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/ 18 November 2019

Churches Hold Joint Sleepover for Young People

Churches in the Kensington Area collaborated on a sleepover for youth involving sumo-wrestling, making pizzas, a hot-seated Bishop and creative ways to engage in prayer.

In 2018, a group of parishes in the catholic tradition within the Kensington Area of the Diocese of London gathered together in order to address a need to engage more effectively with young people. They developed an idea to invite teenagers to experience church in a new way and on 8th November 2019, the Bishop of Kensington opened the first Church at Night event which took place at St John the Baptist, Holland Road.

Thirty young people enjoyed various activities and events ranging from sumo wrestling to midnight benediction. The initiative, led by Fr Grant, Assistant Priest in the parish of Holy Trinity, Sloane square and Fr James Heard, vicar of The Holland Park Benefice is the start of a range of activities to take place throughout 2020.

The young people were inspired and deeply moved by the Q&A session with the Bishop, which led to some profound conversations around hope in the midst of suffering, as well as questions such as, “How much do you get paid as a Bishop?

The sacred silence from the young people as they learned about confession through role play given by Fr Sam McNally-Cross and Fr Grant Bolton-Debbage was profound, with many young people seeking to make their first confession that very evening. Midnight benediction drew the night to a peaceful close, led by the Archdeacon of London, Fr Luke Miller with beautiful music arranged by Edward Dean, Assistant Director of Music at Holy Trinity Sloane Square and liturgically put together by Fr Will Levanway, Assistant Curate at All Saints Fulham.

Other activities included:

  • Calligraphy and Art led by Mother Emma Smith – Vicar of St Mary Abbotts, High St Kensington
  • Pizza Making led by the people of St John the Baptist, Holland Road
  • Spiritual Direction from Brother Finnian SSF
  • Prayer Stations arranged by Pastoral Assistants in the Kensington Area PA Scheme

The whole initiative could not have been a success without the generous time, energy, enthusiasm and effort put in. Thanks to Anna Stamenova, the Youth Minister at St Luke’s Chelsea, Mary Kok, the Bishop of Kensington’s School and Youth Chaplain, Fr Jonathan McNeaney, Assistant Priest at St Mary Abbotts High Street Kensington and the many other volunteers who turned up on the evening to help!

The next event will be a film night at Holy Trinity Sloane Square in February.

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