It is such a positive energy to be in an auditorium filled with young people expressing their love for Jesus; to hear them sing the songs of our faith with a contemporary twist; to see and hear them utilize the amazing God-given talents received to bring joy to the people of God through singing, dancing, rapping, poetry…wow!
The Annual Youth Ministries Weekend sponsored by the Metropolitan Moravian Youth Council was hosted by the Grace Moravian Church at PS 32 in Springfield Gardens, New York October 7-9. The theme — “Stand Up For Jesus” — was chosen to remind the young people of the need to live out their faith on a daily basis.
Palmyra, Lititz, Redeemer, Trinity, Egg Harbor, First, United, Grace, Battle Hill, New Dawn, John Hus, Fellowship, Vanderbilt, and Faith along with pastoral representation from Edgeboro provided a good cross section of participants from the Eastern District.
The formal activities began on Saturday with registration formalities and opening worship including greetings from PEC president Rev. Dr. Betsy Miller and the opening declaration by the Rt. Rev. Chris Giesler who has been actively involved in this event over the years.
As always, the youth utilized their dazzling talents to enhance the worship atmosphere and prepared the gathering for the keynote message from the very youthful pastor Aaron Sherron. He encouraged those in attendance not be limited by their circumstances and to rise above negativity. A parade of banners depicting the theme provided the concluding element of the first session.
Returning from lunch, participants geared up for the Annual Quiz Bowl which focused on the Epistle to the Romans and Moravian History from the book, “The Moravian Church Through the Ages” by John Weinlick and Albert Frank, prepared by Bishop Giesler.
The excitement was fever pitched and nail-biting as eight teams, including defending champions Egg Harbor, dug deep to provide the answers to the moderator, Rev. Desna Henry-Goulbourne. First Moravian from New York, N.Y. prevailed to reclaim the Rev. Frank Barker trophy. An exciting tie-breaker segment for second place saw Egg Harbor taking that spot leaving John Hus in third. The excitement of competition was tempered with a youth jam session later that evening.
A worship service on the following Sunday morning led by Rev. Earl Goulbourne and the Grace Moravian congregation set the context for a great afternoon concert again featuring a variety of artistic expressions from our young people during which Br. Leon Smith’s contribution to the council was recognized. Rev. Dave Wickmann lead a highly motivating closing devotion in which he challenged the young people to take the theme with them as they go through the doors and out into the world and their respective congregations and homes.
With the dance inducing sound of the Grace Steel Ensemble with a special arrangement of the classic hymn “Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus” wafting in the air, participants beaming with smiling and freely distributing high fives and hugs filed out of the auditorium in anticipation of the October 5-7, 2012 event in Ontario, Canada. n