In the last year Sion Youth has gone through many changes and started a lot of new initiatives. This has mainly been down to our participation in the Youthwork Learning Community organised by Onelife which has provided a space for us to plan and delve into what we think God is calling us to do strategically. It was through this process that we were led to make the transition from Cross Purposes to the Sion Youth Mission Team early this year. As we’ve moved into a new season it has been important for us to clarify both our identity and vision, which has led us to this statement: Sion Youth exists to spread hope throughout the whole Church by leading young people to Christ. We achieve this through evangelising in our missions, discipling through our events and empowering through the foundation year. More than anything we recognise that youth ministry is a gift for the entire Church as when a young person walks back into a congregation it brings hope to the whole parish. Hope builds. And we want to rebuild a lost generation by laying down our lives for the glory of the Lord!
This year we had 6 fantastic and passionate young people join us from all realms of life. They were unafraid to step out in faith on a regular basis as well as following through with some of our crazy ideas! This was aided by their participation in the Release programme for young leaders that helped them grow in both character and gifting, while they also received regular formation throughout the year from the likes of Ros Powell, Roy Crown, Alice Hall, Fr. Ged and Brother Oliver, from the Dominicans, to name a few. This formation prepared them well for the 8 secondary school missions that we facilitated at different points throughout the year as well as a chastity mission trip to Jersey, running the Cross Purposes stream at Celebrate, the D-Weekends and Festival Sanctus.
Some new exciting aspects that we built into the mission process this year included Lightfever, the Youth Alpha Launch Party and running the Main Event on Thursday evening in the local parish rather than the school hall. We immediately saw the fruit of this when one lady told us how she was going to return to the Parish community with her son because she had been exposed to the parish life that evening. So that a tangible legacy was left in the school after the team departed we started launching Alpha both for staff and students. The feedback from this was very positive and we hope to be working with Alpha more closely in the next year to see how we might further this initiative. Lightfever was perhaps the most incredible thing to witness this year. On a regular basis we saw pupils queuing down the corridor in their free time so that they could light a candle and spend time with Jesus, truly present in the Blessed Sacrament. Our intention for the year was that we would see Eucharistic revival and it started to become more and more apparent as the year went on. We also felt the need following this to permeate all our material with the Mass so that pupils and staff were able to enter into the Liturgy more deeply. As well as this we saw students pour into prayer ministry and the Sacrament of Reconciliation where we started to see very tangible miracles occur, the biggest one obviously being the healing of relationships with God the Father. Undoubtedly, the Holy Spirit had a very active and busy year!
As we neared the end of our year we invited both young and old to join us in Brentwood where we celebrated the 20th Sion Summer Camp. It was both emotional to look back over the last 20 years as well as exciting to look forward to the years ahead, where by the grace of God we will see many more young people meet Jesus and in turn bring hope to not only the Church but the world! AMDG.