Nearly 80 young people from the Church of Ireland Dioceses of Cork, Cloyne and Ross who are preparing for Confirmation later this year, joined their Bishop, Dr Paul Colton, for a morning of meeting each other, chatting with the Bishop, games and activity on Saturday 7th March.
The Canon Packham Hall, Douglas and St Luke’s National School, Douglas provided the campus once more for this now annual morning of fun, laughter and learning. As ever, the Bishop was supported by clergy and youth leaders from the Diocese.
Bishop Paul Colton said:
In a small Diocese like this, the young people mostly know me already, but this is a chance to meet informally before the ‘big day’ of their Confirmation. What is really important is that they have a chance to ask questions, and to see also that they are part of a bigger group. Those from smaller parishes realise they are part of something much bigger, and even those from populous parishes realise that there is a world of Christianity far beyond their own setting.
Once everyone had signed in, with special provision this year for sanitising hands throughout the morning, the games got under way. Diocesan Youth Worker, Hilda Connolly, had found out that the Bishop has a significant birthday next week so ‘happy birthday’ was sung before splitting into groups.
All the young people took part in four group sessions. The first, hosted by Archdeacon Adrian and Mrs Jacqui Wilkinson, was about asking questions. It focussed on how Jesus asked lots of questions as part of his teaching, and also how, in the Gospels, Jesus himself was asked 183 questions but only directly answered three of them. A card game was involved, and also posters with questions about Christianity and the world to put to the Bishop.
Canon Elaine Murray led the second group, in a visual presentation about God the Holy Spirit in signs and symbols.
Mr Peter Stobart, who directs the Diocesan Church Music Scheme, was on hand again this year to teach the young people and leaders a hymn new to them which will be this year’s Confirmation hymn sung at all Confirmation Services in the Diocese. The hymn chosen by the Bishop for this year was written by American contemporary hymnwriter Marty Haugen: ‘Let us a build a house where love can dwell .. All are welcome, all are welcome,
all are welcome in this place.’ You can listen to it on Youtube HERE.
Through his work over the years with the Church of Sweden, Bishop Colton discovered the Pearls of Christ or Wreath of Christ – a way of helping people to shape their private prayers, each colour being a different theme. Devised by Swedish Lutheran Bishop Martin Lönnebo, their use has spread throughout the world. For many years now, Bishop Colton has made them as his personal gift to each person he confirms. This session, led by the Bishop, was about ideas about how to pray.
Afterwards everyone gathered together in one big group to sing the hymn they had learned and for a closing prayer, before enjoying the healthy hospitality that was laid on.
A full gallery of photos will follow in due course.