A hundred and more reasons to be at Bright Lights first posted 10 July 2003

 LONDON - first posted 10 July 2003 - 636 words

The Bright Lights Festival for 16-30 year olds, take place at London Colney this weekend (11 - 13 July).

Noelle Griffin sends us this personal account of why she intends to be there.

There's a sublime chapel, tranquil gardens, space for reflection, prayer and reconciliation - these are all elements you'd expect to experience on a tailor-made retreat. The Bright Lights festival success is that it offers all the above plus bonus elements more typical of the Glastonbury festival, or even a weekend spent on an Outward Bounds course!


Expect seriously fabulous soul stomping tunes. Expect to join in. You will be moved! Singing in the shower to never be the same! For example, more commonly found performing to stadium sized audiences on the British R'n'B Soul Gospel scene, this year our centre stage is taken by the hugely popular, south-east London brothers, David, Derek and Lloyd, formally known as,' The Wades'. Although, sadly, the fab Dublin-born Emmaus are unable to be with us this year, Emmaus-addicts won't be disappointed since supporting bands include our own home-grown 'Emmaus Tribute Band', guaranteed to ensure a healthy dollop of favourite songs flying!

And if live bands aren't enough, evening entertainment will be provided by a stream of highly talented DJ's manning the decks, spinning a vast array of sounds to delight even the fussiest musically minded!


Fancy yourself as a Matrix extra, or are you a Charlie's Angel wannabe? Test your stamina on the mountain bike trail; take a leap on the ropes course or chance your skill at archery. Alternatively, join the bright lights football team for a kick about. For those of us less energetic, there are creative arts workshops, including drama, mural design and meditation.


Don't just expect your aural sensory buds to be tickled and your legs to ache! Bring your water-wings, and prepare your mind and soul for some in-depth discovery as we plunge into this year's theme 'Deeper H2O'. To lead us into our murky depths are a plethora of inspirational and challenging speakers, both from the world of academia and our own peer groups.

Friday night, David Wells, Director of Religious Formation, Diocese of Plymouth, challenges us to 'Put out into the deep (LK 5, 1-7).

David, a truly gifted and motivating speaker, will not simply inform but push us into that unknown territory of our own searching. Don't forget your flippers, coz we're not intending to just tread water but swim mighty soul-refreshing lengths!

After an evening interspersed with light entertainment and leisurely chats, not to forget the odd glass of plonk and night prayer, Saturday will bring new thoughts to ponder. Early birds can feast on Morning Prayer whilst the rest of us lay-abouts catch more shut eye in prep for the bountiful day ahead. And what a day! Having entranced us all last year, we welcome back Sr Judith Russi SSMN.

Sr Judith is the founder of Discovering Community, an organisation aimed at helping young people to discover themselves and their own ability to be involved in the church, and to reflect on what they are called to do in life. Whether you are 16 or 36, you are sure to be captivated!

David Payne, director of the Catholic Evangelisation Services, and star presenter of the video 'CaFE' courses, will be talking of the life-changing effect of realising the depth of the Father's love for each of us.

Bright Lights also welcomes back Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor.

At the Chrism Mass at Westminster Cathedral this year, Cardinal Cormac called on the Church to pay particular attention to its young people. He emphasised the 'need to make time to listen and be with young people.'

We thank the Cardinal as he makes time to be with us at Bright Lights.

For more information, or to book tickets, click on: www.bright-lights.org.uk

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