When the newly formed Diocesan Youth Movement (DYM) sat down to think about what we would be doing in 2008, one of the first things we considered was an event for youth which would exist beyond the boundaries of one individual parish.
The question then came up: what would an event like that would look like? What would be of interest to youth in our Diocese? What could we plan which would be accessible enough to parishes with large youth groups and those with just a handful of youth? And what could be a lot of fun, but also give the chance for a deeper exploration of some of the issues of our faith?
As a group made up both of youth and youth workers, DYM has a lot of experience to draw upon. We talked about some of the youth events we'd attended or organized in the past and what they'd meant to us-from pilgrimages to cathedrals as a mark of spiritual progression, to our experiences working hands-on in social justice, to actively demonstrating what we had heard from the Gospels and said in our confessions of faith.
That's how the Urban Pilgrimage was born. On Saturday March 1, youth from around the Diocese will gather together at St. James' Church in Vancouver. From there, we will pilgrimage through the Downtown Eastside along with some of those who serve its people. We'll end up at Christ Church Cathedral where, after exploring issues of urban justice with 2010 in mind and having dinner together; we'll be sleeping out in the space of the cathedral itself.
It'll be a weekend to inspire us, as well as to be enjoyed (it wouldn't be a youth event without some games in there somewhere...) and we hope it'll lead on to greater things throughout 2008. Having been working as a parish youth worker for the past year, I'm really excited at the opportunity the Urban Pilgrimage will provide for youth and youth leaders to come together and kick-start a vision for a connected Diocesan youth ministry.
Information about how to register for the Urban Pilgrimage has been sent to each parish. If you're a youth leader we'd really encourage you to bring your youth to what will be a great event. And if you're a youth, you should speak to your youth leader or rector to get the forms so that you can join us!
If you're interested in becoming involved in the Diocesan Youth Movement, you can find us on Facebook at the Diocese of New Westminster Youth group. And if you want to contact us, you can get in touch at email@example.com