At Solas we’ve enjoyed working with Scripture Union Scotland over the last few years. Andy Bannister has spoken at Equip! Edinburgh and at the SU staff leaders retreat, while Gavin Matthews has spoken at various camps and conferences. So we were delighted to renew that friendship recently when Gavin was invited to speak at the Equip! East and North events.
Scripture Union Equip! events started a couple of years ago when the Edinburgh Schools team realised there was a great need to young people (S3-S6) to be equipped to respond to some of the huge questions they face. They wanted the young people to understand Christian perspectives on the questions being raised by their peers and to have confidence that the Bible’s message is both relevant and reliable.
SU’s Jenny Thomson noted: “The Edinburgh event grew to include the Lothians and the Borders and Glasgow began their own event, using the same topics and sometimes the same speakers. When the first lockdown hit we quickly joined forces to produce Equip Online, deciding to open it up to all of Scotland’s young people in S3-6, as many SU Regional Workers were on furlough. With the return of those Regional Workers three events began, East, West and North, each with it’s own way of doing things but with collective thinking on topics and speakers. We’ve enjoyed having input from both Andy and Gavin from Solas at our events.”
Gordon Roy’s “North” area event might well stay online even after lockdown – as covering “Stirling to Shetland” isn’t really feasible in person. However, with speakers from places like Solas, LivingOut and the Evangelical Alliance and the positive way the young people have engaged with breakout rooms for discussion, there seems to be an appetite to continue meeting in this way.
Gavin Matthews from Solas said, “Friday night was exhausting but hugely enjoyable! I did the same two talks on the way Jesus is Good News in a pandemic – looking at the gospel and the uniqueness of Jesus, first for the East group and then the North group. I was encouraged by the feedback from the breakout discussion groups too. One comment in particular stuck with me from a young person who picked up on the desirability of the gospel and was asking how we know it is true. In preparing the talks I had been speaking at length with both David Nixon and Kristi Mair about youth culture in the UK today. Both of them had referred me to a famous quote by Blaise Pascal: ‘Make religion attractive, make good men wish it were true, and then show that it is.” They observed that for many younger people today, truth questions are further down their agenda than questions of whether the gospel works in practice. As such we need to answer truth questions, via the desirability issue. The fact that this young person had seen the desirability of the gospel encouraged me greatly!
Regular Equip! meetings for each region of Scotland take place online, but for safeguarding reasons booking need to be via parents/guardians. All the information can be found here.