2013: Catriona Muckart - Presbytery of Sutherland

This year I was lucky enough to have the chance to be the youth representative for Sutherland at the General Assembly.  The week was a total mixture of thoughts, feelings and experiences.  Sometimes revealing, confusing, overwhelming and very informative.

All the youth reps stayed together meaning that we could have prep sessions at night, led by the staff team that looked out for us and that made sure we were informed and ready for the following day or so.  The staff were fantastic and on hand if you needed a chat or were just really confused!

Staying together also meant that we were able to share worship which was how we started and closed each day, and which was also valuable breathing space in unwinding from or preparing for each day.

For me, the General Assembly enabled me to see how big in all senses of the word, the Church of Scotland is.  It's vast, in functions, area and viewpoints.  We're certainly a diverse bunch!  Meeting people who were conveners of councils, current and ex-moderators and who worked in other areas, such as the Diaconate or as chaplains to the forces, was really interesting and not something I would have been able to do anywhere else. 

The breadth of reports that we heard over the week was huge, but among the most noted and anticipated, was of course the report of the Theological Commission on Monday.  In terms of how everyone conducted themselves and how it was handled I was really thankful and glad.  Everyone was very gracious and did their best to be understanding.  Due to the particular nature of the report some things were said that people didn't agree with and perhaps had strong convictions to the contrary, but everyone was listened to and given a chance, which I really appreciated.  A friend of mine went to the loo during lunch and chatted to someone who had been sitting in the public gallery, who had said “I just came to see a good fight but everyone's so Christian!”

I also really enjoyed listening to the Church and Society Council's report, however I had been hoping for a bit more discussion, which was, when considering the subject matter, was very light and not so much was said.  Although tiredness might have played a large part in this!

The report of the National Youth Assembly was great and I thought our moderator Euan Patterson did a smashing job.  Because our report was heard in early evening the turnout wasn't amazing but still decent, and everyone seemed to really appreciate it. 

I thought Lorna the moderator was fantastic.  She was clear, concise and handled everything very well.  I think she was a significant influence over how smoothly the proceedings went in places.

I'm very grateful that I got the opportunity to go and hope to do so again! Overall I had a really positive experience.