We’re on our way! 112 students aged 15 to 19, staff and the Archbishop of York are heading to Taizé for a week of prayer, reflection, praise and relaxation. The students travelling with us are all Young Leaders, having completed some amazing community work and recently received their Young Leaders Award certificate.
Three schools started out earlier this morning - Sentamu Academy in Hull, All Saints Academy in Ingleby Barwick and Abbey Grange Academy in Leeds - with a bit of a journey to get to the first coach stop where they were joined by Archbishop Holgate’s School and Manor Academy for the next 720 mile stretch. Our three full coaches are now zipping down the M1, new friends have already been made, and we’re hoping the roads remain clear and we have a good journey to the Dover ferry.
Our week in Taizé will be a fantastic opportunity to meet with young people from across the world and learn from each other by discovering more about how they live out their faith in very different circumstances, and how they try to ‘be the change that they want to see’ where they are.
Taizé feels a long way away at the moment; after 90 minutes on the road we’ve only just left Yorkshire! As the coach eats up the miles, I’m really looking forward to the croissants and coffee for breakfast tomorrow. We will have regular ‘leg stretches’ en route; our driver from Nuneaton Coaches has travelled this route many times with similarly enthusiastic and eager young people and it’s comforting to know that he knows all the best places to stop.
Today being St Swithin’s Day, we’re hoping for clear skies all day and great weather in Taizé too as some of us will be camping along with many hundreds of others. This week we’re looking forward to a special focus on migration; some of our group are already involved in voluntary work with migrants, asylum seekers and refugees. Camping for just one week will be a poignant but brief snapshot of the life that many migrants and refugees have had to get used to over many years.
I’ll be doing some Taizé prep en route as well as reading, listening to music and getting to know others. This is my second trip leading a cohort of Young Leaders and I have been inspired by the Community; the stories of faith, service and reconciliation are timeless, mirroring the experiences of our Young Leaders and their communities today.
Thank you to all parents, families and friends for the great send off today