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NCYC youth start year on a high

Photo by Julie Gozali
WHILE MANY young people were planning New Year’s Eve celebrations, more than 900 people from Australia and overseas came together for the biennial National Christian Youth Convention 2011 (ncyc11) on the Gold Coast.

Approximately 350 delegates were from Queensland and around 100 delegates were part of the Uniting Aboriginal and
Islander Christian Congress group.

From 29 December to 4 January, ncyc11 encouraged people aged 16 to 25 to “Turn It Up” for God and make a difference
in their lives and the world.

For many, ncyc11 offered a forum to share and discuss their faith with a multicultural group of young people with different
understandings of Christianity.

Local and international guest speakers were invited to share their faith stories.

Keynote speaker Gillian Best spoke from her mission experience and her role as Youth Ministry Coordinator with the
Methodist Church in Northern Ireland.

Pop/folk group Remember Seven told stories through music they wrote whilst in Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Magician Christopher Wayne used everyday magic tricks and illusion to communicate the Gospel message.

Among tricks he performed was creating snow in the hall in the middle of a Queensland summer.

“What I saw this week was young people, not just from all over Australia but from different places of the world, all united in
one thing – their faith,” said Mr Wayne.

“It helped me appreciate and see the bigger picture of what faith is all about.

“There isn’t necessarily one way to go about worshipping God or living a Christian life.”

One of the highlights of ncyc11 was the New Year’s Eve celebration.

This was the first NCYC held over New Year and while the Gold Coast is known as a party destination, ncyc11 offered something unique.

New Year’s Eve organiser Fa Ngaluafe wanted to mix her Tongan culture with the youth culture in Australia.

“A lot of young people get wasted and make up these New Year’s resolutions they can’t really remember the next day,” Ms
Ngaluafe said.

“Being on the Gold Coast we wanted to create a party atmosphere where no one would want to leave because it’s pumping right here.”

The night began with a dance party and outdoor games.

Close to midnight everyone ventured outside where the Tongan community led worship.

At least 100 young people came forward to pray in groups and recommit to God.

Throughout the week, delegates were divided into different communities to create a sense of belonging as part of a smaller group.

Community leader Laura Baird said this New Year’s Eve marked a different start to the year.

“I realised it was the beginning of something new for not just me, but for everyone.

“We had a Tongan feast together after countdown, which I really enjoyed because it made it feel like a family, like we were a community,” she said.

Her words resonated with many others who enjoyed being a part of a community where faith was shared, explored, and acted upon.

“I’ve really enjoyed being immersed in a Christian environment for a week, which is a pretty unique experience in our society,” said Heidi McNamara from South Australia.

“It was great worshipping with other young Christians and getting to know new friends,” said Queenslander Heath Reynoldson.

The convention also provided an outlet for young Christians to live out their faith through Submersions.

These planned activities encouraged delegates to take action and do something in the community.

Activities varied from building a house for a refugee family, to visiting a monastery, to public demonstrations and expressions of faith.

Bible study leader Dave Andrews encouraged delegates to continue to live out their faith after ncyc11.

“I want to help people to feel like anything they do, no matter how big or small, is really significant and really important,”
he said.

When Rockhampton and areas in Central Queensland were flooded some delegates donated money to support flood affected communities.

One week after the convention ended a number of ncyc11 adult volunteers and friends from Oxley Uniting Church lent a hand delivering 380 bags of ice to flood affected residents in Brisbane.

Other groups also helped clean flooded houses.

NCYC is more than just singing songs and meeting new friends.

It is about living out faith in practical ways.

In an ageing Uniting Church, seeing hundreds of young Christians doing something for God and for the community is
both inspirational and reassuring. 

Click here for more news, photos and videos on ncyc11.

Photo : Photo by Julie Gozali