By Olivia Brown
On the 27th of June four members of the 2019 YMI England mission team arrived at Heathrow airport to begin an 18 day mission. The first 13 days of the mission included various school visits, finishing with four days at the LNE in tickenham where the team met up with leaders in catholic education from all over the UK and there fellow Aussies from the Canberra Goulburn Diocese and the Wollongong Diocese.
After arriving at 7:30am in London the team found their way to the grounds of Worth Abbey and spent the day getting recovering from the journey. There they met up with the fifth member of the Australian team and other key leaders for the mission.
The team spent the first day of school visits at St pauls and Worth school getting to know some of the staff and students. Then came the weekend where the team set off to London for a 13hour tourist day with lots of photo opportunities and great food, before spending their Sunday admiring churches and planning for the coming week.
During that week the first ever SHINE gathering in the UK was hosted, which saw selected year 10 students from St Pauls, Worth School, Cardinal Newman and St Wilfreds come together for a day where exploring the theme of ‘Made for More’ and reconciliation, while also attending workshops on relationships, parise and worship and photography, nature and prayer.
The weekend was spent with the Guildford Catholic parish at their annual Rooted retreat, where we presented workshops to young people aged 10-18 about failure (Drama) and Vulnerability (Testimony). In between that and planning the team visited Brighton and surrounding towns to see some tourist attractions.
The last couple of days of school visits were spent working on some youth ministry curriculum and lesson planning with the chaplaincy staff at st Pauls and Worth school.
We then traveled to our final school Ursuline college in Wimbledon to spend the day with some of the girls there.
School visits were a massive highlight for the team and saw them spending their days ministering to the students at St Pauls, Worth School, St Catherine’s Cardinal Newman, St Wilfreds and Ursuline College, exploring themes such as ‘Made for more’.
Then end of school visits didn’t mean the end of the mission, the team then moved on to London where they spent 3 days at St marys with staff from cathoic schools in the UK, looking at the new evangelisation and the roles of schools as centre for the new evangelisation.
For me this was a highlight as it made the work we had done and the sessions we had presented in the schools feel like they were part of a bigger picture and plan for catholic education in the UK. It was great to see the enthusiasm and passion that the educators and leaders of catholic schools had for the evangelisation and growth of their young people.
As the third mission to England this particular mission saw a change to the types of sessions the team ran and the way in which they were utilised in schools.
The past three missions have seen the CSYMI vision grow and deepen in England, as a returning member for the three england missions I cannot wait to see what the future will hold and all that God has planned not just in England but across the UK.