Mercy Young Adult Network Conference
Looking For Hope - October 2014
The Mercy Young Adult Network held its biennial conference in Brisbane spending the majority of time between the Mercy Heritage Centre, Ann Street, Fortitude Valley and Mercy Place, Bardon. Its chosen theme, Looking for Hope, was broken open through guest speakers, discussion and reflection, listening and sharing on action and goals happening in the various at-home groups and through a hands-on activity packing some hundreds of books supporting BOOKS4PNGKIDS.org. Participants heard that learning to read in order to learn is a basic necessity for children in developing countries especially in the remote locations where there is very little in the way of reading material. Such deprivation came as a surprise.
The Network was represented by members from Auckland, Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney. One reflection time looked at the personal attitudes and values which we bring to our living and the focus of the second reflection looked at what might be an answer to Looking for Hope. The magnolia tree at the entrance to the Mercy Heritage Centre still stands after 139 years and is a symbol of on-going tenacity. A Pope Francis reflection spoke of a present and future seemingly threatened by menacing clouds. His answer to this is “the necessity to proclaim courageously and in every situation the Gospel of Christ, a message of hope, reconciliation, communion, a proclamation of God’s closeness, God’s mercy, God’s salvation and the power of God’s love to overcome the darkness of evil and guide us on the path of goodness”. Psalm 27 vv 1,7,8, and the Good Samaritan text, Luke 10:29-37 expressed faith and service in the pursuit of hope.
Social life was not forgotten. After the celebration of Eucharist with the Toowong Parish community, the Brisbane members led the group to the city on a City Cat for a couple of hours. The closing Review of the weekend showed praise and satisfaction for the programme and the time together as well as a commitment to return home with renewed energy to continue and to set new goals for the next two years.
A statement from Archbishop Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury gave further room for reflection –
“You have the HOPE of the world in your hands. Don’t undersell it”. -Compass, 2014