Conventionally inspired youth

yurora 2014TIM LAM

NCYC is a familiar acronym to many who have grown up in the Uniting Church. Since 1955, the National Christian Youth Convention has been a central event on the UCA youth calendar.

Every three years, hundreds of youth between 16 and 25 gather to worship, form new friendships and celebrate the Church’s diversity. Approximately 1000 people from throughout Australia attended Yuróra NCYC in 2014 in Western Sydney.

Yuróra returns in 2017 and will be held from 8 to 12 January at Tops Conference Centre in Stanwell Tops, 55km south of Sydney.

Yuróra, which means ‘passion’ in the Dharug language, aims to create a space for young people to share their stories and gifts in an inclusive, multicultural environment. It particularly emphasises building relationships between First and Second Peoples.

The logo for 2017 was inspired by a drawing by Joyce Waia, a young Indigenous woman from Queensland. The yellow dots symbolise Elders sharing Dreamtime stories, the blue dots represent the spirit and the central orange dots are the leaders of the next generation.

Every morning, attendees will connect with young people from other states through daily Bible studies. The afternoon sessions offer different streams to cater to delegates’ interests. These are followed by worship rallies at night, hosted by church leaders including Uniting Church president Stuart McMillan and United Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress pastor Ray Minniecon.

For children between the ages of 13 to 15, Yuróra offers a program called Babanas which is a Dharug word for ‘younger sibling’ or ‘little one.’

Rebecca Swain attended Yuróra 2014 as part of the Babanas group. She is now part of the management team for the 2017 festival.

“Through Babanas I met so many great people whom I still have connections with today,” Ms Swain said.

“It was a crazy, exciting, adventurous few days and all the people were uniquely amazing, with their own individual personalities, stories, talents and experiences to share.

“I’m so keen for Yuróra 2017 – the new site is fantastic and there are so many exciting opportunities to immerse yourself in.”

Organisers have assembled a diverse line-up of artists, speakers and performers for the five days. This includes 2011 Australia’s Got Talent winner Jack Vidgen, hip-hop crew Illagroovers, Indigenous dance group Dusty Feet Mob and poet Joel McKerrow.

This year, Yuróra will introduce a multicultural festival, which is expected to be a highlight of the program.

Yuróra director Bradon French is excited by what the conference has in store.

“Yuróra offers the Uniting Church a glimpse of our future. A diverse, faithful, passionate community who worship, pray and play together,” he said.

“It’s a great privilege to see people come together, in the name of Jesus, and celebrate.”

Visit to register and book accommodation.

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