Friday, December 09, 2005


I have been in Tonga now for 5 days at the launch of Youth Yeah! A celebration of young people and ministry among young people in the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia. The actual launch was on the Sunday, and was a large affair. Every group there performed two items, and there were groups from Tikanga Pakeha (European descent in New Zealand) Tikanga Maori, Tikanga Pacifika in New Zealand, Samoa, Several different groups from Fiji, plus each parish in Tonga. A Free Wesleyan group also came to take part and participate. There were speeches from Claude Fong-Toy, the Diocesan Youth Co-ordinator for Polynesia, and from the Anglican Bishop in Polynesia, Rt. Rev. Jabez Bryce. It took about three hours, and was a great way to start the year. The job now is to publicise what has happened, and to make the best use of this year as possible.
On the Monday our two speakers were not able to come (from New Zealand) so I was asked to run the two hour session on what is Youth Yeah! This was great fun, using small groups and getting people to talk to each other in those groups. We then did a round robin as part of the Toru, The Anglican Centre for Youth Ministry Studies presentation.
We have also visited a disability centre; the children’s ward in the hospital, picked up rubbish, planted trees in each of the Parishes to mark the occasion, and had a day at the beach. Finally, we have been hosted by various parishes for dinner and entertainment. The only downer has been my getting a reaction to lunch on Sunday, and eating very little, and not feeling great. But I have found Fanta does a great job settling the stomach!!

In the two days left we have the big thank you tonight, and then the T3 Youth Exec will meet for the remainder of the time.

Should be just as busy

Friday, December 02, 2005

Off To Tonga

I am off to Tonga tomorrow for the launch of our Youth Yeah! Should be great fun, but hard work too. 6am Eucharist every morning except Sunday. And no food when we arrive or before we leave and we are flying Pacific Blue - a no frills airline with no food except what you take with you or buy on board.

the importance of all this for me is that we have an opportunity to get the church as an institution, and for the leaders within this church to take young people and ministry among young people seriously. Sometimes it feels like I am pushing stuff uphill. And I am realistic about this coming year, but it is an opportunity. For me this is the test of how any church takes seriously the Gospel - are thy willing to live that gospel out among young people, and to take those young people seriously? You can have all your future church stuff you like, but living out this stuff is what matters. And unless we are willing to take young people seriously, anything we do is for the short term and comfort, rather than for the long term and gospel based.

Till after Tonga.