The words of the popular hit song ‘It’s gonna be a good night…’ said it all as hundreds of young people danced the night away (or at least part of it) in the cathedral hall in Lisburn.
They had come from all parts of the diocese to spend an evening with Fusion, the hugely successful youth outreach project based at the cathedral in Lisburn city centre.
The evening, hosted by the Bishop of Connor, the Rt Rev Alan Abernethy was aimed at encouraging young people, youth leaders and clergy to explore youth work ‘outside the box.’
Fusion has more than 2,000 members registered with the project, and up to 300 young people attend its night club style activities every week.
The evening with Fusion on Sunday September 27 was a follow up to the successful Energize evening of youth worship which took place in St Brigid’s, Mallusk, in September last year. Both events were organised by the Energize committee.
Every week Fusion is open for dance music, video games and pool and offers chill out space, pampering space and prayer space. On Sunday night there was also worship through dance.
While young people had a rave in the hall, clergy and youth leaders retired to the relative peace of the café Bishop Alan with the help of youth workers Keith Neill (Lisburn Cathedral); Alan (Arf) Wright from Greenisland and Stuart Moles talked about their experiences of youth work, and the challenges they face.
Welcoming the young people at the start of the evening in a very atmospheric dance hall, Bishop Alan said the event was aimed at engaging with youth culture. Keith Neill, a Fusion leader, told the visiting teenagers it was time to ‘have a rave and go mental.’
He said: “The whole idea is for you to move around, to be here with your friends and just enjoy yourselves. This is just one way we do youth work here on a Saturday night, it draws huge crowds and the wonderful thing is that God is here. We are getting to God’s people.”
Julie Hanna, another Fusion leader, said the project drew young people from all over Lisburn. During the summer around 35 members attended a Leadership weekend which had had a big impact. “This year the kids are taking ownership of it and it has really worked,” Julie said. “Before the kids from the church did their jobs but very much kept themselves to themselves. Now they are working with the other kids and it has made such a difference.”
During the session in the cafe, Keith, Arf and Stuart spoke about their own journeys into youth work, and of the challenges facing youth workers today. They answered questions from Bishop Alan and from youth leaders and clergy.
The event began at 6.30pm and concluded at 8.30pm.