CYMFED, the Catholic Youth Ministry Federation, hosted its 2016 conference on Saturday the 6th of February. People involved in youth ministry in England and Wales gathered in London to focus on the theme of faith and mercy. A couple of representatives from Lancaster diocese made the journey to London, to spend the day learning a little more about this theme of faith and mercy.
The conference started with what could perhaps be described as Catholic “have you ever.” The hosts read out a statement and if it applied to you, you had to stand up and shout “that’s me!” The game began with a very strategic “I have complained about being tired,” which instantly got everyone on their feet. The statement “I have had an argument with a coach driver” seemed to be reserved for the more experienced youth ministers. Fr David from the Briars (Nottingham diocese youth service) gave a good demonstration later that day of how such arguments might come about, when he single-handedly blocked all traffic in London (or should we blame that London bus driver?).
Throughout the conference, One Hope Project led us in praise & worship, with some wonderful music, and inspiring words. Rise Theatre performed some touching dramas to show that God’s mercy breaks our chains, that God is present in our lives at all times even if we fail to see Him, and that God takes away the baggage we carry. Keynote speaker for the day was Fr Andrew Small, who spoke about mercy as God’s ID card, the foundation of the Church’s life, and a call to action. Fr Paul Farrer launched the Faith in Action Awards, an award scheme to “value the immeasurable.” It encourages young people to live out their faith as servants to others by partaking in a project of their choice, while also helping them to reflect on that experience. The conference ended with a moment of prayer and reflection, sending everyone back to work with some new insights and ideas.
Anke, 23, Castlerigg Manor - Keswick