A group of 7 young people from the Dioceses of Tuam, Killala and Achonry recently travelled to Inverness as the first stage of a youth exchange. TKA is linked with the United Diocese of Moray, Ross and Caithness of the Scottish Episcopal Church and this exchange was part of the strengthening of that link. The young people flew from Dublin to Inverness and stayed at The Steading, a Diocesan Centre which stands in the back garden of the Bishop Mark Strange’s house. Bishop Mark, who is both Diocesan Bishop and Primus of the SEC, and his wife Jane were most gracious and generous hosts, and the youth team in the diocese there had worked hard to ensure our trip was successful, engaging and fun.
We spent our time together learning about each other’s cultures and churches and exploring the ways in which we are the same and ways in which we are different, both in our rural context and in our church context. The two dioceses have much in common and it was good to share the frustrations, and also the strengths which our particular situations can bring. We visited the Highland Folk Museum, the battlefield at Culloden and Inverness Cathedral, where the combined group of young people led worship. We also found time to have fun with highland games and a trip to the local go-karting track.
The young people thoroughly enjoyed themselves and all have said that they learnt a lot during their time there.
There is no doubt that new friendships were formed, both amongst the young people and the leaders, with plans for a return trip from the Scottish contingent in the near future.