New territory at Te Ahi Kaa
I panicked a little inside when 30 young adults, expecting a feed after Mass on Sunday night, streamed into the kitchen at Te Ahi Kaa – Palmerston North’s Catholic
Young Adult Community. Maurice (my husband) had anticipated half that number. So a quick prayer for a miracle over the pot of bacon bone soup was in order. We all dug in and with some to spare! Not 12 baskets full, but you get the idea. Everyone piled sardine-like into the lounge for an hour of ruckus praise and intimate prayer.
It was a classic example of two of the four focuses of Te Ahi Kaa: Hospitality and Prayer; the other two being Service and Formation.
Te Ahi Kaa is a core element of young adult ministry in this diocese. A handful of young people live in community, with us as their mentors, for a year of formation. We provide a disposition for inward-faith development and outward service in the wider community. The chaplaincy extends all over the diocese, including those in the workforce and tertiary education. Massey students reap the benefit of our culinary skills after Mass at campus on Wednesdays.
After only a month into this ministry we could already see God moving. We have learnt the key is relationship. Socialising is crucial to encourage a sense of belonging especially for new and international students. Coming from youth ministry at St Mary’s Parish in Blenheim, Maurice and I have made a fast but exciting transition into new territory.
We anticipate great things from God and a plethora of new learning and insights for ourselves. As a couple, we are passionate about seeing growth in young people and being creative in all areas, especially in hospitality, visual arts and liturgy. We believe three things in life go together well; art, music and food!
Challenges are an expectation. Engagement that turns to participation from young adults and connecting school, parish, and tertiary-chaplaincy ministries together are ongoing areas of development. They are made more difficult through the reality of a young-adult population in a state of flux.
But we are confident God equips the called; and knowing we are the right people in the right place at the right time is enough to get started.
Mieke and Maurice Davies are the new co-ordinators for Te Ahi Kaa. Maurice is Tertiary Chaplain at Massey University and Young Adult Minister for the Diocese of Palmerston North and Mieke provides a supporting role.