Happening - A Christian Experience sm
Happening continues to be an active ministry to the youth, and by the youth, of our diocese.
What is Happening?
For those unfamiliar with the programme, Happening is a Christian experience presented by teenagers for teenagers with the help of clergy and lay adult leadership. It is an internationally co-ordinated programme. We currently conduct three weekends a year, but as of 2010 four weekends a year will be booked.
The purpose of the programme is to be one of the instruments within the Anglican Tradition to renew the Christian Church in the power of the Holy Spirit, in order that the Church may respond more readily to its call to spread the Kingdom of God throughout the world.
Happening - A Christian Experience sm seeks to achieve this purpose by bringing young persons and adults to a fuller personal knowledge of and relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, and to a deeper level of commitment and apostleship.
During the Happening weekend (beginning Friday evening and continuing through Sunday afternoon) there are activities designed for fun and Christian community building among participants.
Throughout the weekend a series of talks are presented by youth and clergy to logically present the elements that define a mature profession of faith and the catechism process. The presentation of key talks by youth using personal life experiences is intended to offer Christ’s message to attending Happeners on a level they can understand, and to answer many of the faith questions youth struggle with daily. Talks about church teachings and their importance in the lives of youth attending the weekend are presented by clergy in a fair and friendly manner. Each talk is a critical building block in the creation of the Happening message. The entire series of talks is given in a sequence that is intended to guide Happeners by opening an avenue of discussions to help them verbalize and internalize their faith questions in a safe environment and hopefully lead to a renewed or new relationship with Christ.
Caritas, or signs of God’s love through letters, messages and small tokens are distributed at times over the weekend to deepen fellowship, and to demonstrate the knowledge and support that comes to each weekend from the “wider church.”
Happening is led by the ‘Happening Steering Committee’ - a group of young people elected by the Happening Community at an AGM. The positions of lay director and chaplain are Bishop-appointed positions, and in 2007 these positions were reassigned by the late Bishop David Beetge. Stephen Grover (from St Dunstan’s Cathedral) succeeded Matthew Lewis as lay director, and Gill Rookyard took over the role as chaplain following Fr Marcellus Conway.
Over the last three years, 198 young people from across the diocese have attended the weekend. It has been encouraging to witness the diversity and wide spectrum of parishes from which these young people have been drawn - St Dunstan’s Cathedral and College, All Souls (Northmead), St John (Putfontein), St Peter and St Paul (Springs), St Peter (Brakpan), St Chad (Edenvale), St Francis (Alberton), St James (Katlehong), Christ the King (Tembisa), St Vincent (Reiger Park), St Matthew and St Luke (Eden Park) and what was the cluster parish of Nigel, Heidelberg and Balfour.
Some of the young people who have attended are members of churches of other denominations as well.
Many of the young people who have attended the weekend are now actively involved in the facilitation of youth groups in their parishes, teaching in ‘Junior Worship’ / ‘Sunday School’, or assist in leading youth / contemporary worship services in their parishes.
Diocese of Mpumalanga:
In the 2006 report to Synod it was tabled that our diocese had been approached by the Diocese of Mpumalanga to assist them in launching a Happening programme. This was successfully achieved in 2007.
Diocesan Youth Services
2008 saw the re-introduction of Diocesan Youth Services in our Diocese. Thus far, services have been held at St Francis (Alberton), St Dunstan’s Cathedral, All Souls (Northmead) and St Peter and St Paul (Springs). A service was due to be held on 6th September 2009 at St Edmund’s (Kempton Park) but due to unforeseen circumstances has been postponed until further notice. Dates for 2010 have not yet been set, but these will be made available via the diocesan weekly newsletter. Parishes will be requested to host these services.