Having just marked its 80th anniversary, Melbourne Young Christian Students has announced a radical plan for its future – introducing direct individual memberships.
In the past, participation has been based on membership of a school or parish YCS group. Under this new model, the Melbourne YCS will operate under a direct individual membership system and a new diocesan structure based on assemblies of members.
The Melbourne YCS will also develop a greater presence on social media to link students and to promote social justice and faith formation.
Changes in the media and technology in recent decades have driven the communication between students and how they relate to the worlds in which they live. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated these longer-term changes.
From January 1, 2023, a student will become a member of the Melbourne YCS by pledging to “work for social justice based on the beliefs, values and principles of the Gospels and Catholic Social Teaching”.
Melbourne YCS worker Liam Cowan said the organisation estimated there is about 30,000 students in the 15-to-18-year age group in Catholic schools within the Melbourne Archdiocese of Melbourne and about another 15,000 Catholics in non-Catholic schools.
“Our strategy is to reach out to those students and build a movement founded on their commitment to work for social justice based on the beliefs, values and principles of the Gospels and Catholic Social Teaching,” Mr Cowan said.