Westminster Youth Ministry General Update for Autumn 2020

As of publishing, schools across the Diocese of Westminster are resuming teaching and parishes are restarting some activities. As we go through this lockdown process, we thought you might like to know about the current situation of Westminster Youth Ministry and what we’re planning for the future.

SPEC is open for day retreats from October 2020

As young people start attending school after a very long break, we know it’s important for us to continue offering spiritual support through our retreat programme, circumstances allowing. The SPEC Retreat Centre is, therefore, open for day retreats from October 2020 onwards, subject, of course, to any new coronavirus restrictions the government may impose. And although we believe that young people will have a more positive experience from a day retreat that takes place at the retreat centre itself, we are also offering an interim option, where practicable, of day retreats at schools or in parishes.

Residential retreats on hold until early 2021, situation permitting

We firmly believe that the best retreat experience we can offer is the overnight residential retreat. Due to the lockdown, we are currently unable to offer these but we are working to restore this provision as soon as possible. Our hope is that this will be possible at some point in 2021, and we will be in touch again once this becomes clearer. Please do contact SPEC if you are considering a day retreat from October or a potential residential retreat next year.

Changes to residential retreat team and SPEC community

As previously mentioned, from September 2020 there will be no residential community at SPEC. It is our firm hope that this will only be a temporary situation and that we will be able to re-form the SPEC community again when circumstances allow, and thus continue to provide an opportunity for young adults from the diocese to live in community, learn about and grow in their faith and serve SPEC’s mission of retreat provision.

New retreats and retreat resources

Although our capacity to provide retreats has reduced, we are working to rebuild our capacity. Our Outreach team will be working with the SPEC Retreat Centre to continue the level of retreat provision described above. This will include developing online resources for individuals and groups who may wish to run ‘remote retreats’. In addition, we are developing a new day retreat designed for children preparing for their First Holy Communion to complement our existing range of retreats.

Opportunities for young people

SPEC and the Outreach team will be looking to get more young people involved in supporting the new model of day retreats and will be providing opportunities for anyone planning to work either as a Retreat Leader or volunteers at the Centre. Full training and support will be provided. The experience will hopefully add some value to their university or job applications. So if you know, or work with anyone who may wish to get involved, please do suggest that they get in touch with the SPEC Retreat Centre (spec@rcdow.org.uk).

Online Music Scholarship

From September we will be resuming our Music Ministry scholarship, led by Joe Wells from the One Hope Project and provided remotely. This is a great opportunity for young Catholics who may want to develop their skills in leading music for worship in their parish, school and beyond. If you know young people who may be interested, do get in touch >

Youth Leadership Programme

Finally, we are developing a Youth Leadership Programme for young people aged 16-21 years old, in partnership with Catholic Voices. It will focus on developing leadership skills in the Catholic context, supported by and inspired by faith, with a particular emphasis on public speaking. We hope it will be ready to start in January 2021 and will be a fantastic opportunity to work with young people over a longer timeframe and help them grow in confidence in their faith and how they witness to it.

We ask for your prayers in support of our efforts to further the mission of the Church to young people in our diocese.