October / November 2015 - Vol. 82
Training a New Generation of Student Volunteer Leaders in Europe
SVLT talk by Mark Jordan
Personal Reflection The
                                                SVLT was co-financed by
                                                the European Union’s
                                                Erasmus+ Programme,
                                                Kairos and individual
by Mark McMorrow
 UCO Dublin

This year’s SVLT (Student Volunteer Leaders Training to those unfamiliar with the acronym) was an unforgettable experience, and I don’t use that phrase to describe just anything. It seemingly achieved the perfect blend of prayer, teaching and networking as prescribed by Kairos’ secret ‘Kairos Event Formula’, leaving all its participants feeling closer to God, to each other, and ready to reach out to others through our respective UCOs.

Perhaps one of the most immediately striking aspects of SVLT, were one to walk in on us at any time during the week, would be the amount of nationalities represented, and the lack of difficulties or barriers because of this. The talks were given in English, although translations were readily available for those who wanted them. Other than this, one could easily find Polish, Scottish, German, English, and Dutch participants sharing lunch at a table, or enjoying a quick game of volleyball during free time. The entire week was permeated with a palatable sense of camaraderie and community, lending the event a relaxed, comfortable and welcoming atmosphere.

The main track running for the course of the week was ‘Leadership’, to satisfy the ‘L’ of ‘SVLT’. This track dealt with the practical, personal and spiritual aspects of leadership, from how a leader acts, to how they think, and of course, how to become leaders ourselves. This series of constructive talks formed the backbone of the course, and epitomised SVLT’s intensely practical focus. Nobody left a ‘Leadership’ talk without pages of notes and a head full of ideas to take back to their country’s UCO.

One lesson I learnt was from a leader who was not present at this training week.   We heard a video presentation on leadership given by  Anton Collella, a leader from the Community of the Risen Christ in Glasgow. One of the key lessons he discussed was the importance of listening as a leader. He gave many good examples. One in particular One he regaled us with was the story of a psychologist who, during a trans-Atlantic flight, engaged in a lengthy in-flight conversation with the person sitting next to him. Over the course of the flight, the psychologist asked as many questions as he could, and listened intently to the answers given. After the flight, an observer asked the man his impression of the question-asker. The answer? “He was the most interesting man I’ve ever met.” The man did not even know the psychologist’s name.

The week was an incredible experience of exemplary teaching and formation, and I am one of many who look forward to attending future SVLTs.


Personal Reflection by
Marta Ćwierz

It was a great opportunity for me to participate in the Student Volunteer Leaders Training. The various conference sessions and activities helped us to better learn how to be good and effective leaders in our communities. There was a lot of time to build relationships and get to know each other better, especially during our international cluster group sessions and during our free time while playing games. I also got to improve my English speaking with lots of people and I learned about their cultures, and their attitude and experience with service in their communities and outreaches. We were able to make new  friendships and we also learned how to better work together as a team.

Most of sessions which focused on effective leadership topics were new to me. They gave me  inspiration and wisdom for my service in UCO. The session that influence me most was the presentation on Call and Vision. It helped me to see how to respond  to God when He calls us in mission. The presentations gave me insights in how to build and serve in a community with the Lord and by staying connected with him.  The words I will most remember are: “Either nothing depends on us or everything depends on us. It is important to trust God and to let Him provide for us in our service.”

To sum up, this whole week has helped  me to change my attitude towards my service and to realize that this task is a responsibility given to me by God. I now feel better prepared for my service.


Personal Reflection by Andrew Warwick
UCO Belfast

Just to set the scene for you...

From  the Mullartown House retreat center we had a beautiful view of  the purple heather on the "monumental Mourns" as they are called by the local Northern Irish or the "glorified hills" if you’re from anywhere else. This scene was followed by lush green pastures full of various breeds of sheep and cattle. I shall show self-restraint and not go into great detail on every breed. These  pastures ended at the lapping waves of the cold, grey, Irish sea.

Quite a fine location which I would say ticked all the boxes of Dom Perem’s  talk to us on “Planning and analysing a student event” - otherwise known as (his words not mine) “how not to look like an idiot at your own event.” I also learnt (in jest) that the most awesome location for any event would be a space ship. This may prove too difficult because, as far as I’m aware no one in our UCO circles is a close mate ("friend") with Richard Branson.

Every session was "brilliant" (or "excellent" in other parts). I came out of each talk bursting with excitement and adrenaline and with a notebook full of ideas. I would look at the notebook half an hour after the session - once the effects of the adrenaline had worn off  - and then I’m beginning to think, “oh no! These ideas seem like quite a lot of work to implement.”

The highlight and most powerful part of the week for me were the prayer sessions we had together -  they were amazing!

                                      group from Poland

Personal Reflection by Asia Mrowiec

This was my first trip to a SVLT session, so everything here was new to me. I most enjoyed meeting people from different countries - especially since we all came together for one purpose. God was our bond and it was through Him that I experienced everyone as my friend. Despite the fact that we all came from different cultures, places, and backgrounds, we were able to draw closer to each other as brothers and sisters than I imagined possible.

Through our common times of prayer, in our sharing groups, and in our conference sessions we were able to express ours views and concerns, and to teach and encourage one another. I most liked our common prayer times - especially singing songs of praise and worship together, sharing God's word with one another, and growing  in deeper closeness with God and in deeper unity together.

The conference sessions offered a variety of interesting topics and good teaching content. The presentations that most caught my attention were the session on handling conflict and the session on growth through 'Planting'. Despite the fact that we covered so many different topics over the course of the week, it became clear how they formed together a coherent whole. For example, learning how to solve conflicts in our personal relationships and in our relationships in community increases our growth in mutual respect, tolerance, and strength in evangelization. Learning how to effectively deal with conflicts, can help us to learn to listen to others first, to better understand their thoughts, needs, and concerns before we express our opinions.

We are a community of people called together by God. We are like a tree with many branches and shoots - so we must take back to our home community and plant the roots of this tree there. And we must nurture these roots if we want to see our tree grow and bloom. The light for this growth comes from God, and the water he supplies is his word of wisdom and knowledge. If we remain rooted together in God, then our life in community can grow and bear fruit.

Return to > Training a New Generation of Kairos Student Volunteer Leaders in Europe

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> See related Kairos articles and reflections in this issue:
Kairos International – Raising Young Disciples to Maturity
Kairos Arise! Asia 2015 Conference and Kairos Iberoamerica Conference 2015
Training a New Generation of Kairos Student Volunteer Leaders in Europe by Sara Bick
Reflections by Kairos Student Volunteer Leaders in Europe
The Lovely Commission, A new Kairos resource for young women
Be Bold by Kimi Butler, and Arm Me For Battle by Ellie Giles
My GAP Year, by Mariah Waraksa

India Mission Trip, by Mike Robinson and Fiona Lee
Roots Away from Home, by Paula Arce
Knowing God is Like Swimming in a Lake, by Stephen Bick  
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