Supporting Catholic Youth at work: The Ignite Conference 2018

Ignite Youth are a ministry of the Emmanuel Community whose vision is to see young people ‘not just changed for a day but transformed for life’. The annual Ignite conference, which this year will be held over four days in Brisbane September 27–30, is one way in which they do this. CCI are proud to be a sponsor of this year’s conference. We spoke to Nattasha Mierendorf, Ignite Conference’s sponsorship coordinator to learn more about this year’s event, which is themed ‘Empty’.

“Ignite Conference is a bold vision for the future of the Church. A Church passionate about discovering a real, present God and gathering a generation to be on fire for Jesus. Our hope is that young people who come to the conference aren’t just changed for a day but transformed for life,” explains Nattasha, on what makes the Ignite Conference such a defining event for Catholic youth. 

Established in 2001, the Ignite Conference brings together high school students, young adults, ministry leaders, families, teachers, and priests from across Australia, as well as young people from New Zealand, Canada, the USA, Ireland, East Timor, Thailand, Malaysia and The Philippines.

“We are so excited for this year’s Ignite Conference and are expecting it to be our biggest one yet,” explains Nattasha. She adds that the conference schedule includes “concert-style rallies with Emmanuel worship, engaging and dynamic speakers, sacraments, prayer experiences and over 1500 other incredible people to enjoy it all with.”

Taking place at the Mueller Performing Arts Centre (MPAC) on Redcliffe Peninsula, 40 minutes north of Brisbane CBD, this year’s Ignite Conference features over 70 speakers. Speakers include Father Rob Galea from Stronger Youth, Gary and Natasha Pinto (who recently went on tour with music stars Guy Sebastian and Jessica Mauboy), Alpha Youth global leader Ben Woodman and President of the Australian Bishops Conference Archbishop Mark Coleridge.

This year has also seen Ignite partner with ACU Campus Ministry to create a Young Adults Stream for school leavers and university students. “The stream will include engaging speakers talking on relatable topics, and exclusive spaces just for the young adults at the conference, somewhere to connect and relax with others in the same place as them.”

Nattasha reiterates the powerful impact that the Ignite Conference has on its attendees. “Each year, we get incredible feedback about the rallies, the speakers, small groups; all aspects of the conference. But the thing that young people say impacts them the most year after year is the opportunity to engage in the sacraments, Adoration especially. For most of these young people, they are coming from parishes or schools where they aren’t going to mass regularly, or if they are, they are feeling disengaged and disconnected from it. At the Ignite Conference, they are having powerful and positive experiences of the sacraments, and those experiences are inspiring them to pursue their faith and share it with their peers.”

Learn more about the 2018 Ignite Conference on their website.

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Interview with Nattasha Mierendorf, Ignite Conference’s sponsorship coordinator