23 January 2023
Members of a Werribee Karen authorised congregation took steps towards strengthening relationships, including their cross-generation ties during a recent retreat.
More than 100 people from the St Stephen’s youth group, mother’s union, men’s society and Sunday school attended the four-day camp in regional Victoria aimed at bringing them closer together.
In the Karen Christian community the four groups are viewed as the church pillars and thus play a key role in its stability.
Vicar the Reverend Moe Win Tun Kin said the individual groups usually went on separate retreats, but the pandemic had disrupted their plans in the last few years, so St Stephen’s had decided to run a combined camp for the first time.
Mr Tun Kin said church leaders wanted to set an example for the younger generations that would align with the St Stephen’s motto “Growing together in unity”.
They also wanted to encourage attendees to do things together, including Bible study, so that they could learn the word of God as one.
Youth lay leader, Mayre George said the individual groups conducted their own workshops, and at the end of the day would share what they’d learnt.
She said one of the unexpected results was that parents and youths took the opportunity to share their thoughts on generational differences and were able to bridge the gap in understanding.
“Because the children grew up here, they experienced a different cultural style compared to their parents. They usually don’t talk about the difficulties of that, but they were able to share these things very well during the camp,” Ms George said.
Other activities included games and swimming, as well as evening devotions which featured a special address from church leaders.