Eastern District youth “Rise Up, Speak Up, Help Up” at 2018 Rally

While the weather was grey on Staten Island, the sanctuary at New Dorp Moravian Church was bright with the sounds of praise, worship and celebration during the 2018 Youth Rally held in October.

More than 250 young people from more than a dozen Eastern District congregations came together under the theme, “On a Mission for Jesus: Rise Up! Speak Up! Help Up!” The 2018 rally featured an inspirational presentation by Christael Brandt, a Psalmist and singer from New York, worship with Moravian pastors from the participating churches, the annual Quiz Bowl and more.

An “Up”lifting theme

“This year’s theme was a combination of two possibilities from among those presented at the planning meeting,” said the Rev. Dr. Michael Johnson, pastor of John Hus Moravian Church in Brooklyn and advisor to the Youth Council.  “Both were mission based; the combination was meant to encourage all participants to be more conscientiously engaged in the lives of God’s people beyond the walls of the church. The ‘ups’ in the theme is borrowed from a Jamaican propensity to add ‘up’ to words, signaling an escalation and encouragement to take that action to a higher level.”

As in previous years, the participating youth created banners for this year’s rally based on the theme.  During the “Parade of Banners,” each congregation’s team explained the meaning and thought that went into their colorful and creative interpretations of the theme.

During her keynote presentation, Ms. Brandt led a discussion on the challenges young people face in living a Christian life.  Using inspirational words, quotes from Scripture, prayer and powerful music, Ms. Brandt helped bring the day’s theme to life even more.

Testing knowledge

A central part of the annual Metro Youth Rally is the Quiz Bowl. “The Quiz Bowl is focused on Moravian history and selected passages from the Bible,” explains Rev. Johnson.  “Through this friendly competition, teams are encouraged to expand their knowledge of both the Bible and the history of our church. The Quiz also allows for those who are in the audience to expand their own knowledge.”

This year’s Quiz Bowl was based on What We Believe: A Glimpse at Moravian Theology by Bishops Blair Couch and Graham Rights, along with the book of Hebrews. Questions were developed by the Rev. Cynthia Geyer, director of the Eastern District Youth and Young Adult Ministry. 

During the spirited competition, moderator Maurice Morrison asked five questions in each of six rounds.  After each round, the scores were posted for all to see. The questions were not easy – they included ones like “In Communion, the unique Moravian tradition of offering the right hand of fellowship signifies what?” and “A well-known phrase is found in Hebrews: ‘The world was not worthy of them.’ Of whom was the writer speaking?” 

In the end, the team from John Hus Moravian Church, including Kyle Paul, Kaile Reid and Charles “CJ” Woodbine, proved victorious, while the New Dawn team from Ontario, including Janique Simmons, Shannon Lounges, Patrick Smith, Jr., and Jadyn Anderson, took second place. Following the Quiz Bowl, awards were presented for service to the church.

The annual event was planned and organized by the Metro Moravian Youth Council, a group of volunteers who have a passion for youth work. The event offers an opportunity for young people from across the Eastern District to interact through worship, fellowship, social engagement and use of their talents. This was the first time the event was held at a Staten Island church.