European Methodist Forum EMYCF

“Harmony in Evolution: The captivating Journey of the European Methodist Youth and Children’s Forum”

In 1970, the collaborative efforts of the Youth Committee of the Council of the United Methodist Central Conferences of Europe and representatives from the Methodist Youth Departments of Great Britain and Ireland gave rise to the Methodist Joint Commission for European Youth Work. By 1975, it transformed into the ‘European Methodist Youth Council.’ In 2008, it evolved again into the ‘European Methodist Youth and Children Council’ (EMYC) – ‘Methodistischer Rat für die Arbeit mit Kindern und Jugendlichen in Europa,’ broadening its focus to include work with children and fostering unity among Methodist youth and children’s workers.


The pause caused by the COVID-19 pandemic prompted reflection within the EMYC executive on the nature of the council and its effectiveness in the current context, ultimately resulting in its integration into the European Methodist Council (EMC) in February 2022 and the establishment of the European Methodist Youth and Children’s Forum (EMYCF), officially acknowledged by the EMC in Autumn 2022.


From February 16th to 18th, 2024, the Diaconal House in Hamburg hosted the initial in-person meeting of the EMYCF, bringing together 15 individuals responsible for coordinating youth and children’s work in their Central Conferences/Churches or equivalent governing body of the European Methodist Council member churches. This gathering marked a significant moment in the journey of Methodist children, youth, and young adults’ work, fostering collaboration and shared purpose.


The forum, from its outset, embraced diversity and unity, weaving together Methodist traditions and cultures in Europe and beyond. Through reflection, worship, dialogue, and shared experiences, participants navigated the complexities of their calling, seeking common ground to address the changing needs and challenges facing Methodist youth and children’s workers in the 21st century.


Facilitated through a World Café-style session and open space sharing, the forum served as a dynamic platform for collective brainstorming and innovation. We explored pressing issues affecting children, young people, and young adults. Participants engaged in discussions on various topics, including the impact of social disparities such as poverty and gang violence on children, the overshadowing of traditional activities by screens, challenges in church participation, and common mental health issues among children aged 0-12. For young people aged 13-18, concerns about safety, mental health struggles, challenges in faith development, and gender identity awareness were discussed alongside a strong pursuit of opportunities and academic excellence.


For young adults aged 18 and above, shared insights revolved around balancing life challenges, navigating uncertainties in the job market, engagement in social causes, and struggles for independence and spiritual connections. The forum highlighted the need for new channels of collaboration and engagement, including online resource platforms and dedicated webpages, to address these multifaceted issues and promote holistic development across different age groups.


As the forum concluded, attendees departed with a renewed sense of purpose and fellowship, emboldened by the spirit of unity and collective action. The European Methodist Youth and Children’s Forum emerged as a testament to the resilience and adaptability of Methodist youth and children’s workers, poised to embrace the challenges and opportunities ahead.


As the Methodist tradition continues to evolve, the EMYCF stands as a beacon of hope, nurturing the faith of future generations and empowering children, youth, and young adults within Methodist heritage churches: Methodist, Wesleyan, and Uniting Churches in Europe. In the spirit of fellowship and service, the journey continues, guided by the enduring principles of faith, unity, and love.

Stefanie Gabuyo

Support Officer

European Methodist Council (EMC) 

Rev. Sarah Mae Gabuyo

GBGM Missionary and Minister

Ponte Sant’Angelo Methodist Church in Rome