Youth recharge at retreat

Group shot of dozens of youth in front of a Muskoka Woods mural.
Young people from across the diocese gather for a photo at Muskoka Woods in Muskoka, Ont.
 on November 29, 2023

Bishop inspired by energizing weekend

The Bishop’s Youth Ministry Committee (BYMC) held its annual ReCharge Youth Retreat on Sept. 29 to Oct. 1 at Muskoka Woods. There were 150 participants from across the diocese representing 20 different parishes. It was a beautiful fall weekend, and those attending spent time making new friends, reconnecting with old ones, praying, worshipping, eating, playing and even getting some sleep.

It was a joy to have Bishop Andrew and Mary Asbil for the weekend. They led night prayers on Friday night, led a team challenge and helped facilitate the Cast the Net session on Saturday. Bishop Asbil also celebrated the Eucharist on Sunday.

“This has been such an energizing weekend,” he said. “To see all these young people and their faithful leaders coming away, fighting the traffic to get out of the city, coming from the four corners of the diocese to gather for play, prayer and ministry is so inspiring. It gives me so much hope for the Church of today.”

The Rev. Yohan Dumpala, assistant curate at St. John the Baptist, Norway, led the worship, assisted by the Rev. Rob Petkau, a Wycliffe College student from the Diocese of Calgary, as well as numerous youth on percussion instruments. The theme for the retreat was “The Joy of Following Jesus Then and Now.” Cormac Culkeen, youth coordinator for Trent-Durham and co-coordinator of the diocese’s Youth Ministry Apprenticeship Program, was the main speaker. They shared with the youth about St. Teresa of Avila, St. Francis of Assisi, and from John 15:5-17.

Participants had lots of time to play and explore many of the activities that Muskoka Woods offers. They played glow-in-the-dark capture the flag on Friday night. On Saturday, they rode The Kraken, a huge, six-lane waterslide, and played an exciting game of flame battlers. Also on Saturday afternoon, they enjoyed their choice of volleyball, basketball, tennis, gaga ball, a high ropes course, indoor rock climbing, long boarding and scooters, hanging out by the lake, and arts and crafts. On Sunday, they battled in a team version of Jeopardy (the bible edition)

The BYMC would like to thank the diocese and the College of Bishops for their continued support of youth ministry and this annual retreat. We look forward to seeing everyone again next year!


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