News from the British Isles and around the world
CELEBRATE CONFERENCE & WEEKENDS
Despite the credit crunch, the annual Celebrate conference down in Ilfracombe during Easter week 09 was bursting at the seams as usual with over 1450 people attending and many young people and children. The theme came from Deuteronomy 30:14 The Message is close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart so that you can obey it. This was unpacked by a wide variety of speakers, in the main talks and workshops.
This theme will also be examined in the five Celebrate weekends which will take place round the country this year. The Celebrate weekends were initiated last year, when the early Easter meant that the main conference was unable to take place. Over three thousand people attended these weekends which enabled people who had not been able to go to Ilfracombe to have something of the Celebrate experience locally. High standards in teaching, worship and fun are the hallmark of Celebrate and the way in which it reaches out to all members of the family, whatever age or faith level, as there is something for everyone. (even bishops have been known to attend incognito!).
This year local teams with the guidance of Charles and Sue Whitehead, are organising weekends at the Cardinal Newman School in Hove (4th-5th July), with Southampton following 26th-27th September at St Marys College, Bitterne (speakers: John Vaughan-Neil, David Matthews, David Payne and Steve Murray). In the South West the weekend is on 24th-25th October at St Bedes College, Lawrence Weston and at St Albans on the weekend of 31st Oct-1st Nov. (speakers are David Wells, David Payne and Fiona Hendy). Goodnews readers in the Midlands and North will be pleased to know that there is also a Heart of England Celebrate Weekend at the beginning of the Autumn half term 24th-25th October. This will be held at the Cardinal Wiseman School in Potters Green, Coventry which is a new venue with better all round facilities. Speakers will be David Wells, Dave Matthews and Jenny Baker, with worship led by Ronan and Joanne Johnston from Dublin and Salv Lomanto. Sion Communitys Monica McArdle will provide her special mime creativity and there will be four streams for children and a young peoples programme. There will also be a young peoples weekend retreat 30th Oct-1st Nov, at Worth Abbey, organized by the Joels Bar team.
A weekend in Manchester had also been planned for May, following last years successful event, led by Chris and Martina Power, and a team drawn from the Sion Community, Agape, Schoenstatt, Marantha, the Salesians and the Lancaster Catholic Youth Service, but unfortunately circumstances beyond the control of the organizers stopped this going ahead.
Charles Whitehead, the chairman of Celebrate, says, The 2008 weekends were all a great success. We strove to provide a warm, welcoming and expectant atmosphere for everyone, so our times together would help us to draw closer to God and be more confident in our faith.
If you havent been before, why not come this year to one of the Celebrate weekends, and bring people along whom youd like to introduce to Jesus. Theyll have fun too and realise faith is for living every day, not just Sundays. www.celebrateconference.org
SPIRIT OF TRUTH COMMUNITY TIME OF PREPARATION FOR NEW THINGS
The Spirit of Truth community based in the Birmingham area, are not holding their usual summer family camp this year. Nicola Hurley, who is one of the leaders of the community, commented, We really feel the need this year to grow together more as a community and to grow in numbers. So instead of having the usual camp we will have a smaller group, mainly the community, and others interested. Together we will explore the call to Beauty, Truth and Goodness. Although there will be prayer and a couple of talks most of this will involve us actually working on the site itself and making it more beautiful for next years family camp, which will be very special as it will be our 21st anniversary. We have several ideas for improving the place this summer such as making a permanent outdoor Stations of the Cross, decorating the chapel and stables, making a small garden and poustinia in the small field weeding and possibly creating a vegetable patch.
COR ET LUMEN CHRISTI COMMUNITY STARTING REGULAR MIRACLE EVENINGS IN LONDON
The Cor et Lumen Christi Community, based in Chertsey, Surrey, have stopped their monthly Yes! meeting at Highfield House, which they have run for 18 years. Instead they feel the Lord has called them to invest their energies and money into hiring the Friends Meeting House in central London for several evenings a year for Catholic Miracle Services. These services are being organised to contribute towards what they believe is to be a new season in the CCR in this country. The evenings will have a balance between praise and worship, proclaiming the Word with miraculous healings and prayer for a greater anointing of the Holy Spirit. for this new season. The community is printing 15,000 card handbills which will be widely distributed including blitzing the Euston/Kings Cross area including the telephone boxes which at present only contain the cards of local prostitutes. We feel these events should serve two needs. First they should empower and envision committed Christians. Second they should reach those who dont know the Lord and proclaim and demonstate that Jesus is alive and His power, love and mercy are real and available today. We believe these events can offer both. says Damian Stayne the founder of the community.
The annual Catholic Miracle Rally which the community organise, took place on 23rd-24th May this year, and drew more than 1000 people (see page 13 for some of the stories of healings that have happened over the last two years.) The speakers were Fr. Daniel Ange (the priest from Belgium, who founded Jeunesse Lumiere), Joseph Alumansi (leader of the CCR in Uganda) and Damian himself, who led the Saturday evening Miracle Service. The community have seen a great increase in the number of healings they have experienced through their ministry over the last few years, and Damian feels the Holy Spirit is sending a new anointing to those who are open to it and willing to pray and pay the price. The first Catholic Miracle Service evening was June 25th and the next one will be in the autumn. For further details see our events at www.coretlumenchristi.org or contact info@ coretlumenchristi.org or call 01932-565747
SPIRIT IN THE CITY
Leaders from many of the foreign language speaking groups, who met with the English NSC in February, showed their desire to work together by coming to support the Spirit in the City event organised by four of the Roman Catholic Churches 11th- 13th June in Londons West End. The groups had a time of praise and worship and intercession for the big outreach event which took place in Leicester Square. Afterwards they mingled with the crowds handing out scriptures in different languages and praying for healing with those who were open. Goodnews had a stand there with other Catholic charities and groups and gave away information about the CCR. There was also an opportunity to have confession, pray in front of the Blessed Sacrament and listen to talks in the workshop tent. The St Patricks Gospel choir was among the different Christian performers and bands that played on the main stage throughout the day.
NORTHERN CATHOLIC CONFERENCE AT HOPE
There was a real sense of God preparing his people, at this years Northern Catholic Conference which took place at the beginning of June (5th-7th) at Liverpool Hope University. The conference which is in its fifth year is the brain child of 31 year old Frankie Mulgrew, now studying for the priesthood at Ushaw, who comes from a Catholic showbiz family, and Fr Jimmy Collins, a well known local priest in his 90s. One of the special elements of the Northern Catholic conference, is the showbiz link brought by Frankie, whose father Jimmy Cricket is a well known northern comedian. Thus as well as the talks on the spiritual life there was an interview with actress Liz Dawn, better known as Vera Duckworth in Coronation Street, who talked about her life and her Catholic faith, and a hilarious performance by comedian Don McClean at the evening concert.
There was a grittiness in the presentations which linked in very much with what people were experiencing at the grass roots. Fr Pat Deegan, who is a parish priest on Moss side in Manchester, talked about the Cross of Christ and said there was a rise in people coming to him for counselling as a result of losing their jobs, and how the Holy Spirit was leading him to certain scripture passages to give people consolation. Fr Andrew Unsworth, an expert on Islam, talked about the Muslim faith and beliefs, also very relevant in the light of the rise in racism shown in the European election results. There was also a presentation by Clare Dove MBE about her work in the community empowering local women to transform their situations. Other speakers included Myles Dempsey, John Pridmore, Fr Tom Cullinam, Fr Godric Timney OSB and Kristina Cooper. Throughout the conference, the Advent Healing team, who work with Fr Jimmy, prayed for healing in a specially designated healing and reconciliation area, next to the Blessed Sacrament chapel and music was provided by the Prince of Peace music group. Archbishop Patrick Kelly also concelebrated and preached at one of the Masses.
Peter Nash, the main co-ordinator of the conference, said that the location and accommodation had worked so well that they were planning to make Liverpool Hope University the permanent venue for the conference in future years. He commented, Four ladies from Romford, who had come told me that they had enjoyed it so much they were planning to bring their whole prayer group next year.