Fill your Cup was the theme for The Abbey 2023. The first national Anglican youth leaders and young adults conference for four years in its usual form kicked off on Friday 18th August. Organised by the National Youth Facilitator, Lorna Gray and her team, we had speakers and workshop leaders from across the motu. Sung worship was from the Christchurch crew and our own Losana Fonua was one of the emcees. An exceptional job she did too!
Esther Chan kicked things off on Friday evening, speaking, while also caring for their little one Malachi, it was a great example of ministry as a whole person! Another highlight I noted was hearing from Bishop Justin from Wellington, and then seeing Bishop Peter from Christchurch and Bishop Steve from Nelson serving communion together. It was a great picture of episcopal unity as they served communion to our youth and young adults.
The cafe was set up as a great hang space for talking and playing pool, but also with some enjoyable craft activities scattered around the space. There was also a kids programme which was a new element this year, and a welcome one. Many of our volunteer leaders are family people, so national conferences like this are a challenge – having a kids’ programme enabled families to come and each be nurtured while also having time and space to be together. The kids’ programme crew were awesome in connecting swiftly with young ones and making then feel welcome and safe.
Auckland was well represented with two van loads of youth leaders, St John’s College students and young adults from across Auckland, in addition we had several fly in as well. In addition many workshop leaders and speakers were current students and staff from St John’s College.
I’m sure others can add far more to our story, so watch this space!