One of the questions we get asked a lot is ‘what makes a good CEYC Diocesan representative’ or ‘what’s the best way to select our reps’. If I’m honest there isn’t really one good way! Each diocese is so unique that only they can know the best way to nominate people in their area. I was asked to come along to CEYC when I was sixteen and have been involved in one way or another since then.
So, whilst I can’t talk about how to organise a diocesan youth council and nominate from there or how to interview young people who’ve applied to be a representative I can talk about my experience and what I’ve learned. If any of these experiences sound like something you’d like to get involved with talk to your diocesan youth officer (DYO)! If you’re a DYO and you know a young person who would revel in CEYC send them to our events! So here goes, here’s my CEYC journey!
I grew up in a small-ish parish church in fairly rural Hertfordshire, we didn’t get involved much in the diocese but every now and then our vicar, who was also our youth leader, would pass us some flyers or forms which had been sent from the diocesan youth service which we would look at but usually nothing came of it! I filled out one of these forms as a keen and opinionated fifteen-year-old wanting to get involved in the bigger church. The DYO emailed me back, explaining what CEYC is to me and asking if I was old enough to get involved. Sadly I wasn’t but in keen me style I emailed him again 10 months later when I was old enough!
I was signed up and ready to attend my first meeting in April 2010! I arrived very early at a local train-station to meet the other St Alban’s rep and travel to Liverpool together. I was very nervous as it was the first time I’d travelled long distance without my parents. I don’t remember all that much about my first meeting, I remember two very different worship sessions – one singing worship songs, the other a high mass in a cathedral side chapel – and generally feeling very overwhelmed by the knowledge of the other reps and the depth of discussion and conversation but thoroughly enjoyed the day.
After the first meeting I got involved in diocesan events trying to collect the ideas and thoughts across a range of topics from other young people in the area. I was never very successful at this but I hope that the presence of me and the other rep at events did a little to raise the profile of CEYC. In November I went to my first residential. I loved it! We spent the days discussing all manner of topics which were being discussed by the wider church and worshiping in a huge range of styles and then we stayed up late in the evenings discussing our churches, theology, our lives and just about anything really! I came away feeling empowered and wanting to speak more into church conversations and speak up for young people!
I became a regular member of CEYC attending meetings for several years and representing St Alban’s as best I could whilst away at uni! Eventually in November 2014 I got roped in deep! I was elected to Core Group having been part of CEYC for four and a half years and having supported the Core Group as an extra pair of hands and listening ear once I’d become an old timer! Core Group gave me a whole new perspective on CEYC as I got to be involved in the organisation that went behind events. It was a struggle to balance uni and work with CEYC but I managed it and we worked as a team to make sure CEYC was the best we could make it! Leading my first residential in 2015 was quite a scary and daunting prospect but it was great to impart my experience and help the other CEYC members to explore what being part of the national church meant to them! It got easier by the following April and even easier when we were planning November 2016.
During summer last year I came across the advert for the CEYC intern and was looking for something to do when I moved from North Wales to Cambridgeshire in September. It made a lot of sense to put my experiences at CEYC to work to set up this role and make sure whoever gets the joy of being the second CEYC intern has some structure to build off. So, I applied and here I am – blogging about my journey and living CEYC five days a week!
There’s my story! I’ve been involved in CEYC for nearly seven years now and it’s changed a lot! But the people who seem to enjoy CEYC are the ones who care about their church. Ones who and to speak up and truly believe the words of Paul in 1 Timothy 4:12 – Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.
Bethan is the CEYC Intern. When she’s not at work she fills her time with Scouting, exploring mountains and beaches, and baking. She is passionate about facillitating young people to fulfil their potential and set an example, be that in Scouting, in Church or in the wider world. You can follow her on her sporadically active twitter account @betherthanu .