Residential Weekend 25 - 27th Oct
The medieval city of Kilkenny nestled against the Nore river and beneath its imposing castle has been the site of the annual Church Of Ireland's residential youth weekend for many years now. With its 6th century St. Canice's Cathedral and round tower the city boasts a truly historic experience. Narrow winding streets, many small shops and ancient buildings complete the unique experience of this place.
Kilkenny College, a large boarding school on the edge of the city is a perfect setting for the Anois residential. The college has excellent dormitory, sports, catering and activity halls that provide all the necessary facilities to allow for a variety of activities no matter what the Irish weather has in store. This year a group of our young people from the SNATCH and TAG groups from the Clogher and Clones rural deaneries travelled to the weekend.
The theme for the weekend was "Passion". The Mark Ferguson band led worship and the speaker, Jasper Rutherford from Summer Madness, spoke on the passion of Christ for us, our Passion for Him and our passion for the church. 1 John 1:3 "How great is the love of the father which he has lavished on us that we should be called the children of God" was Jasper's opening text as he spoke of God's love for us on the first evening. He followed this by looking at the story of the anointing of Jesus in Matthew 26. We were all challenged as we considered the cost of this anointing and how many were angered at the extravagance of the woman who anointed Jesus. The question for us all was how willing are we to be as devoted in our commitment and love of Jesus. Jasper's final session was focused on our need to love and respect the church. We all belong to each other as a body with many parts. When we disrespect the church we disrespect ourselves. All three sessions were followed by a time for small group reflection and discussion which were very beneficial as it gave an opportunity for the young people to develop their thinking on the theme. A time to listen to others, ask questions and pray together with their peers and leaders.
Set against this excellent teaching and small group work were the venues available late into the evenings and during the days. Young people could enjoy the games room; pamper zone, prayer space, chill zone, badminton, uni-hoc, rodeo bull and café. There was also a full afternoon of off site activities such as karting, high ropes, zip wire and abseiling, bowling and if you had still some time, shopping! With an excellent menu, all meals provided by the college catering staff and comfortable small dormitory accommodation all our needs were met. There was even staff en-suite accommodation for leaders!
In all the weekend was a good example of how beneficial it is to take young people away on residential weekends. The opportunity to be taught and inspired to grow in faith along with exciting and enjoyable activities in a comfortable environment is vital. The CIYD youth department are to be commended for their efforts and we are already looking forward to Anois 2015 and an even greater number of our youth groups joining the Clogher group travelling to the event.