WelCom News
A newspaper for the Wellington and Palmerston North Catholic Dioceses

New youth and family base for Challenge 2000

WelCom March 2017:

John Robinson

Challenge 2000 staff are delighted about their the new base at 1 Wanaka St, Johnsonville. Photo: Trish Dean

The purchase of a property in Johnsonville to be used as a base and outreach centre for Challenge 2000, has been announced by Fr David Kennerley sm, Provincial of the Society of Mary, and Steve O’Connor, Challenge 2000 Director.

Fr Kennerley said, ‘As part of our ongoing support of Challenge 2000 and commitment to working with youth, the Society of Mary has purchased the old Brigidine convent at 1 Wanaka St, Johnsonville, Wellington. This centre will provide a base from which Challenge 2000 can continue to offer a wide range of services and also develop other ministries, including an alternative education college and youth development and youth ministry programmes’.

Sr Anne Phibbs csb along with other Brigidine Sisters who previously lived at the convent said they are delighted their old home will be used by Challenge 2000.

‘After the Sisters left, two more owners made vast improvements to the building and it is very pleasing the ‘old Convent’ should come back to life within the Church and in such good condition. We congratulate the Society of Mary on their generosity and their concern for our young people; and we wish Challenge 2000 every blessing on their work and their time in the ‘old Convent’. May you all be richly blessed by God – and by St Brigid!’

May Brigid bless the house wherein you dwell,
Bless every fireside every wall and door.
Bless every heart that beats beneath its roof,
Bless every hand that toils to bring it joy.
Bless every foot that walks its portals through
May Brigid bless the house that shelters you.
St Brigid’s Blessing for Challenge 2000 – offered by Sr Anne Phibbs csb.

The Archbishop of Wellington Cardinal John Dew said, ‘This is great news for Challenge 2000 and is a significant move and moment in your history. It will enable you to do a lot more of the wonderful work you do, serving young people and their families.’

Congregations, agencies and whānau who work with Challenge all see the development as a wonderful opportunity for the gospel to gain new life for those who most need love, justice and hope.

‘The staff, volunteers, Board and Challenge whānau are absolutely delighted about the Society of Mary’s purchase of a base for Challenge 2000’, said Steve O’Connor. ‘For us, it is a dream come true and something we have been hoping and praying for. It will enable us to work more effectively and better serve our young people and families. It is an excellent example of a collaborative gospel partnership in action. We look forward to the official opening and shift mid-year and thank the Society of Mary for this huge commitment.’

Challenge 2000 founder Kitty McKinley added, ‘Yes it is absolutely amazing. This means so much to
us all and will help with our work so much.’

John Robinson is Business Manager Challenge 2000.

Challenge 2000 staff in front of their new building. From left: Business Manager John Robinson; youth workers Jared Tofaeono, Liz Lee, Keeley Grevatt; and Director Steve O’Connor. Photos: Trish Dean