Since the creation of the new Oldham YCW Group in September, the young leaders have been working through a range of activities, including the SEE-JUDGE-ACT Method, to see how best they can be the difference in their local community.
To begin with, the Group took time to explore what issues are being faced in the area and used this information to begin a discussion about what other, more established, YCW Groups are doing across England and Wales.
Marc Besford, National Training and Development Worker, attended the initial meetings of the Group to help assist the young people get a deeper understanding of the movement and how it works. He was able to feed in a range of examples and this helped the Oldham Group steer their discussions during the SEE stage.
Once the SEE stage was completed, the Group then turned to Matthew’s Gospel and the parable of the Sheep and the Goats to help them JUDGE how best they could respond to the variety of local issues raised during the SEE discussions. This passage of Matthew calls us to care for “the least of our brothers and sisters” because in doing so, it is as if we are caring for Jesus himself.
This call to help the poorest and most vulnerable inspired the Group to focus on how they can take concrete action to answer God’s message. However, it also gave them the opportunity to see where their impact could best be felt. This meant they wanted to find something that perhaps hasn’t received as much support as others.
Ultimately, the Group decided that they would help their local Women’s Refuge - a place where women and their children can take refuge when they are suffering from domestic violence and abuse. These refuges are vital lifelines for many women and in the run-up to Christmas, many victims will have to spend time away from family and friends in order to stay safe.
The Group have now decided that they will collect items and put together some Christmas stockings for the local refuge. They are appealing for items at Church and hoping to deliver these gifts in the run up to Christmas.
Fr John Marsland, National Chaplain and Parish Priest of the Group’s parish, welcomed the Group’s first campaign, saying: “The efforts of the Group are a real inspiration and show how young people can used their leadership qualities to make a big difference in the lives of the poorest and most vulnerable. It is not just the gifts the Group will be giving that are important, it is the demonstration of love and compassion that they are showing that is truly important.”