend they didn’t do much of the planning or organising; that was all handled by the Youth Office in London. It was a weekend at which, the young people didn’t get much sleep and, as a result, as an adult you didn’t get much sleep either – patrolling corridors, offering support and advice, doing the things that needed doing.
I’ve just come back from FURY Assembly 2010 and have had the opportunity to reflect on the experience of the last few years. How times have changed! FURY Assembly is most definitely planned, organised and run by the young people themselves (a worthy group called the FURY Advisory Board made up, for the most part, of young people elected AT FURY Assembly, do all the hard work of planning the event itself). The event is chaired by the FURY Moderator (young person) and Moderator Elect (young person) with assistance from the aforementioned FAB. There is, of course, still adult involvement (particularly from the denomination’s Youth Development Officer) but nowadays it tends to be in the form of workshop leaders and special guests. The young people ‘police’ themselves – both nights I was in bed shortly after midnight!
As many of my colleagues attend FURY Assembly as we can. Some have specific roles (AV Maestro, workshop leader, etc.) but most attend because we’re asked to. I think this is as much because there is a certain comfort for the young leadership team in knowing that we are around than for anything else and, as the last 2 Assembles has shown, they really don’t need us all – if any!
So, congratulations yo Josh and his team for this year, and to James and HIS team for the year before … and for everyone who has been involved in the development of FURY Assembly to what we see today.
I’ll be very sad the year I’m told that I’m not required, though. Not because it’s always nice to feel wanted, but because this weekend in January proves to me, time and again, that the future leadership of the United Reformed Church is in good hands. And I’ve been a part of that development. And that makes me proud.