Last weekend, a group of St Barnabas Youth Group leaders attended The Abbey. This conference is for young Anglican leaders and youth leaders. Both the trip to and the conference itself were fantastic experiences.

After the initial red-eye-flight on Friday morning, we arrived in Wellington to fantastic weather! A caffeine fix was required for a leaders meeting then we spent the day in our capital city seeing the sites or catching up on assignments. Te Papa was explored as well as the fine bakery selection of New World Metro. Electric scooters were driven, an unexpected blessing of prayer given to us at Wellington Cathedral and many memories made… as well as an assignment or two!

The Abbey itself was an incredible event. The weekend was full of networking with other youth workers, hearing from inspiring speakers as well as opportunities for rest. Meal tables at the campsite were full of conversation with youth workers from around the country and with varied backgrounds. The keynote and workshop speakers shared stories as well as content that was uplifting as well as challenging. There were also times to relax and unwind both through sport but also opportunities to visit Ngatiawa River Monastery.

The topic of rest, placing one’s security in God and healthy boundaries impacted several leaders. For others, it was the challenge to be confident in prayer – both independently and in public. For myself, there was a stirring within me to elevate the importance of the gospel and the bible both within my life and within programs I oversee.

Overall, the weekend was fantastic. Learnings from the conference will take some time to unpack as application points for the lives of our youth leaders yet some learnings have had an immediate impact. In 2024, leaders of SBYG look forward to returning to The Abbey with even more leaders!

PS: We even managed to celebrate Hanan’s birthday. If you see him, feel free to say happy birthday on Sunday!

By Nathan Muirhead