REPORT ON ONLINE YOUNG ADULTS’ SEEKERS SMALL CHRISTIAN GATHERING HELD ON THURSDAY 18th AUGUST, 2022.
Prepared by Tumuhaise Jenipher.
Members present; Alloys -Kenya, Rabecca- Uganda, Gerald- Kenya, Collins-Kenya, Ashik-Pakistan, Staicy-Kenya, Juma-Uganda, Brenda-Uganda, Meg-USA, Redemptah-Kenya, Richard-Tanzania, Joe- Kenya and USA, Jenipher- Uganda and lrene - Kenya.
The meeting began with an opening prayer from Ashik and then the introduction of new members who joined us.
The topic of discussion: What young adults really want to talk about.
Guest facilitator: Father Joseph Healey, Maryknoll Missionary based in Nairobi, Kenya.
Joe invited the young people into a moment of silence so as to welcome the Holy Spirit into our gathering and also to inspire what we were going to discuss. Later on, he gave an opportunity to each young adult to share his/ her experience about what young adults really want to talk about starting with Collins Ong’oma.
Collins Ong’oma: He mentioned that when he meets with his fellow young adults, they mostly talk about relationships and jobs. Some of his friends are married and others are discerning about marriage life. Most of those who are discerning about marriage are afraid of getting into marriage or a serious relationship because some are heartbroken from their past relationships hence, they don’t find marriages and long-term relationships have any meaning to them.
On the issue of jobs, he said that when they meet with his friends, they talk about searching for jobs and the challenges they face at their working places. This has enabled them to appreciate what they have and the importance of having a humble beginning.
Meg MacCarthy: She talked about being more open about what she does and her faith because she works in a Catholic parish. She mentioned that Americans are a secular community and a lot of assumptions are made about people who are religious. Meeting someone who is open to the idea of faith will be refreshing because that makes her be more authentic. Keeping the church alive during this time when young people are leaving in high numbers without compromising what makes us Catholic has been an ongoing conversation within her peer group.
Gerald Mang’era: He said that in his peer group they like talking about the role of young people in the church because many of his peers feel sidelined in the church. For example, they don’t get enough opportunity to participate in church activities. Young people want to understand the entire nature of the church.
He also mentioned that his peers like talking about issues surrounding sexuality and marriages.
Redemptah Mutie: She mentioned that they like talking about young people and modernization, leadership and climate change.
Alloys Nyakundi: He said that when he is with other young people they mostly talk about relationships and more particularly sexual relationships. He gave an example of young people who feel condemned by the church because of early pregnancies which lead them into dropping out of school.
Depression is another topic he identified as many young people are not certain about tomorrow, Covid has disrupted their way of life and unstable families.
Unemployment is another big topic because of high unemployment among young people and those who are employed do have enough to support their families.
Brendah Kobusinye: She noted that in her peer group they usually talk about addiction i.e., drug abuse, alcoholism, and masturbation. With her peer group, they try to advise one another on how they can overcome these challenges. It’s difficult to talk with their parents on these topics but feel free to share with their friends.
Juma Derek: He noted that they mostly talk about relationships i.e marriage, music, and football. They also discuss issues around the church for example, how they can make the church more entertaining and welcoming to young people
Jenipher Tumuhaise: She noted that she always wants to find a way of getting out of her parents in order to spend more time with her friends. While with her friends they talk about relationships and climate change.
Staicy Wandiema: She noted that many of her peers like talking about their childhood trauma and bad experiences they had while they were young children because this has affected their relationships with different people.
Also, they want to talk about relationships i.e trying to understand their sexuality because young people who are LGBTQ fear coming out because the society is so unwelcoming to them.
Irene Kariuki: In her peer group, they like to talk about how to maintain pure Christian life while in a romantic relationship because Christianity advocates for sexual purity.
They also have conversations about mental health because some young adults might be going through childhood traumas, rejection, depression, and suicidal thoughts.
Richard Nyasenga: Young women who have got unplanned pregnancies meet to talk about ways they can find their way back to the society because they feel rejected and condemned by the church. Also, they talk about church leaders who work hand in hand with political leaders who have been involved in corruption.
Joseph Healey: Shared his experiences while working with young people in all over the world through his ministry of Small Christian Communities (SCCs). He said that many young people have confessed that SCCs are their support groups in times of difficult times. He also acknowledged that many young people are struggling with boy-girl’s relationships in the world today.
The gathering ended with a closing prayer from Tumuhaise Jenipher from Uganda.
The next gathering will be on 1st September,2022.