“Faith is a practical thing,” preached Julian Hamilton, of the Methodist Church of Ireland on the third day of Yuróra, the 2014 National Christian Youth Convention (NCYC).“We must perform the text, and when we do God turns up.”
With a week full of worship, song, dance and social justice, mixed in with a healthy dose of Yuróra, how could we not be performing the word of God? Yuróra was the theme for the 2014 NCYC, a biennial event held by a presbytery or synod of the Uniting Church, and means ‘passion’ in the Dharug language. As over 1000 delegates and volunteers pulled up outside the Centre for Ministry, Parramatta, it was clear their yuróra was calling them.
There was a wide range of speakers and events with delegates bustling about the Centre for Ministry and Tara School attending events from ‘How green is your God?’ to ‘The face of poverty: why God cares and you should too’ to ‘Honouring Australia’s First Peoples’.
Delegates attended worship held by different community leaders from around the church including from the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress (UAICC), theological colleges and with the many multicultural congregations represented.
But it wasn’t just the formalities that brought people together. A game of volleyball, football on the oval and coffee at Café Commons saw delegates and volunteers from all walks of life telling stories, sharing experiences and exchanging details.
At a place like NCYC you can let your faith ring out because everyone there is like minded and we ’re all Christian. To be around people who have, not necessarily the exact same, but similar, views to you about God and Christianity is really nice because you don’t have to hide anything.
“One of the lessons and ideas I was really inspired by, was ‘Creating a Missional Imagination’ which was a workshop conducted by Jools Hamilton. He discussed the point of literally ‘your kingdom come, your will be done on Earth as in Heaven.’ Challenging us to think about creating God’s kingdom on Earth like it is in Heaven.
Rockingham Uniting Church
Deepening my own opinions on Christianity and how I should act as a Christian at NCYC, has made a big impact on how I feel I should go about my day-to-day life and interactions with people who are both Christians and non- Christians. I also loved the diversity in cultures of the people who attended NCYC. Getting to meet and talk with people of Aboriginal cultures and discuss how they became Christians, among other topics, was a first for me and very eye opening.
One key issue which stood out to me from the event was: How can you make ‘the other’ your passion? So, how can you take people who you would usually avoid, or who normally annoy you, and turn that around so that you serve them, show God’s love to them, and use them as an opportunity for God’s love to show.
Nedlands Uniting Church
My most memorable experience was the Thursday night Public Rally. I really enjoyed the variety of cultures that were represented through music, dance and the running of the night. From NCYC I learnt more about the Bible and how to read it in context so I can have a better understanding of what it actually means for our day and age, with respect to current issues including evolution, science, sexuality and God’s expectation of the church.
Nedlands Uniting Church
Photos courtesy of Uniting Church in Australia, National Assembly.