Photo: The Fuse team took on the challenge of running the popular youth event online amid the coronavirus restriction, drawing youth groups from across the state.

The first FUSE youth gathering for 2020, held on 15 May, was an event unlike anything Fresh Hope Youth had ever hosted before.

The regular youth outreach event, which usually draws more than 250 young people from around Sydney, was disrupted due to coronavirus restrictions. Instead of cancelling, organisers decided to take the popular event online.

“Even with the challenges we were facing, there was still an enormous desire to provide a shared, unified space for Fresh Hope Youth Ministries to gather online, celebrate God and all things ‘youth ministry’ in our movement,” said Charlie Burke, Fresh Hope Youth Catalyst.

By moving online, Fuse became a 30-minute event that included online interactivity, Fresh Hope youth announcements, a short reflection and worship – followed by a Zoom ‘after party’. 

“We heard such positive reports, with youth groups watching together via Zoom or Watch Parties (Facebook feature). Particularly from regional churches that would usually not be able to attend,” said Charlie

The event drew youth groups from around Sydney including Oak City Church, Restore Youth from Castle Hill, Asquith Misfits, Campbelltown’s Next Gen, Tribe Youth Engadine, i61 Church, Belong Youth from Penrith, Elevate from Telopea and youth groups from Live Connection at Northgate and Northside as well as youth from as far afield as Southern Illawarra, Berry and Canberra (Dropbears Youth).

There were more than 800 views and over 1000 engagements through the Facebook Live event – but ultimately, it was all about connection.

“Having FUSE online meant that our youth could attend and join in celebrating God with the wider church,” said Bec Whitely, NationsHeart youth pastor in Canberra. “We normally would struggle to get them to Sydney to go to these events, so it was great to be able to join in.”

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