SPREADING HOPE: Michael Slater from New Hope Church in Toowoomba will speak on the night.
SPREADING HOPE: Michael Slater from New Hope Church in Toowoomba will speak on the night. Contributed

Showing support for youth

MORE than 100 people - the young and the young at heart - will gather to celebrate youth and provide a show of support for each other at a Youth @ Stanthorpe event on Saturday night.

Quinn Coleman, one of a team of event organisers, said the night was an opportunity for young people to mingle, connect and build friendships.

"We want youth to know that we care about them, and that they're valued,” Mr Coleman said.

"We love our youth and want to support, encourage and nurture them.

"The youth of today have to survive in an environment that's quite different to the environment I had to survive in. It's a fairly hostile environment with lots of distractions - lots of things in their face - drawing them away from making wise decisions.”

Mr Coleman said the event, now in its second year, was about letting young people know they were not on their own.

"They're going through a difficult time,” he said.

"There's lots of aspects of internet life that can be quite destructive and we want to let them know that we'd like to help them connect with other youth around town and establish worthwhile and meaningful relationships with people around them.”

Mr Coleman said a band representing five churches would play contemporary Christian songs at the event.

Musicians include Vineyard Christian Church Senior Pastor Jeremy Greening and Pastor Bruce Jones from Stanthorpe Community Church, as well as Mr Coleman on bass guitar and his wife Stacie on lead guitar.

Fellow organisers Nate and Clare Holliday from Your Church will also play guitar and vocals, along with Tia Thompson from the Seventh Day Adventist Church on vocals, and Rob Yates from Your Church on drums.

Pastor Greening, who helped organise the event, said

mental health was an often silent challenge for youth which had been recently gaining more awareness.

"It is one of biggest challenges our young people face and I wonder - we're more connected than ever in some ways with social networks - but we're also more distant than we've ever been because so much is done through our screens,” he said.

He said the event would be a display of unity among young people to show themselves, and others,

that support networks existed to help combat negative issues.

"It's a non-threatening event and it's a chance to see what's available.”

He said cyber bullying, anxiety, depression, and isolation were all issues that young people often battled with.

"Particularly in a country town - we're trying to have active youth groups and we welcome anyone who wants to connect.”

Pastor Greening said more than 30 volunteers were involved, and many would be wearing high visibility vests and would be available on the night to help with the car-park, ushering, and welcoming people.

"They will also be a point of contact on the night if anyone any issues they want to talk over.”


What: Combined youth gathering with live music and guest speaker Michael Slater, a pastor from New Hope Church, Toowoomba.

Where: Stanthorpe Baptist Church, cnr Railway and Hillcrest Sts.

When: Saturday, May 19, 5-7.30pm, including pizza and ice cream for dinner.

Cost: Free

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