The Rev. Simon Genoe and his wife Zara were our guest speakers this year. The theme was “Taking off the Mask”. In a world where image is so often considered important; the labels we wear, the brands we use, the celebrities we follow and the number of friends we have on Facebook.
Simon and Zara encouraged our young people to drop the mask of expectation and take time just to be themselves. As Zara noted, she looked back on her school days and hardly recognised herself, such was her slavery to the expectations of others and pressures to act in a particular manner.
It was clear very early on in the weekend that there was a keen interest to engage with the theme and all got the chance for a boys/girls only time to speak freely about the pressures they feel to be what they are not by the world around them. This first session on the Friday evening set the tone to follow. Things culminated on the Sunday afternoon youth service with many visitors joining the young people in the Share Centre Arena.
Bishop John McDowell was present to encourage the young people followed by praise with the weekend band S.A.S., prayer and a challenge to go into the coming week and beyond committed to owning up to being followers of Jesus and not putting back on the mask of conformity and acceptance into the world.
This was the encouragement that leaders and young people took with them as they travelled back to their parishes. They also took with them memories of all the other activities that for yet another year proved very popular. Banana boating was again highly popular as was the climbing wall and swimming not to mention the combat zone, canoeing and sailing.
For yet another year the weekend brought a balance between fun and fellowship with a very relevant challenge for all 97 young people and their 27 leaders. Particularly encouraging was to see that half of those present came from the newly established Wells Project youth ministries stretching from Monaghan to Dromore. With more new Wells being able to join the weekend next year it promises to be even bigger again.
Great thanks and appreciation is due to all those leaders who gave freely and generously of their weekend to come along and join their young people. Without such devotion and commitment from these hard working individuals such a successful weekend would not be possible.
Zara Genoe speaking to young people at the CYC Weekend in the Share Centre Lisnaskea