Lyke Conference encourages parish leaders to enrich worship services

Over 500 people, including a group from the Diocese of Charleston, gathered in Chicago, Ill., recently for the 10th annual Lyke Conference. Kathleen Merritt, director of the diocesan office of ethnic ministries, presented two workshops at the conference and shared her experience with The Miscellany.

Q. What is the Lyke Conference?

A. Named in honor of Archbishop James P. Lyke, the conference was established in 2004 by Andrew and Teri Lyke as a way to promote the celebration of sacramental life by black Catholics. It supports the vision of the Lyke Foundation to cultivate, celebrate, and commission leaders to develop powerful and effective black Catholic worship.

Q. What is the purpose of the event?

A. To create an atmosphere that encompasses music, art, ritual and more as a way to inspire participants to enrich worship services in their own parishes. Every conference includes a youth track, which is designed to teach teens how to recognize and share their gifts within the Church and to evangelize to others.

Q. How many people attended from the Diocese of Charleston?

A. About nine people, including two youth, traveled to Chicago this year. Including me, they are: Deacon Carl Johnson and Aaron Mathews from St. Martin de Porres in Columbia, and Thelma Williams, Delmar Percival, Brie Merritt, Allison Brockman, Lillie Golden and Kinlyn Williams, all from St. Anthony of Padua in Greenville.

Q. What was the subject of your talk?

A. I offered two workshops. The first, “Music, Media and Evangelization: Celebrating the Word in Cyberspace,” showed how to create media advertising at little to no cost. “Catholic Schools and the Future of African American Liturgists” discussed the importance of Catholic elementary schools in black communities and ways to increase the number of African-American Catholic musicians in the future.

Q. How is the diocese using social media for evangelization and advertising?

A. One example is “A Ministry Moment,” which can be found on Facebook and the diocesan Office of Ethnic Ministries web page. It seeks to reach young adults through social media, radio and blogs.

Read more about Catholics like you by subscribing to The Catholic Miscellany