Building relationships in a new youth ministry
On Sunday, February 15th, members of St David and St Patrick's Youthful Group met to make dozens of apple pies to serve at an upcoming outreach dinner in their city.
The Youthful Group is a new approach to youth ministry in our parish. The group is for young people in grade 6 and above. Each young person invites an adult companion (parent, grandparent, friend) to the group with them. ”One of the purposes of church-based youth ministry” says one of the group leaders, “is to form members of a prophetic and active community, rather than to create a segregated sub-culture that is age-specific within that community. If young people are never introduced to the mission and relationships in the faith community, why will they suddenly feel connected to that community once they become young adults?”
Youthful group offers the opportunity to build relationships with both peers and elders in the community.
The group meets every other Sunday evening and so far the kids, adults and university students who attend all love it. The agenda includes relationship building, sharin
g meals, service, learning, prayer and reflection and – of course – fun!
One of the highlights of each meeting is at the close of our time, when we gather together in quiet reflection and do the General Examen of St Ignatius together. It introduces this spiritual practice to youth and adults as something they can do in other circumstances. It is also a great time of sharing and fellowship as youth and adults learn of one another's joys and stuggles, consolation and desolation and pray for each other.
The pies were shared out to be taken home to freeze in group members' freezers and will be baked on March 7th and brought to the weekly evening dinner for homeless and disadvantaged people in our community. This dinner is hosted at a downtown church and area churches of all denominations take part in providing food and serving the meal. Youthful Group members and their adult companions will be there to set-up, serve, clean up and connect in a deeper way to the work of the church in our city.