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Youth Ministry News

Summer 2020 Newsletter: YOUTH UPDATE

There’s a Montreat Youth Conference energizer called Star Trekking that has been going through my mind lately: “It’s life dear, but not as we know it, not as we know it, not as we know it. It’s life dear but not as we know it.” Yes, this time is definitely not as we have known before, but youth ministry has smoothly adjusted to best support our youth and parents. Here are a few highlights from the last four months:

MARCH: Thank God for technology!
Beginning on March 15, we moved Sunday School and MS/HS youth groups to Zoom. Our meetings include both games, devotional time and prayers. This month, we spent time talking about fear and hope and what brings us comfort, particularly how do we find God in the chaos and uncertainty.

APRIL: Holy Week @ Home
On the Thursday before Palm Sunday I delivered Holy Week devotionals, palm branches and Easter goodies to 30 homes (45 youth!). It was great to see the smiling, confused faces as we caught up from 10ft + away on how they were adjusting to being home. Confirmation Sunday was supposed to be April 26, with a closing retreat the weekend before. Instead, confirmands and their mentors met online to share about how this time has impacted their faith journey. The class will resume in the Fall, when we hopefully can all be together in person again.

MAY: Game Nights and Graduation
At the end of April we hosted our first Family Trivia Night, followed by a Disney-themed game night this month – complete with costumes! Every couple weeks, we have also been offering a parents-only Zoom time where we can connect and support each other. As is typical, May was our busiest month! The first week, we celebrated our high school seniors with gift bags delivered to each graduate, personal videos on Facebook, and a blessing during worship on May 10. The second, we welcomed rising 6th graders into youth ministry! The third week, we delivered Pentecost bags to families including dove making materials and blank cards to spread God’s message of love to others. And on the last day, which would have been our departure date, we held a gathering for all who had planned to go on the Puerto Rico mission trip. We tested our knowledge of the church building with a “where is this?’ slideshow and learned about a virtual mission trip opportunity.

This summer we will focus our youth ministry on what it means to live out the words in Micah. How do we do justice? What does it mean to love kindness? When must we walk humbly? While Montreat and mission trips have been cancelled, we are committed to using this summer to strengthen our community and deepen our relationship with God. June will be focused on Racial Justice Awareness with a 21 Day Challenge. During this time youth and families (and church members) are invited on a journey of personal learning and self-reflection. On our youth website, www.fpcathenspit.com there are resources for you to spend time each day learning about race, power and privilege. July will focus on a different social justice issue (hunger, homelessness, children/education) each week. We’ll begin the week on Sunday nights with Holy Words, Holy Sounds, and Holy Images, and close together on Friday afternoon with a time for reflection, celebration, and prayer. During the week, youth will have opportunities for at-home hands-on activities to respond to the issue.

I’m not sure when we’ll be together again in person, but today I am incredibly grateful for this time – time at home with my family; time to read and grow; time to connect with old friends; time to slow down and literally listen to the birds sing. Thank you God.

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” – Isaiah 41:10

Kim Ness, Director of Youth Ministries