Posted by: Chris Hoskins | September 10, 2008


So, this weekend just passed marked the annual Church of Scotland National Youth Assembly (NYA2008), this year was my 6th Youth Assembly since my first in 2000 (which I spoke a wee bit about in my last post). The theme for the weekend was “End of part 1″which would have different connotations for different people, basically we were looking to get people to think about beginnings and endings, renewal of life, resurrection. For me, I’m still not sure what this means. I’ve been going through a hard few years with the Churches I’ve been employed by, stuff going on that shouldn’t happen in Churches, ministers behaving selfish beyond measure. I won’t go into details, not online, it’s just not right. So when I heard back in January at the planning meeting that the them was about endings/beginnings I started thinking about things i’d like to end/begin.

In short, I’d love to be in a Church where I feel supported by the minister, where I have a minister that I can actually talk to without being patronised, surprisingly, I do have a clue about Youth ministry! I’d also love a family I could feel close to (parents/siblings wise, not wife wise), a family I could talk to about things. I’ve also been going through a real downtime in my relationship with God, I want to end the dwontime and begin again with God. I just struggle to spend time reading the Bible or praying, I don’t know why, I used to be really faithful at both those aspects of my faith, but I’ve fallen away recently.

So did anything happen at Youth Assembly to affect any of these things? With the Church/minister situation? No, not that I’m aware of yet anyway. Although, the 2 young people who went from Portlethen came back really excited about Jesus and Church, which i’m sure will feed into  what’s happening in Portlethen too. As far as my family goes, I think i just need a real dose of courage to actually speak to them about how distant I feel from them, but I suspect that’ll take a while with all the baggage I’ve got from and with them. I was definetly inspired and touched by God at the weekend. i’m not usually a fan of taize type worship sessions, but they always touch me when they’re done at NYA. I didn’t feel anything other than a touch of God, but it was enough. I also had a “pride” or “emotional” breakthrough. I’m not sure which yet, I’ve not been able to cry for the last 6 years, incidently, the last time I cried was at Youth Assembly 2002. I suspect the block came, because the last time I cried was over my ex, a relationship which left me with more baggage and was generally an unhealthy relationship, I just didn’t know how to recognize that at 17/18 years old. Anyway, this year, my niece, when 2 days old, was diagnosed with a heart condition requiring surgery. The last few weeks have been a real emotional roller coaster with everthing happening with her. Thoughout it all, I’ve done my usual and focused on being there for other people and burying my own emotions. I’ve had a stupid idea from when I was younger that tears = weakness. And given the last time I cried was about something that caused me so much pain. i’ve learned to bury feelings and rarely let them out. So anyway, i got a call on the Sunday night of NYA telling me that Iona (my niece) had contracted a blood infection and was not doing well at all. Linda was obviously quite upset when she was telling me all this, bt at the same time had her mum and dad with her. Over the course of the evening i felt quite distant from my family who were hurting, and then God used the worship session led by Fidge to break me, and I had a “good” emotional pray with Marjory and a comforting sit with Nicola, Ali T and Sarah Brown. So thats the changes that I’ve identified so far from the weekend! What about the event as a whole?

For me, it was a disappointing start, things didn’t seem to click as well as I’d (We’d?) hoped. Fair enough, it was the first time we’d tried the forma we had, but the Friday night session just didn’t seem to wrok at all. Whether it was what we did in the Healthy Relationships session that night or the fact that the small groups hadn’t really met each other, I can’t say for definite but i suspect the latter. The Saturday had a more positive start, Mark Yaconelli, the keynote speaker, was awesome. so passionate and heartfelt, so obviously a message from God for us, so, just awesome!! I can’t wait to get his talks downloaded!(once I remember where boycey said the would be). The morning session with the healthy relationships stuff went a lot better, and buoyed all our moods, which was quite nice. Though it felt kinda weird not really knowing what was going on in the rest of the “conversations”/”debates” whatever you want to call them. The afternoon seemed ok, though after only haveing beengetting into the debates for a session and a bit, I though it was maybe a wee bit too soon to all get together to work out where we were, but hey! Saturday evening i though was really good, the Burns supper. Meal was nice, the company at my table was awesome too. Enjoyed all the speeches, although I always get extremelly nervous when I’m required to do any sort of public speaking like that!! Thought the Toasts to the lads and lassies were pushing boundaries, especially with the Childrens ambassadors in the room. At this point, I have to say a huge thanks to my friend and roomate Scott McInnes. Being the consumate genius I am, I packed my entire Kilt outfit so I could be in tartan to do the immortal memory, except I left my Kilt in Aberdeen, but Scott, being the great guy he is, let me wear his Kilt(on the understanding I wore boxers, fair enough!). The Ceilidh that night was awesome, except for the basket dance when Laura Baxendale didn’t put her knee down in time and I got it full force in the crotch as Kenny and I were spinning her and Jamie! Stayed up very late that night with some friends, was great to spend time with them.

Sunday was also a really good day, including the God moment mentioned above!The debate sessions seemed to go really well in Healthy Relationships again. I’ve come to the conclusion that, despite some initial teething troubles, the format we went with this year worked quite well! I have to say, I didn’t think the lunches were the best, not when catering for 300 people, mostly under 25, not the most normal buffet I’ve experienced, bowls of seeds? dry pitta sandwhiches with olives and feta? Aye….  Anyway, had a Christmas dinner that night, which was ace, again my table was awesome company and as Ali T said “We’d never have the opportunity to really have Christmas dinner together”. Which is true, and it was lovely to hav the opportunity to do so together. The hootenany was alos that night, mostly good acts, the definite stand out for me was the “Unknown Magician”. Video available on facebook!! After everything on Sunday evening, I had another good night chatting to folks, including a really good chat with Andyb upstairs after everyone had gone to bed.

Monday was a good, but sad day. Sad because it was the last day, good because the final debate was really good and the closing communion was really good. Twittering during the final debate was really good, although it was a shame it was misused and taken down. I had lots of thoughts thrust into my head over the weekend and I’m sure many of them will appear on here! Overall the weekend, for me, was a positive experience, some bad points, but well outweighed by the positive points! I was really pleased by the lack of drinking this year, and am hoping that certain Impacters took note and that the word will spread that theres more to COSY events the drunken orgies!! But thats a post for another day! I think I rediscvered a wee bit about myself this weekend, a piece of me I don’t want to ever lose again. It was great, as always, to see friends again, although I’m never able to spend enough time with each of them at NYA! I’d love it to be a longer event! Mark Yaconelli was awesome, and I would totally recomend his writing to people, not just “Contemplative Youth Ministry” but the follow up book “Growing Souls” as well.

Shall be back on soon for more from the land of Chris

Peace out


  1. thank you for being so honest. 🙂
    the immortal memory was amazing by the way, i don’t think i said that to you at the time.
    will be praying for iona, you and your family. take care.xx

  2. thanks Chris … you were the calm.

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