Come together at your Yuróra 2017
Yuróra is a multicultural Christian youth festival of word, arts and celebration. The biggest gathering of young people within the Uniting Church, the triennial Yuróra festival will be held between January 8 and 12, 2017.
“Uniting culture” is the theme and the vision for Yuróra 2017.
The festival and its many activities and elements dares to ask two questions: “What is the ‘Uniting culture?’ (who are we, and who do we aspire to be, as the Uniting Church?)”; and, “How do we consider the task of uniting culture and cultures?”
The first question recognises the potential impact Yuróra can have on the church, both locally and nationally.
This second question creates space for young people, who are both First Peoples of this land (Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islanders) and the multicultural Second Peoples (everyone else), to share their stories, their cultures, their hopes and their gifts.
It is not a desire for one culture, rather a deep desire for all cultures to have a voice and be heard.
Yuróra grew from the National Christian Youth Convention, which began in 1955. It is paving the way for a new style of gathering. In early 2014, Yuróra set up home in a North Parramatta precinct. Learning from previous events, Yuróra became a four-day festival allowing young people to design their own experience. Delegates from all around Australia gathered to worship, learn, grow, eat, share and build a community of passionate young people.
The experience of Yuróra 2014 encouraged those involved in its organisation, to begin preparing the way to make Yuróra 2017 an even better event. This meant going back to the drawing board, and focusing on what was meant to be at the heart of this event: unity in culture.
But Yuróra has remained true to being an uniquely youth-driven event that gathers passionate youth to celebrate the diversity and creativity of the Uniting Church.
Yuróra demonstrates the Uniting Church is rich with passionate, relationship-centred and inspired young people. Their hopes, concerns, joys and worries can be heard through such an event.
Members of Yuróra’s co-ordination team are the same age as delegates (16–25-years-old). This helps to ensure the program continues to remain relevant and interesting to those attending.
With multiculturalism also being at its heart, Yuróra 2017 is introducing a multicultural festival. This will be a genuine culmination of Yuróra’s core values, and its endeavours to uphold them — especially through involvement of a wide variety of cultures (Tongan, Aboriginal, Chinese, Korean and, hopefully, more).
Set to grab attention is the recently announced slate of performers who will be at Yuróra 2017. With more than 20 artists on the bill, the four-day festival will feature Melbourne band Darlow, Brisbane’s Slip On Stereo, South Australian dance group Dusty Feet Mob, as well as performance poet Joel McKerrow, Canada’s Tim Neufeld & the Glory Boys, and 2011 Australia’s Got Talent winner Jack Vidgen. Comedy act Pirate Church will also be on deck… and many others!
With all these updates and a strong and united co-ordination team, Yurora 2017 is bound to be a refreshing and life-changing experience for anyone who attends.
Yuróra is a Dharug word from the Burrumattagal peoples — the first people of the land in North Parramatta, where the 2014 festival was held.
Yuróra means “passionate” and organisers of the four-day festival are grateful for the permission of the elders to use this word. They pay their respect to them and acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which the Yuróra gathering met, (and they also pay respect to past elders as well).
The logo for 2017 was inspired by a drawing by Joyce Waia, a young Indigenous leader from Napranum/Weipa in Queensland. Waia is Torres Strait Islander and she grew up in a small aboriginal community.
“I’m so proud of what I do and I’m glad to carry on my passion in my community,” explains Waia. In designing the logo for Yuróra, Waia said: “To me, this drawing I’ve done, it’s about me and my youths gathered around our elders, listening to their stories of The Dreamtimes. The yellow dots outside is my elders telling their Dreamtime stories; blue dots is the spirit, faith around us; and, in the middle, the orange is the
Impressivly, Yuróra 2014’s participants had reflected our Church’s diversity (20 per cent First Peoples, 40 per cent Multicultural, 40 per cent Anglo). These 1000 inspired and energised young people went back to their hometowns, sharing their stories and experiences.
Having been reminded that their stories and perspectives matter, Yuróra’s participants were mobilised. They had been trained and equipped at Yuróra to engage their faith with practical skills, and return to their contexts with a vision to faithfully respond to the gospel imperative.
Many participants went on to pursue theological study, while others connected with local projects (everything from OakTree to ARSC, NAIDOC to online activism). Many participated in other UCA events such as AboutFace, UnitingWorld InSolidarity trips, National Young Adult Leaders Conferences.Significantly, many participants found their place and voice within their local church community.
For the delegates, adult volunteers and organising team, Yuróra was a life-changing experience. And it should be again, in 2017, when more are sent out to transform the world with love, acceptance and grace.
Bradon French, UME Next Generation Consultant
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