Approximately 80 young people travelled to Merricks Lodge in July this year on the Mornington Peninsula for the annual NextGen camp. The camps first took place in 2012 and have grown in size every year.
For many of this year’s participants, this was their first NextGen camp. Ice-breaker exercises helped introduce the young people to one another and friendships quickly formed as they engaged in interactive teamwork activities.
The theme of this year’s camp was ‘What does the Lord require of us?’ based on a passage from Micah 6:8.
Staff from the synod’s Justice and International Mission (JIM) unit guided the participants as they explored different pathways to fulfil God’s call to serve the marginalised.
Dr Mark Zirnsak, director of the JIM unit, was the keynote speaker. He led a discussion on biblical references to charity, community service and social justice and offered examples of how the Church is responding to injustice.
Participants took part in four different workshops, where they reflected on how they can create positive change in the world.
Each workshop was hosted by a synod staff member. Jill Ruzbacky explored the meaning of ‘welcoming the stranger’, Josh Woollett explained the importance of child safety and Cath James shared practical advice for protecting God’s creation.
Rev Ken Sumner, state director of Victorian Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress, discussed the challenges faced by the First Peoples.
Plenty of time was set aside for reflection and worship. Prayer groups and campfire chats gave a space for the young people to share their spiritual journey together.
The weekend was a festive and eye-opening experience for many of the participants. The young people left the camp motivated by the challenge to “do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).
If you would like to see more photos from this year’s NextGen camp, follow Next Gen on Instagram at @ucanextgen or visit https://instagram.com/ucanextgen/