On Saturday 25 March 2017, a total of 14 young people aged 11-18 gathered at Dores Free Church (Continuing) for a youth conference.
The day started with time for refreshments and chatting to friends while we waited for everyone to arrive. Rev. Davide Ratti introduced the speaker for the day, who was Rev. James MacInnes, minister of Lochalsh and Strath Free Church (Continuing). We then sang Psalm 67, ‘Lord bless and pity us’, and prayed.
After that, we heard the first talk, on ‘Knowing your rights’. This is a very topical issue in society and it can cause a lot of debate and arguments in families, as so many teenagers sometimes feel they don’t get enough rights from adults who have authority over them.
We were reminded in the talk that ultimately what rights we are given come from God. After the talk, we were split into small groups to discuss and answer questions about what we had heard.
This was followed by a break for a very tasty buffet lunch, organised by Morag and Joan Mackintosh. Since the weather was warm and sunny outside, we decided to go for a short walk along the shores of Loch Ness, but Nessie didn’t make an appearance on this occasion!
Getting it right
After the walk, we sang Psalm 100, ‘All people that on earth do dwell’, and had another prayer. Then we heard a second talk, on ‘Getting it right’. It made us think carefully about how Christians should responsibly exercise the rights that God gives us in the areas of religion, relationships, riches and recreation. This talk was followed by another short time for discussion in our groups.
Mr MacInnes finished off by reading from Isaiah: ‘I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins. Put me in remembrance: let us plead together: declare thou, that thou mayest be justified’ (Isaiah 43:25-26). This reminds us that we have ‘rights’ — provided by grace — to plead through the gospel.
Sadly, it was all too soon time to leave, but each of us took home something to ponder over and apply to our own lives.
It was a fun day of fellowship and meeting new friends, and we would like to thank Dores Free Church (Continuing) for organising this amazing conference. The next one, God willing, is planned for autumn. A booking form will be available on the denominational website (www.freechurchcontinuing) nearer the time. We warmly encourage any interested young people to come along and join us.
Ethan MacLeod (15)