Garvagh Sparks to life for local young people

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Forty young people are taking part in the fourth annual SPARK Week, which is under way in Garvagh.

The week-long initiative, based at St Paul’s Church of Ireland, brings young people from across the community together to build new friendships and help their community. SPARK (Servants Pursuing a Radical Kingdom) was launched in 2013, when it had 14 teenage participants and four leaders.

Since then attendance has virtually trebled and the local Rector, the Reverend Paul Whittaker, says with 40 teenagers now taking part, the project is fully subscribed.

Rev Whittaker says the initiative chimes perfectly with the Diocese’s Year of Opportunity 2016. “We are being challenged to reach out and engage in Mission, Generosity and Children. “The SPARK programme is doing all three. It is incredibly rewarding for the team here at St Paul’s to help young people – aged between 13 and 17 – to form new friendships that will impact on them for the rest of their lives. In that sense, SPARK can be truly life-changing - in a positive way.” The programme has a team of ten young adult leaders, led by Melissa Andrews, and the main facilitator is the Diocesan Youth Officer for Derry and Raphoe, Martin Montgomery.