Tuesday, 21 December 2010

YAR 2010
By Christina Baghdady

Another year and a fantastic YAR 2010! Nicely put, it was a Young Adults’ Retreat, for us, by us!
When I sat down to write this, I had no idea where to start. The main reason being, I was genuinely overwhelmed by how well organised and accommodating YAR was. I have attended many a conference and retreat over the years. I was a first-timer at YAR, but I can whole-hertedly state that this is one of the best conferences I have ever attended. As always, this year’s retreat was wonderfully planned by the YAR team, working with HG Bishop Angaelos and its’ wider group of helpers.
The theme being ‘Simplicity’, one could sense that an Oxford Dictionary definition of the word would hardly be sufficient. What words come to your mind when you think of ‘simplicity’? Pause....think about it....and read on.
Often, a stereotype of the term may give more a negative than positive connotation; naive, ignorant and, as one friend put it, ‘not complex.’ The talks, debates and discussions however revealed otherwise. Indeed ‘simplicity’ should not be so simply coined into a negative definition. Take a listen to the talks; download them and keep them on your mp3/4’s, ipods, iphones, ipads, i-whatever. No, I am not promoting a particular brand.
The speakers: His Grace Bishop Angaelos, Abouna Shenouda, Michael Armanyous and Daniel Boctor all produced mature, thought-provoking talks.
Personally, I found simplicity to be an amalgamation of many noble characteristics: wisdom, child-like innocence and much more. Matthew 19: 13-15 sums it up for me, when our Lord said, “Let the little children come to Me and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”
Move over Superman, Batman, Spiderman! Our Heavenly Father is all of them put together and so, So, SO much more!
Suffice to say, the way to a conference goer’s heart is indeed first and foremost, our Heavenly Father’s word. In a distant, not-so-close second place, is however, food. WOW! Special thanks to everyone who took part in the preparations and setting of the dishes. Move over 5* restaurants! YAR is the grub! Enough said!
The events were definitely entertaining! Come 4pm on Saturday, it was time...yes time for (drum roll) ‘bowling mode’! You may be thinking, ‘did they use the bumpers?’ As if! Us, YAR attendees were ‘simply’ the BEST!
Our own Winter Wonderland on Saturday night was a wonderful conclusion to a spiritually and physically rejuvenating day! Santa and his elves trekked from the distant lands of Lapland to join the YAR crew over some mulled (non-alcoholic!) wine, popcorn and marshmallows over a bonfire. Oh the life! If the torrential snow fall over the previous weeks didn’t put one into a Christmas mood, this certainly did!
Ironically, I could not think of a better time to delve deeper into the more profound spiritual meanings of simplicity than now. Nearing the end of 2010 and approaching the beginnings of 2011, we take a moment to contemplate the events of the past year. More importantly, we look to the future on how we can apply simplicity in our lives in 2011. New Year’s resolution...any guesses?
Bring on YAR 2011!!