On Sunday 7th August, the youth committees of the five parishes in Melbourne – Saint Nicholas, Saint George, Saint Paul, Saint Mary and the Good Shepherd – gathered at Saint George’s Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral in Thornbury for the first annual Youth Committee Conference presented by ACOY Victoria. This conference was designed to bring our youth leaders all together under one roof for a day of growth and development.

In line with this year’s theme of leadership, the afternoon began with a fulfilling talk by Fabian Patout on what it takes to be a leader within our own lives and our communities. He spoke about how in order to lead others, we must first learn how to lead ourselves. Fabian gave encouraging advice to our youth leaders reminding us that we will likely make more bad decisions than good ones, however, it is our willingness to grow from our mistakes that demonstrate leadership.

Following the talk, the members of the youth committees split up into smaller group discussions, analysing the personal strengths and weaknesses of our own unique leadership styles and how we can ensure to develop ourselves across multiple areas such as decision-making and empathy. The groups also discussed different hypothetical case scenarios within our church environment to share ideas and thoughts on how to tackle different challenges and issues that may arise and that may require strong leadership skills.

Concluding the formal aspect of the conference, our youth then heard a talk by Father Jean Mawal on the church hierarchy and our place within the overall Antiochian Archdiocese. He also touched on the importance and unique work of ACOY Victoria and how it helps to bind together our youth and reminds us that despite being five separate parishes, we are always united.

Glory to God in the Highest for allowing us the opportunity to have this fruitful evening and to meet and grow as one Church and body of Christ.