What would bring a group of young adults into St John’s Cathedral on a beautiful Sunday afternoon and see them leaving three hours later with big smiles on their faces?
The answer is the annual St John’s Cathedral Steeplechase event, which was recently held for the third time.
Director of Anglican Youth, Children’s and Families (AYCF) Ministry Jonathan Kemp said that the fun-spirited event is about encouraging young people to discern where God is leading them.
“It’s not actually a competitive event,” Mr Kemp said.
“When we came up with the ‘Cathedral Steeplechase’ name some years ago, we wanted to give young people a sense of excitement about going behind the locked doors of the Cathedral where few people ever go, but there’s no actual running or jumping involved.
“It’s designed to make young people think about where their vocational journey is leading, while also doing a fun real-life adventure together.”
The Cathedral Steeplechase was developed by the Vocations Taskgroup, as a means of making vocational decision-making a hands-on immersive experience for young adults.
Associate Priest at St John’s Anglican Cathedral The Rev’d Sue Wilton said that while the event is not a race, it is still demanding.
“We begin and end in the Lady Chapel, so the group basically does a circuit of the Cathedral, going down to the font, then up the narrow spiral staircases to the Benefactor’s Gallery and way up to the Belltower,” The Rev’d Wilton said.
“There are quite a few surprises along the way, and they climb more than one hundred steps, if anyone’s counting.”
Steeplechase participant and biomedical student Esther, from the Solomon Islands, said that joining in the event surprised and challenged her.
“I was amazed at what I saw up there, and Bishop John’s talks along the way made me think really hard about what God wants me to do with my life,” Esther said.
Since the Steeplechase started, several attendees have gone on to enter the discernment process, heading towards ordination as a deacon or priest, with some of the recent Steeplechase event participants also feeling led to consider a clergy vocation.
“It’s definitely something I’m now considering,” Alfred, who attends St Hugh’s Anglican Parish of Inala, said.
The event was enjoyed by the young adults and facilitators alike.
“Yeah, it was a good experience – it was a lot of fun,” Declan, engineering student at QUT and St John’s Anglican Cathedral choir member, said.
“I’d like to do it all over again right now,” added Tom, a Cathedral worship regular.
The Right Rev’d John Roundhill said that he thoroughly enjoyed his first Steeplechase and he encourages more young people to participate in the future.
“This is a brilliant concept and I would love to see more young people come and join us next year,” Bishop Roundhill said.
Although Tom will have to wait until 2019 for the next Steeplechase, people of any age who would like to enquire about discerning a vocation within the Anglican Church are encouraged to contact the Diocesan Director of Ordinands on 07 3902 1814 or via email at email@example.com