In what has become an anticipated annual tradition, youth and youth leaders from more than a dozen Eastern District churches came together for a weekend of fun, music, worship and fellowship at the 2014 Youth Rally.
This year’s Moravian Youth Council Youth Ministries Weekend, themed “Giving My All and Standing Tall,” included youth teams from congregations in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Toronto. The weekend brings people together as a spiritual catalyst for reenergized ministry involvement at the local level.
The sanctuary of Central Moravian Church in Bethlehem (the host for this year’s event) was ablaze with a rainbow of colorful t-shirts, as each congregation wore a different color. The sanctuary rang with music, laughter, prayers and cheers throughout the event.
Along with worship and music, the youth teams each presented colorful banners representing their congregations. The annual “Parade of Banners” gave each group an opportunity to share something about their congregations and their thoughts on the weekend’s theme.
In addition, the youth participated in the highly anticipated Quiz Bowl. The Bowl tested each team’s knowledge of Count Zinzendorf and First Corinthians with questions prepared by “Quiz Master” Bishop Chris Giesler in a role he’s held for many years. As the Rev. Cynthia Rader-Geyer read each multiple-choice question, the teams had 30 seconds to answer. The team from New Dawn Moravian Church in Toronto, Ontario won this year’s competition.
The weekend also featured a social event held at Moravian College, Sunday worship at Central and a celebratory concert on Sunday afternoon.
Led by the Rev. Dr. Michael Johnson, the youth affirmed their Youth Rally Pledge: “I count it as a privilege to be a participant in the 2014 Moravian Youth Ministries Weekend which seeks to promote the active presence of Jesus Christ in the lives of our young people. I acknowledge that the success of this rally will be measured primarily by the depth of our experience rather than the number of participants. As a participant, I pledge to do everything in my power to ensure that our time together will further the cause of Christian fellowship and witness. In the friendly competitions, I will seek to honorably give glory to God for the gifts given to me and my fellow Moravians. Additionally, I will endeavor to add one new person to my circle of friends. In the time we are together, I will seek to enjoy every moment, be a good witness and create wonderful memories that will last a lifetime, as I continue to give my all and stand tall.”
Emmerline Nelson of Vanderbilt Avenue Moravian Church, shared her thoughts on the weekend:
“This was Vanderbilt Avenue Moravian Church’s first time participating in the Moravian Youth Ministries Weekend. The Youth Rally was a time of worship, knowledge and gathering in the name of the Lord. We worshiped his name through prayer and song. We studied year round to fill ourselves with knowledge of Moravian history and Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians to compete in the Quiz Bowl. We gathered as not only individual churches, but also as a people of Moravian faith united.
“My home church, Vanderbilt Avenue Moravian Church, is a small congregation. However, I was not overwhelmed with the mass of people from the other congregations because everyone was welcoming and full of joy — especially when it was VAMC’s turn to present our banner that we had forgotten at home. Each Youth Ministry group created a banner reflecting the theme “Giving My All and Standing Tall.” All the banners were beautiful and well-explained. It was clear that each congregation took their time and put all of their efforts into creating their banners. Technology did save the day for VAMC. We were able to email a picture of our banner to the operator of the projector and project it onto the screen at the front of the church for all to see.
“We were greeted with big smiles and a loud round of applause. Our interpretation of the theme was based on Galatians 5:22ñ23 which says, ëBut the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.’ We included footprints to show that all nine of these fruits will help us face any obstacle that is placed before us on our journey to success in whatever it is that we aim for.
“My team had a blast during the Quiz Bowl. It was such an adrenaline rush. All teams worked extremely hard and in my eyes, we are all winners for participating and believing in ourselves. Following the Quiz Bowl was the banquet. We all dressed in our finest dresses and suits to share a meal and honor youth who have done extraordinary work in their churches and communities. I was one of these youth and I am thankful to have been given such an honor. The food was great, the fashion show entertainment showcased a journey of styles, and the DJ was rather impressive.
“I was unable to attend the church service and the youth concert, but saw many videos of all the talents that my Moravian brothers and sisters are blessed with, ranging from amazing singing voices to wonderful movement in dance. We are a truly blessed people.
“I, along with the other VAMC youth, am anticipating next year’s event!”