There were tears aplenty at Faughanvale Presbyterian Church Hall on Saturday afternoon as U.S. participants in Derry and Raphoe Youth’s ‘On the Move 2017’ said farewell to their Northern Irish counterparts. Around 30 young people – from both sides of the Atlantic – had descended on the village of Eglinton, in St Canice’s Parish – over the previous week, to take part in the initiative.
Participants are invited to put their faith into action by performing chores such as litter-picking, garden-weeding, fence-painting, and street cleaning. In the process, the young people forge new friendships and get to worship with fellow participants. Diocesan Youth Officer Martin Montgomery oversaw the week-long programme on behalf of Derry and Raphoe Youth (DRY) and Rev Naomi Quinn (Castlederg) led the daily devotions.
On their last day together, the young people were visited by the Bishop of Derry and Raphoe, Rt Rev Ken Good, and by the Minister of Faughanvale Presbyterian Church, Rev Lindsay Blair. The churchmen joined members of the group for lunch and chatted to them about their involvement in ‘On the Move’.
The American contingent came from the Diocese of Albany, which has developed a special relationship with ‘On the Move’ – participating in the initiative every second year. The foreign visitors were led by Mrs Karen Love, whose husband is the Bishop of Albany, Rt Rev William H. Love.
‘On the Move’ is the highlight of DRY’s calendar. "This event creates lifelong friendships," Martin says, "and at the same time really helps bring faith alive to young people." Martin congratulated the young people who took part in this year’s ‘On the Move’. “This is a great group of young people,” he said. “Their energy and commitment was an inspiration to older members of our team. They have done fantastic work for our host community; they’ve worked hard; they’ve hd fun; most importantly of all. I hope their faith has been deepened and enriched.”
The DRY team thanked Faughanvale Presbyterian Church – and especially its minister, Rev Lindsay Blair – for being such generous hosts, and the community in Eglinton for supporting the initiative.