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Thousands of youth flock from across country to meet Jesus at Ignite Conference

Blessed event: Young people offering praise at the Ignite Conference in Brisbane from September 21-24. The event was attended by more than 1400 participants from across the world.
Photo: Tim Adamson, Lucid Media

By Selina Venier

ARCHBISHOP Mark Coleridge has delivered a powerful message of conversion urging young people to change their hearts of stone to hearts of “flesh and fire” in order to become truly human.

He spoke of the journey to becoming human – from a heart of stone, to a heart of flesh, to a heart of fire – at a Mass on the Friday of Brisbane’s Ignite Conference.

People as far as the United States, New Zealand and Ireland were among the 1400 registered participants for the September 21-24 event, which had the theme of “Come” .

“A heart of stone is never wounded,” Archbishop Coleridge said.

Laura Otto, from Rockhampton, gave the opening-night keynote address, affirming a welcome to all and assuring young people they were “totally worth it”. 

“God has come,” she said. “(And) He loves you more than anyone on this earth ever could.

“God … now invites us to come and see the wonders that He has done, the wonders that He can do, if we let Him.”

Archbishop Coleridge encouraged worshippers to take the invitation to “come”, further.

“You’re in for heart surgery,” he said.

“Surgery is a matter of some urgency … (and) you’ve come to Ignite for God to do the surgery on you.

“We have to move from the heart of flesh to the heart of fire … (and) you have to follow Him.”

Archbishop Coleridge said the journey of a faithful discipleship “is a strange one”.

“(You can be) taken into strange places,” he said.

“If you want to follow Him, don’t panic, follow wherever He leads and you will not be disappointed.”

The Ignite schedule was filled with more keynote addresses, workshop-style presentations and interactive opportunities among peers.

emmanuelworship offered reflective and lively moments of prayer, praise and worship, with a new CD, Ventus, recorded at the conference, for release on December 1.

Ignite co-organiser Kym Keady led, for the first time, a panel discussion where four adults were invited to write and present a letter to their 16-year-old self.

Mrs Keady said “the personal touch” added to a broader discussion about the realities of success, failure, healing and forgiveness.

Panel members included Andrew Buchanan, Shanelle Bennett, Katelyn Ross and Pete McAuliffe, each with a special connection to Emmanuel Community across decades.

Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and the opportunity to receive prayer and the Sacrament of Penance were other highlights.

Offering the final keynote address, young adult Ellen Hales continued to inspire young people to live purposefully for God.

“How free is it to be young and to know Jesus?” she said on the final morning of the conference.

“Whoever you are and however you came to be here, thank you so much for coming.

“Go and make God’s kingdom visible on this earth. Take action.”

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