‘NO ROOM AT THE INN’
by Debbie Moore -Borland (Director)
The challenges facing us now, in my opinion, are various. We have such committed people, mostly older – and the big gap, which appears to be widening, is the loss to younger adults of a place of strong, kind support – a place of being Community. In my experience working with young adults the area of faith development is often seen as a tough nut to crack. The current culture can be seen as individualistic, materialistic and secular, often in opposition to Gospel values. Most young people today, are exposed to a whole range of influences through social media, advertising sometimes peer pressure. It is almost accepted now that our young people will receive instant answers to their questions, whatever those questions are.
Can they trust the answers? What values are underpinning the information they receive? Does our Church have a role to play in the response to the questions?
The Church itself has been in crisis for the last number of years, rocked by scandals and litigation, and has lost a lot of credibility… quite a challenging and sad environment to be trying to encourage and develop the faith that is inherent in young people. Again, my experience is that they have a deep desire to become engaged in building a more just world. A new approach is needed for a new cultural environment – we need to do what we have been doing but do it differently.
HOW CAN THE IONA PASTORAL CENTRE SUPPORT OUR YOUNG PEOPLE?
This Christmas, to be sure of ‘room at the Inn’ for our young people the words that come to me are:
Invite, Listen, Patience, Hear, Gather, Teach, Celebrate, Fun, Quite, Reflect, Prayer.
The Gospels tell us that the word ‘Simplicity’ might have been the word to describe the original ‘Inn’. Is it possible that we can get too caught up in and attached to the security of ‘the way it always was’? Could we trust in change and believe that God is at work in our world?
As well as our Traditional and Sacramental Church which is of utmost importance, we need to be re-thinking and re-envisioning what God would want for us and of us – doing the same thing differently. Perhaps we need to remind ourselves whether we are ‘regular Mass goers’, or not, that each one of us is unique and dearly loved……
The Centre is being painted and having a facelift. The Parish Office will soon move in. Our coffee dock is open on Sundays after Masses. We have plans to develop more Ministry Programmes open to all. These might be:
Social Justice Programmes at home and in partnership with the developing world.
Leadership Training to include adults and youth.
Pizza and Movie nights (with chat.)
Contemporary conversation on the Scriptures.
Experience of Christian Meditation and Awareness.
Hospitality and Welcome will continue to be the cornerstone of the Iona Pastoral Centre.
THE IONA PASTORAL CENTRE - ONE YEAR ON by Debbie Moore -Borland (Director)
I came to Knocklyon in June 2014 to take up the position of Director of the Iona Pastoral Centre. Before that I knew nothing about the Centre except that the Carmelites were present in the Parish. They were looking for someone to be involved in directing the Centre and develop Pastoral Ministry.
My background in Theology, Spirituality and Psychology appeared to meet the stated needs.
My initial experience was of warmth and welcome as I began to find my feet in the role and my role as I saw it was to develop ways in which the Pastoral Centre would continue to be a place of Spirituality, Community and Service. I believe strongly in hospitality, in the meetings and conversations and the listening and hearing that follow. However, I wasn’t alone. With the Parish priest, the Team and the Volunteers we began the process for 2014.
Building on what was already in place I recognized a desire for quiet, meditative, prayerful programmes in a non-judgmental space. Also to quote an overheard comment, “It’s good to have a place where I can meet like-minded people for a coffee and a chat. It helps with the loneliness and isolation”.
In order that best practice is maintained for the Centre my ‘job’, which is part-time, not only revolves around the Ministry but also the governance, finance, administration and budgets for the Centre.
Reflecting on my year, I quickly became aware of the existence of a very vibrant community. I was impressed by the Sunday Liturgies, the amazing commitment of the volunteers who respond so generously to the various Parish needs and the celebrations which occurred throughout the year and also the generous response to tragedies in our wider society.
The challenges facing us now, in my opinion, are various. We have such committed people, mostly older – and the big gap, which appears to be widening, is the loss to younger adults of a place of strong, kind support – a place of being Church. What IS Church? As well as our Traditional and Sacramental Church which is of utmost importance, we need to be re-thinking and re-envisioning what God would want for us – doing the same thing differently. Perhaps we need to remember that each one of us is unique and dearly loved……
The Centre is being painted and having a face-lift. The Parish Office will soon move in. Our coffee shop opens on Sundays after Masses. We have plans to develop more Ministry Programmes open to all.