Moravian youth and young adults celebrate their relationships with each other and with the Lord as they gather each year for the Mid-States Fall Retreat and the Eastern District Eastern Region Winter Retreat.
The weekends offer youth a chance to share powerful worship, relevant Biblical messages, games, group challenges and their own faith stories as they take the next steps in their spiritual journey.
If you ask the youth about their experience at retreat, they’ll tell you that it is more than the scheduled activities; it’s really the attendees that can make the program an exceptional experience.
Mid States Fall Retreat
The Mid-States Fall retreat, sponsored by the Mid-States Youth Ministry Council (MSYMC) and led by Dan Meikle, Amy Keller and Anita Watkins, took place in November at Camp Lutherhaven in Albion, Ind.
MSYMC works to ensure that the youth and young adults of Moravian churches in Ohio, lower Michigan, Indiana and Illinois can participate in interchurch activities and further their relationships with Christ. Through this vibrant organization, young Moravians (and their friends) are able to participate in various events throughout the year.
Clayton Wilson, a 15-year-old member of Hope Moravian Church in Indiana, has been attending the Mid-States Fall Retreat since he was in the sixth grade. “I attend because I love meeting up with friends from church camps, rallies and previous retreats,” says Clayton. “Our retreat this year was a great experience packed into one weekend with good food, good worship and lots of fun.”
The Rev. Doug Rights, director of Youth, College and Young Adult Ministries for the Moravian Church Southern Province, led this year’s program called “The Jesus Challenge” which encouraged participants to share their own faith stories with one another.
“I saw Jesus most clearly as we gathered together during program and especially as we shared our own faith stories in small group,” said Clayton. “My favorite part was free time, when I could talk to other kids and find out what they like to do, what sports they play and what their hometowns are like. I especially like meeting people from other states.”
“I will invite my friends to this fun weekend in the future; it is a chance to do something different and make new friends from around the country.”
The Eastern Region Winter Retreat was led by Rev. Cynthia Rader Geyer, Eastern District director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry. The Eastern District Christian Education Commission sponsored the Winter Retreat at Hope Center in Hope, N.J. in mid-January. Ashley Eisenhard, a young adult leader from Emmaus Moravian Church, wrote and led the program, “What’s In Your Bag?” with Cynthia.
Courtney Heist, a 15-year-old sophomore and member of Egg Harbor City Moravian Church, has attended Camp Hope since the second grade and participated in this year’s retreat.
“I am very thankful for this camp,” says Courtney. “It changed my life in so many ways and has strengthened my relationship with God. Camp Hope is a place where you can let the bad out and breathe in the good. It is a place where you make friends you will never lose, where you feel so close to God and where you’re accepted for you and you alone.
“The winter retreat helped me to cope with several tragedies I experienced this past year,” continues Courtney. “I feel that camp is a safe place where I can talk to anyone and they will not judge me. I can express my real feelings, fears and dreams and no one judges me for it. In small groups everyone opens up and shares and it is such enlightening experience. Everywhere you look or go during camp you can feel God is with you, leading you and helping you.
“I am counting the days until I return to camp this summer, first as a junior counselor and then as a camper myself.” ν
The Rev. Cynthia Rader Geyer, director of the Eastern District Youth and Young Adult Ministry, compiled this article.