Young people have been sighted all over Garvagh this week – darting about in bright red t-shirts doing good works in the village – so it can mean only one thing: this is SPARK Week.
The annual youth outreach programme, which is based in St Paul’s Church of Ireland, brings young people of all faiths together to worship, build new friendships and help their local community. They have even formed their own Praise Group for the week.
This is the seventh year of SPARK – which stands for ‘Servants Pursuing a Radical Kingdom – but 2019 is the first year it’s happened without a local Rector (although the incoming Rector, Rev Carmen Hayes, called with the young people on Monday).
The fact that the project is again fully-subscribed, with more than 40 young participants, is a tribute to the parish team in Errigal and Desertoghill, the leaders who make the project happen and the volunteers who cater for the young people – providing three square meals a day.
Each day begins with breakfast in the parish hall at 10am, followed by worship and teaching in nearby St Paul’s Church. The Diocesan Children’s Officer, Kirsty Lynch, has been leading the reflections this year. After church, the young people return to the hall for arts and crafts, followed by lunch. Then they go out into the community, doing litter-picks, painting fences and sheds, and weeding and cleaning public areas around the village. Dinner is provided each day, with evening fun programmes on some days. SPARK Week ends on Sunday morning with a Thanksgiving Service.