Blue skies and sunshine – that is what the delegates of PYC Consultation 2015 were greeted with when we arrived at St Augustine’s B&B and Conference Centre in Modderpoort, Lady Brand, Free State on the 1st July 2015..
Exhausted from many hours of travelling, delegates were received by the Executive, bearing gifts of room keys and the promise of a full, but fulfilling program.
The Consultation officially commenced with a Eucharist service where delegates got a chance to break bread in the presence of the Lord and commit the week to Him and His Glory.
Day 1 of the program was chock-a-block with information and multi-media. We received an address from Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, addressing the theme of the Consultation: #ReclaimingOurYouth. (https://youtu.be/4pU-VYl5HXA)
The Archbishop emphasised the need for us to actively pursue our young people in our communities and invite them back into the church, he challenged us to find new ways of connecting with the Anglican Community at large, through MyAnglican and becoming Eco-activist through supporting the Green Anglicans movement.
The Archbishop addressed that the young people of South Africa today are facing a #NewStruggle, unlike that of the 1976 youth, but that this was an equally opportune moment for us to take a stand and make a change.
The second day of the consultation set the pace of the week; we received feedback reports from the different Diocesan representatives as well as a few organisations, GBFS and the AYF.
Bishop Dintoe Letloenyane, our Bishop Liason, further empowered us with a challenging charge. His message to the young people was that of Reconciliation: with ourselves/humanity, with God’s creation/environment and ultimately, to be reconciled with God in our faith. Bishop Dintoe encouraged the delegates to open the doors of the churches to those “troublesome” youth in our communities; that reclaiming them will involve more than fancy programs or tough love; he questioned whether we had visionary leadership, leaving us with these words: “for our dreams to come true, we need to wake up!”
As the week progressed and the delegates began to find their feet, the Executive further challenged us with regards to identifying the socio-economic challenges faced by each Diocese and the response from the church, as well as identifying sustainable income-generating projects for PYC.
The week was filled with praise and worship, the Eucharist and small-group workshops. Each new part of the program added to the last and challenged us to go beyond complacency and into our potential in Christ. When our President addressed us, he further confronted and empowered us through his message: “Each of us is a puzzle piece and we must get in where we fit in”.
His message reminded us that even though the need is great, we shouldn’t be discouraged by that – that we should do our bit, in our corner and then we will begin to see the change. He also noted that the puzzle is as yet incomplete because some people are missing, they haven’t answered their calling or haven’t been born yet, and that it was fine because the work of God would continue and they would also get in where they fitted in.
We closed off the consultation week with an outreach visit, spending time with some people of the community. We also got an opportunity to see the places of interest: the cave church and the spring of healing water, many delegates taking the opportunity to drink some of the water and the chaplains provided blessings.
We came to Modderpoort hoping to find answers on how to reclaim our youth and left having ourselves been reclaimed, energised and empowered for the work of God.
It is with sincere hearts and minds that we returned to our respective Dioceses with the hope and joy of the Lord in our hearts and a passion for His mission!
A great thanks to the Executive and the Diocese of the Free State for hosing a most successful PYC Consultation!
Youth Pastor – St. Michael’s Anglican Church, Nelspruit and Diocesan Youth Portfolio Coordinator – Diocese of Mpumalanga
(More pictures can be found : HERE.)