As 2020 continues to unfold, Schools in the Diocese of Lismore, supported by their Youth Ministry Officers (YMOs), have risen to meet the unprecedented challenges of COVID-19 by exploring new ways to deliver the Gospel message. St Joseph’s Regional College Port Macquarie exemplifies this approach with their implementation of the ‘Catch the Wave’ retreat this year. YMOs, Chloe Nash and Amelia Stennett have been instrumental in finding new ways to bring Jesus into students’ everyday life even if it means sharing the Good News one student at a time. As a result, the implementation of the Catch the Wave program this year has evolved into three lesson-based sessions over a four week period.
Amelia shares: “…taking Catch The Wave into the classroom has been beneficial for them (students)… as opposed to one whole day with 200 plus students in a loud school hall. It’s now in the School Chapel surrounded by their friends and they’re able to Encounter Jesus in a more intimate way…”.
Every ministry initiative contains its own roadblocks. Some of these include: fighting against the everbusy school timetable, avoiding double booking the School Chapel, and designing a roster for Year 10 Ministry students that aligns with the current NSW Health and CSNSW COVID-19 Guidelines.
Despite the disruption that current events have brought to the implementation of programs, the ministry opportunities created through this experience are many. Some of these include: creating an intimate experience of faith, allowing students to discern who Jesus is to them over a longer period of time, experiencing youth ministry elements in a classroom and experiencing their YMOs in action and getting to know them better.
Whatever the future brings, even if it is a further change to ministry event plans, God is still intimately involved and remains at the core of all things.