I forgot to mention a very important thing in that last post.
This was not the first such event I took part in recently. A few weeks ago, our blessed youth enjoyed a bracing retreat near Wiseman’s Ferry (where the days are cold and the nights go way beyond cold). Somehow, they managed to thaw their brain out enough to go through a similar process over three days and develop, for the first time I know of, a detailed Vision and Mission for the Youth of Archangel Michael and St Bishoy Coptic Orthodox Church.
It seems that I am doomed to be continually surprised and highly impressed by the sheer quality of our youth! They did a brilliant job (may God protect them from the envy of the devil, and pride, and all that yucky stuff). The statements they came up with are absolutely marvellous: clear, comprehensive, inspiring, and very, very Christian. The Vision Statement says exactly what we want to be all about. Here is a sneak preview of it in its draft form (it still has to be run by the Fathers and the Church Committee):
To live a genuine Christ centered life, acquiring understanding and truth, while preserving the beauty of the Coptic Orthodox Church and its traditions
To welcome and to serve people of all backgrounds by providing a safe, tolerant and caring environment uniting all in the love of Christ.
To me, it sums up in a nutshell both the beauty of our past and the fastmoving changes of our future. You’ll gat a chance to see the full set of statements soon at Friday Night Youth Meeting, but again, a whole lot of nice things in words means nothing if it does not translate into actions. True enough, but in order to make sure we have the right actions, we need to first agree on what we are all working towards. And that is now happening.
At the retreat, they also came up with a six month Action Plan, just to keep us going until we have a chance to get a more formal plan of action in place. This includes the following goals for the next six months (ie by Christmas):
– Organise a committee to monitor and follow up on the attendance of youth at Church.
– Organise a summer camp and graduation ceremony for year 11 and 12 students.
– Raise funds for:
The English Church and
– Utilise the fundraising BBQ option at Bunnings warehouse.
– Explore options into hosting a Coptic stall at the next Blacktown festival
– Organise sponsorship for our church sports teams to purchase much needed equipment
– Form a sports committee that will develop programs that will involve young kids and promote female sports
– Plan and organise fun and appealing outings for the youth.
Now of course, there are already a number of really good activities and services going on, and these are in addition, but it is so wonderful to see that things are not stagnating, but moving forward. It is even more wonderful to see people getting involved, coming forward to help and to do things, and achieving things that are so worthwhile. We have a special opportunity in Australia to do so much to help others, since we ourselves have been given so much. And we can achieve so much more when we pull together and work as a united team.
And the needs are so many! Going through all these exercises has certainly opened my eyes to see so many services we need desperately in our community, and so many services the community around us needs, that I had never thought of before. We need an army to even scratch the surface!
The Church is the House of God and it belongs to Him, but He, in His love, shares the onwership with us. It is also OUR Church, and it will always be what we make it. As much as you put in, that much you will get out.